Brian Strait, who plays defense on the ice with the same tactical execution as the Colts’ infamous fourth down clown show against the Patriots in 2015, served as the Islanders in-house fantasy football commissioner, and he and the rest of his competitive teammates took their league very seriously. Strait, given the job by captain John Tavares that season, seemed to genuinely enjoy running his own team and managing rival fantasy GMs with varying degrees of interest in their own rosters.
But this offseason, the Islanders didn't re-sign Strait and he latched on with the Winnipeg Jets. So the totally stupid but still interesting question we ask ahead as 2016 NFL season opens is: Who is now the Islanders fantasy football league commissioner?
Let’s start by eliminating a few names right from the kick-off:
Travis Hamonic, perhaps the Most Canadian Man in the World, is very clear in the 2014 video that he’s a staunch, die hard fan of the CFL and has no interest in football below the border. Hamonic’s sometime defensive partner - Carp, Ontario native Calvin de Haan - is possibly the only person on Twitter to talk about the CFL's Ottawa RedBlacks for something other than making fun of their name. And it’s a pretty safe bet that Johnny Boychuk has a few Edmonton Eskimos jerseys in his closet right now.
So we’ll write these guys off for the job. If the Islanders start a fantasy CFL league, we’ll circle back.
The only European player to be interviewed in the original piece was Michael Grabner, who’s now playing for Jim Dolan’s real life fantasy hockey team. Of the Euros still on the Islanders, none seem like commissioner material, although Thomas Greiss has been known to swoop in to lend a hand when he's needed, so maybe he’s a possibility. We'll assume he's not.
Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera were signed this offseason and no hockey player crashes into a new locker room and takes over every aspect of team including its social activities. Except maybe Mark Messier.
P.A. Parenteau is starting his second tour as an Islander and seems like the kind of guy who shows up late to a fantasy draft then tries to build a team of players who have been suspended or arrested. He’s out.
Too Laid Back
Cal Clutterbuck comes off as too cool for school in the old MSG piece, practically laughing at his friends for taking this stupid fantasy football thing so seriously. He’s probably not interested.
Thomas Hickey, on the other hand, says that without a specific NFL team of his own to root for, his fantasy team is his de facto favorite. So the humble, heady Hickey becomes our first possible candidate for commissioner. But there are a few names ahead of him.
Anders Lee and Brock Nelson weren’t interviewed in the 2014 piece but both were on the team at the time and might have been involved in the league. Nick Leddy came around a little later. Nelson and Leddy seem a little too quiet to run a league, so we’ll eliminate them for now.
Lee played football
at Notre Dame in high school so you know he’s highly motivated. And compared to standing in front of a net and taking punishment from NHL defensemen, wrangling your unreliable friends into a fantasy football league is a cakewalk. My money's on Lee.
John Tavares was the guy who asked Strait to be the commish in the first place, so maybe he'll just take over the job, even just temporarily. He does everything else for the team, why not this, too? The bad news is that he's also clearly a giant sports fan and might still have a few fantasy baseball teams to tend to for the next week or so. So maybe he passes.
Jack Capuano is the players coach to end all players coaches. He's definitely one of the boys and probably would totally run the league if he didn't have fish to catch, action novels to write and an Acapella group to run. Whether he's the commish or not, beers at the draft are probably on him.
Would she? Between freshman classes at Stanford, her budding celebrity status and being an American Olympic hero, it might be tough to squeeze in running a fantasy football league 3,000 miles away for a bunch of her Uncle Jon's hockey players. Could she? Absolutely. Probably better than the last commissioner did.