Islanders’ Patrick Roy benches Pierre Engvall: ‘wasn’t too happy about his play’


Patrick Roy was looking to send a message to Pierre Engvall on Tuesday by making the winger a healthy scratch for a third time this season.

Hudson Fasching drew in for the Swede, playing 12:21 in a shambolic 4-1 loss to the Hurricanes at UBS Arena, while Roy said Engvall likley would return to the lineup on Thursday in Detroit.

That seemed to come as a product of Engvall’s timid physical play, which was evident in Sunday’s loss to the Rangers and not for the first time this season.

Pierre Engvall, playing the puck up the ice during a recent game against the Senators, was a healthy scratch in the Islanders' 3-1 loss to the Hurricanes.
Pierre Engvall, playing the puck up the ice during a recent game against the Senators, was a healthy scratch in the Islanders’ 3-1 loss to the Hurricanes. AP

“I wasn’t too happy about his play lately,” Roy said. “Sometimes it’s something that someone needs. I saw it with other teams. [Sean] Couturier was out, they scratched him in Philly, he’s the captain of their team.

“Pierre seems to understand, we need him. We need him to play a certain way. I know he’s not an overly physical player, but he’s capable of giving us a lot more than what he’s been doing.”

Roy was fixated on average shift length as a reason for the Islanders’ recent struggles following Tuesday’s game, bringing it up in answers to five separate questions during his press conference, only one of which was about the subject.

Islander forwards and defensemen averaged 0:47 per shift against Carolina at five-on-five while Hurricane forwards clocked in at 0:44 and their defense at 0:48.

Islanders coach Patrick Roy
Islanders coach Patrick Roy Thomas Salus-USA TODAY Sports

“I could be wrong here,” Roy said. “But I do believe that if we cut down on the length of our shifts, it’s gonna make a difference.”

Tuesday was just the second time all season that Bo Horvat and Mathew Barzal started a game on different lines without an injury prompting them to do so, as Roy stuck with the configuration from Sunday’s loss to the Rangers at the start of the game, only with Fasching in Engvall’s spot.

He later shifted to playing Barzal at center on a line with Anders Lee and Simon Holmstrom while Jean-Gabriel Pageau played on Casey Cizikas’ left wing.

Despite Robert Bortuzzo’s recent activation from long-term injured reserve, Roy did not sound inclined to put him back into the lineup when asked.

“He needs to be able to keep up the pace in the practice and then we’ll go from there,” Roy said. “When he’s gonna be able to have good practices, I’m sure we’ll have that discussion with Lou and see if he feels ready to play.”

The Islanders held a pregame moment of silence for Chris Simon, who died by suicide Tuesday. Simon played for the team from 2006-08.


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