The Islanders didn’t practice on Tuesday. But that doesn’t mean they weren’t preparing for their 13-game road trip to resume against the Canadiens on Thursday night.
Video preparation can sometimes be as instructive as on-ice work. And the Islanders used Tuesday’s meetings to go over video on the Canadiens.
"I think it’s pretty important," said Barry Trotz, an NHL coach since 1998. "Video doesn’t lie. We didn’t have video a number of years ago. We didn’t have all the stimulants that we do: iPhones, iPads and all that. I think the new-age player, for the most part, they rely on video. Verbally, they don’t comprehend as easy as maybe players in the past. They rely on video for validation.
"You see players grabbing the iPads all the time behind the bench, looking at their games, looking at their shifts. I think it’s pretty important for a player’s development and team development as well."
The Islanders (3-2-2) will return to the ice for practice on Wednesday before opening a stretch of three games in four nights, which ends with games Saturday at Winnipeg and Sunday at Minnesota. They are on a 3-0-2 point streak after last Saturday’s 3-2 shootout loss at Nashville.
Trotz cited the Islanders’ 4-for-4 penalty kill against the Predators, who entered that contest with the NHL’s third-ranked power play, as an example of how video can help during a game. The Predators, who had six total power-play shots, took three of them on their first man-advantage early in the first period and had three additional attempts blocked over those two minutes.
"That first power play, I don’t think we touched the puck," Trotz said. "They were making us look pretty bad by moving the puck as well as they did."
That’s when associate coach Lane Lambert, who runs the penalty kill, went to the video to help cut down the passing and shooting lanes.
"On the bench, he’s talking to guys, ‘Just adjust here, adjust there,’ " Trotz said. "We were fine after that.
"It is a different type of game. Back in the old days when there was no film, you could surprise people a lot more."
Defenseman Scott Mayfield, one of the Islanders’ key penalty killers, said video allows players to "pick up on tendencies, especially faceoffs, which way to exit the best way."
But Mayfield added that each player has his own "process" when it comes to using video.
Mayfield, asked whether he was more of an on-ice doer in terms of preparation or a player that can learn a lot off video, said, "a little bit of both."
"I think you definitely can pick stuff up, especially the more times you play certain teams," Mayfield said. "You know individual players a little bit better and their tendencies. For me, the video comes in handy with the PK, watching other teams’ power plays. Everyone has their own video routine they go through. It’s different depending on your position, depending on how you like to learn."