EAST MEADOW — There was no easing into the first day of training camp for the New York Islanders on the first official day of the Barry Trotz regime.
The new head coach, not even three months removed from winning the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals, came to work and work hard, something that is a pillar of sorts to Trotz’s values.
“We talked about foundations and one of those foundations, and it doesn’t matter if you’re in sports or business, you have to be willing to work,” Trotz said. “We weren’t afraid of working today, which I was really happy about. It’s a learning process. There’s some new stuff that they haven’t seen.”
It’s something new that the Islanders and fans have not seen for quite some time. Under Trotz and new team president Lou Lamoriello, it already appears to be a much more tightly run ship compared to past coaches and general managers.
The 56-year-old worked his players over an hour-and-a-half regimen while he constantly barked instructions and words of encouragement. He also wasn’t afraid to use his hockey stick, constantly banging it on the boards to keep the intensity up while his players flew through drills.
“We learned that we weren’t afraid to compete. I thought we learned about the importance of details and accountability in some areas,” Trotz said.
Those details stuck with his players after their first experience with their new head coach.
“He’s all about the details,” veteran forward Matt Martin said. “You have to battle through when you’re tired and he holds you accountable. I’ve been a fan of his just watching from the outside. So having him here, I think it’s going to be really good for our club.”
The message isn’t being lost on some of the younger players, either.
“His attention to detail, that’s what he’s looking for,” winger Anthony Beauvillier said. “He’s just trying to make us better by working hard, competing a lot harder within the group.”
“Just the way he’s sending a message, the way he’s talking, his energy on the ice is contagious. It was a tough practice, hard practice.”
Beauvillier’s linemate and reigning Calder Trophy winner Mathew Barzal echoed those sentiments as he prepares to be the face of the franchise after the departure of John Tavares.
“Compete level was the biggest thing. It wasn’t too much system today or too much learning,” Barzal said. “More like go out there and get your legs going… He definitely has a high standard so it’s going to be good for us.”
It’s a high standard that’s been built and tweaked over a 19-year coaching career that is destined for the Hall of Fame one day. He ranks fifth all-time in wins among head coaches, just 20 behind legendary Islanders coach Al Arbour.
At least Trotz will be manning the Islanders bench when he passes Arbour on that list.