Throughout the season, we will feature several prospects throughout the Islanders organization. For the first feature, we sit down with Micheal Haley
who played his first full season in the AHL last season after playing the prior year with both the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL and the Sound Tigers.
Question: In your first AHL game you scored your first AHL goal so…talk about that night in Springfield, MA against the Falcons.
Answer: I was told that I was going to be going up to Bridgeport so luckily I jumped on a red-eye and arrived at the rink. I think I slept on the couch and then got up for the morning skate (practice). I knew most of the guys from going to the Sound Tigers camp so it wasn’t as much of trying to get to know the guys as much as it was trying not to be nervous playing in my first game. I got a nice pass from Benti (Sean Bentivoglio) and scored in my first game. Q: Talk about the role that you play in the organization.
A: I wouldn’t say I’m too much of a goal-scorer but I like to get the spark going. I’m working on trying to get under the other team’s skin more and hopefully draw some penalties and take a few of my own. Q: Talk about the interaction that goes on with an opponent before a fight.
A: For me its mostly eye contact. When you get hit or hit someone, if that eye contact is still there longer than it needs to be, that’s pretty much all you need. You drop the gloves and that’s part of the game. Q: Last year at Training Camp, you came in after playing the final half of the season with the Sound Tigers and were placed in the Rookie Group. By the end of the camp, you were the only player selected by Scott Gordon to play in an NHL exhibition game, your first ever. Talk about last year’s camp and your first NHL experience.
A: It was my first NHL camp so I was excited. I wasn’t disappointed at all being in the Rookie Group. I was happy to be there and I just wanted to give it everything I had and hopefully catch some eyes. Luckily I got a chance and a once in a lifetime opportunity to play in an NHL exhibition game and it was a great experience. I used to play junior there in London so it was nice to go back there. Matt Clackson I didn’t know much about but I knew he had come out of school. Obviously he came after me right away so it was nice on the first shift to get that one out of the way. The second fight was against Steve Downie and I had some past with him from junior and really wanted that one. Q: One person who has had a major influence on your pro career is someone that has a history in the Islanders organization. Talk about this person and how your game models his.
A. Colls (Kevin Colley) helped me out tremendously. When I was coming out of junior I pretty much just fought the bigger guys and not really trying to draw penalties. He helped me along since I’m no the biggest guy, how to get under guy’s skin which will help the team in the long run and get me more ice-time. He was greatly influential in the early part of my career and more recently, Eric Cairns who has been doing the same thing with me in Bridgeport. He’s there to make sure I don’t take a shift off, that I’m always in someone’s face and trying to get them rattled. Q: What are you goals for the upcoming season after playing your first full pro season in the AHL?
A: I think now most of the guys around the league know me. I want to be in their face every game, every shift just trying to be that player that Colley taught me to be. Just trying to draw some penalties and be an “in-your-face” type of hockey player. Q: Everyone loves the fighter or tough guy. Talk a little about the pains and soreness you sacrifice for the good of the team.
A: For me the biggest thing is my hands, they get really sore. But that comes with the job. You start playing serious hockey when you get to the age of 15. Its just something you have to be willing to do. If you like to fight, you’re going to have sore hands or a sore eyeball. I think its worth it. Q: What is your biggest secret talent?
A: I think I’m a pretty good singer and I should go on American Idol. I like to sing the Boy Band stuff but only to myself usually. Q: What is the one exercise in the gym that you struggle with?
A: Farmer Carries. I can’t hold onto the weights long enough because my hands get tired so I need straps for those. Q: What is your favorite food besides the historic chicken and pasta pre-game meal?
A: Chili Q: What are you doing on a bus ride from Bridgeport to Norfolk, VA (8 hours) to pass the time?
A: We’re playing “Snarps.” Bunch of the guys, we’ll gather around and sometimes a game can go for four hours or 15 minutes. Hopefully you don’t lose too much. Q: What is the most listened to song on your iPod right now?
A: Right now it would probably be Matt Anderson, Wagon Wheel. A fellow teammate of mine loved to play that song so its pretty much on repeat right now.