RALEIGH, N.C. — Barry Trotz doesn’t like some of the “individual mindsets” he’s seen lately from the Islanders rather than a team mindset. And he certainly didn’t like defenseman Devon Toews “mocking” Evgeny Kuznetsov’s unique, bird-like goal celebration.
“I didn’t have a conversation with [Trotz] but I’m not happy with myself either,” Toews told Newsday after the Islanders’ strong, team-oriented effort in a 2-1, eight-round shootout loss to the Hurricanes on Sunday at PNC Arena.
The Islanders lost to the Capitals, 6-4, on Saturday afternoon at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum. Toews, capping a career-high three-point performance, scored to give the Islanders a 4-1 lead at 17:25 of the second period. He then flapped his arms and raised one leg, as Kuznetsov does.
“It’s not who I am,” Toews said. “I’m not trying to disrespect anyone. We lost that game and that’s the most important part of that. We sort of collapsed in the third period for whatever reasons. I carry a lot of that on my shoulders.”
Trotz made his critical comments before seeing how well the Islanders responded on Sunday.
“Our mindset has to be all team and we’ve got some individual mindsets that are ahead of the team right now,” Trotz said. “We addressed them today, seriously.
“I didn’t like some of the antics,” added Trotz, who culminated four seasons as the Capitals’ coach by leading them to the Stanley Cup in 2018. “Mocking Kuznetsov.”
Sunday’s game was an example of how Trotz needs his team to play. He was unhappy that the Islanders did not play smart, structured defensive hockey Saturday with a three-goal lead.
“It was a little bit immature on our part,” Trotz said. “Last year, we were dialed in there. This year, we’re not dialed in there in trying to accept what we really are.”