Two years above the average age of the team—which is 27—Colin McDonald, adds to the veteran presence on the New York Islanders. He has got the sarcasm and dry sense of humor of a New Yorker, grew up in Connecticut, played four years at and graduated from Providence College, and is a diehard Boston Red Sox fan. CM has had his struggles on the ice this season, along with the rest of the team, but he seems to be taking it one day at a time, and hopes that the team can turn it around.
RK: Last year, the team stepped up its game in the final stretch of the season. Does it feel similar this year?
CM: Because we did [step up] last year, we have the confidence that we can do it again this year. We have to start doing that now; last game [winning 1-0 against the Capitals] was a good start, and we have to continue that through the end of the year.
RK: What has the team changed to better the penalty kill?
CM: It was going to change at some point; we were struggling there for a bit. Honestly, you can’t be that bad for…too much longer. Guys are bearing down more, we’re playing more desperately, and it’s showing results.
RK: What does the team have to do to fix the power play?
CM: [We] are getting chances, and there have been a couple of times where we scored a couple seconds after the power play ended. It doesn’t go towards the power play stats, but it’s still a good job if it’s creating momentum and a couple of good chances for us. The power play has been fine, other than the results.
RK: What is your game-day ritual after the morning skate?
CM: I go home, make some food (there’s no chef for the Islanders at the Coliseum, but there is food provided for them, if they want some), and relax for a bit. I don’t like to sleep too much. Then, I try to get back here around 4 or 4:30pm for the game.
RK: You guys aren’t allowed to practice with the team, there being a mandatory break from the NHL during the Olympics. What will you be doing to remain focused and in shape?
CM: I will definitely take a couple of days off to mentally and physically get a break. After a couple of days, I will get back in the gym and on the ice. I won’t do too much because even when we get back, we have seven days of practice before our first game, so there isn’t necessarily a need to have to skate or work out [excessively]. There is plenty of time to get back to game shape.
RK: Any Olympic side bets where you make Casey [Cizikas] wear a Team USA jersey if the US wins Gold?
CM: Hmm…no, no side bets, surprisingly, with this team! We don’t have any of that; not that I know of. But, we are just very supportive of the guys that are going to be there. Of course we all have our countries’ pride and will root for them, but I just hope the guys here do well.