The young hockey coaches know the rule: if you have a big lead, get your foot off the gas. If you don’t believe it, it’s considered a non-sporting approach to the game.
For professionals, of course, it’s a little different – unless you ask New York coach Barry Trotz.
“We’ll see Peter [Laviolette] maybe this summer and we’ll talk about it a little bit,” Trotch told reporters Thursday in Boston, two days after his Nashville winners withdrew. “I wasn’t a big fan of that. It’s 8-3 and you guys are throwing points and you are putting guys at risk. It’s okay. Everybody has their own way of doing it. Maybe I wouldn’t.
“He tells me a lot about him,” Trotch continued.
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So what got the Island Boss boss so upset? With a few minutes under regulation, his team was under two men and in the 5-on-3 Laviolette opted to play the top power-play unit in Defensemen Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis and promoted Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and Matt Duchene.
That didn’t affect the scoreboard, but according to Newsday’s Andrew Gross, Casey Cizikas blocked three shots, including one in the hand that appeared to cause him some pain.
Laviolette, who coached the Islanders in 2001-02, has been the Predators’ coach since 2014 – after Trotz left. Both coaches have had major breakthroughs, with Trotz holding a 2-0 advantage in the Jack Adams Awards as the NHL’s top coach and each winning Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the best AHL boss.
The loss was the Islanders’ first home run since Oct. 8 against the Edmonton Oilers. Nashville will host New York in February, ironically, the day before Valentine’s Day.