NewYorkIslanders.com got a chance to catch up with Matt Carkner while he was visiting Long Island this week, getting the lay of the land. The newest Islanders defenseman shared his goals for the season, some of his favorite things and his feelings on the Islanders-Rangers rivalry.
NewYorkIslanders.com: How old were you when you first started playing hockey?
Matt Carkner: The first time I put on skates, I was probably around four years old, back on the pond in Winchester. We had a pond that we’d shovel off. We had a lot of friends who would come over and shoot the puck around. We had that until I was about 10 years old, and then I basically moved onto the rinks, and that’s where I played all of my hockey from then on.
NYI: What is your biggest goal for the season?
MC: Individually, I just want to get back to my game and be a solid physical defenseman for this team, help out in the room, and just try and put my best foot forward. The past few years have been a little tough here and there, and I just want to get back on the upswing and help this team win.
NYI: What kind of music do you listen to?
MC: I’m a big country fan, so there’s a lot of different country singers I like. Toby Keith has always been one of my favorites.
NYI: Have you seen any movies this summer?
MC: There’s a lot of good ones out. I watched “The Avengers” with my kids a little while back, and I thought that was pretty cool. I saw “Ted” the other day and thought that was pretty good too. I love comedies and action movies – that’s my kind of thing.
NYI: Why did you choose to wear the number 7 with the Islanders?
MC: I wore that number in juniors with Peterborough for four years, so I went back to it.
NYI: What do you know about the Islanders-Rangers rivalry?
MC: I’m looking forward to that. Obviously, I was a part of one in Ottawa against Toronto, but I know this one is legendary. It should be very interesting. It’s great competition, and obviously the fans love it.
NYI: What are you up to this week on Long Island?
MC: I’m just trying to survive out there (laughing). It seems like people are driving all over the place, swerving in and out of traffic. It’s different than the country roads we’re used to driving. We’re venturing around, looking for a place to live, just doing a big circle around and seeing what’s available.