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New York Islanders

Progress Won’t Be A Straight Path For Roy And Islanders



AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Elmont, NY– Patrick Roy is a hockey coach, not a miracle worker.

As much energy as Roy has infused into the New York Islanders since taking over as their head coach, he can’t fix all of their inconsistencies with a snap of his fingers.

That was evident last night as the Islanders lost to the Vegas Golden Knights at UBS Arena, where they learned progress isn’t always forged on a straight path.

“Tonight was a good step in that direction,” Roy said. “Now, what I want is some consistency. I always believe in the even-keel rule. When you lose, at midnight, you refocus for the next game. That’s that’s what we need to do.”

But before they can refocus, the Islanders need to remember just exactly what went wrong against Vegas, specifically turnovers.

Twice, the Golden Knights immediately capitalized by making Adam Pelech and Noah Dobson pay for coughing up the puck in the defensive zone. The Islanders’ 14 giveaways ultimately overshadowed their season-high 42 shots on goal.

“We did look pretty good during the most part of the game,” said Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who scored a shorthanded goal in the loss. “We had our looks, and we cut the shots down from the last game. Obviously, we didn’t get the result we wanted, but I thought it was a lot of good stuff. We got rolling into the zone and broke out the puck pretty well, and our neutral zone was better. If we play this way, I think we’ll get the result we want more often.”

Many of the other players echoed Pageau’s sentiment, and that in itself is progress.

On more than one occasion, the Islanders have sulked after a loss. It was only a week ago they allowed a fluky late goal against the Nashville Predators to spiral into a four-game losing streak.

“They should be positive, I’m very positive,” Roy said. “We played a good game and we just weren’t rewarded with it. Yes, we have to find a way to put the puck into the net, but at the same time, it’d be a shame if we had our heads between our legs after a performance like this.”

It’s almost jarring how quickly the energy has shifted within the Islanders’ dressing room in only a matter of days. The players always highlighted the positives while playing for former head coach Lane Lambert. Under Roy, though, they actually believe it.

“We’re taking everything he has to offer,” Anders Lee said. “He’s got a wealth of knowledge, and we’re all trying to make a difference here and doing everything we can to be a better hockey team.”

Even Roy is surprised by how fast the team is buying in.

“It’s going faster than I thought,” Roy said. “I got in two days ago, and I’m seeing good things. The kids are young. They’re learning. It’s part of the process.”

The process of progress.

It’s a path the Islanders will follow in whichever direction it leads them.




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