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New York Islanders

Pierre Engvall Made An Unclear Example By Islanders Head Coach Lambert



AP Photo/Jay LaPrete

Elmont, NY– Pierre Engvall is in the lineup for the New York Islanders tonight.

Normally, that should be a given considering the impact the forward has had on the team since his arrival at least year’s trade deadline.

But today, it’s worth mentioning after Engvall was a surprising healthy scratch on Thursday against the Boston Bruins.

“You want to play every game,” Engvall said. “I felt I was ready to go, but it’s not my decision.”

The decision was that of Islanders head coach Lane Lambert. Following the loss to the Bruins, Lambert didn’t give any specifics to his thought process, but Engvall stated this morning he was scratched for reasons pertaining to hockey.

The instance that Engvall is most likely referring to occurred during the Islanders’ loss to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. Late in the third period, Engvall made a costly turnover in his own zone that put the team down by two goals.

“That was a play that I don’t think anybody was arguing what happened,” Engvall’s linemate Brock Nelson said. “Pierre came back and said something right away and was disappointed in himself.”

Engvall isn’t the first surprising omission Lambert has made from his starting lineup. Last year, Lambert scratched long-time Islander Josh Bailey from what would’ve been his 1,000th career NHL game.

Clearly, overarching circumstances don’t weigh heavily on Lambert while he constructs his lineups. Ultimately, it comes down to a player’s performance and how it affects the team’s overall results.

“It’s a tough decision no matter who you’re putting in and out of the lineup,” Lambert said. “There are things about everyone’s game that you like, and there are things about everyone’s game that they need to improve on.”

What’s confusing, though, is whose poor performances Lambert chooses to punish and whose he ignores.

Engvall’s turnover inarguably cost the Islanders the game against Minnesota, but the same can be said of his absence versus Boston.

With Engvall out of the lineup, Anders Lee filled in next to Nelson and Kyle Palmieri despite only having two points all year.

Against the Bruins, that line struggled mightily, allowing two goals and registering a combined four shots.

“It’s the coach’s decision [how to] put the lineups together,” Palmieri said. “Obviously, it wasn’t our best game, but those nights happen. We just got to regroup, move on to the next one and be better tonight.”

As Engvall returns to the lineup tonight against the Washington Capitals, Oliver Wahlstrom will sit out after putting together his two best performances of the year so far.

Lambert didn’t elaborate on why Wahlstrom will be sitting when asked but did emphasize he wants Engvall to use his speed in his return.

That’s both a very straightforward and unclear message from Lambert, but one the Islanders are getting used to reading.




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