New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz was not being subtle when it came to the message he was trying to send to Mathew Barzal on Tuesday.
It was a penalty late in the second period that Mathew Barzal took on Tuesday that directly led to a crucial Washington goal in the Isles 3-1 loss at Capital One Arena. A cross-check on Nick Jensen set up Alexander Ovechkin to score his 718th goal and put Washington ahead 2-0 with 4:36 left in the second period.
The late second-period penalty clearly didn’t sit well with Trotz, who benched the Islanders best player for the first 8:14 of the final period against Washington. Barzal’s penalty minutes have been a point of contention this season for the Islanders coach with Barzal leading the Islanders in penalty minutes with 32.
“He’s leading our team in penalties right now,” Trotz said. “That should be Matt Martin or Casey Cizikas or someone like that. Barzy should not lead our team in penalty minutes. I didn’t like the penalty and I didn’t like the shift after that. I thought the response, you have to be dynamite and see if I can get this tied up.”
Trotz added: “Absolutely it was a message. He has to fight through all of that stuff.”
Mathew Barzal has been the Islanders’ best player with 24 points (nine goals, 15 assists) through 30 games. And the Islanders have worked to get his game to a point where it can make an impact both on the offensive end of the ice and in his own zone.
Barzal has managed to take those steps this season, but at the same time has continued to struggle at times with not taking an ill-timed trip to the penalty box.
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