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Method to the Madness: Islanders Barry Trotz Explains Approach with Slumping Players

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New York Islanders Barry Trotz

When Barry Trotz opted to send a message on Monday to Oliver Wahlstrom by limiting his playing time, there were many who quickly pointed to other struggling players that didn’t seem to face the same reaction from the New York Islanders head coach.

Trotz has typically given his veteran players more leeway than younger players and that was the case on Monday night, despite some deep displeasure among the fans over it. Wahlstrom has been the Islanders second-leading scorer and is in the top five among skaters in points this season.

Other players like Josh Bailey and Kyle Palmieri haven’t had the same offensive production, but didn’t see their minutes limited. Bailey was not in the Islanders lineup on Tuesday because he was in COVID protocol.

“Every coach will tell you a veteran player has a little more runway because they’ve earned it,” Trotz explained before the INew York slanders faced the Florida Panthers. “You have guys that have four, five, six, seven hundred games under their belt and they’ve played a lot of good games. Then they’re going through a dry spell, you probably have to give them a little more runway because they’ve done it. There’s going to be a point that the runway runs out.”

Trotz did specifically mention Bailey and Palmieri as two players that have been dry so far this season, but added that they carry “street cred” since they’ve been able to come out of their dry spells in the past. However, the New York Islanders bench boss reiterated that there would come a point where the leash would get shorter for them.

For a player like Wahlstrom, who is in his first full 82-game season in the NHL, the proverbial runway is shorter for him to keep mistakes in his game from Ballooning into larger issues. Trotz did see improvement in the details in Wahlstrom’s game on Monday night.

“A lot of times with a young guy who is a scorer they score and they go well that’s what I do, and then don’t do anything else,” Trotz said. “You catch the young guys and get them to think about the right thing so they get a balance. Not just scoring, but what do you do when you don’t have the puck. What if it gets messy. how do you clean those mistakes up. … If you don’t nip it in the bud early then it becomes a problem. It becomes acceptable. That’s how you have to do it with the young guys.”

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