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New York Islanders

Islanders Excited For Patrick Roy Era; Say Coaching Change Was ‘Needed’



Photo Courtesy of The New York Islanders

East Meadow, NY– A new era has fallen upon New York Islanders in the form of Patrick Roy.

Less than 24 hours after taking over as new head coach of the Islanders, Roy was on the ice with the team at Northwell Ice Center ahead of its game against the Dallas Stars tonight. From the start of the very first drill, the Hall of Fame goaltender brought every ounce of fiery passion one would expect from him, which the team responded to with a refreshed sense of excitement.

“I love him coming in and skating hard all the time and no B.S.,” Mathew Barzal said. “He’s going to hold everybody accountable. I’m looking forward to having a presence like that in our locker room.”

With just three wins in their last 12 games, Islanders president of hockey operations and general manager Lou Lamoriello brought in Roy after firing former head coach Lane Lambert yesterday.

“It was tough news yesterday,” Scott Mayfield said. “We had Lane here for four years as an assistant and a year and a half as a head coach. I have a ton of respect for him. Where he and [Barry] Trotz were able to bring my game was a huge step in my career. It’s tough news, but at the same time, we have a challenge tonight, and we’re ready to go.”

The Islander’s poor play of late isn’t a new development. At 19-15-11, they’ve consistently blown leads this season by falling flat late in games. Although the players have claimed responsibility for those results the entire season, even they could no longer ignore that a change needed to be made after going winless on a recent four-game road trip.

“You read the standings, and anytime any team that’s projected to be in the playoffs and win and has high expectations and is falling behind, sometimes you got to make a move,” Barzal said.

The most visible change under Roy at this early stage is the sense of urgency he brings. During his introductory press conference on Saturday, the new head coach stated it’s “playoff hockey for the Islanders” from here on out.

The area Roy wants to focus on most is the team’s defense, which is near the bottom of the league, allowing 3.36 goals per game. But in order for changes to happen, Roy will need the players to fully buy in and work with him to make them.

“I really want it to be a partnership,” Roy said. “They need to be involved with with me in what I do believe it’s the thing to do. If they don’t understand or if I’m not clear enough with my message, I want them to speak up and tell me. I’ll find a different way to explain it. I thought it went really well today. I think they understood.

If Roy can succeed in making that happen, he believes he can turn the Islanders into a team that the players and fans can be proud of.

“I want fans coming into the rink with their jerseys on and say, ‘Wow, these guys play together,’ Roy said. “This is a team that can play a 200-foot game. That’s what I want. I want our fans to enjoy watching our team play.”




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