The Athletic

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 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.

Episode 16: Talking Power Outage And More with Arthur Staple

I have been going on, and on, and on – for what seems like weeks now about this power-less power play of the New York Islanders. It didn’t seem like long ago that we had a fantastic power play, but horrendous everything else….but such is life around here in Islanders country, right?

We have top notch coaching now, we have top notch management and ownership. We’re about to have a state-of-the-art arena, which feels really strange to type – but it’s true. Why can’t we have a well playing team under these new and awesome coaches, that INCLUDES a proper power play? Arthur Staple of The Athletic joins me on The Isles Faithful Podcast this week to find out, or at least discuss some of the possible reasons why the power is out.

We also go into some defensive talk, praising Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk, we speak about the offensive powerhouse of Scott Mayfield under Barry Trotz and the solid play of Thomas Hickey as well. We touch on some of the offensive strengths and weaknesses, discuss what moves Lou Lamoriello can make or not make to bolster the teams needs and go into some possible moves that’ll finally see Josh Ho-Sang called up from the AHL Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

We literally touched on a ton of great topics that’ll be sure to wet your whistle in a variety of areas.

Have a listen and let us know what you think!

Be sure to follow Arthur on Twitter if you’re not already doing so – he’s one of the best in Isles Twitter for sure. Head on over to The Athletic as well as they’re running some great deals for you to subscrive and enjoy a bunch of great writers covering every sport there is – including all of the major area sports teams!

Episode 6: Talking Robin Lehner with Joe Yerdon of The Athletic

This week, we were blown away with a bombshell by new Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner. Turns out, the last few years he has been suffering through an addiction, and mental illness. This all came out yesterday, in a story he wrote himself for The Athletic.

It’s worth a read, and – there’s no paywall for the article. It’s so important that they have chosen to make it free for everyone.

Mental illness is no joke, neither is addiction. Lehner does a fantastic job of speaking of all these things in this letter and I truly believe this revelation and the treatments he’s been through will make him a better person, father, husband and athlete. Which is why I asked my good friend and Buffalo Sabres writer for The Athletic, Joe Yerdon (@joeyerdon) to join me this week.

Lehner previously played for the Sabres and was known for his outbursts, his fiery personality and for his at times, stellar play. Joe goes into detail about the type of guy Robin is and what Isles fans should expect out of him as a goaltender and a person. He also speaks about his history of dealing with Robin during his time with the Sabres.

I also take your Twitter questions again them this week, and I have a small announcement as well – I have created a Discord Channel. This will be used to dedicate an entire episode, maybe once a month to YOU GUYS, Islanders Fans. The channel name is The Isles Faithful, it’s not quite live yet so keep an eye out on Twitter and Facebook for news on this.

Discord is like a chatroom, it’s also like a party line Skype. I can pick on people to speak and we’ll record the show like that if theres enough interest. It’s shaping up to be a lot of fun, at least that’s the hope anyway!

Enjoy Episode 6 and we’ll speak to you next week in Episode 7.