John Tortorella’s friendship with the Islanders’ Barry Trotz dates to their AHL coaching days in the mid-1990s.
Naturally, the combative Blue Jackets coach didn’t like the way Trotz’s tenure with the Capitals ended after he led them to their first Stanley Cup last season. Trotz rejected the team’s contract extension offer, then joined the Islanders.
“That’s a really good coach,” Tortorella said before the Islanders’ 2-0 win on Monday night at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum. “I enjoy his candor. I enjoy he keeps things in perspective. He’s got a beautiful family. I pull for him.
“I felt he was kind of hung out there a little bit in Washington. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen with him. I’m happy things worked out well for him. It stinks he’s in our division and we’re chasing him, but I’m thrilled for him. It couldn’t happen to a better coach and a better person.”
Last Tuesday, Trotz became the fourth coach in NHL history to reach 800 wins.
Defenseman Johnny Boychuk was not available and has not skated since being knocked from Saturday night’s 5-2 loss to the Flyers on Jakub Voracek’s five-minute interference major. Boychuk appeared to take a shoulder to his head and slammed his left shoulder into the boards as he fell.
Voracek, who was suspended for two games, said Monday that he will appeal that decision.
Goaltender Robin Lehner missed his third game with a suspected head injury but skated on his own for a second straight day. “I don’t think he’ll be too long,” Trotz said . . . Rookie D Devon Toews was moved to the top power-play unit, with Nick Leddy sliding to the second unit. Still, the Islanders went 0-for-2 and are 0-for-20 over nine games . . . D Ryan Pulock set a career high with 33 points.