Being a big goal scorer on a playoff team entails making all kinds of decisions on the fly. So Matt Moulson was used to the process, and he has no regret about having chosen to fly halfway across the country for the Islanders' tough two-day, two-city trip hours after his son was born on Long Island on Friday morning.
Despite the exhaustion and the 3-2 losses to the Blackhawks and Predators, respectively, on Friday and Saturday nights, Moulson is not sorry he eschewed a day off. The whirlwind will be a story to tell George Benjamin Moulson when he grows up.
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Besides, Moulson believed the hardest work was done by his mother-in-law, who had to watch his 14-month-old daughter. "I'm sure it was tough on her," he said after the game in Nashville on Saturday. "I'll help out a bit tomorrow."
Truth is, he had been reluctant to fly to Chicago after his wife, Alicia, gave birth by Caesarean section at 8:24 a.m. Friday. Then he experienced some arm-twisting, and not by the Islanders.
"I love to play hockey. I love my family more than hockey, but my wife and my in-laws were pretty insistent that I get to the game. My wife is a strong woman. I wouldn't have left her if I didn't think she could handle it," he said. "If I played poorly, it had nothing to do with that."
Coach Jack Capuano said: "I talked to him the day before and gave him the option: If he wanted to stay home, he could meet us in Nashville late [Friday] night. He talked to his wife and they both wanted him to get on that plane and go play. I'm sure it was an emotional day for him, but you see the character, that he wanted to get right in the game."
Moulson's is a hockey household. Alicia's father, Mike Backman, played for the Rangers. So did her godfather, Capitals general manager George McPhee. Her sister is married to Jonathan Quick, who won the Stanley Cup with the Kings in 2012.
Beyond that, Moulson recognizes his importance to the Islanders, a club that needs all the firepower it can get. So he took a private plane to Chicago early Friday afternoon. "I paid a lot of money to play," he said.
Paying the price is part of being a prolific forward -- and a good husband and father. All of the Islanders were eager to rest after the busy weekend, but Moulson said he planned to go directly from the airport to the hospital late Saturday night to be with his newly expanded family.