NY Islanders Mathew Barzal is primed to play his best hockey under Patrick Roy

2024 NHL All-Star Skills
2024 NHL All-Star Skills / Claus Andersen/GettyImages
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A must-have for all coaches is to get their players to buy-in.

That's especially true for star players. If they aren't 100% behind the direction a coaching staff is taking the team, that doubt can easily permeate its way throughout a dressing room, even if it is never spoken about directly.

Patrick Roy has been the head coach of the New York Islanders for just over a week, but his track record and passion have already earned him the trust and backing of Mathew Barzal. The 26-year-old has been borderline beaming every time he talks about the "championship blueprint" Roy is laying out for the team for seasons to come.

"He's is the man, truly. So much respect for him. Not that I don't have respect for every coach in the NHL, but it's Patrick Roy. I mean three Conn Smythe trophies and four Stanley Cups." said Barzal after Friday night's NHL All-Star Skills competition. "His message early on to our team and me personally just meant a lot, the things he spoke to me about."

Mathew Barzal
2024 NHL All-Star Skills / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The Islanders are 1-2-1 in four games with Roy behind the bench, but Barzal feels that even prior to his hire, he started to take his game to the next level, which has been amplified by Roy's presence, which has reenergized him and the team. "I feel like me personally, and a lot of our guys, our games have elevated over the last four games. Obviously, Lou felt he had to make a change, and if you were gonna bring in a guy Patrick Roy is the perfect guy."

Earlier in the season, GM Lou Lamoriello put out a subtle challenge to Barzal and linemate Bo Horvat. The message was that they've been good, but they can be better. You're great players need to be great for team success, and it feels that Barzal is ready to take his game to that next level with Roy behind the Islanders bench.