The season of twists and turns for the New York Islanders continues; however, they have won games. Still, they are without one of their best defensemen and coach. Shortly after returning from a personal leave due to the passing of his mother, Barry Trotz got put on the NHL’s Covid list. In his absence, Lane Lambert has stepped to the plate and has shown he can do the job.
Are the New York Islanders going to lose Lambert this off-season?
Since the Trotz era began (and possibly with other organizations), every off-season the question is presented: “Which team will make Lambert its next head coach?” One logical next question could be: if this question has been posed, why has he not been hired? That is a fair question; one that I cannot answer. But, in the sample size, we have seen it is clear he is ready to lead a National Hockey League team.
In the Islanders’ return to action on Thursday, the team came out of the gate firing and quickly slowed down. If it were not for a Josh Bailey (ooh ahh) goal in the waning moments of the first period, the Isles would have started the second behind a goal.
What does this have to do with Lambert? Everything. With almost two weeks between games, the Islanders came out swinging for the fences but quickly cooled. It could have been that the team started to play with a lack of intensity or commitment, but that is not what happened. The team settled into their game and played New York Islanders hockey (minus the penalties, more on that below). Being able to keep the Islanders’ focused on the task at hand after almost two weeks off is not a task to be ignored.
Let’s return to the penalties. It seems as though this year, the Islanders’ are being penalized a lot. Thursday’s game, the Islanders had twelve minutes of penalties (the Devils had ten). Lambert was able to coach the team through the penalty kill and keep the ship moving. Lambert’s ability to steer the boat in these moments during this chaotic time shows he is ready.
Returning to the question of why hasn’t Lambert been hired yet? Perhaps he was not ready at the time, or Trotz made him an offer he could not refuse. Regardless, what he has done in this small sample size should instill confidence in himself but also clubs around the league. A win against Washington as the bench boss will only solidify the belief that Lambert is ready for his own squad.