Islanders Are In Good Hands

New York Islanders Training Camp
New York Islanders Training Camp / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

It will be the continuous news for the next week, the New York Islanders will not play a game today. The next game on the schedule is set for January 13th against the New Jersey Devils.

Like coaches preparing for college bowl games after a long break before the playoff format, the Islanders go up against a similar challenge. The players are professionals, and this is part of the job, but the coaching staff must uniquely prepare for the break.

The benefit of getting the players healthy during this break is the main positive, but it also gives head coach, Barry Trotz, a chance to handle his personal issues without missing games. We all wish Barry and his family our best.

Islanders: Lambert Knows How to Run the Ship

Trotz has since returned to the Island, but in his absence, the Islanders were in very good and capable hands with associate coach, Lane Lambert. Lambert has already collected a victory with the overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers.

Lambert was drafted 25th overall in the 1983 draft and went on to play in 283 NHL games. Following his playing career, Lambert began coaching as an assistant in the WHL. Lambert had a brief stint as an assistant with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in the 2005-06 season.

Following the assistant coach stints, Lambert graduated from assistant to head coach and was the head coach for the AHL Milwaukee Admirals.  He was then called up by Barry Trotz to the NHL staff with the Nashville Predators in 2011-12. From then on, he has been Trotz’s right-hand man.

Lambert and Trotz coached together three years with the Predators before reuniting with the Washington Capitals for four years and then joining the Islanders. It is fair to say that Lambert knows what is expected by a Trotz team.

The NHL is no stranger to Lambert as he is arguably the best head coaching prospect available each off-season. It is a true asset to the staff to have Lambert continue with Trotz in the same role each season. You must wonder which season will be his last with the Isles.

Lambert has controlled the forwards and the Penalty Kill. The Penalty Kill has been strong under Lambert, but the forwards have not flourished in statistics. Having said that, the forwards have been a solid strength under the leadership of Lambert.

The players truly respect Lambert and have been taught the proper style and system wanted by Trotz. This may not provide flashiness or padded stats, but the forwards know their assignments and how to execute.

It is comforting to see the poise and confidence from Lambert in interviews throughout this difficult stretch. The players are responding well and seem to be blossoming at this opportunity to get healthy and re-focused.

This was another true test passed by Lambert as he trends towards becoming a head coach in the NHL. I have always wondered if Lambert stays on Trotz’s staff knowing this will be his team shortly if Trotz decides to retire?