Boy oh boy, January was awesome on all fronts! I am writing this before the game on February 1st and your New York Islanders are still in 1st place with games on hand of both the Capitals and Penguins. Hard not to be excited about this team! I think I fall more in love with Robin Lehner with each passing day. His tweets on #BellLetsTalk day really hit home and after reading them I was cutting onions. His bounce back has to be the story of the season and I hope both fronts can agree on a team-friendly deal this off-season. I wouldn’t mind going into next season with the same goalie duo we have this year. (When was the last time we were able to say that?)

My highlight for January had to be our #descendonthedistrict. I’m glad that some of the Charlotte members were there to experience it with me because it was a night I will never forget. The party started hours before the game at Irish Channel, which is home to @islesmeetup_DMV. The bar is a block away from the Capital One Arena and yet all you saw in there was Blue and Orange. In typical fashion there was one Ranger fan (the bartender) who was brave enough to wear a Potvin Sucks shirt under his work shirt and flashed it at one point. Without hesitation he was met with the beautiful “if you know the Rangers suck clap your hands” chant. And the chants didn’t stop there. The poor Barn Rocker Ales that Devin and Oyster Bay Brewing shipped down there never stood a chance. The bar was sold out of them well before we left.

I’m not going to sit here and do a play by play of the game we all watched, but I do want to comment on the fact that the game was tied 0-0 going into the third. However, right before the 2nd intermission the Capitals did a nice video tribute for our Stanley Cup winning coach (still doesn’t feel real) and we showed our appreciation by chanting “thanks for Barry.” Like the leader he is, he turned to his players and said “that is us this year” and sure enough that was the motivation the boys needed and they came out flying during the 3rd period. I can sit here now and say that not for one second did I think “we are going to lose this game,” which in years past would have been exactly the case. Our boy Devin let every single Capitals fan know just how appreciative he was for Barry as the crew headed back to Irish Channel for Round 2 to cap off what turned out to be one of the greatest nights I’ve had as an Islanders fan.

It was nice to attend an #islesmeetups event in another city and not have to do anything haha. Devin and James did such an amazing job organizing this event. It was consistent with every event I have done in Raleigh and Charlotte. My vision for when we branched out into different cities was that when an Islanders fan attends one of our events they will know exactly what they will experience. I lived it first hand and I can honestly say all of you are in great hands no matter which group you are a part of.

That being said I am happy to announce that we have branched out into two new markets! Dave and Jeff both filled out the form on our website and voiced their passion for starting groups in their neck of the woods. After talking with both of them it was a no brainer to have them start up @islesmeetup_MW and @islesmeetupConn. Give them a follow and while you’re at it give all the groups a follow!

Now that #isles hockey is back I can announce that our February meet-up will be Saturday, February 9, 1 PM @ Upper Deck! Our good buddy and leader of @islesmeetup_TPA Kevin Carney will be in the house so you know it will be rowdy. If that isn’t enough motivation to get you out then how about a chance to win a signed Mike Bossy puck? We will also have a 50/50 to raise some money for The Greiss Camp @ Fort Bragg.

Lastly, Devin and I are super stoked about our new podcast that we debuted early this week. It is called The Bar Down Breakdown Podcast and will be a music and hockey themed podcast. Our pilot episode is on iTunes, Stitcher, and Anchor. Get your nostolgia fix as we discuss what it was like to grow up on Long Island as scene kids and what made us #isles fans. We have a very special guest lined up for our second episode and can’t wait to get that out to you!

I lied…make sure you get your Yes Men Outfitters pajamas in time for Pajama Boy’s return and get your tickets to join @islesmeetup_PHL for their #BroadStreetBlitz on March 23.

Let’s go Islanders!

-Mike