Matt Martin

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 29: The Potential To Clinch

It’s stretch time, the most exciting time of the year if your team is still in the mix – and the Islanders are very much in that mix.

There’s a lot of different scenarios that can play out over the next few games, but one is the most important part. The New York Islanders can secure their bid into the playoffs with a win tonight over the Buffalo Sabres. That’s all that matters right now.

Seeding, opponent – none of that matters at this very second.

I will be in attendance tonight at the Barn, as well as on Monday – but until then Episode 29 touches on all of the games over the last week, we take some Twitter questions and go into a little bit of detail on some other fun topics.

Give it a listen and enjoy it tonight on your way to the game or if you plan to tailgate on this beautiful afternoon.

Win tonight, build upon in and try to secure home ice, or even the division title later next week as the season wraps up.

Episode 28: No Time To Let Up With Arthur Staple

Ten games, eleven points – that’s all that’s separating the New York Islanders from reaching their first playoff birth in three seasons. But, let’s not forget that they’re not supposed to even be where they are – by all accounts right?

Don’t tell that to Barry Trotz and company though, as the coach and his staff have their team playing sound defensive hockey.

Episode 28 features the return of one of my favorite guests in Arthur Staple now of The Athletic New York. We talk about a variety of topics, from the showing signs of life power play, to line combinations, coaching strength and experience down to what to expect down the stretch and into the playoffs.

Arthur and I also talk about the fantastic goaltending performances of both Thomas Greiss (the NHL’s first star this week) and Robin Lehner.

If you missed it, Arthur had a fantastic article yesterday in The Athletic talking about Mat Barzal and how he is coming into his own as a player – forgoing the personal accolades for the sake of winning. We happen to talk about some of this as well, including Barzal’s slight struggles in his sophomore season.

If that’s not enough, we go into detail on the line combinations and what the team needs to do come playoff time to make the most of their opportunity.

To keep up with tradition for Art, he gives us his self admitted horrible take on where the Islanders will finish and who they are likely to face – so I hope you guys enjoy it.

The show will be on hiatus however, for a week as I will be headed down to sunny Florida for a few days. I’ll be active on Twitter as always so please head there to join the conversation.

Follow me on Twitter: @islesblogger and @faithfulisles – but don’t forget to follow Art, too @stapeathletic

Catch up with you all next week!

Episode 27: Off The Post With Brett Cyrgalis

Episode 27, it’s kind of fitting that we are going to exit the 20’s of the podcast as we move down the stretch into the playoff hunt. It’s been an exciting year with a lot of great guests so far and that continues this episode with Brett Cyrgalis of The New York Post.

Brett recently announced that he’s the full time beat writer covering the New York Islanders for the remainder of the season and I wanted to have him on to talk some hockey.

Many of you guys out there tend to hammer him from time to time, but I’m here to announce that he’s not an Islanders or Rangers fan, so you can stand down.

Brett and I talk about what Lou lamoniello and Barry Trotz bring to the Islanders as an organization, we talked about pending unrestricted free agents Brock Nelson, Jordan Eberle, and Anders Lee (He wrote about his contract situation today actually, give it a read).

We also talk about the sudden adversity that the Islanders face with illness and injuries and what that can mean for the team down the stretch drive to the playoffs. The Metropolitan division is so tight that anything can have a negative effect on the team, so it’s so important to take every point they can earn.

As far as injuries, we talk about Cal Clutterbuck and how there’s a need for some concern over Robin Lehner’s perceived concussion as it relates to his diagnosed anxiety and mental health issues. Obviously, as we saw with Kyle Okposo – concussions can do crazy things to mental health, and theres a real fear there for Lehner. But we’re going to take that one day at a time, just like the Islanders.

Special thanks to Brett again for coming on! Please give him a follow on Twitter @brettcyrgalis and head on over to the New York Post to read all his great Islanders coverage as well.

If you’ve been listening and enjoying the content, please head over to iTunes and give us a rate and a review? Show us the love! Please also follow me on Twitter @islesblogger and @faithfulisles.

Lastly, subscribe to the show by clicking here. If you’re not subscribing on Youtube – do that as well!

Episode 26: It’s Time To Trotz

It really IS time to Trotz.

We’ve talked a lot this season about what a coach like Barry Trotz brings to an organization, I’m sorry – to THIS organization (Still hard to wrap my head around at times), He’s the type of analytic thinker and teacher that gets his point across in ways that’s clear, as made evident by the great article from Arthur Staple yesterday on The Athletic (paywall).

But what does that mean for the New York Islanders? A lot.

The Isles have historically struggled at various junctures throughout the long NHL season, most times the let down occurs later in the year when the team begins to show signs of low stamina mentally and physically. This has all occurred even before a guy like Barry Trotz was part of the organization.

With injuries cropping up now to Cal Clutterbuck, Matt Martin, and most importantly Robin Lehner – coupled with some less than perfect offensive and defensive play, the onus is on the head coach to correct the problems he faces.

The good news is, he’s more than capable of this. He’s shown it everywhere he’s been a coach and at every level. He can squeeze every ounce of talent and great play from players for sure. In this episode I talk a little about what exactly needs to be done and also about the strangeness of the last few games.

This episode also talks about the inability to score on the power play, at even strength at times and the penalty kill. It goes into the defensive woes, goaltending and how struggling right now with the tightness of the Metropolitan Division is probably the worst time to struggle.

I also spend some time talking about the return of John Tavares and the Maple Leafs – especially the reaction by Isles fans, Leafs fans, the media and the City of Toronto. Amazing stuff.

This episode is a short one, but I plan on recording again this weekend – so stay tuned.

If you’ve been listening and enjoying the content, please head over to iTunes and give us a rate and a review? Show us the love! Please also follow me on Twitter @islesblogger and @faithfulisles.

Lastly, subscribe to the show by clicking here. If you’re not subscribing on Youtube – do that as well!

Episode 20: Are We Right? With Down Goes Brown

Episode 20, we are out of the teens now – it’s the big time!

Episode 19 got The Isles Faithful Podcast past the 5000 downloads range (and it’s still climbing!) so thank you all for the continued support and always great questions! It’s been a wild ride so far and 2019 is shaping up to be even better as we move through January here.

The Islanders split their back to back games over the weekend with a loss to the Rangers on Saturday and a statement win on Sunday over the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning! The Islanders exploded for three goals in under four minutes, Matt Martin had two primary assists, Casey Cizikas extended his season best goal total in the process, Cal Clutterbuck also chipped in – making the fourth line the “fourst” line? I don’t know what they are – but I do know that @yesmenoutfitter created a new shirt for the Best Fourth Line in Hockey! Check it out! (Use the code FAITHFUL10 at checkout for 10% off thought the rest of this season!).

The power play on Saturday was a complete disaster. The came out of nowhere on Sunday on their only power play and looked professional and clean – scoring their first goal being a man up. It was Brock Nelson coming to the rescue and riding his strong play into the new year. Josh Bailey would cap off the day with an empty net goal, as well.

Joining me this week, is someone I have been a fan of for a long time – he goes by the name Down Goes Brown, but Sean McIndoe is a long time blogger, Twitter chirper (@downgoesbrown) and now full-time writer over at The Athletic. He joined the amazing crew over there during the offseason and has been pumping out great article after great article.

Last week, he put out a piece titled “Are Islanders fans right in thinking their team’s not getting enough credit?” that you should go and read, if you already haven’t. In it, he approaches things in a unique way that presents fans with a line of questions (and explanations) from multiple angles. Overall, it’s a pretty positive piece in a time where coverage outside of the regular writers, is not there. Fans had been giving him a hard time for never including him in his Power Rankings, and this story was a result of some of his research into wether the Islanders are deserving or not.

Sean answers the bell here, he wore his hockey gear and I fired a few shots at him to see if he meant what he said. Turns out, he does – and it’s worth a listen.

Although, he does do the typical Canadian thing – he’s way too nice and apologized for things I don’t really think deserved apologizing over.

He’s a hard guy not to like, that Down Goes Brown guy.