Don’t freak out too much New York Islanders fans, Mathew Barzal was only getting some tips on fighting.
The Islanders star forward was seen at practice working on his fighting skills with tough guy Matt Martin. Video captured Martin giving Barzal directions along the boards while other players were working on drills behind them.
— Neil Best (@sportswatch) October 28, 2021
Mathew Barzal certainly went to the right person to work on his fighting skills with. Martin has had 94 fights over the course of his NHL career, according to Hockey Fights.com. That includes two that he has already engaged in this season.
Barzal’s fight card is a bit more limited between his time in the WHL and NHL. He has only had three fights over the course of his hockey career, according to Hockey Fights.com, and the last time he dropped the gloves was on March 29, 2016 against Jesse Gabrielle of the Prince George Cougars.
While Mathew Barzal may have been beefing up just in case, don’t expect the Islanders star to be dropping the gloves too often.
“Oh they were wrestling, yeah,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said after practice. “That’s probably never going to happen, but I don’t know the reason for it. I do know this that Matt did say to me, ‘man he’s pretty strong on his feet.’ He has good core strength. I don’t think that’s really in Mat’s DNA. That’s not where his strength is. That’s Matty’s strength.”
Thursday was the Islanders’ first practice since returning to Long Island after playing their first six games on the road. Head coach Barry Trotz gave the Islanders Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off before gathering the group back onto the ice Thursday.
The Islanders face the Nashville Predators on Saturday.
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