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Portrait of an Artist: Ho-Sang talks training, Tavares, Twitter and...

...Art and orangutans and the Maple Leafs and cartoons and his dad and...god knows what else.

New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils
Stronger everyday.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

While you were outside staring at the solar eclipse and melting your retina into sloppy joes, Joshua Ho-Sang was at BioSteel Camp preparing for the season and saying cool stuff in interviews as Josh Ho-Sangs are wont to do.

Speaking with Luke Fox of Sportsnet, Ho-Sang talked about his goals for the season and about a million other things, including his thoughts on John Tavares’ contract situation and how he uses his Twitter feed to inspire and change minds.

First, on Tavares:

John Tavares says he’s in “no rush” to sign a contract. As a teammate, how does that make you feel?I respect what John is doing. He has every right to take his time. He still has a year on his contract. He’s not going anywhere. He’s not disrespecting anyone. He’s taking the length of his contract, and I don’t see a problem with that. I know for fans it’s unsettling because there’s no security. If Johnny’s gonna stay, he’ll stay and be great. If Johnny wants to leave, that’s up to him, and I’m sure he has very good reasons as to why. As an outsider, as a fan, you want to feel attached to the decision, but at the end of the day, if you’re attached to John Tavares the person, whatever he does is for him. You have to be happy for him. I’m really happy to hopefully play a full season with Johnny and learn as much as I can because I don’t know what’s going to happen with him.

Ho-Sang also praises his captain’s focus and his natural ability to just “get it.”

He was asked about his Twitter feed which contains almost daily bon mots about life and love. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready for Ho-Sang’s kind of philosophy.

Your Twitter feed is a stream of inspirational messages. What’s the motivation behind that?

I stopped for a bit because there was a bit of cyber bullying going on my social media.

How so? You got harsh responses to your tweets from fans?

Yeah, just stupid stuff I didn’t want to deal with. I see everything people say on Instagram, their comments. It’s gotten more positive than it was, but when I got sent back from camp, people were really negative. I’m not a fan of negativity in my life. I stopped tweeting for a bit.

As far as the inspiration, I believe as an athlete you have a voice. Whether it’s 100 people or 2,000 people seeing my tweets, every person that reads them takes that information in and they can use that in their own life. You’re gently touching each life that you come across. As an athlete, that’s your duty.

To be completely honest: sometimes Josh’s Twitter reaffirmations are the best part of my social media day. So please don’t harsh his or my buzz by raining on our parade. Thanks.

Finally, there’s this piece of advice from the guys signing his checks.

What was the Islanders’ message to you this summer ahead of what should be your first full NHL season?

Get good.

That’s it?

It’s simple. They want me to come in and be the best. It’s not much more complicated than that. They want me to be a top player in the league, and that’s what I want. So it’s easy.

He also talks about his favorite zoo animals (orangutans), cartoons (including Family Guy, SpongeBob, Ren & Stimpy), playing in Brooklyn (“I felt like Biggie Smalls”) and books (Cool facts, sometimes biographies). In other words, a typical wide-ranging Ho-Sang interview.

But Fox wasn’t the only one who wanted to talk to the 21-year-old today. Here he is on Sirius XM talking about his work at BioSteel.

Here he is with writer Dhiren Mahiban, expanding on his earlier comments by saying he thinks Tavares is leaning towards re-signing.

Then, with and Sirius XM’s Dave McCarthy, he talked about Tavares and the big blue-and-white elephant in the room. More on those guys later.

In his story, McCarthy quotes Ho-Sang saying the Tavares-Leafs thing is, “because (the media wants) him to go to Toronto, that's why.”

Really, though, Ho-Sang at BioSteel to get better so that the Islanders win every game this season. Hey, man. More power to you.

Finally (maybe) Ho-Sang also called into Gareth Wheeler’s show on TSN 1050 Radio today and discussed his love of painting (and his hope that he and the Islanders can auction off some work later this season), his drive to win every game and how sweet it would be to beat the Maple Leafs in the playoffs and talk shit to his Leafs fan dad.

You can listen to the whole things here (it’s about 15 minutes long) but here are two of my favorite bits:

About a minute and a half in, he talks about how how he’s visited museums and galleries over the summer.

Yeah, I love art. I paint a lot, especially during the season. I’m actually looking forward to, hopefully this year, I’ll be able to paint a couple of pictures that we’ll be able to auction off and sell for money so we can give it to charity during the season. That’s something I wanted to do with the Islanders. So I’m excited.

Not surprisingly, Josh’s passions outside of hockey are creative endeavors like art, music and writing.

Later, with about two minutes left, the subject segues from Tavares to Toronto as a whole, and Josh reveals how he looks forward to making his dad Wayne very sad one day.

“I want to beat the Leafs, I don’t know if I want to play with the Leafs. That would be more fun because I know what it’s like here when the Leafs lose. It’s the best. It’s so funny. So many hearts broken. My dad’s included. It’s awesome.”

You want to break your own dad’s heart, Josh? C’mon.

I that would be da funniest thing in the world. For the Leafs to be in the playoffs and me be on the other side and knock them out? Oh my god. I’d make fun of my dad for the whole summer.

He does acknowledge that the Leafs are “unreal” now and a legit team again. But that would just make beating them even better.

I think that’s a philosophy we can all get behind.