Sean and Stefen sit down with former Islander & current MSG Network analyst Thomas Hickey to discuss his career and the latest on the Isles.
3:00- Sean asks Thomas to talk about his start in the NHL, after being drafted 4th overall by the Los Angeles Kings and eventually being claimed off waivers by the Islanders. Thomas talks about battling through multiple injuries and missing out on some Kings cup runs, but finding his way into the Islanders lineup and getting playoff action in his first season on the Island.
4:50- Stefen asks Thomas about what it was like to be drafted so high, and he talks about how the pressure is so different compared to what prospects go through now.
6:20- Sean asks Thomas about his pairing with Lubomir Visnovsky, and Thomas credits a lot of his growth and confidence to their relationship.
“[Bo Horat] drives play. He works extremely hard for the chances he gets. He’s a good skater to begin with, and he’s working his engine to get up to full speed… He puts in the work and I like to see when he gets rewarded because he plays better defensive hockey when things are going well for him offensively. ”
– Thomas Hickey’s takeaways from watching Bo Horvat from ice level for the first 7 games of the year
9:15- Sean asks Thomas about Tom Wilson and the physicality of the game. Wilson delivered the hit on Visnovsky that knocked him out of that 2015 playoff series – Thomas did not forget.
11:50- Thomas talks about playing well at certain arenas, like Minnesota and Montreal.
13:40- Sean asks Thomas about the current state of the game, where guys are expected to take on a fight even after a clean hit. Thomas talks about how the game is so fast, and guys’ immediate reactions are to jump on the guy who threw the hit on their teammates.
16:00- Sean asks Thomas about one big takeaway from his NHL career. Thomas says it is the relationships and people in hockey that make the game so special.
19:00- Sean asks Thomas to talk about how he ended up with MSG Network. Thomas was ready to play overseas before he got a PTO with the New Jersey Devils. After the Devils let him go from the tryout, he called MSG to inquire about their open analyst position. Thomas says that walking away from his first set on MSG, he felt fulfilled.
23:20- Thomas talks about the preparation that goes into the shows. Thomas says how helpful everyone behind the scenes is.
26:00- Sean asks Thomas about if there’s a different perspective of the game from the booth. Thomas thinks it’s mostly the same and it is a game of mistakes. He notes that because he’s no longer playing, he doesn’t have to worry about his own mistakes and it allows him to see things more clearly.
29:30- Thomas answers a few smaller questions: he says that the toughest player he’s played against was Patrice Bergeron. He also discusses the little things in his routine that he remembered if he played well, like putting his left glove on before his right glove. His two favorite cities to play in were St. Paul, MN, and Montreal.
35:20- Sean asks Thomas about the current New York Islanders.
Thomas talks about the strengths of the Islanders that need to shine in order for them to make the playoffs: their goaltending tandem, Mathew Barzal and Bo Horvat’s chemistry, and the Palmieri-Nelson-Engvall.
He mentions things that fans would like to see happen in order for the team to make the playoffs: Noah Dobson taking a step forward and the power play making a decent improvement.
44:40- Hero of the Week!
Thomas’ pick: Semyon Varlamov
Stefen’s pick: Noah Dobson
Sean’s pick: Kyle Palmieri
50:10- Questions Brewin’!