John Tavares' favorite thing to read as a kid was "The Screech Owls'' series, and he loved geography. Johnny Boychuk was more into math, and when he won the Stanley Cup with the Bruins, the first place he brought it was a children's hospital.

Such were the answers to the rapid flurry of questions from the kids at Woodward Parkway Elementary in Farmingdale, where Tavares and Boychuk visited with over 400 kids as part of the Islanders' School Day -- a morning where the entire team is dispatched to schools all over Long Island (and one in Brooklyn) to talk to kids about the importance of teamwork, hard work and homework.

In all, Islanders hit up 10 schools Wednesday morning before reporting to practice at Ice Works in Syosset.

"I think it's not [just] important, it's fun to do these events,'' Boychuk said before signing a slew of autographs for kids and teachers alike. "When I was growing up and we had somebody come to our school, it was always one of the highlights of the year to see the faces and talk to them . . . It puts a smile on their faces.''

Even, apparently, when he's getting grilled. So how did it feel to lose to the Capitals in the playoffs last year?

"Which is a good question!'' Boychuk said. "When you lose you want to take an experience from that and put it into next season so you don't lose again.''

Kids erupted into multiple Islanders chants, the school uniform of the day seemed to be orange-and-blue jerseys, and everyone got to learn all about a magical place called Canada -- which, Tavares explained, is north, a little colder, and has lots and lots of hockey players.

"They provided a great energy and a great atmosphere,'' Tavares said. "It makes you want to play a game in this gym right now.''

Boychuk almost got the biggest reaction when he told the audience how long he's been skating -- a whole 27 years ("whooooooa,'' responded the room full of grade-schoolers). Tavares barely one-upped him, though not necessarily in a good way.

Who's your favorite athlete, he was asked.

"Tom Brady,'' he said to a room full of hearty boos before quickly realizing the error of his ways. "Michael Jordan, too!''

Nice save.

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