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Staple Twitter Q&A: Nobody likes you when you’re 23. Barzal, beatwriting and Blink-182

Newsday’s Islanders beatwriter answers burning offseason questions about prospects, injuries, contracts and life in the newspaper business.

Washington Capitals v New York Islanders
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Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Before seeing Blink-182 in concert last night, Newsday Islanders reporter Arthur Staple took some questions from fans via Twitter about many topics, including Mathew Barzal, Ryan Strome, Mikhail Grabovski and the differences between being a columnist and a beatwriter.

Here’s a small selection of the responses and the full thread can be found here. As always, we thank Arthur for his time and hope the band played his favorite song, Josie.


Training camp is going to mean an extended look at 2015 first rounder Mathew Barzal, who seems like the most likely prospect to make next the team. “Seems” and “will” are two different things, though. He’s going to need a very, very strong showing to tip that 50% chance more in his favor.

Grabo’s Song

Staple would be the first to say he’s a reporter, not a doctor so let’s take this information about Mikhail Grabovski with the requisite grains of salt. The Islanders will probably want to see what kind of shape Grabovski in when training camp starts before they start to take the next steps. No doubt they, like us, want a healthy Grabovski back in the line-up next season. Right now, it sounds like there’s no guarantee that’ll happen.

All The Strome Things

So far, still no Ryan Strome, who needs a new contract extension. Signing RFAs right before camp is nothing new for the Islanders, so we wait. Getting Strome back to (at least) his rookie year scoring pace is going to be vital to their success this season, so something will get done eventually. Right?


The hiring of an in-house ice person is a new, and as of now, a not-yet-public idea for Barclays Center. During the playoffs, NHL ice man Dan Craig had patrolled the sheet at Brooklyn, but he’s since been deployed to Edmonton to get the Oilers’ new building up and running. This issue is also going to come into more focus as training camp nears, I assume.

As for any move news, it’s all part of the Islanders experience. Until there’s a press conference announcing a new building, it’s business as usual.

The Rock Show

A little inside baseball, but an interesting look at Staple’s process nonetheless. Being a team’s sole beatwriter is a real balancing act with both the organization and readers.


A random selection of topics. The goalie situation continues to confuse, and will through the World Cup where Thomas Greiss and Jaroslav Halak will be teammates on Team Europe. Every fanbase in the league is afraid of who their team is going to lose to Las Vegas next season.

I don’t know why I included the Taylor Hall/Travis Hamonic Tweet other than if I don’t, someone else will.

As for being the Islanders’ resident fighter, Staple’s offer is brave but there’s a Boulton for that.