In the summer of 2010, Islanders fans got their first introduction to PA Parenteau. He was feisty French-Canadian winger, looking to parlay a few good seasons in the AHL into a steady NHL gig. In a Q&A with NewYorkIslanders.com then, we learned about his favorite hobby (golf), food (sushi and thai) and TV shows (Nip/Tuck and Dexter).
Soon we learned who he was on the ice. He scored 120 points (38G, 82A) in two seasons with the Islanders before spending the next four seasons with the Colorado Avalanche, Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Back for his second tour of duty with the Islanders, Parenteau looks like the same player on the ice, but in the four years since he left Long Island – and the six years since we first sat down with him – some things have changed off the ice. Parenteau’s got two kids now, spends his summers in Moncton, New Brunswick and his favorite TV show this year was Narcos.
NewYorkIslanders.com caught up with Parenteau to chat about his summer with two kids in the Canadian Maritimes, returning to the Islanders, a new number and NHL rivalries.
NewYorkIslanders.com: Last time we checked in you had just signed a one-year deal with the Islanders. What have you been up to since then?
PAP: I’m in Moncton, New Brunswick where my wife is from and where I spend most of my summers now. We have a cottage on the ocean. I play a bit of golf here and there and I have two kids, 3 and 6, so they keep me pretty busy. It’s been a pretty short summer.
It’s been good. I’ve been working hard in the gym, been on the ice quite a bit since late July, early part of August and I’ll be coming to New York on August 31 to set up the house and set it all up for the family. I have some movers coming in. I’m pretty excited about that.
NYI: Great to hear the family is growing. How’s dad life? What do you get up to with the kids?
PAP: You can’t have more of a drastic change than having kids from being single. It’s a different game, but it’s fun, I’m enjoying every minute of it. They’re nice, they aren’t too demanding, I’m enjoying the ride so far. I’m lucky to have two healthy kids and we’re having a blast in Moncton in the summer. They’re beach bums, they love being at the beach, so it’s pretty easy for us. We just let them run on the beach and we go on a couple trips every summer: Halifax, Prince Edward Island once in a while. We try to keep them busy, but they keep us busier than we do.
My daughter is into figure skating, but she knows where I’m at, my career. She asks a lot of questions. My son is just starting to get a grip on what’s going on. This year I want to get him more involved in hockey.
NYI: You’ve made it known that you’re really excited to be coming back. What do you like so much about this situation? This team?
PAP: The Islanders have made some big steps in the past few years, winning in the first round last year. It’s pretty impressive and with Johnny [Tavares] getting older, Travis [Hamonic], the D-corps they have there, there’s a lot of depth up front too, anything can happen. I’m really excited to be a part of this team like I said. When I played there four or five years ago we weren’t Stanley Cup contenders and now this team is. There are so many good players, I think Cappy [Head Coach Jack Capuano] has done a really good job too. I have a really good relationship with him. I’m really excited to be a part of that.
NYI: Do you still keep in contact with anyone from your time here?
PAP: I talked to [Johnny and Travis] this summer quite a bit. Me and Johnny are still good friends. We played a couple rounds of golf in Toronto before I left after the season. We talked about me signing back with the Islanders and being reunited. It happened, I’m really excited, I’m really lucky to be an Islander again especially with the quality of the team this time around.
NYI: You’ve played in the Islanders-Rangers rivalry and also the Maple Leafs-Canadiens rivalry – one of the oldest in the NHL. How do they compare?
PAP: It’s a huge rivalry. I’ve seen the rivalry on both sides each time. I saw it as a Hab, as a Leaf, as a Ranger and an Islander. I think the Islanders-Rangers one might be more intense than the Habs-Leafs one. Especially in the last few years the timing of the rivalry wasn’t really good in Montreal and Toronto. But with the Rangers and the Islanders it’s really good right now. Even when we didn’t have as good of a team when I was there, the rivalry was pretty amazing.
NYI: You always seem to play some of your best games against former teams. Safe to say you get extra motivated in those games?
PAP: Maybe I get extra motivated because you want to do well against your old team or one that didn’t sign you back, but that’s part of the game. I know that when I was an Islander I always had great games against the Rangers so hopefully I can keep that going again this year.
NYI: Your old number here (15) is currently in use, so you had to find a new one. How did you settle on 17?
PAP: It’s a number I wore for three years before I became a full-time NHLer in Hartford. I had a really good season there and it was a number I liked. It was my second choice after 15. I thought about flipping it to 51, but I looked at it and I didn’t like it and I thought 17 looked better.