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Lou Lamoriello on making long-awaited moves to improve Islanders: ‘That’s on me… totally on me’

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Lou Lamoriello Islanders
Lou Lamoriello (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File)

Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello admitted that the fans have “a right… to be upset,” during the team’s recent, woeful stretch of nine losses in its last 10 games. 

“During this drought, our goal scorers are not scoring,” Lamoriello said on Wednesday from Ottawa. “There are no apologies, there’s no excuses for them. These things happen. Unfortunately, all of them have been in a little bit of a drought at the same time.”

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The Islanders have been outscored 35-17 over their last 10 games, placing them on the wrong side of the Eastern Conference playoff bubble with 33 games remaining in the regular season. 

While it appears that a shakeup to the roster is needed, Lamoriello again has stayed conservative so far. The franchise continues to lack a legitimate, high-level goal scorer that has been a need for the better part of the last three decades now — though it’s been exacerbated by a team that was on the cusp of two straight Stanley Cup Final appearances but was ultimately undone by a lack of attacking threats. 

Under first-year head coach Lane Lambert, the Islanders have moved away from the defense-first system that was instituted so successfully under Trotz to potentially supplement the shortage of goals coming from the forward group, but it hasn’t worked consistently enough. 

It makes the need for a difference-making goal scorer all the more imperative to the Islanders’ success and perhaps the future of Lamoriello with the team. It has been speculated that this could be the final year of his contract with the Islanders. 

“If we can make ourselves better, whether it had been yesterday or the day before, or today, or tomorrow, we will definitely do that,” Lamoriello said. ‘It’s what price you have to pay to add. And you have to make sure that whatever you add is not subtracting.”

He should have options as the NHL trade deadline approaches on March 3. The likes of Vancouver Canucks star Bo Horvat (31 goals) and Timo Meier of the San Jose Sharks (28 goals) should be available.

But Lamoriello has been unable to land the big fish with the Islanders, losing out on the likes of Artemi Panarin, Johnny Gaudreau, and Nazem Kadri over the years.

“There’s no excuses because that’s on me, totally on me,” Lamoriello said. “That’s my responsibility to make this the best team we possibly can and make whatever changes we can. That’s not on the coaching staff, that’s not on the players, and I take that responsibility…

“There’s a lot of reasons why sometimes you can and you can’t. Those are the decisions you have to make but I take full responsibility.”

Adding that there always should be an urgency to potentially improve, the last 14 months have strongly suggested that the window of the unchanged core of the Islanders that made two straight Stanley Cup semifinals is firmly shut without an injection of new blood.

“Have I lost the trust and belief in the team? Absolutely not,” Lamoriello said. “I still believe the way I did at the beginning of the summer.”

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For more on the Islanders and Lou Lamoriello, visit AMNY.com

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