Energetic Barry Trotz surprises Islanders in return from COVID protocol

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Brock Nelson was making a pregame drink on Monday night when Barry Trotz popped into the room.

“Hey, what’s up?” Nelson recalled him saying. “Everybody ready to go?”

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It wasn’t too soon before the game. But that didn’t make much of a difference.

After five days on the COVID-19 list, Trotz was back behind the Islanders’ bench. Following the 4-1 win over the Flyers, he came into the press conference with a pep in his step.

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“I had lots of energy,” he said. “I don’t have much of a voice, but I have lots of energy right now.”

When a reporter remarked that they were glad to see him healthy, Trotz volunteered: “I feel great. I felt great during COVID. I should’ve had COVID all year. I felt great, I really did. I had no symptoms, nothing. I was feeling actually better than I had in months.”

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Trotz didn’t attend Monday’s morning skate, at which associate coach Lane Lambert addressed media and said there was no update on the head coach’s status, but Trotz cleared protocol in time for the game.

Trotz hadn’t coached the Islanders since Dec. 30, missing the New Year’s Day game to be with his family in Dauphin, Manitoba after the death of his mother. He missed practice for the next few days, then briefly returned before coming down with the virus.

“It felt like about a year ago,” Trotz said of the last time he coached.

Players said they didn’t see a major difference with Lambert — a longtime Trotz assistant — running the bench, but having the head coach back still made a difference.

Barry Trotz, brock nelson, Coronavirus, new york islanders, philadelphia flyers

Barry Trotz returned from COVID protocol Monday.

AP

“I think it’s tough when he’s not there,” Nelson said. “Clear message from both of them, kind of the same. The whole staff works hard to put the game plan together.”


There’s still no clear time frame on Ryan Pulock’s return from injury. It’s been over nine weeks since he suffered a lower-body injury, with an original diagnosis of four to six weeks.

“Obviously he’s a lot closer than he was weeks and weeks or months ago,” Trotz said. “It’ll be an upgrade for us for sure [when he returns].”


The Islanders tried swapping lines around, with Kieffer Bellows on Mat Barzal’s right and Josh Bailey to the right of Nelson. Trotz said afterwards he didn’t like how things looked with Bellows on the first line.


J-G Pageau was 9-4 on faceoffs on Monday.


Tuesday’s game at the Flyers will be broadcast exclusively on ESPN Plus.

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