Islanders’ Lane Lambert doing best to stay away from job status talk
CALGARY, Alberta — Islanders coach Lane Lambert is doing his best to avoid mounting rumors about his job status, including not broaching the subject with general manager Lou Lamoriello.
“I’ve talked to Lou a lot on the trip,” Lambert said ahead of Saturday’s 5-4 shootout win against the Flames, which snapped a seven-game losing skid. “We haven’t talked about my job status.”
Lamoriello was not on the four-game Western trip with the team, having returned home following GM meetings on Tuesday in Toronto.
It is not known whether he has spent the week compiling a list of candidates to potentially take over for Lambert, but with the Islanders taking a seven-game losing streak into Calgary, it would not be surprising if he has.
“You just focus on what you can do and what you can control,” Lambert said. “Our team’s playing hard. I think, what, we’ve given up one five-on-five goal this trip. Guys are playing hard. There’s a lot of positives in this game that we’re playing.
“That’s all you can do is worry about what you can control and that’s how our team plays. That’s it.”
It’s true that the Islanders have played fine at five-on-five lately, and that they played their best game of the trip on Saturday. It’s also evident that Lambert has not lost the dressing room, with players defending the head coach throughout the trip.
Lambert spent much of his press conference ahead of Saturday’s game defending his team’s play and reiterated after the fact that, “I can’t say it enough, we’ve been playing well.”
“Sometimes you end up getting kicked in the gut a couple more times, which we did in Seattle and Vancouver,” he said pregame. “Those games are going to overtime. We want the two points, we need the two points, we know that.
“We’ve collected points in seven of 11 games. You can’t tell me that this hockey team hasn’t been in games. That part of it I’m pretty tired of hearing about.”
Matt Martin (upper body) remained out of the lineup, as did Julien Gauthier (illness).
Hudson Fasching played his second straight game on the fourth line alongside Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck.
“We just gotta stick to what we know and stick to what our strength is as a team,” Fasching said of the mood in the dressing room. “We just gotta continue that. I don’t think there’s any panic in this room at all. We trust ourselves, we trust our game.”
Saturday was the 999th career game for Clutterbuck.