As the Islanders’ frustrating season faced the preparation and challenges of the COVID-19 that came to an end with the team’s first failure since 2018, Barry Trotz described it as “amazing.”
It seemed strange the idea of the President and General Manager Lou Lamoriello on Monday to end Trotz in his coaching career after four seasons, the only one not affected by the epidemic.
“It would be very disappointing to say that it was not an easy decision,” Lamoriello said in a teleconference. “Unfortunately, it was my responsibility to make the best decisions for the organization going forward. And I believe this team of players needs new words.”
Lamoriello added that there was no time to hire a coach and, meanwhile, all Trotz staff – co-founder Lane Lambert, assistant coaches John Gruden and Jim Hiller, director of goaltending Mitch Korn and goalie coach Piero Greco – have a contract.
Lamoriello said he could not answer what kind of “new words” the Islanders wanted and did not explain why he believed the Islanders needed words.
“Elections of any kind if this does not happen suddenly, take time,” Lamoriello said. “Of course, all the hardships that have taken place this year, uncontrollable by anyone or anyone, are taken into account. But I will not allow myself to get involved for any reason because that is my job for most of what I have and I have the experience to make such decisions.”
Lamoriello, just one month after joining the island, hired Trotz on June 21, 2018, after leading the Capitals to the organisation’s first Stanley Cup.
Trotz, who turns 60 on July 15, went 152-102-34 in his four seasons with the Islanders. Trotz began his NHL career and developed the Predators in 1998 and coached 15 seasons in Nashville before four in Washington. He has a 914-670-168 career with 60 tackles in 1,812 games. Trotz only follows Scotty Bowman (1,244) and Joel Quenneville (969) in NHL coaching games and Bowman only (2,141) in coaching games.
In Trotz’s first season, the Islanders stopped conceding many goals in the NHL in 2017-18 to allow too few, and the team swept the Penguins in the first round of the playoffs before being taken over by the Hurricanes.
Trotz then led the Islanders to a series of appearances in the NHL semifinals, losing the Stanley Cup Lightning winner both times. Both seasons were shortened by the COVID-19 epidemic and the 2020 postseason was played in a gymnasium in Toronto and Edmonton in August and September.
This season started with a 13-game road trip that took place earlier when the construction of the UBS Arena was completed. The outbreak of COVID-19 from mid-November led to a suspension and rescheduling of the game, leaving the Islanders with a long absence from games in December and early January before squeezing 17 games in March and 16 until April.
Trotz missed three games around New Year’s Day – when Lambert took his place behind the bench – after his mother died and he tested positive for COVID-19.
“I think we can all do something different when things go wrong,” Lamoriello said. “Everything in this election has not just been made this season.”
There were other factors that may have influenced Lamoriello’s choice.
Trotz believes he has entered the final phase of his contract, although Lamoriello, directly interviewed, said he did not take part in the Trotz shooting.
There are also other NHL services available, including Winnipeg Jets. Trotz grew up near Dauphin, Manitoba, and his widowed father still lives there.
Regarding the team he left, Lamoriello said the Islanders ‘foundation should respond to Trotz’ shooting.
“They realize now that these new words are what we need to do better,” Lamoriello said. “It is my opinion that should make these decisions.”
“We want to improve our defense, if we can. If there is a way to make hockey with our future players, we will do that. All we have to do is improve our young players and the full year in some of our former teammates more than we did this year.”