The NY Islanders Should Not Fire Lane Lambert - Yet.

Honestly, what's the point? This iteration of the Islanders has been together for years. If they cannot properly motivate themselves anymore, there is a bigger problem on the Island.
Forget firing Lane Lambert. If this season ends poorly, more wholesale changes will be necessary for the NY Islanders.
Forget firing Lane Lambert. If this season ends poorly, more wholesale changes will be necessary for the NY Islanders. / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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The NY Islanders have had a stunningly frustrating and inconsistent 2023-2024 season so far. From exhilarating highs (beating Toronto in overtime) to truly unbelievable losses (San Jose and Nashville will stick in my mind forever), the Isles have yet to find any sort of rhythm. Accordingly, the fans have called for Lane Lambert's head, never more so than after this latest losing streak.

I believe it is clear that short of an unbelievable run at the end of this season, Lambert cannot return next season. But he should not be the only one to take the fall for the window closing on this iteration of the Islanders.

What's the point of firing Lambert today? Is it to assuage the fans and satisfy their bloodlust? To fire Lambert today, the Islanders would need to feel like the replacement would make a difference this season.

And that coach may very well be out there! After all, Bruce Boudreau has a well-earned reputation for taking over teams midseason and turning the ship around, and this team has an elite goaltender in his prime, a strong defense corps on paper, and a top-six that is finally producing offense at a high level. It is reasonable to push the chips into the middle of the table one more time with players who have done great things with this organization.

Lane Lambert
Lane Lambert certainly has not been successful coaching the Islanders this season. But firing him today does not solve the bigger problem on the Island. / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

But what if this group of players has gone as far as they can go? After all, professional athletes do not get younger, and these Isles are no different. It is the responsibility of ownership and management to look at the big picture, particularly when the small picture is pretty blurry. Are the Islanders, as currently constituted, capable of winning the Stanley Cup?

I do not believe they are. Their performance this week in Minnesota was the last straw for me. After the loss in Nashville, they should have come out firing. They should have been TOO aggressive. Instead, they were outshot 21-3 in the second period (and it was 17-1 in favor of the Wild at one point). The loss in Minnesota was the kind of loss that emphatically tells you a team's window has closed.

The Islanders are not some young, inexperienced team. Anders Lee bears responsibility for Monday's performance. So does Brock Nelson, Adam Pelech, JG Pageau, and every other veteran who has been through the wringer before. If these players are incapable of motivating themselves, that speaks to a bigger issue.