Matt O’Leary from ‘Eyes On Isles’ was invited by Isles’ GM Jussi Kalmi, Head of European Scouting Kari Takko, and head coach Jared Bednar to trendy Café Grumpy in Greenpoint.
This was written in bold letters on Islanders’ website as ownership changed:
“Life can sometimes show unexpected and positive signs of hope in times of darkness. To all Islanders’ loyal fans through all these long years, we can finally give you all some solid ownership structure which you all sincerely deserve; solid, transparent and ambitious. We are not hiding behind lies and masks, as well as accusing so-called fake news, we are here with our own faces and we also show our tax return information.”
Bednar laughed loudly as O’Leary came in, saying “Hi Matt, lovely to meet you. A lot of people might say that Scandinavian people drink a lot of alcohol, but they drink coffee like water!”
Kalmi was fighting with his mask as he was trying to drink his double espresso and greeting O’Leary same time.
Kalmi: “Bloody hell, multitasking is not my thing (laughing deeply). But, either way Matt. Welcome and I heard you are the main fans’ voice, so more than happy to meet you. Any questions, I’m ready for them.”
Matt O’Leary: “So pleased to be here with all of you, so many questions. Seriously don’t know where to start.”
Kalmi: “If you don’t start soon, Coffees are getting cold and tax returns are getting old. (looking directly to O’Learys eyes with cold look).”
Matt O’Leary: “Ok, sorry… So, let’s start. Might seem a vague question, but what are your expectations for this season?”
Kalmi: “(looking around him) Our objectives have not changed since we got Draisaitl, it will be ‘work in progress’. Unfortunately, our farm roster has lost some important pieces, so we will look what we can get from waivers as well from possible trades. Otherwise, correct me if I am wrong Jared, our aims stay the same; getting to playoffs?”
Jared Bednar: “Exactly Jussi, those were our aims and they still are. Nothing has changed. We sincerely hope we will get into playoffs, but if we don’t, it won’t be the end of the world.”
Kalmi: “Thanks Jared, I seriously want to point out one thing; we aren’t here to bring joy for only couple of seasons, instead we want to bring here something seriously solid for long-term. Also, to make an official statement; we will appoint fans’ elections here in every two seasons. So, if I will get under 50% votes, I will sell my shares to best potential candidate. Otherwise, I will continue. And to point out, we will be using the same machines as in USA presidential elections. Some unnamed absolute wanker said they are not reliable, but we trust them.”
Matt O’Leary: “So, who are Isles’ biggest competitors?”
Jared Bednar: “In all honesty it will be extremely close and few injuries can define team’s season. But, if I should name few teams in our division, I would say: New Jersey Devils, Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers and Washington Capitals. Will be extremely tough, so nothing will be certain.”
Matt O’Leary: “Isles’ fans have desire for star players, do you think Barkov and Draisaitl are star players? Also, can they seriously deliver this year?”
Kalmi (getting seriously irritated, muffin pieces are dropping from his mouth…): “Mate!!! Are you seriously asking these kinds of idiotic questions!? Not wasting my breath for this nonsense. I think our fans have a clear answer in their heads. Next question please!”
Kari Takko: “Just to point out one thing. Even though we lost some great prospects in Draisaitl trade, we still have great prospects as such as Liljegren, Luukkonen, Leschyshyn and Juolevi to name a few. It is my job to find the next great prospects in Europe and my dear colleague Veli-Pekka Kautonen (Head amateur scout) to find in North America. We have great scouting organization and we have and will find great players for this superb family. No doubts about it.”
Matt O’Leary: “Your lineups, are they already defined? If they are, could you give little bit of insight?”
Jared Bednar: “Actually, do I want to give you any insight? Mmm, I might do. Only certain thing is C3 punch: Draisaitl, Barkov and Cizikas. Rest are in hands of my players and how they will perform on practice camp. I Have of course certain dynamics in my mind, but it’s far too early to say them publicly.”
Matt O’Leary: “But, I presume the captain and vice-captains have already been decided?”
Jared Bednar: “Finnish cool head Barkov will be our Captain. Vice captains will be Draisaitl and Cizikas. Our 3C is there again.”
Matt O’Leary: “Who would you said to be team’s unsung heroes?”
Bednar and Kalmi (on same breath): “Cizikas, Anderson and Greiss”
Matt O’Leary: “Seemed little bit weird?”
Kalmi: “Matey, what’s the problem if the ownership and head coach share the same opinion!? I feel your negativity here.”
Matt O’Leary: “Sir, that was not my intention, apologies for that. It was not what I was waiting for. Could you please say why these three players?”
Jared Bednar: “Well, I think it’s pretty obvious. None of these players will ever get proper recognition, but they are hugely important on- and off-the field. Leadership, guiding young ones and most importantly they have respect in 360 degree. Fantastic players, everyone here in Isles’ organization (from top to bottom) respects them.”
Matt O’Leary: “Who would you say to be the best future star in the team?”
Kalmi: “Samsonov, absolutely no doubts about it. Me and the rest put all our faith in him. I have apologized him for all the pressure before, but god damn he is better than excellent. He has all the tools to become HoF.”
Jared Bednar: “I totally agree with you Jussi. He is natural star.”
Matt O’Leary: “What have been your first thoughts of some of other GMs in the league?”
Kalmi: “(absolutely bursting in laughter). Well, that’s a great question, thumbs up mate. I will share my thought of few of my colleagues in the league, I hope they won’t kill me.
GM Lundgren: a proper Swedish businessman, always looking for a trade. Sometimes can be overwhelming with his offers, but always looking for a fair trade. A great man in overall.
GM Thomas: pretty chilled, but behind like a calculator. Be aware (laughing again).
GM Westman: a Swedish playboy on his cruise ship, wearing always Tacconi shirt and shorts, 80’s back in a great way. Sometimes can get a hump of nothing. In overall great lad.
GM Pepper: well, here’s a lad with at least I have so easy to do trades. No bs, absolutely a diamond guy.
GM Stafford: he has a plan in his head, might be sometimes to understand it as trying to offer a deal.
GM Bacon: great lad, but for me is hard to sell gold for fool’s gold (blinks an eye).
GM King: pretty chilled lad. Tough as nails in trades, a proper challenge.
GM McA: loves his youth, not surprised he’s married to 19-year old miss New York (2020).
GM Chernuka: old school man, can always trust. If you have a problem, get in touch with him.
GM Davidson: like a royal, knows his value and shows it. But, when you get to know him, he’s actually pretty ok guy.”
Matt O’Leary: “I thank you for this insight. You have anything else to add on this interview?”
Kalmi: “Mate, I thank you. But I think it’s time to go home. I want to watch the latest Spitting Image sequel, and it’s on in an hour. Cheers mate and say hello to our fans.”