So electric, he glows. Not really. I just brought the wrong camera with me. It has better mega pixels and no shutter speed. Very annoying. So was the interview that I endured with Newsday's Jim Baumbach. It was not his fault. He apologized a few times. But it didn't make it any less painful.
"What's your favorite food?" "What's your favorite TV Show?" "What's your movie?" "Who would you like to play you in your life story?" If Jim got to "What brand of underwear do you wear, I was going to boink him with my tape recorder.
All the while, John never cracked a smile and answered politely and thoughtfully all while the Zamboni drowned out his quiet answers. I was within 18" of him, I couldn't hear him. The ITV camera was in his face. He never flinched. No matter how foolish the question, he answered as if he was asked to explain quantum physics.
In all honesty, if I had been asked these questions, they would have been far shorter. The PR clock was running and Jim asked all the questions he wanted and then some. Tiger Track Tom Liodice managed to get a question in, but when the PR clock ticked down to "Two more questions." I thought, cool. I'll get one in.
Jim asked another question and I glared at him. Then the PR clock deferred to Point Blank for the last question. I then glared at him. What? Was I invisible? I know I'm short and I was wearing sneakers, but I was right there.
I turned off my recorder and left the room to wait for Joel Rechlicz. I had already spent a good few minutes with Blake Kessel discussing his UNH games. He is very personable and had a lot to tell me about the school, his team and his team mates. That will be for tomorrow.
While I was waiting for the Wrecker to change, I watched JT with the fans that had waited so long to meet him. Again, he was diligent in his duties, but somewhat stoic. This kid is all business. When he told Jim Baumbach that he didn't want any distractions, I truly believe he means it.
He is accepting his role as the most watched Islander with dignity, but not with much humor. Considering that he has almost the same birthday as funny man Rick DiPietro, I'm very surprised. But then again, he grew up very differently. He has been scrutinized since he was a teenager.
Also under the microscope, obviously, is Casey Cizikas. He was comfortable on the ice and off. Smiling and joking with his team mates. I didn't get a chance to speak to him. I am going to try to tomorrow.
He took slide into the net that caused him to have ice bags taped to both his shins before he showered. Seth Sylvan, PR Director, made a point to tell me what a good kid Casey is. Truthfully, he carried himself as a kid.
I tried to focus on others as all eyes were on John Tavares. Actually, it was just good to be back in the rink and hearing the skates on the ice. It's a wonderful sound.
Afterwards, the barbecue for season ticket holders was still going on so Tom Liodice and I grabbed a burger and a seat with the IslanderMania crew and just relaxed. Tom had to warm up any way. Oddly, it was as if Jim and Tom had never been in an ice rink before. Neither one was dressed appropriately. Newsday's Katie Strang and I laughed since we were prepared with jackets and closed shoes.
The day went well for the NY Islanders and their prospects. The fans went home happy and the boys boarded a bus for the Mets game. Which they won.
And a good time was had by all.