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 Joey and Luke G: What is your favorite memory or moment while being an NHL GM? What is your favorite moment so far as the Islanders GM?
I have several favorites, no one in particular but one of my favorite moments as a GM would be watching the final seconds tick down as the players realized they were going to win the Stanley Cup and the embracing that took place. Best Islanders moment thus far would be the day we clinched a spot in the playoffs last season.
Question from Marci Cohen: Since you have been here for two seasons, what has surprised you the most about the Islanders organization and its fans?
Nothing has surprised me. The reason is because I had great conversations with Scott Malkin before coming to the organization. What he said he would do, he has followed through 100%. I had heard about the fans' passion and love for this team. Once I experienced first-hand, it was greater than what I could have imagined.
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 Mark Artes: What is your favorite cereal?
I prefer fresh fruit and berries for breakfast rather than cereal.
Question from Michael Shinbrot: What is the biggest difference between running the Islanders, compared to positions you've had with New Jersey or Toronto?
There are no real differences, there are more similarities than differences. For example, having the privilege of working with not only talented people but great human beings.
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 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 Mike R: What intangible do you believe is best in a leader?
I don't think there is one intangible that you can say outweighs another. To mention a few: humility, integrity and honesty are three important traits. These traits, as well as others, should be practiced and not preached.
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.
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 Ross Brodsky: If hockey resumes, what playoff format would you like to see take place?
I have no preference.
Question from Rob Reyes: What are you most proud of with this team since you took over last year?
The way the players have handled themselves both on and off the ice. Their commitment to their individual families, which is a great example to the young people that look up to them. I am also proud of the fact that the team went from last place one year, to first place the next year as the top defensive team in the NHL.
Question Riley DeMeo: How did you become a GM? Did you go to school for it or learn through an organization?
I don't think there is any formula to becoming a General Manager. If you look throughout professional sports, the road to a GM differs in so many ways. The underlying factor is when you're given an opportunity to work within an organization, no matter what your role is, being the best at what you do will allow you the opportunity to rise to the next position at any time. Once you are committed to that approach, you will find yourself being given opportunities, which will lead you to having the end result taking care of itself.
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.
Question from Hunter Ackley: What is the most challenging part of navigating the trade deadline?
Sticking to your need(s) and seeking the player(s) that you feel could fill them. If you can fill them, you do so. If you cannot, you never do something just for the fact of doing something. Always keeping in mind that you have to weigh whatever decision you make and how it has an effect on not only this season, but the seasons thereafter.
Question from Don Kennedy: What's the most ridiculous thing a player has demanded in a contract negotiation?
No one can demand anything out of the ordinary. All contracts are standard form contracts, except for the financial terms and number of years.
Question from Lauren Anderson: What is the best decision you've made in your career?
The best decision I ever made was going into coaching when I had to decide between continuing to play or coach.
Question from Carrie O: 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 Jared Rosen: What is the progress of Belmont Park Arena and could there be setbacks due to COVID-19?
I have all indications that the Belmont Park Arena is on schedule and will be ready for the 2021-22 season.
Question from Brian Shulman: How has the team adapted to COVID-19? Are we at any advantage due to possibly having guys come back after the break that were injured?
We have followed all of the guidelines that our government has provided, as well as the guidelines given by the NHL. Players have been told to quarantine at home. I do not know if you can call it an advantage or not because other teams have injured players as well, but we will have Casey and Johnny back and that will make us a better team.
Question from Courtney B: Do you have any book or movie recommendations?
I am more of a book person. We all have different preferences but to name a few, "Tribe of Mentors" by Timothy Ferriss and any book from John Maxwell's collection of leadership books. I also enjoyed Ryan Holiday's short books such as "Ego is the Enemy" and "The Obstacle is the Way."
Question from Chris Quinn: Why don't you show most replays on the jumbotron during the game?
We do show replays, but we like to provide the referees communicating with Toronto the proper respect they deserve while making their call. Once the determination has been made, we show the replay as play resumes.
Question from Alexa Black: What is your favorite restaurant on Long Island?
Bryant and Cooper
Question from Matt Shutowich: How confident are you that you can resign our three RFAs, Mat Barzal, Devon Toews and Ryan Pulock?
We have every intention to sign all three.
Question from Peter Shutowich: What are your favorite hobbies besides running a successful hockey team?
Following the New York Yankees and reading when possible.