Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Skinny on the Schedule

"The Skinny" … on the Schedule

 
By Eric Hornick
 
The NHL released the schedule for the 2016-17 season on Tuesday.  It's the Islanders' 2nd season in Brooklyn and their 45th NHL season.
 
The Opener:
The Isles will open the season on Thursday, October 13th at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers.  It will be only the second time that the teams have faced each other on Opening Night; the teams played a 2-2 tie at MSG on October 3, 1997.  All-time, the Isles are 11-21-11 in 43 previous openers, including 2-0-1 in their last 3.  The Isles are 11-23-9 in their first road game of the season, but have won each of their last two opening nights played on the road (2013 in New Jersey, 2014 in Carolina).
 
With the NHL starting about a week later than normal due to the World Cup of Hockey, the Isles will open on October 13th for only the second time in their history; on October 13, 1977, Mike Bossy made his NHL debut in a 3-2 loss in Buffalo.  That matches the latest opener for a full season in club history.

Two on the Road to Start:
The Isles will also face Washington on Saturday, October 15th at Verizon Center for the Caps' home opener.  It's the first time in a decade that the Isles will open the season with a multi-game road trip.  In 2006, the Isles opened in Phoenix as part of a four game trip before making it home to face Boston.
 
The Home Opener:
The Isles will begin their second season in Brooklyn on Sunday, October 16th at 6pm as they face the Anaheim Ducks. It will be the first time that the Isles have faced Anaheim in a home opener.  The Isles are 25-12-6 all-time in home openers (0-0-1 at Barclays Center) and are 1-0-0 in Sunday home openers, defeating Colorado 4-2 in a 1999 matinee.  However, the Isles are only 1-2-4 in seven home openers in the Tavares era.

The October 16th home opener extends an Islander streak of home openers on either Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.  The last midweek opener was on Thursday, October 16, 1986 vs. Washington; the Isles defeated the Caps 7-4.  Six months later the Isles would need 7 periods to win their 4th game of the series against Washington, winning the Easter Epic. 

That 1986 game is one of two previous October 16th home openers; the Isles also opened at home on October 16, 1993 (a 6-3 loss to New Jersey).  Ironically, like this fall that was also the regular season opener following a playoff series win.
 
Sundays at 6
The Isles will play seven home games this season on Sundays at 6pm; this includes each of the first three weeks of the season (October 16 vs. Anaheim, October 23 vs. Minnesota, and October 30 vs. Toronto).

Lots of Home Cooking Early
The home opener vs. Anaheim kick-starts a stretch of five straight home games, and ten out of 11 on Barclay's Center ice.  The Isles will host Vancouver on Monday November 7th to end a stretch that will see 10 of the first 13 at home.
 
It's the second straight season that the Isles will play a lot of home games early, and the first time the Isles have ever opened with 10 of 13 at home; the Isles played 10 of the first 15 at home in both 2002-03 and 2015-16.
 
California Turkey
The Isles' annual California road trip will take place during Thanksgiving week, with games Tuesday and Wednesday nights in Anaheim and Los Angeles, and a Black Friday matinee (4pm ET) against the Western Conference Champion San Jose Sharks.  That three-game trip is the longest for the Islanders before Christmas.
 
National Attention
The Isles will host Pittsburgh on Wednesday, November 30th.  This game is scheduled to start at 8pm, making it a likely candidate for NBCSN's Rivalry Night.  It's one of only two home games scheduled to start after 7pm.  The Isles will host New Jersey at 7:30pm on Friday, March 31st.
 
A Capital December
The Islanders will play three games with Washington in December, visiting DC on December 1st and hosting the Caps on December 13th and December 27.  Washington is the only team to visit Barclays Center three times; the Caps will also be in Brooklyn on January 31st.
 
The Caps' December 27th visit will be the Isles' 22nd home game in the first 34 games.  The Isles had never previously played the first 22 home games in fewer than 38 games (2000-01 and 2002-03).
 
If It's New Year's Eve, It's Winnipeg
For the second time in three seasons, the Isles will say good bye to the old year with a game in Winnipeg. The Isles won there in 2014, by a 5-2 score.  The Isles have won five straight New Year's Eve games, including a 2-1 win in Buffalo last season, and are 9-0-1 in their last ten Auld Lang Syne games.
 
That will be the second of four straight road games that includes five days without games January 1st-5th.  It will also be the 2nd game of a stretch where the Isles play 7 of 8 on the road, highlighted by a playoff home-and-home rematch with Florida (January 11th in Brooklyn and January 13th in Sunrise).
 
Five Home Games in Eight Days Leading to All-Star Break
The Isles will play five home games in an eight-day span, from January 19th to January 26th. The season's longest home-stand will conclude with a 6th game, right after the All-Star break, on January 31st vs Washington.
 
Metro Stretch
The Isles will face the Rangers and Devils three times in a four-day stretch in mid-February (hosting the Rangers on February 16th and the Devils on February 19th in the back-end of a home-and-home with the Devils.  By February 19th, the Isles will have played 34 home games and only 24 on the road. It's the first time the Isles have ever played 34 home games in fewer than the first 63 games.
 
It All Evens Out in the End
The Isles will embark on a franchise-record nine-game road trip from February 21st to March 11th.  The Isles will visit Detroit, Montreal and Columbus during President's Week before having four consecutive off days. The Isles will then play six Western Conference road games to end the stretch.
 
The Isles will end March by playing six of ten games at home, including the season's only home matinee (March 18th vs. Columbus).
 
Busy End
the Isles will play four straight on the road to begin April before hosting Ottawa at 5pm on Sunday, April 9th in the final game of the regular season.  It is the only 5:00 start on the Isles' home schedule.
 
The 3,500 Club
The season-ending April 9th game with Ottawa will be the Isles' 3,500th regular season game.
 
Schedule Breakdown
The Isles will play 4 games against their Metropolitan Division rivals, except for Carolina (extra road game) and Washington (extra home game) for a total of 30 games.  They will face the eight Atlantic Division teams three times each and the 15 Western Conference teams twice each.   This is the final season of the two extra games against rotating divisional opponents; in 2017-18 those games will be replaced with games against the NHL's 31st team, Las Vegas.
 
82 Games in 179 Days
The Isles will play their 82 games over a span of 179 days.  It's the first time since 2003-2004 that they have played a full season over that short a time span, and the third time since the NHL introduced an 82-game schedule that they have played a full season in only 179 days.
 
Back-to-Backs
The Isles will play 16 back-to-back sets, including four in March alone. They played 15 sets in 2015-16, 16 sets in 2014-15 and 18 sets in 2013-14.
 
See you in October!
 
Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since 1982. Information contained in "The Skinny" has been gathered from various sources.  Follow Eric @ehornick on Twitter & on his blog www.nyiskinny.com.
 
Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since January 21, 1982. Visit my blog: NYISkinny.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Skinny on the Openers

The NHL announced each team's home opener today, and with that the first three Islander games became known.

The Isles will open their 45th NHL season on Thursday, October 13th at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers.  It will be only the second time that the teams have faced each other on Opening Night; the teams played a 2-2 tie at MSG on October 3, 1997.  All-time, the Isles are 11-21-11 in 43 previous openers, including 2-0-1 in their last 3.  The Isles are 11-23-9 in their first road game of the season, but have won each of their last two opening nights played on the road (2013 in New Jersey, 2014 in Carolina)

The Isles will then head to DC to face the Capitals in Washington's home opener on Saturday, October 15th.

The Isles will begin their second season in Brooklyn on Sunday, October 16th as they face the Anaheim Ducks. It will be the first time that the Isles have faced Anaheim in a home opener.  The Isles are 25-12-6 all-time in home openers (0-0-1 at Barclays Center) and are 1-0-0 in Sunday home openers, defeating Colorado 4-2 in a 1999 matinee.  However, the Isles are only 1-2-4 in seven home openers in the Tavares era.

With the NHL starting about a week later than normal due to the World Cup of Hockey, the Isles will open on October 13th for only the second time in their history; on October 13, 1977, Mike Bossy made his NHL debut in a 3-2 loss in Buffalo.  That matches the latest opener for a full season in club history.

The October 16th home opener extends an Islander streak of home openers on either Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.  The last midweek opener was on Thursday, October 16, 1986 vs. Washington; the Isles defeated the Caps 7-4.  Six months later the Isles would need 7 periods to win their 4th game of the series against Washington, winning the Easter Epic.

That 1986 game is one of two previous October 16th home openers; the Isles also opened at home on October 16, 1993 (a 6-3 loss to New Jersey).  Ironically, like this fall that was also the regular season opener following a playoff series win.

It's the first time in a decade that the Isles will open the season with a multi-game road trip.  In 2006, the Isles opened in Phoenix as part of a four game trip before making it home to face Boston.

The remainder of the 2016-17 regular season schedule will be released at 1pm on Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Skinny on Howie Rose

The announcement came late this afternoon that after 21 years (20 of which the Islanders actually played), Howie Rose was leaving his position as the television play-by-play voice of the Isles.

I first met Howie in the Coliseum press box when I was just 18 years old, although I had heard his voice for years via SportsPhone (Kids, ask your parents).  We first worked together on an Islander – Ranger preseason game for SportsChannel  on October 2, 1995.  Ed Westfall was his partner for the first three seasons; Joe Micheletti, Billy Jaffe, and Butch Goring would follow.  Each of his partners benefited from Howie’s ability to set up their analysis; viewers might not always notice it, but I certainly did.

(L-R) Howie, me, Butch after Isles eliminated Florida

Howie was 18 when the Isles played their first game and in part because of that, and the Islanders’ willingness to credential him at a young age, he has a great memory of some of the early days in Islander history (I was only 8, so many of my “memories” of the first two seasons come from research).

I always felt that Howie was under-appreciated by a certain segment of the team’s fan base.  Part of it had to do with his previous experience with the Rangers, part of it was because he replaced Jiggs McDonald, but perhaps the bigger part had nothing to do with Howie at all – he broadcast a team that for many of those years just wasn’t very good.

(L-R) Jiggs, me, Howie on Ed Westfall Night in 2011
The Islanders played over 1,650 regular season and post-season games in the years that Howie called their games; he called three remarkable Islander overtime wins in his last eight days on the job.  They were the only Islander playoff overtime goals he ever called (Doc Emrick called John Tavares’ OT winner last season).  When Tavares’ goal in game six ended the Islanders 23-year playoff series drought, other than my kids, I was happiest for Howie finally getting the chance to call it.

Among the things I’ll remember most were some of his great on-the-fly commentaries, from “housebound agraphobe” to “Nassau County aspiring to be minor league”.  They were direct, and right on point.

Over the past 34 years, I’ve often said I’ve had the best seat in the house – for the last 21 years that seat was directly to the left of Howie Rose, who has called the play-by-play of more Islander games than anyone else.  Whoever takes his seat in October will have big shoes to fill.

Getting to the Hall of Fame in one sport is nearly impossible, the odds of getting there in two sports are nearly incalculable (even by an actuary).  Here’s hoping to Howie one day being honored with both a Foster Hewitt Memorial Award and a Ford C. Frick Award.

Best wishes to Howie and Barbara, and to Alyssa and Chelsea.  That’s one great run that we can now Put (It) In The Books!


Sunday, May 08, 2016

The Skinny: Tampa Bay 4, Isles 0

"The Skinny"  

By Eric Hornick
Eastern Conference Second Round Game 5
Tampa Bay 4, Isles 0
School is out. 
Victor Hedman scored twice and Ben Bishop made 28 saves as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Islanders 4-0 before a sellout crowd of 19,092 at Amalie Arena to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight season and 4th time in franchise history.  The Lightning win the series 4 games to 1.
Nikita Kucherov scored a third period goal for the third straight game, and for the 4th time in the series.
The Scoring:

1ST PERIOD
13:49    TBL Victor Hedman (3) Wrist shot - ASST: NONE           1 - 0 TBL
18:41    TBL Brian Boyle (3) Wrist shot - ASST: Matthew Carle (3), Cedric Paquette (1) 2 - 0 TBL
2ND PERIOD
04:22    TBL PPG - Victor Hedman (4) Slap - ASST: Jonathan Drouin (8), Tyler Johnson (9) 3 - 0 TBL
3RD PERIOD
04:40    TBL Nikita Kucherov (9) Wrist shot - ASST: Alex Killorn (6)          4 - 0 TBL
The Series (Tampa Bay wins, 4-1)
Game 1: Isles 5, Tampa Bay 3
Game 2: Tampa Bay 4, Isles 1
Game 3: Tampa Bay 5, Isles 4 (OT)
Game 4: Tampa Bay 2, Isles 1 (OT)
Game 5: Tampa Bay 4, Isles 0
The Skinny
The Isles were held scoreless for the final 117:14 of the series and were outscored 17-7 after taking a 4-1 lead in game 1… The Isles are 10-17 all-time in game 5's played on the road and 16-21 in game 5's overall… Each team scored six goals in the first period in the series, but the Isles were outscored 15-2 for the rest of the game …The Isles scored first only three times in 11 playoff games. …The Isles are 47-29 all-time in May playoff games (0-3 this season) ...Nikita Kucherov now leads the playoff with nine goals… John Tavares was held pointless in the final four games of the series Victor Hedman finished the series with eight points (4-4-8) as he recorded only the third multi-goal game by a defenseman in Tampa Bay history.  No Lightning defender had four career playoff goals when this series began…This was the 2nd Mother's Day game in Isles history (1-1); the Isles have lost 12 of 14 series that they trailed 3-1…The Isles were eliminated by a playoff shutout for the second time in their history (1985 vs. Philadelphia, 1-0)…The Lightning have won both playoff series from the Isles in 5 games; the last time that Tampa beat the Isles in the playoffs, they went on to win the Stanley Cup…The Isles fall to 20-26 all-time when facing elimination. …Ben Bishop has recorded a shutout in four of his last 5 series clinching games; per Elias Sports Bureau, Chris Osgood is the only goalie with five series-clinching shutouts.  It was Bishop's 5th career playoff shutout and he tied Nikolai Khabibulin's franchise record with his 21st victory.
Daytime Troubles
The Isles went 3-6-2 this year (regular season/playoffs) in afternoon games, including 0-2 in the playoffs.
The Isles went 0-5-1 this year (regular season/playoffs) in road afternoon games, including 0-2 in the playoffs.

Lead/Tie/Trail
In game 5, the Lightning led for 46:11 and the game was tied for 13:49.
For the series, the Isles led for 106:69, the Lightning led for 109:27 and the game was tied for 88:06.  

Playoffs All-time
The Isles fall to 144-120 in 264 all-time playoff games.  They are 82-44 at home (including 2-3 at Barclays) and 62-76 on the road. The Isles were 77-32 in home playoff games from 1975 to 2002, but won only three of their last 12 home games at Nassau Coliseum.

Home Sweet Home
The Isles went 25-11-5 on home-ice (55 points).  It's the first time since 1983-84 and 1984-85 that the Isles have earned at least 52 points at home in consecutive seasons.

Road Warriors
The Isles finished their road schedule with a record of 20-16-5. It's the 10th time in franchise history that the Isles have won 20 road games in a season. 
The Shots
Isles           6-10-12=28
Tampa Bay 9-9-7=25
Shots by Game
·        Game 1: Isles 22, Tampa Bay 35
·        Game 2: Isles 20, Tampa Bay 31
·        Game 3: Isles 39, Tampa Bay 41
·        Game 4: Isles 28, Tampa Bay 24
·        Game 5: Isles 28, Tampa Bay 25
·        Total:      Isles 137, Tampa Bay 156
By Division (Regular Season)
The Isles are 18-8-4 in Division games and are 27-19-6 in games against other divisions. They are 8-12-4 vs. the Atlantic Division, 9-4-1 vs. the Central Division, and 10-3-1 vs. the Pacific Division. 
How The West Was Won
The Isles went 19-7-2 against the Western Conference, including 12-0-2 at home. The Isles finished with the best record of any Eastern team vs. the West. 

In the Nets
Thomas Greiss made 21 saves but falls to 1-4 in the series and 5-6 in the playoffs.
Ben Bishop made 28 saves and improves to 4-1 in the series and 8-2 in the playoffs.  

Power Plays
In the game, the Islanders were 1-3 on the power play while Tampa Bay was 0-3.
For the series, the Isles are 4-16 on the power play, while Tampa Bay is 2-14.
For the playoffs, the Isles are 9-37 on the power play and have killed 25 of 29 opponents' power plays.

Power Plays by Game
·        Game 1: Isles 1-4, Tampa Bay 0-2
·        Game 2: Isles 1-5, Tampa Bay 1-5
·        Game 3: Isles 1-4, Tampa Bay 1-4
·        Game 4: Isles 1-3, Tampa Bay 0-3
·        Game 5: Isles 0-2, Tampa Bay 1-5
·        Series:    Isles 4-18, Tampa Bay 3-19
The Isles are 4-4 in the playoffs when they score at least one power play goal and 1-2 when they do not. The Isles are 1-4 when they allow at least one power play goal in the playoff and are 4-2 when they do not.
In the regular season, the Isles were 27-5-4 when they score at least one power play goal and 18-22-6 when they do not.  The Isles are 13-13-3 when they allow at least one power play goal and 32-14-7 when they do not. 

Three is a Magic Number
The Isles are 3-1 in the playoffs when scoring at least 3 goals and are 2-5 when they do not.
In the regular season, the Isles were 37-4-2 when they score at least three goals (including shootout winners) and are 8-23-8 when they did not. 

One Goal Games
The Isles are 4-3 in playoff games decided by a single goal, including 3-2 in overtime. The Isles are 1-1 in games in which an empty-net goal turns a 1 goal game into a 2-goal game.

First Goal
The Isles are 2-1 in playoff games when they score first and are 5-3 when they allow the opening goal. 
The Isles were 29-7-5 in the regular season when they scored first and were 16-20-5 when they allowed the opening goal.   

Coach Cappy
Jack Capuano is now 10-14 in playoff games behind the Islander bench.  Among the nine New York area teams, only the Yankees' Joe Girardi has led his team longer than Capuano. 

Capuano is only the 2nd coach to lead three Islander teams to the playoffs, joining Al Arbour.

Most playoff wins by Islander coaches:
·        Al Arbour 123
·        Jack Capuano 10
·        Terry Simpson 9
·        Peter Laviolette 4
·        Ted Nolan 1
·        Steve Stirling 1

Most playoff games coached (Islanders):
·        Al Arbour 209
·        Jack Capuano 24
·        Terry Simpson 20
·        Peter Laviolette 12
·        Steve Stirling 5
·        Ted Nolan 5

Most playoff series wins:
·        Al Arbour 29
·        Jack Capuano 1
·        Terry Simpson 1

Most overtime wins/overtime record:
·        Al Arbour 26 (26-9)
·        Jack Capuano 4 (4-5)
·        Terry Simpson 3 (3-0)
·        Peter Laviolette 0 (0-1)
·        Steve Stirling 0 (0-1)

Ice-time Leaders
Isles: Nick Leddy (24:17); Florida: Victor Hedman (27:46). Hedman has led the Lightning in ice-time in every game in this year's playoffs.
Isles record by ice-time leaders: Nick Leddy (4-2), Travis Hamonic (1-3)
Kyle Okposo led the forwards with 18:09 of ice time. Isles record by Forward ice-time leaders: Frans Nielsen (1-2), Kyle Okposo (0-1), John Tavares (4-2), Tie (0-1)

Face-offs
Isles 22, Tampa Bay 30 (42%).  The Isles had won the majority of face-offs in the first four games in this series.
John Tavares won 6 of 12 for the Isles; Valtteri Filippula won 11 of 13 for Tampa Bay.
The Isles won 10 of 19 draws in the third period after winning only 12 of 33 in the first two periods.
The Isles won 18 of 42 draws at even strength, 0 of 3 on the power play and 4 of 7 on the penalty kill.

Face-offs Game by Game:
·        Game 1: Isles 32, Tampa Bay 21
·        Game 2: Isles 26, Tampa Bay 30
·        Game 3: Isles 38, Tampa Bay 27
·        Game 4: Isles 29, Tampa Bay 22
·        Game 5: Isles 22, Tampa Bay 30
·        Series:   Isles 147, Tampa Bay 130

Heavy Hitters
Isles 36, Tampa Bay 24.  Matt Martin led the Isles with 9 hits, giving him 19 hits over the final two games.

Hits Game by Game:
·        Game 1: Isles 29, Tampa Bay 33
·        Game 2: Isles 33, Tampa Bay 31
·        Game 3: Isles 44, Tampa Bay 34
·        Game 4: Isles 45, Tampa Bay 29
·        Game 5: Isles 36, Tampa Bay 24
·        Series: Isles 187, Tampa Bay 151

     Most Hits in a Season (since 2005-06):
1          Matt Martin       2014-2015        NYI      382
2          Matt Martin       2011-2012        NYI      374
3          Matt Martin      2015-2016        NYI      365
4          Matt Martin       2013-2014        NYI      359
5          Cal Clutterbuck 2008-2009        MIN      356
6          Cal Clutterbuck 2014-2015        NYI      343
7          Cal Clutterbuck 2010-2011        MIN      336
8          Cal Clutterbuck 2009-2010        MIN      318

Fights
There were no fights in the game and there were no fights in the series. Playoff total – 0.
Regular season total – 23 (Martin-11, Lee-3, Bernier, Boychuk, Cizikas, Hamonic, Leddy, Mayfield, Okposo, Pulock, Strait). 

Blocked Shots
The Isles were credited with 16 blocked shots; Travis Hamonic led the team with four.

Most Blocked Shots by an Islander (since 2005-2006)
1              Brendan Witt                    2006-2007    207
2              Sean Hill                          2006-2007    202
3              Calvin de Haan                2015-2016    198
3              Andrew Mac Donald          2013-2014    198
5              Andrew Mac Donald          2011-2012    185
For the Corsi Crowd
All situations:  Isles 51, Tampa Bay 57
5-on-5: Isles 43, Tampa Bay 43
The Corsi stat measures shots attempted, both for and against (including blocks). 
Nick Leddy led the Isles with a +5 5-on-5 Corsi rating and a team-leading 57% Corsi For percentage.  Nikita Kucherov led Tampa Bay with a +8 5-on-5 Corsi rating.

Corsi (All Situations) Game by Game:
·        Game 1: Isles 44, Tampa Bay 65
·        Game 2: Isles 39, Tampa Bay 59
·        Game 3: Isles 59, Tampa Bay 73
·        Game 4: Isles 67, Tampa Bay 45
·        Game 5: Isles 51, Tampa Bay 57
·        Series: Isles 260, Tampa Bay 299

Corsi (5-on-5) Game by Game:
·        Game 1: Isles 31, Tampa Bay 54
·        Game 2: Isles 29, Tampa Bay 39
·        Game 3: Isles 46, Tampa Bay 55
·        Game 4: Isles 53, Tampa Bay 37
·        Game 5: Isles 43, Tampa Bay 43
·        Series: Isles 202, Tampa Bay 228

Missing Men
Marek Zidlicky
Steve Bernier
Anders Lee
Brian Strait
James Wright
Adam Pelech
Mikhail Grabovski
Jaroslav Halak

Up Next
NHL Awards  (Las Vegas) June 22nd
NHL Entry Draft (Buffalo) June 24th-25th
And Finally…
93 games, a record 93 editions of The Skinny.  It's a perfect season, at least in attendance.  Thanks to all who have contributed to The Skinny this season! Special thanks to my MSG Network teammates, to Kimber, Jesse and Kelly from the Islander PR staff, to Cory and Brooke from Barclays Center and to my very understanding family!

The last thanks is the most important – thanks to all of the fans who read The Skinny regularly, who stop by at Barclays Center to say hello, and who are always so supporting of The Skinny and the team.

See you in October!
Eric Hornick has been the statistician on Islander home game telecasts since 1982. Information contained in "The Skinny" has been gathered from various sources.  Follow Eric @ehornick on Twitter & on his blog http://www.nyiskinny.com./


Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since January 21, 1982. Visit my blog: NYISkinny.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick