Patrick Roy is the new coach of the New York Islanders, hired Saturday in a stunning midseason change behind the bench that came with the firing of Lane Lambert.
President of hockey operations and general manager Lou Lamoriello announced the move to dismiss Lambert and bring in Roy, who hasn’t coached in the NHL in nearly a decade. Roy has been mentioned in consideration for several vacancies since and now gets a second chance.
“Watching our team play, I felt that the inconsistency that has been going on for some period of time was not going to end,” Lamoriello said on a video call with reporters. “When I had the opportunity to meet with Patrick recently, I felt that this was the best for our organization to go forward.”
The Islanders have lost four games in a row and six of seven to fall out of a playoff spot. Lamoriello, 81, said he made the move because he still believes his team can contend and earn a spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Lambert was midway through his second season on the job. Roy coached the Colorado Avalanche for three seasons from 2013-16 before abruptly resigning a month before training camp.
Roy, 58, said that in his time away from the NHL, he has learned a lot about the value of coaching staffs working to help players improve.
The four-time Stanley Cup champion who is third on the career NHL wins list among goalies won the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year in 2013-14 after guiding the Avalanche to the playoffs in Nathan MacKinnon’s rookie season. He spent the past five seasons coaching and serving as GM for the junior Quebec Remparts.
“His presence is extremely aggressive,” Lamoriello said, citing Roy’s success as a player and a coach. “I thought he was the right person for the job.”
Lambert, former Islanders coach Barry Trotz’s longtime right-hand man, got his first NHL head job when he was promoted from assistant in May 2022. He was on Trotz’s staff when they won the Cup with Washington in 2018.
Lambert is the fifth coach fired in the league this season after Edmonton’s Jay Woodcroft, Minnesota’s Dean Evason, St. Louis’ Craig Berube and Ottawa’s D.J. Smith.
Roy said he watched two recent Islanders games and liked the foundation of veterans and young players the club has.
“I saw that these guys were sticking together,” Roy said. “One of my objectives will be to bring some consistency to their play.”
Roy, when he worked for Colorado, said he was “a bit of a dreamer” as far as wanting to have a say in personnel decisions. Not so much in his new gig, with Lamoriello in charge of those.
“I have zero interest in management,” Roy said.
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