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: 542 The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts Will Wiegelman Latest posts by Will Wiegelman (see all) UBS Arena: A New Home for the Islanders - July 22, 2020 Ilya Sorokin Signs with NY Islanders - July 13, 2020 Devils Hire Lindy Ruff - July 9, 2020 Edmonton, Toronto Selected As Hub Cities - July 2, 2020 Related TopicsBarry TrotzLou LamorielloNew York Islanders Click to comment Leave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Can't Miss Posts! 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs Predictions: Play-In Round by Will Wiegelman | posted on June 22, 2020 Pascack Hills Grad Brianna Musco Finds Calling in Music by Sunil Sunder Raj | posted on July 23, 2020 Talent Has No Gender: Crystal Bradford Gears Up for Major “Hoopquality” Event by Candace Cordelia | posted on July 21, 2020 Ranking all 32 Projected Starting QBs ahead of the 2020 NFL Season by Peter Snyder | posted on April 30, 2020 Montclair State junior Jack Barteck shares his passion for sports journalism by Sunil Sunder Raj | posted on August 9, 2020 Podcasts More in Hockey NY Rangers Coach, Players Talk Return to Play and NHL Bubble After four-plus months of waiting, 24 National Hockey League (NHL) teams will finally return... You Know I’m Right, Episode 25: A Healthy Dose Of Sports Nutrition (Audio) On the 25th episode of You Know I’m Right, Nick Durst and Joe Calabrese are joined... UBS Arena: A New Home for the Islanders The New York Islanders’ new arena has a name. Swiss banking company UBS has... A Conversation with NHL Network’s E.J. Hradek Recently, I had a great opportunity to interview E.J. Hradek, who was a phenomenal... X marks the spot – Islanders clinch playoff berth Can Former Islander John Tavares Continue To Shine In The Playoffs for Maple Leafs?