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Barry Trotz Relieved From Head Coaching Duties on the Island

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Barry Trotz Relieved From Head Coaching Duties on the Island

On Monday morning, ‘old-school’ general manager Lou Lamoriello shocked the hockey world with his announcement that the New York Islanders had fired head coach Barry Trotz from his role.

“I believe this group of players needs a new voice,” Lamoriello said on Monday morning. “This is not negative on Barry Trotz. He is a tremendous human being.”

In four seasons with the Islanders, the 59-year-old Dauphin, MB. product put up a 205-89-34 record, to go along a .677 win percentage. He led the Islanders to the postseason three-straight years, while seeing his club fall to Tampa Bay Lightning – the eventual back-to-back Stanley Cup champion – the last two seasons.

It was, however, his fourth year with the team to which the problems seemed to lie. And to be 100 percent honest, the grand majority of those problems weren’t Trotz’s to begin with. The major issue plaguing the Islanders this past season was that of COVID. His team suffered an immense blow, which put it so far behind the eight-ball, even clawing its way back into the postseason picture seemed like an immeasurable task.

Oh right, New York also started the season with 13 consecutive road games as its new arena project was delayed and unable to open in time for the 2021-22 season.

There wasn’t much working in Trotz’s favour this year.

“I’d rather not get into any of the reasons because that’s my job upon the information that I have and I experienced to make these type of decisions,” Lamoriello said of the reasoning behind Trotz’s firing. “Those are not questions that I will answer as far as what I thought. It’s obviously that I thought quite a bit to make this type of a decision.”

Missing the playoffs for the first time in four seasons was clearly enough for Lamoriello to be done with Trotz. The team did managed to get back over .500 on the year, but that was not enough for the long-time NHL exec. Stars Ryan Pulock, Mat Barzal and Brock Nelson missed significant time, while the COVID outbreak also contributed to the early-season, 11-game losing streak.

It seemed like a losing battle from the start.

And one more thing – the Islanders played their busiest month (17 games) in franchise history this past March. It was certainly a ride, and extremely difficult for all involved, let alone the coach, a proven coach, a winning coach.

The move has perplexed many within the NHL community, while giving excitement to others hoping that their team would snatch up the two-time Jack Adams Award winner and one-time Stanley Cup victor.

“These type of decisions are made for going forward,” Lamoriello said. “With this group we have — and they are on notice right now — that the new voice is what’s necessary for us to have success, in my opinion. And unfortunately or fortunately, my opinion is what has to make these decisions.”

Through 1,812 NHL games, Trotz has a 914-670-168 record.

Considering the current situation of the Winnipeg Jets, Trotz – a local Manitoban product – would certainly be one of the very best candidates for the open head coaching position within True North. Should Kevin Cheveldayoff find the cash to sign Trotz to a lucrative deal, it very well may be the best decision the Jets’ organization has made since drafting Kyle Connor.

But Chevy and Co. must act quickly. This hot commodity will likely not remain a free agent for long.

Carter Brooks - Associate Editor of Game On Magazine - is a news writer and sports columnist situated in Winnipeg, MB. On top of reading and writing, his favourite pastimes include camping, car-modification projects and coaching hockey. Carter can be reached at carterbrooks1994@gmail.com or on Twitter at @GameOnHockey.

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