Hockey Playoff Bound Islanders Proved Everyone Wrong by Will Wiegelman April 1, 2019 If you told an NHL fan in October that the New York Islanders would make the playoffs, they might look at you like Edmonton looked at Peter Chiarelli after the Taylor Hall trade. Even those on Long Island may have questioned that claim. After losing superstar John Tavares to free agency, a move that was the first of its kind, the team looked dead in the water. Led by new captain Anders Lee, new star Mathew Barzal and new coach Barry Trotz, the team was rejuvenated and will be competing for the Stanley Cup later this month. So many experts predicted this to be yet another rebuilding year for the Islanders, my favorite being a Deadspin article titled “A 2018–19 NHL Season Preview Of Every Team, From Best To Islanders.” The two goaltenders who are both ranked top 5 in the league in goals against and save percentage and have five shutouts apiece? Ranked 29th by ESPN, the defense was also ranked 29th. The team turned this into a rallying cry, wearing “prove them wrong” t-shirts and looking like a completely different team. They did something that could have never been predicted; they played as a team. After going so long with individual play, the Islanders were brought together by not only the negative predictions, but Head Coach Barry Trotz as well. It’s still shocking that a Stanley Cup winning coach, such as Trotz, could be doubted by so many, especially the defending champion coach. Trotz’s defensive system helped a unit that sent out the same six defenders, prior to Devon Toews’ call-up, improve tremendously. Ryan Pulock, always discredited due to his lack of defensive abilities, has made major strides in his own zone and has been the team’s best defenseman. Fringe defensemen Adam Pelech and Scott Mayfield have carved out full-time roles thanks to much-improved play. This team is a testament to how, in the NHL, coaching trumps individuals players. The chip-on-the-shoulder mentality coupled with the defending Stanley Cup winning coach and legendary GM Lou Lamoriello, the Islanders crushed all odds and clinched a playoff birth. The team will look to continue its run of proving people wrong with tough defense and strong work ethic. The more people doubt, the better the team becomes. Post Views: 842 The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts Will Wiegelman Latest posts by Will Wiegelman (see all) Lou Lamoriello Nominated for GM of the Year - September 10, 2020 In Movement Led by Hockey Diversity Alliance, NHL Postpones Playoff Games - August 27, 2020 UBS Arena: A New Home for the Islanders - July 22, 2020 Ilya Sorokin Signs with NY Islanders - July 13, 2020 Related TopicsBarry TrotzLou LamorielloNew York Islanders Click to comment You must be logged in to post a comment Login Leave a Reply Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment. Newsletter Subscription Can't Miss Posts! Women in Sports: NHL Network Host, Jackie Redmond by Nicholas Durst | posted on March 4, 2019 XFL Co-Owner Dany Garcia Talks Business, Serving Others at espnW Women + Sports Summit by Candace Cordelia | posted on October 23, 2020 Women in Sports Interview Series: It’s a sure bet with Philadelphia native, Erin Kate Dolan (VIDEO) by Denise Gonzalez | posted on March 17, 2020 From Paramus High School to CBS Sports, Spero Dedes is making waves in sports broadcasting by Sunil Sunder Raj | posted on October 27, 2020 No Shame in Their Game – Female Mixed Martial Artists Use Onlyfans to Make Money by Brandon Berrios | posted on December 4, 2020 More in Hockey Tim Peel is Discharged After Caught on Hot Mic Tim Peel was Discharged from the NHL After He was Caught on the Hot... NHL, Amazon Web Services Partner to Develop New Stats, Data, and Insights The National Hockey League (NHL) is partnering with Amazon Web Services (AWS) in an... You Know I’m Right, Episode 81: ESPN’s Arda Ocal (Audio/Video) On the 81st episode of You Know I’m Right, Nick Durst and Joe Calabrese are joined by... You Know I’m Right, Episode 80: MSG Network’s Bill Pidto (Audio/Video) On the 80th episode of You Know I’m Right, Nick Durst and Joe Calabrese are joined by... X marks the spot – Islanders clinch playoff berth Can Former Islander John Tavares Continue To Shine In The Playoffs for Maple Leafs?