Mat Barzal

Episode 30: Super Jack Meets Robin Lehner

As I wrote on my blog, Islesblogger this week – Jack Foley, AKA Super Jack got the chance to meet his idol Robin Lehner. If you haven’t seen the post please give it a quick read. I also got to spend a good chunk of the game on Monday night with Jack and his family too. It’s a night I won’t ever forget.

Here’s the Tweet heard round the world, the one that caused everything to happen the way it did. It currently has almost 4,000 retweets and over 14,000 likes!

Episode 30 is a little different and a departure from the normal content you’ll find here. We talk about some of the health issues Jack has been through in his young life and some other topics that will make people listen with a tilted head. I’ve been drawn to Jack and his family since I first heard his story.

As you can see from the sign, Jack has experienced a host of medical problems during his young life. He’s had THREE open heart surgeries to help with being born with HALF A HEART! He’s beat every single set of odds and blown through all the expectations Doctors had set for him. He is truly an amazing young man – and I am happy to call him a friend now.

It’s about Fate, too.

In my post on Islesblogger, I talk about Fate.

I really feel like fate has brought us together – we go into that in the podcast. You may not believe in fate, and that’s ok.

Prior to recording, Super Jack made his Mom and I wait while he finished up a game of NHL19. His Mom told me afterwards that he played with Islanders great Pat LaFontaine – because of his work with the Companions in Courage Foundation (CiC). I happen to be a big Patty La fan (and a gamer) so he got a pass.

Jack and I talked about the reasons why he picked Robin Lehner and about this huge hug from the big man:

He talks like someone much older than he is – and probably understand why at this point. He did tell me though that his likes Robin because he’s gone through a lot in his hockey career, like he has gone through in his short life. It’s a remarkable story the way things turned out.

Jack not only got a stick from Robin, he got one from Thomas Greiss as well. He met a large group of players – Jack proudly listed them off as Scott Mayfield, Johnny Boychuk, Josh Bailey, Mat Barzal, and Anthony Beauvillier. He was really treated like royalty, His Mom, Lauren even told me that Boychuk remembered him from a previous meeting and seemed more excited to see HIM than Jack was to see the player.

Lauren also told me that Jack will be attending the Matt Martin Hockey Camp this summer, so that’s something else exciting for him to experience in the coming months. We made plans to hit the ice together as well – something I know I am really looking forward to.

How’s Jack handling the fame?

I asked Jack if his new fame was causing him extra attention at school. He said everyone was asking him questions and wanted him to give them shoutouts when he was on Channel 7 News on Tuesday night. He didn’t get the chance to give shoutouts, but we made sure he gave plenty during the podcast.

We also talked about the Islanders season and the stretch run to the playoffs and who he thinks the Islanders will face and what he thinks they can do. It’s a great little interview and I told him he can come back as my co-host whenever he wants.

The goal for Jack, his real dream – is to become a New York Islander for a day. It’s something that I know I won’t stop pushing for either. Jack may not be able to play hockey forever, he may eventually even need a heart transplant. But for now, he enjoys playing as much as he loves watching his favorite team.

We’ll be back with another two episodes where we talk Islanders hockey over the next two days. Tonight Roger Luce the long time arena announcer for the Islanders (and WBAB Morning Show Radio Host) comes on to talk about some hockey and on Saturday Mark Parrish makes his return as well. We’re finishing the season on a frantic pace as we head into the playoffs.

Thanks for listening!

There’s a Charity Walk for Super Jack on May 19th – if you’re interesting in walking or donating to the cause – please head over to their team page and donate what you can! It helps out kids all over the country just like Jack!

https://www.walkforchdresearch.org/longisland/TeamSuperJack

Episode 19: Just One Shot With JPinVA

Hello and welcome Episode 19! This week I am joined by a co-host from Twitter @JPinVA – JP and I have gone back and forth with some spirited Islanders discussions over the last few months and it’s been some good talk. I wanted to have him on for several episodes now and we finally found a time that worked for both of us.

We discuss the winning streak the Islanders ended with a loss last week against Carolina, the struggle they had against St Louis and the Rangers, despite stealing wins in regulation and the play of the kids Ho-Sang, Toews and Dal Colle. We also go into some talk on what to do with Eberle, Lehner, Nelson and some other pending UFA’s and it Lou will do anything with trades down the stretch to the trade deadline. As the title suggests as well, we also reference the one shot/one goal from the game against the Rangers on Thursday and what it will take to play their best tomorrow against Tampa.

We also take some off your Twitter questions, speak in detail about what can help the power play, how Barry Trotz has transformed players like Barzal, Nelson and the defense in general into something we’ve not seen in ages. I also hint at an upcoming guest, and congratulate the Isles Meetup guys for the creation of their own website NYIMeetups.com – head on over there to check it out!

We will be back with Episode 20 either Monday or Tuesday! Stay tuned!

Episode 18: Barzal And Isles Going Streaking!

Happy New Year Isles Faithful! I hope that everyone had a fantastic holiday break!

I know that I was extremely busy, I’ve been off since the Friday before Christmas, we did a lot of visiting and being visited by family. I also ate a ton of great food, maybe a little TOO much. I am certainly paying for that in the waist department -but back on that diet saddle we go.

For the first episode of 2019, I talk about the Islanders 8-1 stretch of games and discuss their five game winning streak. We catch up on how the kids are doing (Ho Sang, Dal Cole and Toews), the goaltending being off the charts (Lehner is 2.13 GAA and .929 SV%) and also the special teams starting to come around. Is there something or someone I am forgetting about? Oh yea, “The Kid Who Scores Hatty’s” – Mat Barzal.

Barzal is on a bit of a tear currently, with 8 goals 4 assists for 12 points in 9 games. During that span that, he is also a +5 and has amassed 34 shots, including 8 last night, 5 against Toronto and 7 back on 12/15 against Detroit, He’s really taken Barry Trotz’s criticism and critiquing to heart it seems. Am I still forgetting something? Oh that’s right – his natural hat trick against Tavares and the Maple Leafs. It was a sight to be seen, that 4-0 shutout masterpiece.

Devon Toews has looked like an absolute bright spot on the back end, including his overtime heroics last night against the Chicago Blackhawks! He picked a heck of a time to score his first NHL goal, it’s going to be one he’s not going to forget anytime soon. The Isles are 5-0 with him (and Baby Stape, Congrats Art!) in the lineup, the Isles are also 8-1 with Josh Ho Sang in the lineup as well – two young guys who have really done great things for the make up of this squad.

Also in this episode we take some of your Twitter questions again, discussing what – if anything Lou Lamoriello will do down the stretch with trades and contract offerings to his pending unrestricted and restricted free agents. Off topic, I also discuss my recent purchase of Bauer Supreme 2s ice hockey skates as I have been shopping around since my MLX skates broke last month, special thanks go out to Bauer here for steering me in the right direction!

I’d also keep an eye out for an EXCITING announcement on another Yes Men Outfittersf contest! We’re kicking of 2019 in style and you’ll have your choice of any hat or t-shirt on his site. In the meantime please continue to use the discount code FAITHFUL10 on your orders over there for 10% off! Be sure to follow Devin on Twitter as well @yesmenoutfitter

Thanks for listening and we will see you in Episode 19!

Episode 17: With Barzal, Ho-Sang and Toews, The Future Is Now!

This is it! This is the moment many of us have been waiting for!

Young stars, stud players if you will, are going to be flush in the New York Islanders lineup. Mat Barzal, the former rookie of the year has been a staple over and a breath of fresh air over the last year and a half has recently been joined by fellow puck possession wizard in Josh Ho-Sang. But wait, there’s more – Devon Toews has been recalled to replace the injured Thomas Hickey. Yes, you’re reading that right. We talk about all this and more, in Episode 17 – so read on.

My example of a GREAT power play

Ive said pretty extensively on Twitter over the last few weeks, that I feel both Barzal and Ho-Sang are “drivers” in that they dictate pace of play with puck possession and zone entries. We know what we have in Barzal, and he’s come around in Trotz’s system as of late. With Ho-Sang, he’s struggled to elevate his play in a way to earn the trust of the new management – but he earned his chance now and he’s running with it. Trotz recently changed his tune from “no pressure to insert in lineup” to “I see no reason to take him out of the lineup” and that’s fantastic news. Ho-Sang was rewarded with a goal this week in Arizona for his efforts and if you look at his fancy stats – the numbers say he’s doing a great job. The second power play unit has also benefitted from his style of play – you have two guys (at even strength as well) that draw players to them and it opens up room for everyone else, plus they can both thread the needle like nobody else on the team, outside maybe Eberle.

With Thomas Hickey out with a suspected concussion (which is a shame, I love what Hickey brings and I hope he’s not injured too bad) – Devon Toews has been recalled. I joked in this episode that it’s a Christmas Miracle! Fans and experts alike have been waiting for this defenseman to draw into the lineup for quite some time – and you have this Tweet from Newsday’s Andrew Gross as a meter for how we ALL FEEL!

A bold statement, right?

I also go into some more ranting about the mostly stationary, but improving power play, which involves mostly the adding of Ho-Sang and I took a few Twitter questions from the most faithful Isles Faithful listeners!

Holiday season reminders! Kings Coast Coffee – it’s amazing! Go buy some and use the code ISLES for 10% off your entire order. I just ordered $70 worth of coffee and mugs as a gift for my wife – good thing she doesn’t read this space.

That’s not the only DISCOUNT CODE we have for you either, head on over to my buddy Devin’s (@YesMenOutfitter) site Yes Men Outfitters for some sweet Isles swag and use the code FAITHFUL10 for 10% off your order as well. He’s got a lot of great new designs he’s pumping out – be sure to fill someone stocking, or even your own just like me!

I finally met Devin last weekend at the Coliseum, such a solid dude and he’s doing really great things with his trips and tailgates – I don’t know how he finds the time to do everything he does! I am off for Christmas and New Years (11 days total) so I am planning on recording a few times and maybe a recap of the best episodes so far, but if we don’t speak before then have a very safe and Merry Christmas/Happy Holiday!