The 2017-2018 Islanders were a bit of a dumpster fire when it came to defense. In fact, they were the worst defensive team in the NHL. They allowed the most goals in the league. With Trotz at the helm in 2018-2019, the Islanders became the first team in NHL history- including 100+ years ago when there were four teams- to go from giving up the most goals in the league one year to giving up the fewest goals against the next year. It was a magnificent, unbelievable turnaround led by the best coach in the league.
Over the next three seasons, the Islanders would win six playoff series, culminating in back-to-back Eastern Conference finals appearances against the dynastic Tampa Bay Lightning, who unfortunately the Isles could not topple. But for fans of a certain age (born mid-80s on), this level of success was unprecendented. In the previous 25 seasons, the Isles had won one measly playoff series.
Barry Trotz gave the Islanders and their fans hope and success at the exact time those things seemed unattainable. He is without question the second greatest coach in the history of the Islanders, and deserves to be remembered as one of the all-time great Islanders. He rejuvenated a fanbase, inspired a hockey team, and always got the best out of himself and his players.
Personally, Trotz showed me that hockey is a lot like life. You will face different hardships every day, but with structure and confidence, you can overcome anything. The best offense is often a good defense. How bring prepared and putting in the hard work is the best and only way to find success. The next-man up attitude, and how sometimes people need time and a different approach to reach their potential (like Nelson and Adam Pelech).
When Trotz and the Islanders parted ways, many fans felt immense sadness. Regardless of the reason for the firing, Trotz is currently and will be forever remembered fondly by the New York Islanders fan base.
Tonight, the Islanders will face off against their former bench boss for the first time - but he won't be behind the bench, instead sitting among the Nashville Predators brass as the second GM in the organization's history.
So thank you for all you did for us, Barry. And I'm certain that if the Islanders want to win a Stanley Cup anytime soon, they will have to go through f****** Music City.