The guys sporting white have been unrecognizable. They have been sporting the Islanders brand on their chests, however come on, these uniforms will need to have been bought at a fancy dress retailer operating a Buy One, Get 20 sale.
For this Monday night time in Tampa, the Islanders have been imposters, unable to compete in any side of the sport, overrun in all three zones by the Lightning in an 8-0 Game 5 defeat that stands as essentially the most lopsided in franchise playoff historical past and leaves the membership getting ready to extinction going into Wednesday’s Game 6 on the Coliseum.
“It was one of those nights where we couldn’t do anything right,” head coach Barry Trotz mentioned following the fiasco. “If this result doesn’t motivate us, then I’m not sure what will. We’ve just got to man up.”
But it might be even worse than that, troublesome as that may be to course of. Because although the results of this drubbing wouldn’t essentially carry over into Wednesday below strange circumstances, the Islanders are going to have to attend for a call from the Department of Player Safety concerning the supply of Mat Barzal for the group’s first potential elimination recreation of 2021.
And there’s not a soul in the world who would wish to be on the mercy of the decision-making strategy of VP George Parros and his band of consultants below any circumstance, not to mention whereas on the precipice of doom.
But that’s the place the Islanders stand. That is the place Barzal introduced his group by dropping his cool on the second-period buzzer following a giveaway on the ability play by getting a serious penalty and recreation misconduct for cross-checking Jan Rutta to the ice with what gave the impression to be the facet of the top after No. 13 first responded to their engagement with a cross-check to the defenseman’s left shoulder.
Barzal was livid and momentarily tried to wrestle his approach out of the grasp of linesmen Kiel Murchison, who grabbed him instantly following the incident as gamers milled about. Rutta stayed down for a while, attended to by the Tampa Bay coach, because the play was reviewed earlier than standing as a serious. The defenseman didn’t return to the match, however who can be stunned if that was a Jon Cooper ploy to affect the NHL?
The league’s self-discipline system will not be solely damaged, however arbitrary. It can be a travesty if Barzal is suspended off this kind of confrontational play that’s commonplace and sometimes attracts nothing greater than a minor, if not a double minor. Or typically even nothing, should you’ve seen what miscreants have gotten away with all through the match. But there’s simply no strategy to know for certain.
And even when Barzal will not be suspended, there is no such thing as a protection for the Islanders’ most dynamic participant placing himself and his group in such jeopardy by dropping his composure as all of us ponder the vagaries of the NHL’s justice system.
“I was disappointed because it wasn’t going well and he just sort of dug it a little deeper for the guys,” Trotz mentioned. “The largest concern you may have as a coach whenever you do one thing like that’s that guys have to dam photographs and also you lose one other man as a result of they’re battling by it.
“So yeah, I am disappointed in his decision there.”
Barzal has as little protection for his actions because the Islanders had all through this humiliation in which they by no means acquired in on the forecheck, have been overwhelmed on the few battles they have been in a position to create, surrendered a wave of odd-man rushes, had points on their very own breakout and gave the Lightning 4 energy performs in the second interval after permitting one apiece in Games 3 and 4.
It was 1-0 after 45 seconds, 3-0 by the top of the primary interval in which the Islanders surrendered eight high-danger possibilities after having allowed eight, seven, six and eight, respectively, in Games 1 by 4. It was 6-0 by the top of the second with Ilya Sorokin having relieved Semyon Varlamov after the starter allowed three targets on 16 photographs in 15:27. Backtracking to the beginning of the third interval of Game 4, Tampa Bay has outscored the Islanders 10-0.
This was as bad because it will get. Except there’s the prospect, as irrational as it will be, that it may worsen. Trotz mentioned he was unaware of any communication between the league and the group concerning supplemental self-discipline however that proves nothing.
So now the Islanders wait on Parros as they put together for the largest recreation of their 2021 lives.
It’s not what you need.