ADDRESSING THE ISLES RECENT PENALTY TROUBLES

BY, KEVIN PSOMAS

· Kevin Psomas

While it is in no doubt that the Islanders are playing great hockey, they are coming off a month of February where they played to an (8-2-2) record which tacked on 18 points in the standings for them and they already started March off with a win but, there are still a few areas of concern that may fly under the radar when you are winning games like the Islanders are right now. One of those areas of concern is the amount of minor penalties they are taking. In one period alone during Tuesday the 2nd’s game the Islanders took 3 straight minor penalties which really ruined the flow of their game and their rythm, while in this game they were able to get away with the 2 points and kill all 4 penalties they took, this could have really come back to bite them if they were going up against a team who is proficient on the powerplay.

Top 6 Islanders by PIM:

Mathew Barzal - 30 PIM

Adam Pelech - 16 PIM

Scott Mayfield - 16 PIM

Matt Martin - 16 PIM

Casey Cizikas - 15 PIM

Jean-Gabriel Pageau - 8 PIM

Anders Lee - 8 PIM

Team Overall - 172 PIM

Stats via ESPN

This article is in no way saying any of the 4 players listed deserve to be benched or need to change their style of hockey in any way, in fact 7 of the 7 players listed are all solid choices for team MVP but the Islanders cannot continue taking penalties at the rate that they are taking them now. I am sure coach Trotz has addressed this fact but it is borderline unacceptable that Mathew Barzal who is undoubtedly the team’s most skilled player can be taking 15 minor penalties in just 22 games played. While the Islanders rank 8th in the NHL by percentage they still have to stay out of the box because it will eventually cost them. Overall the Islanders have played well and they are doing well standings wise but if they want to take that next step a reduction in the amount of unnecessary minor penalties they could surely help them. I understand there are some unavoidable penalties, bad calls by refs, and necessary penalties to break up scoring chances but it's the unnecessary high sticking, tripping, and interference penalties that have really been the Islanders weakness thus far. While this is an aspect of the Isles’ game they are certainly doing the important things right leading them to wins.

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