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I don’t know. Might as well start this off with that. I don’t know why the New York Islanders benched Kieffer Bellows for basically the entire second period against Detroit. Bellows played a single 55-second shift from 16:36 to 15:41 of the second period.
I’ve watched the shift a number of times and there isn’t any obvious mistake made by the Isles first-rounder from 2016. He doesn’t take an extended shift, he doesn’t seem to make any glaring mistake in the O-zone or in the D-zone.
That’s not to say that because I didn’t see something negative that it didn’t happen. But it wasn’t an obvious or even crucial mistake. Detroit didn’t score on the shift. In fact, Bellows’ shift ends after he feeds Casey Cizikas with a pass that puts Cizikas in on a goal. (Cizikas would rip a wrist shot into Alex Nedeljkovic’s glove).
New York Islanders: Kieffer Bellows benched for…reasons
I picked out one play from his 55-second shift in the second period where it kind of looked like Bellows did something that might have attracted discipline from his coach. But the more I watch it the less I see an issue with the play.
Bellows was having a strong opening period for the Isles. He was strong at both ends of the ice, on and off the puck. And yet still he earned a benching.
We already know that the New York Islanders youth get a shorter leash than the veterans do. To a certain extent, it makes sense. These kids have to learn lessons that the vets learned years ago. Young players are also more prone to mistakes, so by that alone, they’ll certainly earn the ire of the coaching staff sooner than veterans.
We all understand why Anthony Beauvillier was sent to the press box for a game. Beau hasn’t scored in 14 games and is struggling on and off the puck. But Bellows, who’s averaging 11:24 of ice time per game has three points in his last four games and has looked good on and off the puck.
Meanwhile, Kyle Palmieri took an unnecessary slashing penalty that resulted in Detroit’s opening goal (he’s also pointless in his last 10 games). And Zdeno Chara’s poor decision in the offensive zone midway through the third period lead to Detroit’s game-winning goal.
The veterans are just as guilty as the youth on the team. Yet they receive little to no punishment compared to their younger teammates. That has to change ASAP.