Statement from yours truly

Postat: 11 april, 2018 av Magnus i Okategoriserade

Kära Islandersfans,

Återigen tvingas vi ställa oss frågan vi inte vill ställa, den här tiden på året. Vad gick snett denna gång? Efter två av organisationens bästa år på länge, 2014-16, har skutan nu vänt riktning med två raka säsonger utan framgång. När avgörandet i 2016 års första slutspelsrunda fälldes, kände jag, och säkert många med mig, att vi äntligen hade ett slagkraftigt lag för framtiden.

Men tappet av tre viktiga karaktärspelare under sommaruppehållet 2016 verkar haft större påverkan på dynamiken än vad en del förutspått, framförallt organisationsledningen. Tittar man på ersättarna så borde verkligen resultat kunna uppnås, men oförmågan att få ut den potential som vissa spelare besitter har blivit förödande.

På målvaktssidan har laget nu lutat sig mot samma tandem i ett par år. Stabiliteten och framförallt jämnheten har försämrats markant under den gångna säsongen. Där man tidigare kände sig trygg med sista utpostens agerande är man numera otrygg.

Många hävdar att målvakternas insats påverkats negativt av försvarets agerande, vilket faktiskt är en starkt bidragande orsak till denna otrygghet. Avsaknaden av spelförståelse har ibland varit förbluffande, speciellt förmågan att värdera och avväga när och hur man som försvarare skall anfalla respektive hålla igen offensivt. Alldeles för många ”odd-man rushes” mot eget mål har resulterat negativt.

Skall vi istället titta på ljusglimtarna, de som ändå fanns. Vi har åtminstone sju forwards som inte behöver skämmas på isen. Även om de inte presterar på topp i varje byte eller varje match så är de tillräckligt hemma i sina roller för att få ett godkänt betyg i år. Jag pratar om våra topp sex forwards samt vår bästa defensiva forward, tillika center i fjärdelinan. Dessa spelare har enligt mig gjort tillräckligt för att, utan vidare fördjupning, förtjäna en ny säsong i blått och orange. Det finns dock även bland anfallarna ett par stora besvikelser. Spelare som förmodligen inte hittat sin roll inom laget, kanske förstår man den inte eller så passar den inte spelartypen. En del spelare glimtar till stundtals, vilket får mig att tänka att det bara är något litet som saknas för att det skall bli ett permanent anfallsvapen. Kanske en annan kedjekamrat eller i en annan roll.

Vems är då ansvaret för att just få ut spelarnas rätta potential? Enligt många så är det coachens jobb. För spela hockey kan alla som tagit sig till denna nivå. Coachens främsta mål måste vara att få spelarna att förstå deras roll i det spelsystem som coachen förespråkar. Annars slarvar man ju bort spelarnas egenskaper. Det är också coachens roll att faktiskt se i vilken roll varje enskild spelare passar bäst och snabbt rätta till de eventuella brister man upptäcker hos spelare som antingen inte förstått sin roll eller inte kan utföra den uppgift man är satt att göra. Om coachen fallerar i denna arbetsuppgift så bör man överväga coachens lämplighet. Antingen ser coachen inte bristerna eller så misslyckas han att förmedla handlingsplanen för att åtgärda bristerna.

Hur ser då framtiden ut? En del frågetecken behöver rätas ut innan en mer detaljerad analys kan göras. Men generellt så kommer förändringar vara nödvändiga. Vi väntar alla på vår kaptens stora beslut i sommar och om vi leker med tanken att han försvinner så behöver vi plocka in nytt friskt blod anfallsmässigt. Kanske kan det bli i form av vårt förstarundeval 2016, kanske någon på free agent- marknaden. På målvaktssidan har vi ett utgående kontrakt att ta ställning till, förlänga eller ej. Hur ser egentligen återväxten ut på den sidan? Kanske inte så ljus som vi ibland lurar oss att tro. Man får hoppas att det finns en tydlig plan från organisationen om hur de vill att det skall se ut nästa säsong. Detsamma gäller ju även försvaret. Ett utgående kontrakt där men skillnaden i detta fall är att vi har en del intressanta spelare som knackar på dörren underifrån. Med tanke på denna lagdels mindre smickrande facit i år så hoppas man på en del förändringar här.

Sista, men ack så viktiga biten. Gruppen. #NYISE. Vi tappra fantaster som år ut och år in sliter vårt numera gråare och gråare hår. Som vrålar ut vår lycka efter ett gössigt mål av världens bästa lag, eller mer diskret väljer sina uttryck av glädje i ett återhållsamt sådärja!

Hur ser vår framtid ut? Vad vill vi göra med gruppen? Vad skall fokus ligga på? Saknas det något? Är toppen nådd? Kommer vi kunna hålla uppe intresset? Många frågor, varav en del kanske redan har ett självklart svar. Men är det något ni känner så var inte rädda att ta upp det i gruppen. Kan vara precis vad som helst, bara det har med själva gruppen eller laget att göra. Diskussioner är alltid av godo. Ingen mår bra av att tyst låta sig kvävas av massan bara för att man inte tror ens fråga är viktig.

Hoppas ni alla får en riktigt bra sommar nu! Må väl!

Annonser

EN EPISK KVÄLL MED EXTRA ALLT

Postat: 25 januari, 2018 av Magnus i Okategoriserade

Äntligen!!

For an English version click here

Januari 2014. Ett nyfiket och förväntansfullt gäng samlas kring T-centralen i Stockholm. Vissa har åkt från Norrland, andra från Skåne. En del har tagit bussen från någon förort, någon har kommit med tåget från västkusten. Alla är på gott humör samtidigt som nervositeten börjar närma sig. Vilka är de andra? Trots att man pratats vid på nätet vet man ju inte så mycket om hur de är och om man skall känna igen dom. Men så kommer man på sig själv, vi är ju alla Islanderssupportrar så vad kan gå fel?

En magisk kväll och ett bortdömt Vanek-mål senare så var resan inledd. En resa mot en oförglömlig stund. Mot en segerns sötma, som dock skulle dröja fyra år innan vi fick chansen att smaka på.

Längs resan träffade vi en legendar när Tommy Söderström så generöst bjöd på sig själv och sina minnen. Frågorna fullkomligt haglade i rummet när den före detta världsmålvakten gästade oss 2015. Tommy behöll dock lugnet, visade klass och svarade tålmodigt på allt vi ville veta.

Tommy Söderström gästade oss 2015

En annan världsberömd spelare som vi stötte på 2017 var Börje Salming. Vi var dock snälla mot honom och nöjde oss med ett handslag och ett foto.

Linus och Börje

Vi fick under sju olika tillfällen, under stora känslomässiga berg-o-dalbanor, bevittna Islanders oförmåga att ta två poäng. Detta trots ledningar med 3-0, diverse nidramsor mot motståndarlagen och gemensamma försök att tjöta in pucken framför TV-apparaterna. Ändå var facit 0-5-2 inför denna, den åttonde träffen. Nu satte vi allt på ett kort, hatderby mot ärkerivalen från Manhattan.

Historien hade skapat en monumental, med betoning på mental, uppförsbacke för supporterskaran. Men detta skulle komma att bli kvällen då vi trasade sönder Rangers och fick förbannelsen bruten.

O’Learys klassiska grönvitrutiga bordsdukar ihop med dess blandade Bostonmemorabilia på väggarna fick deltagarna att känna sig hemmastadda. Många kända ansikten blandades med ett par nya och för några hade förberedelserna startat redan någon timme tidigare med öl i hotellbaren på Post Hotell.

Där fick undertecknad frågan av en gäst från ett utomstående sällskap om hur det gått i matchen. Men när vederbörande fick syn på Islanderströjan så kom kommentaren ”Nej, det är ju inte hockey” som ett slag i ansiktet. Hade hela scenen utspelas på isen hade handskarna varit kastade för länge sedan. Nu fick man istället bita tungan blodig men däremot jubla inombords då den desillusionerade töntens Frölunda låg under mot Brynäs.

Tretton av världens bästa soffcoacher inledde träffen med sedvanliga diskussioner kring viktiga frågeställningar såsom huruvida Thomas Greiss mediokra spel under säsongen påverkats av alla skriverier under World Cup efter att han gillat en bild på Instagram där Hillary Clinton jämställdes med Hitler.

Efter inmundigande av kökets bästa och ett efterföljande sylvasst quiz signerat Mattias Lunde var det så dags för nedsläpp mot laget vi alla älskar att hata.

Joakim

Rangers uppenbara rädsla att låta sin egenutnämnda ”kung” åter bli utspelad mot Halak innebar att man ställde sin avdankade andramålis i kassen. Men föga hjälpte det. Efter ”Mat Barzal Show” och fem insläppta tvingades hemmalaget att plocka in Lunkan till stort jubel i salongen.

Fullt jubel

Trots stor ledning och euforisk stämning vågade man inte riktigt ta ut någon seger i förskott med tanke på vad vi upplevt vid tidigare träffar. Men denna gång kunde inget stoppa oss. High fives flög genom rummet. Spontan allsång stämde upp om vad vi verkligen tycker om motståndarna. Tweets förmedlades om att trägen vinner och våra amerikanska supportervänner var inte sena att gratulera.

Islandersfansen tog över stället

Känslan att kunna lämna lokalen efter match med ett segerrus likt detta är något vi alla suktat efter under så lång tid. Att komma ut och få möta den krispiga Göteborgsluften med ett leende på läpparna, vilken upplevelse! Inte ens den mest välregisserade Disneyfilm hade kunnat frambringa en större feelgoodkänsla. NHL-Sveriges kanske mest passionerade supportergrupp fick till slut lön för mödan och frågar du vem som helst som var med så var det väl värt väntan.

ONE SUPER SIZED EPIC NIGHT

Postat: 24 januari, 2018 av Magnus i Okategoriserade

It’s January 2014. A curious and expectant crowd gathers at O’Learys Sports Restaurant located in the Stockholm Central Station. Some have traveled from Norrland in the north, others from Skåne in the south. Some have taken the bus from the suburbs and someone has arrived by train from the west coast. Everyone is in a good mood, still jitters begins to approach. Who are the others? Even though you have been chatting online, you don’t really know much about them and whether to recognize them. But then you think twice, we’re all Islanders fans so what can possibly go wrong?

A magic night and a disallowed Vanek goal later, the trip had begun. A journey towards an unforgettable moment. Towards the sweet taste of glory, yet it would take four years before we got the chance to have a sip of it.

Along the trip, we met legend Tommy Soderstrom whom so generously opened up sharing his memories from his Islanders days. The former world class goalkeeper hosted us in 2015 and we were sure to ask every single question we ever wanted to know the answer to about the team back in the mid 90’s. Tommy, however, kept calm, showed class and patiently responded to everything we wanted to know.

Me and Tommy Soderstrom back in 2015

In 2017 we bumped into another renowned former NHL star as Borje Salming was in the right place at the same time. However, this time we were kind enough to settle for a handshake and a photo opportunity.

Linus and BJ in 2017

Altogether we had to bite the bullet on seven different occasions witnessing the Islanders inability to win a single game on our meet ‘n’ greets. This although we once experienced a 3-0 lead, later blown. We tried boosting the team by performing mocking songs about the opposing teams and also joint attempts to verbally force the puck into the net. Nevertheless, the record was 0-5-2 entering game day and the eighth gathering. This time we went all in, picking a game against our biggest rivalry, the big bad wolf from Manhattan.

The history of defeats on game party nights had created a monumental, or rather mental, uphill struggle for the Swedish supporters. But this would be the night when we shredded the Rangers into rags and broke the curse.

O’Learys classic green & white tablecloths, together with its mixed Boston memorabilia hanging on the walls, made all participants to feel at home. Many famous faces were mixed with a couple of new ones and for some the preparations had already started an hour earlier with a beer in the hotel bar at Hotel Post.

I myself received a question there by a guest from an outside party, “what’s the score?” But when the person saw my Islanders jersey, he said ”Oh sorry, that’s not hockey”. The comment was a real blow and if the whole scenario had been taken place on the ice, the gloves would have been off for a long time ago. Instead I had to bite my tongue, but shortly thereafter I was still filled with joy as the disillusioned dork’s favorite team Frolunda was losing to Brynas in the SHL.

Thirteen of the world’s best couch coaches started the meeting with usual discussions on key issues such as whether Thomas Greiss mediocre play during the season were influenced by the fuzz during the World Cup after he liked an Instagram post where Hillary Clinton was portrayed as Hitler.

Following dinner of the best of what the kitchen could offer we all participated in a sharp-edged Islanders quiz created by Mattias Lunde. Then finally the time had come, face off against the team we all love to hate.

Joakim

Rangers apparent fear of letting their own ”king” once again being outplayed by Halak forced them to play their inept backup goalie. But it did not help. After the ”Mat Barzal Show” and five conceded goals the home team had to give Lundqvist a shot, to everyone’s delight in the lounge.

Crazy people

Despite the big lead and euphoric mood, no one really did want to take the W for granted, considering what we had experienced in previous meetings. But this time nothing could stop us. High fives were thrown across the room. Spontaneous songs broke out about what we really think about the opponents. Tweets were posted about how we finally got a win and our American fellow Islanders supporters were not late to congratulate us.

More crazy people

The feeling of being able to leave the room after a game with a victory rush, this is something we all sought after for so long. To face the crispy Gothenburg air with a smile on your lips, what an experience! Not even the most well-directed Disney picture could have left us with a greater feel-good feeling. The most passionate supporter groups of all of Sweden’s NHL fans finally got paid off for their patience and if you ask whoever involved, it was well worth the wait.

Finally!!

This week I had the opportunity of talking to the New York Islanders broadcaster, Brendan Burke. He told me interesting things about himself and his work. Also, a couple of fun facts that emerged along the interview. Read for instance about his longshot following graduation that paid off, big time.

 

I’m curious about your childhood. You were born in Milwaukee, WI, but your family moved to New Jersey when you were six. What memories do you have from that period?

I really don’t have a good memory so when it comes to my childhood I really have a tough time remembering much. But when we lived in Wisconsin my dad – a sports writer – was covering the Milwaukee Brewers, Green Bay Packers and the IHL’s Milwaukee Admirals. So I do remember tagging along with him at baseball games and hockey games. That was my first real exposure to hockey.

Did you practice any sports yourself as a kid?

In Wisconsin, kids learn to skate and play hockey at a young age. So I started skating at 3 or 4 years old and playing hockey shortly thereafter. So hockey has been a part of my life since I was a very little kid.

When I moved to New Jersey, I continued to play hockey at a pretty competitive level. That took up most of my free time on nights and weekends. I played all four years of high school and played on the club team at Ithaca College. So while I wasn’t playing hockey to help my broadcasting career, I have to imagine that it helped out quite a bit. 

Your father Don has a long record as a sports writer. How do you think that affected you in your career choice?

He has covered many sports and teams for few different newspapers. For a good portion of my childhood he was a beat reporter covering the New York Yankees. So as a kid I was afforded some great opportunities to spend time behind the scenes at Major League Baseball games. The experience that had the greatest impact on me was that I occasionally would be able to sit between the Yankees radio broadcasters while they called a game. It was that experience that sparked my interest – and ultimately love – for broadcasting.

You became the youngest broadcaster in the ECHL in 2006 when you began calling Wheeling Nailers games, only 22 years old. How did you get the job?

I got the job in Wheeling with a little bit of luck. The summer that I graduated from college, I had sent a demo tape and resume to every team in the ECHL and AHL (and a few more as well), regardless of whether or not they had a job opening. I didn’t hear back from very many of them and I was without a job as the season was approaching. Then the broadcaster in Wheeling left in late-September and instead of starting a full-blown search, they were impressed enough by my tape to interview me for the job and ultimately offer it to me.

Was it especially tough to take on a gig like that considering your age?

The job was challenging because I had never done it before but it was the perfect situation for me that I was able to feel my way through it the first year. Broadcasting is something that you get more and more comfortable with the more you do it. On top of that I was also in charge of the media and public relations for the team and I had no experience doing that.

It certainly sounds like quite a challenge. I guess it was a good time for picking up useful advice from colleagues around the league?

I certainly leaned on a lot of other guys in the ECHL that season to show me what to do. I also did some research and paid attention and tried to excel in that role because in the eyes of many, that part of the job is even more important than broadcasting.

What was your immediate reaction when the Islanders asked you to take over from Howie Rose?

My immediate reaction was total shock, even though by that point I was pretty confident that I was going to get the job. It has been a lifelong goal to get an NHL broadcasting job, but to get it in New York City (which is home to me) and to get it on television was a dream come true. I still pinch myself sometimes and it’s been a year.

Did you have to apply for the job or did the organization reach out to you? 

There is no job application but you need to submit your demo tape and make your interest in the job known. Much of that is handled by my agent in the initial stages and then once it progresses past that then I met with MSG for an interview. After that I recorded an audition by calling a game off a television monitor alongside Butch Goring. It was a process that took 2+ months, but obviously well worth it.

What was the reaction of your family to the news?

It was an emotional time for my entire family. Some of my favorite moments were telling people like my wife and my dad that I got the job. They are extremely proud of me and I am extremely grateful for all the help that they have given me along the way. I am well aware that I don’t get to this point by myself and those two have been my biggest supporters.

Could you talk us through a usual game day from your perspective?

Game days are fun and the culmination of a lot of work put in on non-game days. The day usually begins with reading newspaper articles and web sites from the outstanding journalists that cover the NHL. Then it’s on to morning skate where we watch practice and can talk with the players and coaches for both teams. After that it’s back home (or to the hotel) to put the finishing touches on my preparation and grab some lunch. We have a production meeting with the entire crew at 4:30pm (for a 7pm game). We eat dinner after that and have a rehearsal at about 6pm. Then we go on the air at 7 and have some fun.

Is there any post game assignments you need to finish before calling it a day, something that isn’t shown for the TV audience?

After we’re done with the postgame show, I am done. If we are not traveling I try and relax a little bit before diving back into work the next morning. If we are on the move then I will work on my prep for the next game on the plane ride.

Advanced stats have become very popular among fans these days. What are your thoughts about it? Is it something you use at all in your pre game preparations?

I am not against advanced stats but, like any stat, they don’t tell the whole story. So while I will look at them and do my best to understand what they measure I think the use of them in the broadcasting world is a very tricky line to walk. I think our viewers would rather hear the English translation as opposed to the numbers. So while you won’t hear me say that “Team A is has the second-best Corsi in the NHL at 54 percent”, you may hear me say “Team A is one of the best puck-possession teams in the league.”  But it is certainly something that is still evolving.  

About the arena situation, where do you think the Islanders will play their home games in the future?

I am as interested as everyone else to find out what is going to happen. I’m happy to be calling Islanders games no matter where they play.

How is it to work with Butch, Shannon, Rick and Stan? You seem to have a lot of fun together. Do you just meet at work or are you also seeing each other in your spare time sometimes?

We do have a lot of fun together and obviously during the season we spend a lot of time together, not just when we are working. We eat meals together, we sit next to each other on the plane, we watch practices together. We don’t really have much spare time during the season. During the summer is when we pretty much all go our separate ways. We travel and spend time with family so we certainly see each other less frequently. But we will still text from time to time and will grab lunch if the situation arises.

Finally, what do you do in your spare time? Are there any favorite activities on your days off?

My spare time now involves entirely around my kids. I have a 3-year-old daughter, Quinn, and a 5-month-old son, Liam. So I am on full-time dad duty during the summers. We like to travel and explore New York City, but as boring as it sounds that’s pretty much all I do.

BrBu2

BRENDAN BURKE

 

 

FIVE QUICK ONES

  • Football or Baseball? – I love them both – to broadcast and to watch.
  • Brooklyn or Manhattan? – I live in Brooklyn so I have to say Brooklyn, but I love Manhattan and get over there pretty frequently.
  • Blue or Orange? – Most of my wardrobe is blue.
  • Beer or Wine? – I’ve never had either. Shocking, I know.
  • Trade Deadline or Free Agent Frenzy? – Probably free agency because almost everyone is involved.

Supporterträff i Göteborg

Postat: 9 augusti, 2017 av Magnus i Okategoriserade

NHL: New York Islanders at New York Rangers

Säsongens enda officiella supporterträff kommer gå av stapeln den 13:e januari 2018 och platsen blir i Göteborg. Hatderbyt mellan Rags och Islanders står på programmet, lite extra krydda till träffen då Götet är lite av ett Rangersfäste. Preliminärt står O’Leary’s på Avenyn som värd även denna gång, även om lokal kan komma att ändras när TV-tablån släpps.

Matchen startar 19:00 och vi kommer i sedvanlig ordning boka bord till 17:30-tiden. Vi skall bland annat hinna med en lurig frågesport signerad Mattias Lunde, samt få i oss en bit mat under kvällens gång.

Med tanke på att detta blir säsongens enda chans att träffas allihopa så hoppas vi såklart på stor uppslutning. Kanske kan vi till och med bräcka deltagarrekordet för supporterträffarna som i dagsläget är 22 personer.

De enklaste sätten att anmäla sig till träffen är antingen på Facebook i vår supportergrupp #nyise, där man letar upp evenemanget och sedan klickar ni i ”kommer”, alternativt att ni meddelar mig på twitter, @swedishislander.

Kommentarer i kommentarsfältet till denna artikel är ett tredje sätt att anmäla sig på. Dock kommer jag endast kolla av detta nån gång i månaden så där kan en bekräftelse dröja.

Väl mött mina vänner!

Ett par spelare har den senaste tiden skrivit på nya kontrakt med Islanders. Dennis Seidenberg, Adam Pelech och Calvin de Haan har signat på backsidan och framåt förlängde Stephen Gionta nyligen med laget.

På coachingsidan har Doug Weight plockat in Luke Richardson, Kelly Buchberger och Scott Gomez som assisterande medan Greg Cronin fått en ny roll som associate coach. Dessutom har Fred Brathwaite ersatt Mike Dunham som målvaktstränare.

Den största förändringen i laget är att Jordan Eberle kommer från Oilers i utbyte mot Ryan Strome som trots höga förväntningar inte riktigt lyckats leva upp till dom. Travis Hamonic lämnar Islanders för vidare spel i Flames. Fina draftval gavs i utbyte, återstår att se hur de utnyttjas.

Ebs

Det stora frågetecknet just nu är om och i så fall när John Tavares kommer förlänga med Islanders. Hans kontrakt går ut efter kommande säsong och innan dess hoppas vi på en signatur från #91. Annars blir det en osunt oviss väntan fram till nästa juli.

Ett annat frågetecken är arenafrågan. Efter två säsonger i Barclays Center är både arenan och Islanders tveksamma till en långvarig fortsättning. Islanders vill istället försöka bygga en ny arena i området kring hästkapplöpningsbanan Belmont Park. Nyligen gavs möjligheten att lägga fram förslag från intressenter om vad de vill göra med marken där. Islanders förväntas vara en av dessa intressenter. Sen är det fortfarande upp till markägarna att välja vad som skall hända med ytan.

This week I had the opportunity to an exclusive interview with Art Staple, NY Islanders beat writer at Newsday, and I asked him a little bit about himself, his work and about the Islanders. Staple is now entering his 7th season covering the Islanders, but they haven’t always been the number one New York hockey team for Art.

 

Tell me a little bit about yourself as a kid. Where did you grow up? How and when did you get interested in sports?

I grew up in New York City, about 10 blocks from Madison Square Garden. In the 1970s and 1980s New York wasn’t quite the same place for kids it is now, so we didn’t have a lot of outdoor time – my older brother became interested in hockey after we would play in roller skates near my grandmother’s building and he played ice hockey for a bit, but mostly he wanted to go to Rangers games and I tagged along.

Do you have any special memories from your childhood regarding the rivalry between the Rangers and the Islanders?

I knew about the rivalry from the time I started watching. One of my first Rangers-Islanders memories was staying up late to watch Game 5 of the 1984 first round, when Don Maloney batted in the tying goal with a high stick and Ken Morrow won it for the Isles in OT to send them on to try for the 5th Cup. I was a Ranger fan then for sure so it was a lot of frustration at not being able to knock off the champs.

Did you practice any sports yourself as a kid?

I played baseball growing up and into high school, but I wasn’t much of a skater so hockey was out.

You went to Boston University 1989-93 to study journalism. How was BU?

BU was fun. My brother was a senior when I started as a freshman so I already knew a bit about the school; another friend of ours from home, Sean Grande, was there as well and he’s now the radio announcer for the Boston Celtics, so I connected with the BU radio station through him. We did some hockey games together, but I was not an avid follower of the hockey program.

Do you have any special memories or anecdotes from your time in school you’d like to share?

When I was a senior in high school I started an internship with the legendary Stan Fischler. He ran a huge operation out of his uptown New York apartment and I was in heaven – I got to help research and write chapters of his books, I was his Rangers correspondent my senior year of high school so I would attend most of the home games and collect interviews for him and when I got to Boston I went to Bruins games as well. It really helped me understand the way reporters do the job, something you don’t always get in school.

I also worked at the Boston Herald in college, taking high school scores over the phone. My first paying gig! I preferred the spending money and mingling with the professional writers to the college paper.

I got a chance to work with the tv broadcast crews on Bruins playoff games during my time up there thanks to Stan, so that was a chance to sit next to some of the greats like Mike Emrick, Bob Cole and Dick Irvin and pass statistics and other info along. My first night on the job in the 1990 playoffs I had to walk down to the old Boston Garden “basket” – the row of broadcast seats at the bottom of the upper deck, a steep walk down, and then to climb over a railing.

I tried to do it as carefully as I could but when I swung my leg over to step down, Mike Emrick was just standing up to introduce himself to me. I kicked him so hard I thought I broke his arm. So there I am, an 18-year-old aspiring sports journalist, on the verge of tears because the best broadcaster in the world is doubled over in pain half an hour before the game was to start.

Luckily he was fine, but I’ll never forget it. He may not either.

Fantastic story! After that, what did you do right after graduation?

I graduated from BU in 1993, worked at the New York Daily News for a year as an intern and then bounced around the New York area for a bit before I landed at Newsday full time in 1997.

What was your first job assignments at the paper?

I started covering high school and college sports, which was great fun – I had a lot of experience covering the pros before that, but local sports, even in New York, connect you to people in a way the pros do not. Parents and coaches and kids are so excited for the coverage that you get a real sense of appreciation and it makes you learn to take great care in putting a story together and wanting it to be perfect, since you may not write about that young person again.

I moved from there to covering the Rangers for three seasons, from 2001-2004. Those were the end of the lean years for that team, but in the pre-Twitter era, it was harder to get too involved in the rivalry. I do recall the Chicken Dance game at the Coliseum, of course, and covering some real characters with those Rangers teams, but every season ended with me switching over to do Islanders playoffs, including the insane Leafs series in 2002. I was in the Toronto room for that one and that was madness – they all had the flu at one point during the series and I caught it just before flying up for Game 7. Not the most fun way to cover such a big game!

When and why did you start to cover the Isles?

I moved over to covering the Giants (football) after the 2004-05 lockout, then covered a bit of everything from 2008-2011 until my good friend Katie Strang left the paper and I was assigned to the Islanders. This will be my seventh season coming up.

How does a usual home game day in Art Staple’s life look like?

Game days have become a bit different now with the team having morning skates on Long Island and games in Brooklyn. I’ll usually drive down to the practice facility for their 10:30 AM skate – that means I leave my house around 9 or so – catch up with a few players, listen to the coach, then I’ll head out to Brooklyn to beat the traffic.

I tend to get to Brooklyn around noon or 1 pm, park my car and then I’ll either settle into the empty building to do some work or meet up with friends for lunch. This job has a lot of ebbs and flows – bursts of work followed by hours of nothing. Netflix is my friend many days!

Other media folks tend to filter in around 5, so I’ll chat with them, perhaps listen to the visiting coach speak and then watch warmups and get busier on Twitter with the night’s lineup. During the game I’m tweeting quite a bit – it actually helps with my notes after the game to remember the big moments – and by the end of the first period I’ll have my notebook filed to the office so they can edit it and post it.

The minute the game ends I file a short (4 or 5 paragraph) summary of the game to be quickly posted on the web, then I usually have until 10:20 or so to file my full story. If the game ends at 9:45 or so, that doesn’t leave much time, but the postgame interviews go quickly and I’ve learned to write fast.

So I’m done and packed up by, say, 10:45 or 11, off to my car for the hour drive home. A long day, but it has its own rhythm that I’ve gotten used to.

Wow, really long days! I think a lot of people like to know how the team informs you, especially about trades and other major events and news. It feels like you often breaks big news about the team.

I don’t want to reveal too much, but their media relations staff is fantastic and we do our best to get along despite sometimes being at odds with information I want and information they want to release. Being around the team as the sole traveling beat writer can be good as far as developing relationships with people in the organization, but it can also be a bit much for everyone to see the same face every day and there are disputes.

Basically, my goal is to report the news as fast and clearly as I can. Sometimes the Islanders help with that, sometimes they don’t and that’s the way it works. You can’t rely on one source of information, so I try to talk to as many people in the hockey world as I can.

What approach do the Islanders have towards advanced stats? Do they co-operate with any analytic-firms?

I think they’re like a lot of NHL teams who have internal analytics that they use rather than the things that are available to the rest of us online. They do have a Russian company that provides player tracking technology and also use some other internal stats.

What is your own opinion about advanced stats?

I think they’re great. Anything to provide a deeper insight into the game or why teams do what they do. It can be frustrating when some stats writers trade in absolutes, just as it is when legacy media reporters do the same. We’re all outsiders trying to glean information from the people in the game and it does none of us any good to dismiss people we write about as dumb or ignorant. We’re the conduit to the fans – some of them love advanced stats, some love narratives, some love opinion. Better to provide the information and keep the “player x sucks” viewpoint out of it.

What is your honest opinion about the arena situation? What is realistic to believe will happen?

I’ve felt from the time the new owners took over that Belmont Park made the most sense as a site for a new arena, so I’ll stick with that. Logic doesn’t always enter the equation, however, and given all the stops and starts (mostly stops) of the last 20 years, who can honestly say they know for sure where the team will play? They’re in Barclays for now and, it seems, for a few years at least. The Coliseum seems unworkable and they’re not moving away from the area. So we’ll see how it continues to progress.

Is the Islanders organization aware of us supporters from across the Atlantic Ocean? Have they noticed our strong commitment and our annual gatherings more than in a few retweets?

I believe they are. The team’s social media coordinator keeps up with the fans quite well and your group in particular is very visible online… Anything that requires coordination between the marketing/digital side, which is run by Barclays, and the team side can be little dicey, given the not-so-great relationship between the two entities. But they know you’re out there! It would great if the league started the European games back up again and included the Islanders. I bet they would understand how passionate you all are.

How about your personal life today. What do you do in your spare time? Is there any time for hobbies?

With two kids at home and not so much time around them during the season, I try to do as little as possible during the offseason and on my days off to be available to the family. My son is 12 and plays baseball and basketball, so I get to as many of his games as I can. For myself, I try to read non-sports books and I play terrible golf when I get the chance.

About your future. Where do you see yourself in let’s say 10 years? Any thoughts of a TV-career perhaps or are you Newsday bound for life?

That is a difficult question! It’s no secret that my industry has seen better days, so I honestly don’t think about switching gears much these days. I love my job, I’ve loved it for a long time despite all the complaining I do, and with every round of layoffs elsewhere I appreciate it more and more. TV is fun to do but I doubt I’m cut out for it full time.

I’ve always dreamed of writing a tv series or a screenplay, so perhaps I will finally get my act together and work on it during the long road trips this season!

Finally I have to ask you about your trip to Stockholm the other year. How did you experience the trip?

It was amazing, simply amazing. My wife and I try to travel out of the States every year and Sweden was high on our list for a long time. To be able to take my son along and have my wife’s parents as well was a real treat. We only stayed a few days and only in the city, so we all say how much we want to go back and explore more.

One of our favorite afternoons was a journey to a restaurant called ”Meatballs For The People”, a place we looked up online and decided to take everyone to. The food was fantastic and my wife desperately wants a sweatshirt that they sell, but they don’t send them overseas! She follows their Instagram account and we both think about the time we can go back and spend a longer stretch in your country.

Arthur Staple

FIVE QUICK ONES

  • Football or Baseball? – Football, definitely. I played baseball, but football is more fun to Watch.
  • Brooklyn or Manhattan? – Manhattan! Born and raised, I can’t turn against them!
  • Blue or Orange? – Blue.
  • Beer or Wine? – Wine.
  • Trade Deadline or Free Agent Frenzy? – I prefer the trade deadline because it comes and goes quickly, usually when I’m on the road. Free agency keeps me tied to my couch for too long.