The New York Islanders parted ways with head coach Barry Trotz early after the conclusion of the 2021-22 season. The real reason why general manager Lou Lamoriello moved on from the future Hall of Fame head coach never broke the surface, with various stories and rumors as to why playing themselves out on social media.
Despite having opportunities to coach elsewhere, Barry Trotz could not commit 100 percent to returning, as he had personal matters to deal with. But rumors about his return to the NHL have come to the forefront again.
To start the interview, Trotz spoke about teams getting mentally ready early in a season.
TROTZ ON START OF SEASON
“First 10 games, you find out if your team has gotten out of summer mode,” Barry Trotz started the podcast by saying. “People say, well, ‘you’ve had training camp.’ ‘You’ve done this.’ And what I mean by that is you can get your team to a certain point where the daily grind is normal. Your compete level is at that elite level.”
In their fifth game of the season, the New York Islanders’ compete level was an issue as they fell 4-1 to the New Jersey Devils. While there is no excuse for not being mentally prepared, Trotz understands when teams are not at that elite compete level right away.
“Some teams that have a chip on their shoulder…Philadelphia, my old team, the Islanders, there’s a number of those young teams, the New Jersey Devils, Detroit. They want to prove that they are not as bad as people say,” Trotz said. “So they come out probably a bit ahead of some of those other teams that are expected to do really well.”
“And then over the next 15 to 20 games, you find out what your team is really about.”
A good friend of Barry Trotz is New York Islanders head coach Lane Lambert. They spent 11 seasons with one another as Lambert stayed with Trotz from his Nashville days to his Washington Capitals days and then when he came to the Islanders in 2018.
“I’m great friends with Lane Lambert, and I was watching the Islanders the other day, and you look at their schedule. I think they were 2-4-0…and they had a schedule [where] they were playing the Rangers, and Carolina and Colorado. Your 2-4-0, and you’re looking at those [matchups]. It can change real quickly.
“They got a really good win against the Rangers after not playing very well. They got a really good win against Carolina and then had a great come-from-behind win against Colorado the other night. You get a game like that, and you get your swagger back. Then you’re ready to roll.”
Trotz also added: “If you want to go somewhere fast, you go by yourself. If you want to go somewhere far, you got to go as a group.”
For Trotz, there is no itch for a return just yet, but he says once he gets all of his personal work done, that itch will come back,. He shared that he watches a ton of hockey and even gets calls from other NHL coaches, asking for advice. He has a handful of great friends in the league and loves to support them in any way he can.
Because Trotz was “fired” by the Islanders, that means he is still under contract until the conclusion of the 20220-23 season. Any team that would want to discuss a job opportunity with Trotz would need to call Lamoriello and get approval, but Trotz said, to the best of his knowledge, no call has come through.
“Lou would phone me and let me know,” Trotz said. “I talk to Lou probably every 10 days, every two weeks. We have a great relationship. He’s a quality person.”
Trotz said on another podcast that if he were to return, he would want to coach an “Original Six” team. There were rumors circulating that said, he would only work for an “Original Six” team, but he clarified what he meant.
He’s coached an expansion team in the Nashville Predators. He’s coached staple NHL teams, and the one thing he hasn’t done yet was coach one of the originals.
Over the summer, he had great conversations with Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman, but it did not pan out.
TROTZ ON LAMORIELLO & BAILEY
No matter what transpired between Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz, they seem to have a great relationship. Trotz has always spoken highly of Lamoriello and continues to do so. But he shared that Lamoriello is more involved than people think.
“Lou is brilliant because he wants to know what the systems are. He wants to know who’s responsible,” Trotz said. “I admire him for that because sometimes you just watch…you don’t know all the details, and he’s very detailed.”
Last Friday, Josh Bailey skated in his 1,000th-career NHL game. During his time as the Islanders bench boss, Trotz always spoke about Bailey’s IQ. He elaborated more on the person that Bailey is.
“He was great. He is such a caring individual,” Trotz said. “Sneaky good in terms of understanding the game quietly makes unbelievable plays that go unnoticed, little things. You think about 1,000 games with one organization in a big market, very quiet. Shoutout to him. He is a terrific person and a really underrated player for a lot of years.”
“The first time I ever met Josh, I was at an all-star game. Never said two words for the most part. Quiet, but very smart. Hockey IQ is through the roof. You’re not going to find a better person than Josh.”