Mathew Barzal wants the NY Islanders to emulate the league's top possession teams

New York Islanders v Toronto Maple Leafs
New York Islanders v Toronto Maple Leafs / Chris Tanouye/GettyImages
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Mathew Barzal, perhaps more than any other player on the New York Islanders, has embraced everything that head coach Patrick Roy is selling. It's not that his teammates are buying in too, it's just that the 26-year-old All Star speaks so openly and enthusiastically about everything that Roy is implementing and emphasizing that it stands out.

If you've watched and listened to Roy during his entertaining post-game press conferences, you've heard him bring up the possession numbers moments after the game. He wants to know how much zone time the Isles have and how much time they are giving up. He views that as one of the best, if not the best, indicators of which team dictated play and created more opportunities.

“Tampa, Colorado, Vegas — possession, lot of shots, but they just have control of the game,” Barzal said in the NY Post. “You look at Carolina; they always have control of the game. I watched them [Friday] night against Arizona. They controlled the game the entire night. 

The Islanders are 3-3-2 under Roy and, despite better possession and shot numbers, are scoring less per game than they did under Lane Lambert. It will always come down to scoring and finishing when creating opportunities, but the idea is to maximize those chances throughout the game and not have to depend on the power play or converting on scare, higher danger shots to do so.

"I think the model and the recipe to winning is we need to control the ice," Barzal added. "We didn’t do it against Seattle, but when we do do it, you can see there’s a formula that helps us win.” 

It's all part of that championship blueprint that Barzal believes Roy is bringing to the team, and he is the right star player to champion that possession style and lead by example.