Lane Lambert trying to find chemistry with an unchanged roster
When Lane Lambert was named the Islanders' new head coach, his familiarity with the roster and relationship with the players was viewed as a clear positive and selling point by General Manager Lou Lamoriello. Yes, Lambert would have new ways of doing things, but he would not need to get acclimated to many new names or faces.
"“I think it’s a real tremendous advantage, I’ve been here for four years. I’ve been working with each individual for that period of time, for the most part. I think it gives us an advantage to hit the ground running.”"- Lane Lambert
The Islanders returned 21 of 23 players from the Opening Night the previous year. Only acquired D Alexander Romanov and depth forward Nikita Soshnikov were new additions. That lack of turnover would lend to thinking that one thing the Islanders wouldn't lack is chemistry. But six games into the season, that's what the new coach is searching for amid a three-game losing streak.
“There’s no concern the right pieces are here,” Lambert said after Sunday’s loss to Florida. “It’s just a matter of generating chemistry, and if things are not going the way we want to, we have to do something in terms of moving our guys around. They understand that. I thought we generated some stuff when we started moving people around today.”
In the last two games, Lambert has scratched Josh Bailey and Anthony Beauvillier in favor of Soshnikov and Ross Johnston. While a shorter leash with veterans was a departure from Barry Trotz and a welcomed one by many, there was nothing much to distinguish the lack of production of Bailey and Beauvillier from others. Bailey was back in the lineup the next night, and it's more likely than not that Beauvillier will find himself on the ice versus the New York Rangers on Wednesday.
It felt as if the moves were part of sending a message that ice time needs to be earned and part of trying to give other plays opportunities to provide a spark.
Based on Tuesday's morning practice, more changes to the lineup are coming. Mathew Barzal is without a goal, as is Kyle Palmieri; Zach Parise has one. Based on practice, it sounds that Oliver Wahlstrom might get another opportunity to play with Barzal on Wednesday night.
“We have urgency every day,” Lambert said on Sunday. “The urgency is high.” Yes it is, and the pressing need for the first-time head coach to to find the right mix and chemistry continues.