New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz decided to bench Anthony Beauvillier on Saturday night against the New Jersey Devils following his lack of production this season and a significant mistake in the 4-3 loss to Nashville Predators last Thursday.
Although Trotz told the media following practice on Monday that he had not decided if Beauvllier would be in the lineup against the Detroit Red Wings tonight, the 24-year old winger will need to be ready to work whenever his name is called.
With the latest news breaking that forward Mathew Barzal is in COVID protocol, Anthony Beauvillier did suit up, alongside the linemates he started the season with.
Matt Martin again skating with Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck at #Isles morning skate. Anthony Beauvillier taking rushes with Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey. J-G Pageau between Anders Lee and Kyle Palmieri and Zach Parise between Kieffer Bellows and Oliver Wahlstrom.
— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) December 14, 2021
“I want them to make a statement,” said Trotz regarding Beauvillier and Matt Martin, who has also been out of the lineup. “Tell me I’m wrong”.
Despite not picking up a point in the 2-1 loss the Red Wings, Beauvillier responded quite well to the discipline.
Beauvillier’s lack of production this season has led to a major lack of confidence in his game, which has boiled over into not being able to play the right way. With just three goals and four assists in 22 games, it seemed that the weight of expectations for the sixth-year NHLer had been too much to handle.
But seeing some of his teammates start to turn their season around could be enough of a confidence boost for Beavuillier to rewrite the script on what has been a rough 2021-22.
One of the hottest Islanders right now is third-line centerman, Jean-Gabriel Pageau. After recording just one goal and three assists in 18 games, Pageau entered Tuesday’s contest with three goals and two assists over his last five games.
Despite struggling in the face-off dot early on this season, he currently leads New York, winning 56.70% of his draws.
Pageau has found success recently by putting himself in the proper position, whether that has been hovering in the slot looking for deflections or crashing the net hard to pick up loose pucks. He’s shown awareness in all zones, showcasing his playmaking ability on a nifty pass to Zach Parise, who scored his first goal of the season against his former team on Saturday.
Last night Zach Parise scored on what would have been his father's 80th birthday. Check out the goal and his thoughts on the emotional night 👇 pic.twitter.com/aOIQx4bUpw
— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) December 12, 2021
Speaking of Zach Parise, this was another player on the Islanders’ roster who was not producing. The difference with Parise is that he was doing everything right on the ice, unlike some others. To see him get rewarded for his hard work and to see his teammates come together at that moment showcased a lot about this Islander team.
It also showed that hard work eventually pays off and that when a player continues to do the right things, the results do come.
Beauvillier can look at Pageau and Parise and how they have played all season and reflect on his on-ice actions. The effort was indeed there for Beauivllier earlier in the season, but it did not seem that he was doing all he could each shift, which led to the scratch.
That’s the difference.
Islanders captain Anders Lee is another player who got off to a slow start but has shown signs that he has found his game again.
Since returning from COVID-19 protocol, Lee has doubled his production, with four goals in his last seven contests.
Defenseman Noah Dobson, who seemed to have no confidence in his ability early this season, is as hot as he has ever been at the NHL level. He has three goals and two assists over his last six games, and despite making some mistakes, as most 21-year olds do, he has shown an ability to shake off lousy play and bounce right back.
Even though Anthony Beauviller is three years older than Dobson, that has no bearing on what can be taken from his game. This is a league where older players learn from younger players and vice versa on a nightly basis.
Leading by example has no age ramifications.
Beauvillier is in an interesting spot right now. Just six months ago he sent the Nassau Coliseum crowd into an absolute frenzy, following his overtime goal in Game 6 of the Semifinals. His confidence following that goal could not have been any higher.
Flash forward to now, Beauvillier is in the scratch house with no real information on when he will be allowed out.
It cannot be an easy time for the forward, but being given the time to reflect on his game mentally may not be such a bad thing.
Too many times this season has Anthony Beauvillier taken his foot off the gas. But seeing certain teammates continue to work hard night in and night out and are now producing should help Beauvillier bounce back.