New York Islanders
Barry Trotz on The Bob McCown Podcast: His Decision, Lane Lambert & More
There has been so much speculation regarding what exactly transpired between the New York Islanders and ex-head coach Barry Trotz since president and general manager Lou Lamoriello relieved him of his coaching duties back on May 9. The initial wording was that the team needed “a new voice” but then Trotz’s assistant Lane Lambert was promoted. Then the speculation was that Trotz had maybe told Lou that he did not want to coach again, so he was “relieved of his duties” in order to be financially compensated for the last year of his deal.
On June 25, Barry Trotz spoke to the media for the first time since being let go and announced that he had turned down the Winnipeg Jets head coaching job and that he would be taking the 2022-23 season off, with no timetable for his return. That led to even more speculation about what transpired, despite Barry Trotz stating that he and Lamoriello had a great relationship.
Trotz recently joined the Bob McCown Podcast, alongside NHL insider John Shannon to discuss Trotz’s decision, Lane Lambert, and more.
Here is the link to the episode if you want to listen: BARRY TROTZ On The Future Of His NHL Coaching Career
What’s Next for Barry:
All we heard from Trotz was that he would be taking time off. There was no timetable and as of this weekend, there still is not.
“I don’t know if it’s a year. It’s just taking time,” Trotz said. “I think when I started this process, I said, I’m gonna, you know, I’m in no hurry and I really wasn’t in any hurry. I thought, you know, I added it up. I’ve been coaching probably for about 37 straight years without much of a break.”
Trotz went on to explain that he has many tasks and things that he put on the backburner throughout the years and wants to get those things done.
“Some advice that I got sometimes is that you always think you have time and you really don’t so there’s some things in my life that I need to get done. And I’m gonna get them done this summer. And then I’ll get right back at it.”
Trotz has been an NHL coach for 25 years and being behind the bench is who he is.
“I think it’s part of my DNA, it’s in my blood,” Trotz said. “Without the game, you know, I will, I will miss it. But I didn’t know when I want to get back right back into it. I’m going to be more productive. I’m going to be in a better frame. I’m going to have to be ready to go.”
Islanders 2021-22 Season:
The 2021-22 NHL season for the New York Islanders was a letdown for a variety of reasons. Everything that could go wrong in the first half did and although things settled down a bit post-All-Star break, the wacky, jam-packed schedule made success nearly impossible. And Barry Trotz had a difficult time handling it.
“It was difficult for me. I described it as a bizarre year,” Trotz said. “Everything from starting training camp. We had six road games and we started the season with 13, so it’s 19 road games to start. We had some injuries to some key people, especially on the back end with Pulock and Mayfield, never really played together last year.”
Who could forget about the opening of UBS as a catastrophic ordeal given the situation of the Islanders at that point in time?
“And we got shut down a lot of times. So we opened up that new beautiful building at Belmont, ravaged with COVID. I think opening night was against Calgary, we had two NHL defensemen dressed and then we played the Leafs I think the next night there and we had one NHL defenseman dressed and they made us play through COVID a little bit longer than they probably should have,” Trotz said.
“And we weren’t really able to get some traction and we got shut down numerous times and then we finished the season with 50 games and I think it was like 79 nights so we just ran out of gas. It was just a very bizarre year. mentally, emotionally, physically all that.”
Again, what went wrong did.
Would Barry Trotz Have Stayed?
With one year left on his four-year contract, Barry Trotz stated that he would have stayed had Lamoriello not relieved him of his duties. He had no reservations to back out with one year left.
“Oh, no, I wanted to start, I’ve been ready,” Trotz said. “I think with Lou making that decision, it allowed me to think a little deeper. I know I would have, you know, from my standpoint, would have committed to my contract.”
“I would have been ready for that. I would have took on that challenge full-on but obviously when the change was made it gave me that option to step back and do what I’m doing right now to start.”
After the 2021-22 nightmarish season, Trotz believed that he and his players had something tor prove, especially after the success the two year prior.
“I was actually hoping to start because I had a chip on my shoulder. I felt that you know it was such a bizarre year. That’s a quality organization with Lou at the helm and the ownership there and the quality of players that we have. I felt that we had something, a little bit something to prove so I wanted to get started and I felt that that’s where we probably go but in this business, as you can see, nothing surprises you.”
Trotz goes on to mention the likes of interim head coach Andrew Brunnette, who helped the Florida Panthers to their first President’s Trophy in team history while still without a job. He also mentions former Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy and his shocking firing.
Did Barry Trotz See The Firing Coming?
Some coaches, given team records, locker dysfunction, etc, can tell when maybe a change is coming. Barry Trotz’s spidey senses were tingling.
“I got pretty good instincts. I see how things, meetings are run all that with different organizations and it was a little bit different this year so…my spider senses were out there a little bit so but, you know, I left there in good graces,” Trotz said. “I mean, I talked to Lou, I think, I talked to Lou probably, you know, five or six days ago. We’ve got a great relationship. He’s a great person. He treats you very, very well. And I there’s no ill will at all. I just I have total respect.”
“He made a decision, a hockey decision, which he’s paid to do.”
Barry Trotz’s Belief in Lane Lambert:
Newly appointed Islanders head coach Lane Lambert and Barry Trotz have worked side by side since 2011, back in their days with the Nashville Predators. It appears that Trotz is over the moon that Lambert succeeds him on the island.
“I’m thrilled for him. He’s gonna do an excellent job there and I get that a lot of foundational stuff, the structure, the accountability, all those things that were in place that I know that Lou loves, will still be in place and a little bit of a new voice with Lane at the helm with a brand new staff behind him.”
“It’ll be invigorating for the Islanders and the players and everybody. They all got something to prove and they’re a good group of young man for sure.”
Trotz dove more into Lambert and his relationship with him.
“He’s a damn good coach. He’s a good friend,” Trotz said. “We’re, you know, we’ve been together a long time. We finish each other’s sentences sometimes. What I love about Lane, he’s been with me a long time, as to if I’m on the line or he’s out of line we can tell each other that as in and there’s no, you know, there’s no ill will. It’s like, you know, you’re wrong and I’m telling you why. And it’s a great relationship.”
“I actually texted him this morning about something that they came across my phone that I thought he should know so I pass it on to him. I’m all about Lane Lambert. He’s had the opportunity I think in the past to get a little bit more looks than he probably has, but he’s gonna do an excellent job on the island.”