This has been an uncool time for everyone but the Islanders and Lou Lamoriello have done a cool thing for us. The team elicited questions for the GM from fans via their website and posted the answers this morning.
There was obviously a degree of screening going on behind the scenes, but the questions do cover a wide range of topics including some at the top of fans’ minds like the status of goalie Ilya Sorokin, the health of players like Casey Cizikas and Johnny Boychuk and what he prefers to eat for breakfast.
I’ll post a few here for discussion purposes, but the whole article is free and very much worth a read. It’s not like we have anything else to do.
Thanks to the Lou and the Islanders for doing this.
Player Specific Questions:
Question from Joe Gencarelli: Any updates on Adam Pelech, Casey Cizikas and Johnny Boychuk?
Yes, Casey and Johnny will be ready to play when the season resumes. Adam will be ready for Training Camp.
Question from Dennis Anninos: What is the status of Ilya Sorokin and are there discussions to bring him to Long Island?
Yes, we have every indication that he will be here for next season.
Question from Tyler McGivney: If Mat Barzal is presented with an offer sheet, will you match?
It is our intention to not allow it to get to that point, but should that happen, the answer is yes.
All things people were hoping to hear. I’m actually surprised he even fielded the Barzal/Offer Sheet question, but that’s a fairly standard answer for an NHL GM. As far as Sorokin goes, saying he has “every indication” that the goalie will be an Islander next season puts the ball in Sorokin’s court, at least right now in the eyes of fans. Sorokin had two shutouts in a first round sweep of Torpedo in the KHL playoffs, and is now the league’s all-time leader in career playoff shutouts with 16.
It’s possible that Boychuk and Cizikas are allowed to rehab despite the self-quarantine orders. But it’s good to know they’ll be back if the season resumes.
Team Specific Questions:
Question from Carter Bentivenga: Do you see similarities between those New Jersey Cup teams to the current Islanders team?
The commitment of the players to a TEAM culture and the “buy-in” to coach Trotz and our entire coaching staff’s system.
Question from Kenneth Scheriff: From the looks of the team right now, what aspects of the game do you feel we must improve on?
Finding a way to capitalize on our offensive opportunities to score.
Question from Luka Knezevic: How do you evaluate players you want to draft? How much are statistics and numbers factored in along with character?
First of all, your scouting staff plays a major role. Their reports, observations and opinions all factor in to when you’re evaluating a player’s analytics, statistics, scoring or defensive abilities. As important as the physical aspects are, their character weighs heavily. It comes down to would you want them on your team.
That second answer is the big one. We’re obviously not the only ones who have noticed that the Islanders can never seem to get that one extra goal to take them to victory. Lou has said in the past that the number one thing he looks at is goal differential, and right now, the Islanders are at a minus-1, which clearly isn’t gonna cut it.
The other two were just kind of interesting to me.
Lou Specific Questions:
Question from Kevin DeStefano: How come you make everyone choose a small number?
I still believe in tradition, however players who join our organization with an established number are allowed to continue wearing that number when they arrive. It’s not the number that makes the player, it’s the player that makes the number.
Question from Carrie Oakey: What is your morning routine?
Rise at 5AM, workout, shave, light breakfast and then off to work with a stop at Starbucks. Of course, this schedule varies when on the road.
Question from Mark Artes: What is your favorite cereal?
I prefer fresh fruit and berries for breakfast rather than cereal.
Lou kinda dodges the numbers question, but I guess the big takeaway is that the “player makes the number.” Why that number can’t be higher than 40 is I think what the question was getting at, but whatever.
Like all men his age, Lou is an early riser (my 84-year-old dad is asleep by 9 pm and up at 4 am, basically). Good to see he’s still hitting the gym and using what I assume is a straight razor, sharpened on a long piece of leather.
I’m a little disappointed we didn’t get a cereal recommendation, but it probably would have been Grape Nuts anyway. It’s also a little surprising that he doesn’t do the Italian breakfast of some espresso with maybe a cookie. But if the fruit and berries are working for him, who am I to argue?
Lamoriello also answers a bunch of questions about character and leadership, which dovetail nicely into a feature from Mollie Walker at the New York Post that also ran today. In a look at Anders Lee’s lifetime of leadership roles, Walker talks to old coaches, in hockey and football, and current Islanders about what makes the captain so captainly.
It’s stories like this that tell you the kind of person he has always been.
Lee’s leadership carried over to the collegiate level while playing for the Fighting Irish. Jackson was prepared to name him captain after his freshman season, something the 34-year hockey coach said he had never done in his entire career. Lee, however, said he was concerned for his teammates when Jackson approached him with the opportunity to be captain.
“He was so respectful of the upperclassman that he didn’t think that it was time yet,” Jackson said. “He was being respectful to the juniors and seniors that were coming back. I give him a lot of credit for that, because most kids wouldn’t have the maturity to be able to make that kind of a decision.”
Lee chose to serve as alternate captain his sophomore year before assuming the role of captain the following season, his last before making the jump to the NHL.
Teammate Josh Bailey says, “He’s an easy guy to follow, I think everyone on this team would consider him a close personal friend,” which is cool. Anders also gives his thoughts on what he thinks the Islanders problems have been during their losing streak that preceded the NHL shutdown.
Two cool things for your reading pleasure this weekend. Read slowly. They might have to hold us over for a while.