When things go wrong, people want answers. Like anything in life, that's exactly what's happening with the New York Islanders and their fans right now. Expectations were high going into this year and right now, it's about as bad as it gets as the team dropped their ninth in a row last night.
While I myself am extremely frustrated with the start to this season for New York, what I don't understand is the turn on some of the most important pieces to this franchise. Mathew Barzal, Lou Lamoriello, and Barry Trotz have all received harsh criticism during this losing streak.
While I have strong opinions on all three, instead of turning this into a 2,000-word diatribe I'll be focusing on Barry Trotz who I feel the most strongly about.
Let me start by saying that I do not agree with, and have not agreed with 100 percent of what he's done in his four years with the Islanders but overall I am more than thrilled with the job that he's done with this team.
But during this streak, essentially the biggest adversity this team has faced in the last four years, you have fans abandoning ship questioning whether or not he's lost the room, if his system really works, criticizing lineup decisions, or even criticizing who he uses in overtime.
For example, last night in overtime, Barry decided to start with JG Pageau as his center over Mathew Barzal. Normally he goes with Brock Nelson, who is hurt, because of his ability on the faceoff. Pageau is the best faceoff guy in the lineup with Nelson out, so when possession is the name of the game why would he start Barzal who is a career 42.4 percent in the faceoff dot?
Normally, Barzal goes out on the second shift once the Isles have possession it just didn't work because Anthony Beauvillier decided to get lazy throwing a puck on net that he shouldn't have and not hustling to get back on defense. Is that on Trotz, or is that on the player not executing?
That's just one example though, the thought that Barry Trotz's system doesn't work or is played out is laughable. Barry Trotz has 23 years of coaching experience in the NHL and he's made the playoffs 14 times in the last 17 years with three different organizations. That argument should go out the window immediately. The fact that he's had success in three different places is enough on his already Hall of Fame-worthy resume.
Trotz is third all time in wins behind only Scotty Bowman and Joel Quenneville, he's one of the best coaches this league has seen in its history. But at the first sign of adversity, you want him gone? For what alternative?
Do we not remember how irrelevant this team was before 2018? Doug Weight, Jack Capuano, Scott Gordon, Ted Nolan, Brad Shaw, Steve Stirling are just a few names from the 21st century that jump out as coaches that were hired and for the most part promptly fired due to ineffectiveness.
If the 2011 version of yourself saw the complaints and disdain for this coach after three straight trips to the playoffs and back-to-back conference final appearances you'd be disgusted with yourself. Often times you don't appreciate things in life until they're gone and that's exactly what Islanders fans would be doing if they ran Barry Trotz out of town over an impossible situation.
So yeah, maybe the 2021-2022 Islanders aren't a playoff team, and yeah that would be disappointing but I for one am not going to fold up shop and bail out on the plan after one swing in a miss after three overachieving seasons in a row before that.