Sports

Islanders make stunning coaching change with hiring of Roy

The New York Islanders made a stunning head coaching change on Saturday by firing Lane Lambert and replacing him with Hall of Fame goalie Patrick Roy. 

The move comes less than 24 hours after an ugly loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, continuing what has been a weeks long slide down the Eastern Conference standings.

Given their struggles and overall mediocrity this season a head coaching change isn’t the surprising part here. General manager Lou Lamoriello is notorious for making in-season coaching changes, and the fact he stuck with Lambert for as long as he did was a bit out of character for him. The surprising part is replacing him with Roy. 

Roy’s only head coaching experience in the NHL came between the 2013-14 and 2015-16 seasons with the Colorado Avalanche, and was a consistently wild experience. 

Roy was brash, aggressive and a dramatic shift from what the NHL usually sees with its head coaches. In his first ever game behind an NHL bench he tried to climb over the glass and get into a fight with Bruce Boudreau.

He was also was unapologetically harsh in his press conferences and he was something of a trend-setter by utilizing early goalie pulls late in games in an effort to tie games. 

When it comes to the latter part, when most head coaches would go for the extra-attacker with less than a minute to play, Roy would pull his goalie with three or four minutes to play down by one goal, and as early as 10 minutes to play down by multiple goals. 

While nobody has ever been as aggressive as Roy was, he definitely changed the strategy. 

Unfortuantely for Roy and the Avalanche, success was not consistent. After leading the team to a surprising division championship in his first year they were one of the worst teams in the league in his final two years.

After leaving the Avalanche he returned to the Canadian junior leagues where he was the head coach and general manager of the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts through the end of the 2022-23 season. 

He is going to have his hands full in trying to get the Islanders turned around. The Islanders have one of the league’s oldest rosters, do not have many impact players offensively, are 24th in the league in goals per game and 24th in the league in goals against per game. 

Just about the only thing they have going well for them is two strong goalies In Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov. He will need to rely on them to get this season turned around. 




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