Daily Local News (West Chester, PA)

Islanders fire coach Barry Trotz after missing playoffs

- By STEPHEN WHYNO

Barry Trotz was fired as coach of the New York Islanders on Monday, with general manager Lou Lamoriello saying he felt the team needed a new voice.

Trotz lost his job after four seasons with the Islanders and the first without a playoff appearance. The 59-year-old who ranks among the most successful coaches in NHL history and won the Stanley Cup with Washington in 2018 guided the Islanders to the Eastern Conference final each of the previous two years before losing to eventual champion Tampa Bay.

Lamoriello declined to explain why he thought “a new voice” was necessary.

“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,” the 79-year-old longtime hockey executive said on a conference call. “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.”

A series of events outside Trotz’s control contribute­d to the Islanders missing the playoffs this year. While their new arena was being finished, they opened the season on a 13-game road trip and were hit with a string of coronaviru­s-related absences and injuries that derailed their season.

Lamoriello said the choice to move on from Trotz was not made primarily about what happened this past season. He said, “This is certainly a business decision as far as hockey and winning.”

Trotz had one year remaining on his contract, which would have put him in the same situation he was in with the Capitals. They decided in the summer of 2018 not to rework Trotz’s contract despite the championsh­ip and granted him his release.

Days later, he joined the Islanders, who had just put Lamoriello in charge of a franchise that had not won a championsh­ip since its early 1980s dynasty. New York went 152-102-34 in the regular season and 28-21 in the playoffs under Trotz, the organizati­on’s most success in more than two decades.

Lamoriello said Trotz’s contract status did not factor into his decision. A message sent to Trotz’s agent seeking comment was not immediatel­y returned.

Trotz could immediatel­y become a candidate for vacancies in Philadelph­ia, Detroit and Winnipeg, plus others that open up because of his availabili­ty. Joining the Flyers would keep Trotz in the Metropolit­an Division, while the Jets would represent a return home for the Manitoba native.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States