Islanders: Every player represented as a style of music

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 09: Event Headphones provided by Millennium at "Boxing And Brunch" hosted by Dashon Goldson at Equinox Sports Club West LA on July 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Robin L Marshall/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 09: Event Headphones provided by Millennium at "Boxing And Brunch" hosted by Dashon Goldson at Equinox Sports Club West LA on July 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Robin L Marshall/Getty Images) /

If every New York Islanders player on the roster was a style of music, what would they be?

With New York Islanders hockey being on hold for what is going on four months now, I’m starting to run out of my regular topics to write about. So I’m getting extra creative.

Just over a week ago I’ve tried to broaden my musical horizons. I noticed I’d been listening to the same four or five playlists constantly. I played a Rufio playlist on Spotify non-stop for eight hours straight one day. Rufio has just over two hours of music, total.

So I effectively listened to every song four times. I needed a change.

Looking around at the various musical genres I had yet to listen to, it made me think what style of music would represent each player in the Islanders lineup?

Again, I was out of ideas and this seemed like fun. So I ran with it.

Be warned, you might not feel the same way about county music or hardcore music as I do.

Country – Brock Nelson

No one really liked it for the longest time but now everyone’s talking about it.

I don’t know about you, but growing up country music wasn’t a thing. It existed of course but it wasn’t a popular style of music. But now, every city has at least two country radio stations. And it seems the next generation is absolutely in love with country music.

And that’s kind of the vibe with Brock Nelson. He wasn’t a very popular player for the first half of his Isles tenure. He was a third-line player that drifted in and out of games for most of the season outside of October. But now, he’s one of the Islanders better players and everyone talks about him positively now.

Honorable mention: Josh Bailey

Metal – Anders Lee

In your face, powerful, strong.

There’s no mistaking metal music. The powerful distorted guitars and heavy drums are undeniable. It’s in your face and unforgiving about its style.

That’s Anders Lee. The Islanders power forward is a powerful presence in front of other teams net. His strength is a defining characteristic of his play, and he’s not going to apologize for it.

Honorable mention: Ross Johnston

Dubstep: Semyon Varlamov

You only listen to it because the person you want to impress listens to it.

I couldn’t identify a dubstep act if I heard one. But I know it’s a popular style of music so I tried listening to a playlist. My interaction with dubstep perfectly sums up the Isles-Varlamov connection. Other people like it so I tried it.

That sounds a little harsh because Semyon Varlamov is a good goalie. His career 0.914SV% and 2.62GAA shows that he’s an above-average starter in the league. But we all know that one of the reasons he was brought in was because of his relationship with fellow Russian goalie Ilya Sorokin.

(PS: I found out I didn’t care for dubstep music.)

Jazz: Mathew Barzal

Fun, creative, energetic, improvise.

Jazz is characterized by its energetic flow, the creativity required by its musicians, and for how each musician interprets a piece of music differently.

That’s Mathew Barzal. His youthful energy is unmatched on the Islanders squad. Few can play the minutes Barzal plays and still skate laps around the opposition. His creativity and improvisational skills are unmatched. I’d like to see another player score a between the legs goal like Barzal did this year.

Classic rock: Johnny Boychuk

Reliable, has a ton of bangers, gets the job done.

When you put on classic rock you know what you’re getting. You’ve heard those tunes before so you can put it on knowing you’ll enjoy it. And every now and then a song will come on that will make you shout: “Yes! I *&@$ing love this song.”

That’s Johnny Boychuk. When he jumps over the boards, you know what you’re going to get from him. You know you’ll enjoy it. And every now and then he’ll slap a rocket from the blue line or lay someone out who had the misfortune of being in the Isles defensive zone.

Honorable mention: Scott Mayfield

Blues: The Fourth Line (Casey Cizikas, Matt Martin, Cal Clutterbuck)

Blues is the building block for everything.

Jazz, rock, pop, funk. It’s all based on blues music. All of it. Without blues music, you don’t get Chuck Berry, or The Beatles, or The Rollings Stones. Or any other act or group that came after them. Blues is the building block for it all.

The Islanders fourth line is the building block of their entire winning strategy. Without them, the Isles don’t have the same identity and certainly don’t play the same way. Barry Trotz has gone on record to say he changed the way he coached the team when that fourth line wasn’t there.

Honorable mention: Adam Pelech

K-Pop: Leo Komarov 

Some people like it a lot, but you don’t know what all the fuss is about.

I don’t know K-Pop outside of Gagnam Style. But I know that it has a huge following, even outside of South Korea. I know K-Pop is popular but I don’t get what all the fuss is about.

And that’s kind of the deal with Leo Komarov. I know that he’s a ‘glue guy’ and that he’s good in the room. I don’t doubt that’s true. I also don’t doubt that he’s a good penalty killer.

But the Isles have a ton of good penalty killers and while they may not be overloaded with ‘glue guys’ they need to concern themselves with adding more talent to the roster and letting the room sort out who the ‘glue’ guys are.

Komarov has fans in this fanbase and I don’t get the fuss. It’s not to say that Komarov is a bad player. It’s to say that the role he plays is either already covered or could be covered with the players we already have.

Honorable mention: Michael Dal Colle

CDM: Jean-Gabriel Pageau 

New, has all the elements to be popular but you still aren’t sure how it’s going to pan out.

I had no idea CDM (country dance music) was a style of music until I decided to write this piece. I don’t care much for country or dance music but I know that they are wildly popular. Mixing the two is some sort of power-hybrid that could be incredible (for those making that style of music of course). But we won’t know if it will work until we see it.

And that’s how I feel with Jean-Gabriel Pageau. He’s got everything to be a great player for the Islanders. He’s an incredible two-way player. He can provide depth offense. He kills penalties better than most in the league. And he can play on the power play.

But he’s only played like a handful of games for the New York Islanders so far. And while he has two goals and stood up for Michael Dal Colle after a rough-looking Jacob Trouba hit, we still aren’t sure how it’s going to work exactly. Again, it’s probably going to be great, but we aren’t 100 percent sure yet.

Honorable mention: Noah Dobson

Hip-Hop: Devon Toews 

Taking over, everyone knows how good it is, everyone forgets it’s part of a core of essential elements.

We know hip-hop as the King of music. It’s everywhere. But hip-hop isn’t just one thing. It’s a grouping of four essential elements: rapping, DJing, break dancing, and graffiti. That’s what makes hip-hop so popular. The music is just part of a greater movement.

Devon Toews is that player. He fits perfectly within the Islanders system. They need a guy who can move the puck, create offense, and carry the power play. He can’t do it all on his own, but he fits the role perfectly and makes everything else on the team tick well, powering them to the top.

It’s not that he’s solely responsible for the Islanders success, but he plays an important role as part of a collective to push the Isles to the top of the charts.

Honorable mention: Anthony Beauvillier

Rock: Nick Leddy

Steady, you know what you’re going to get. Sometimes it’s great, sometimes it’s alright.

Rock music had its time but now it’s given way to other more popular styles of music, like pop, and hip-hop.

Nick Leddy was Devon Toews just a few years ago. Nick Leddy was the guy who often pushed the puck out of the defensive zone and into an attacking position. He was also the guy who quarterbacked the power play. Now Devon Toews is doing all of that.

Honorable mention: Jordan Eberle

Post-Rock: Thomas Greiss

You stumbled onto it but when you found it you loved it.

I had never heard of post-rock until a friend of mine told me I should buy Explosions in the Sky’s “The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place” while on a trip to Australia. I couldn’t put it down. I wore out the CD on that trip. Yeah, it was a CD.

That’s how I feel about Thomas Greiss. Greiss was brought in during the 2015 free agency period, I wasn’t expecting big things from Greiss. Maybe step in a few times a year to give Jaroslav Halak a break and that was it. What we got was so much more than that.

Greiss forced the team’s hand into a three-year $10 million deal after effectively pushing them into the playoffs in 2015-16 and then into the second round for the first time in 23 years.

Honorable mention:  Thomas Hickey

Top-40 pop: Andrew Ladd

Someone else bought it for you, it’s got great fundamentals, but it was better a few years ago.

Top-40 music doesn’t get played in my house. It just doesn’t work for me. Even the peppy songs of my youth don’t do it for me. It was good then, but not so much now.

I tried not to make this sound too harsh, and I’m not sure if I succeeded. While Andrew Ladd hasn’t lived up to his contract with the Islanders, he was once a pretty damn good top-six player. Unfortunately, we never got that player.

Hardcore: Ryan Pulock

Hard-hitting, especially during the ‘break’.

I really like hardcore music. Bands like Love is Red and Modern Life is War are some of my favorite bands of all time. You’d think I would have had an easier time matching it up with a player. But I really didn’t so I went for a lame gimmick here.

We all know how hard Ryan Pulock can shoot the puck. He can slap it so hard it can ‘break’ the glass behind the net. See what I did there? I told you it was going to be a lame gimmick.