New York Islanders Daily Insight, 5/20/17: 'I Learned from John Tavares’
Oct 15, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals center Lars Eller (20) and New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) battle for the puck in the third period at Verizon Center. The Capitals won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

New York Islanders prospect Mathew Barzal spoke at length about John Tavares’ impact on his game.

In an interview with’s Cory Wright, Islanders prospect Mathew Barzal discussed John Tavares’ impact on his game.

“I learned a little bit from John Tavares when I was down there, just watching how he leads by example,” Barzal said. “I tried to do that all year and just tried to lead by example and work hard.”

Barzal, 19, began the season with the professional club before returning to Seattle, where he helped lead the Thunderbirds to their first-ever WHL crown. Although he battled illness and missed extended periods of time, he still managed to navigate the team to the Memorial Cup (being named playoff MVP in the process).

“It’s pretty special,” Barzal said. “Losing last year in the finals and coming back this year and winning it all just feels so good. Every guy on that team has worked so hard and I’m proud of everybody, it’s been a great ride so far and we’re looking forward to the Memorial Cup.”

While Barzal looks forward to the Memorial Cup, the Islanders’ fanbase is impatiently awaiting his arrival. He’ll still need to make a couple of tweaks, though.

Talking about the difference between the NHL and WHL, Barzal was frank: “[I was] playing faster, stronger on the puck down low. Those two things for sure,” he said of his improvements. “When I was up with the Islanders, the game moves at such a fast pace in the NHL, I tried to play a more up-tempo game instead of always trying to slow it down.”

The Isles, who added Luke Richardson to the coaching staff on Thursday afternoon, could use a guy who moves at a fast pace. After all, the team wishes to play faster this season. Barzal can help them do that.


On Friday, newly minted assistant coach Luke Richardson spoke to Wright about his recent move: “Dougie and I are former teammates and have been really close family friends for a long time… So it was really exciting to get that phone call and it’s always great to be reunited with close ex-teammates and to have the chance to work together with the same mindset and work ethic. It’s going to be really exciting with a good, young team.”

The Hockey Writers’ Patrick Hickey Jr. (no relation to Thomas) wonders if Anders Lee will score 30 goals again. Here’s my question: Why stop there? How about 40 goals as a benchmark?

Then there’s this. Submitting the RFP would help:

Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.