Get Your T-Shirts & Hoodies -- and support Make-A-Wish (R) Metro NY

THANK YOU 31,000 times for making my wish of helping @MakeaWish @MAWMNYcome true!!!!!!

#ItHappenedAtTheColiseum

Update: We sold 2,233 shirts and raised OVER $31,000! Un-beLIevable!
All proceeds benefit one of my favorite charities: Make-A-Wish®Metro New York.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Yashin buyout revisited

Soemone asked a question to Mr. Botta on why Yashin's buyout has such a big cap hit in 2010-11 (it's the highest of the eight year buyout period).  Here's why:

Yashin buyout math:

The effect on the cap in 2010-11 is highest this coming year, because Alexei's salary was actually lower in 10-11 than in the earlier years of his deal.  Since the cap hit is spread evenly across the years, the lower "actual" salary results in a higher buyout.

Specifically, he was going to make 4.864 million this year (the last of his deal) but the cap hit was going to be 7.415 million (spread equally over entire original contract).

He'll actually receive a payment of $2.204 million (1/8 of the buyout of $17.632 million)  The savings from the buyout is 4.864 - 2.204 or 2.660 million.  7.415 - 2.660 results in this year's cap hit of 4.755 million.

Note that for the final 4 years of the buyout (starting 2011-12), the cap hit is reduced to 2.204 million annually.

This "lesson" will be realized throughout the league with teams that signed long-term contracts in which the salary in the last couple of years are significantly lower than the remaining years. 

(As best I understand, this would not be an issue if the Isles were to ever buyout DiPietro's contract, which is $4.5 million annually.  The buyout is 2/3rd of the contact amount and there are 11 years remaining on that deal.  Thus, if it was to happen this summer, it would be a cap hit of 1.5 million for the next 22 seasons.  Can't see that happening!)

 Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Monday, April 19, 2010

Local TV ratings

It was a good season on the airwaves for the Isles as the hope brought by John Tavares led to a doubling of tv ratings.  Devils ratings also increased significantly.

However, the Rangers not only missed the playoffs on the final day of the season, they also lost their title of the most watched team on US local television (to Pittsburgh).  The Penguins, Red Wings and Blackhawks all were watched by more households than the Rangers.

Rating
08-09 09-10 Change
Rangers 1.09 0.89 -18.3%
Devils 0.39 0.58 48.7%
Isles 0.18 0.36 100.0%
Households
08-09 09-10 Change
Rangers 81000 67000 -17.3%
Devils 29000 43000 48.3%
Isles 13000 27000 107.7%

While the Rangers are still the most-highlly rated team in town, the difference narrowed considerably:

In 2008-09, the Rangers rating was nearly double the Isles/Devils combined; Nearly twice as many households watched the Rangers as the Isles and Devils combined.
In 2009-10, the Rangers rating was still the highest, but more fans watched the Isles/Devils combined than watched the Rangers.  Additionally the combined households watching Devils and Isles were more than the households watching the Rangers.

(There is no further description of these numbers, such as telecasts.  I'm not sure, but the MSG-2 and MSG+-2 cames may be excluded from these calculations.)

(from sports business journal)
Complete list here: http://puckthemedia.wordpress.com/2010/04/19/your-final-nhl-local-tv-ratings-and-viewership-rankings-in-the-us/
 Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sound Tigers drop game 2, too. Koskinen tomorrow?

Frustrating two games in Hershey for the Sound Tigers.  Dustin Kohn scored twice and Brisgeport carried a 2-1 lead in the third.  Giroux tied it for Hershey early in the period and Nathan Lawson then left with cramping --apparently he's gone to the hospital.  Scott Munroe alllowed the winner to Perrault on a pp 7:06 into the third.  It's the first time that Hershey, who tied game 1 on a controversial goal (clearly looked like a high stick) and won in overtime, had a lead during actual play.

Unclear whether Koskinen's recall was due to the concern over Nathan Lawson's health or not. 

Hershey leads the series 2-0.  Game 3 is Saturday in Bridgeport.


 Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Nystrom joins Gordon and Okposo on Team USA

<<Nystrom not aiming for Isles
By IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency
Last Updated: April 14, 2010 6:27pm

Although his father is Mr. Islander, Eric Nystrom says no one should
jump to a conclusion he's bolting Calgary for New York as an
unrestricted free agent.

Bob Nystrom is still associated with the New York Islanders, one of
30 teams open to bid on Nystrom come July 1.

But Eric Nystrom feels part of Calgary after playing all 204 games of his NHL career with the Flames.

"That's purely speculation because I have a connection with them,"
said the Flames winger, who was a first-round draft pick by the team in
2002.

"This is where I've always been and this is where my roots are. Every player doesn't play for their home team. At this moment, I haven't
thought about that. I'm still upset there are other teams playing and
we're not."

Nystrom's hockey season isn't finished anyway. He has accepted an
invitation to join Team USA at the world championships in Germany
starting May 7. Flames teammate David Moss will join him and defenceman
Mark Giordano will suit up for Canada.

"I've played in world juniors and under-18s, and it's a thrill to
represent your country. I'm excited for the chance to do it again,"
Nystrom said at the Saddledome during Flames garbage-bag day.

"It should be a lot of fun. I'm very excited. This is a great
opportunity. I was feeling great at the end of the season after the
Olympic break so I'm excited to continue to play some hockey."

Nystrom had a strong season for the Flames on the fourth line,
considering he had a groin injury midway through that he only revealed
Wednesday.

Despite the ailment, the 27-year-old played all 82 games and finished with 11 goals and 19 points, both career highs. He was also even for
the first time in his career.

"It started off well and I came out of the gate strong but I suffered a groin injury in the middle of the season and that hampered me,"
Nystrom said.

"It kept me from playing my game. It made me take a step back. I had a chance during the Olympic break to rest and recover and come back the
way I was at the start of the year. It felt great to do that. Overall,
it was a solid year but I wish that didn't happen.

"I wasn't as fast and I could get in there and do things I wanted.
It was frustrating. For a long time too. The only positive from the
Olympic break was the rest I got."
ian.busby@sunmedia.ca>>

Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tavares by the numbers

A look at some numbers from #91's rookie year:

(all numbers from yahoo sports)

Good start, good finish:

GP G A Pts
October 13 4 6 10
November 14 6 5 11
March 14 4 7 11
April 6 3 6 9
47 17 24 41

Weaker middle:

December 15 6 1 7
January 14 1 4 5
February 6 0 1 1

35 7 6 13


Bizarro Tavares stat: He had 12 goals and 15 assists in the Isles' 34
win. He
also had 12 goals and 15 assists in the Isles 48 reg/ot/so losses.

Bizarro Tavares stat 2: In those 34 wins, he had 2 goals and 2 assists
on the
power play. In the 48 reg/ot/so losses: 9 pp goals and 12 pp assists.

Bizarro Tavares stat 3: He scored 15 goals on the road and only 9 at
home. PP
numbers: 9-7-16 on the road; 2-7-9 at home.


Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Happy April 13th!

Today is April 13th.

Arguably the most successful day in Rangers history. In fact, they've won two Stanley Cups on this day.

In 1933, the Rangers defeated the Maple Leafs to clinch the Cup in 4 games [3-1] on a goal by Bill Cook 7:34 into OT.

And of course, on this date in 1940...Bryan Hextall scored at 2:07 of OT as the Rangers again beat the Leafs, this time
in the 5th and deciding game.

Some people will say it's one Cup in 70 years. For me, it will be Forever 1940.

The Isles btw have had some success on this day as well [although the Rangers did eliminate them on April 13, 1990].

On this date in 1982, the comeback that made the dynasty the dynasty. Trailing 3-1 with 5 1/2 minutes left in the third period,
the Isles get two goals in the final minutes and then a John Tonelli goal at 6:19 of OT to defeat the Penguins 4-3, eliminating
the upset-minded Penguins three games to two.

Oh, did I mention that the NHL Draft Lottery is tonight?

Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Monday, April 12, 2010

Permutations and Combinations (aka the Draft Lottery)

Quick: what's 14 x 13 x 12 x 11? It's 24,024.

What's that have to do with the Draft Lottery? Well, everything.

The lottery is conducted with the selection of four balls from a pool of 14. Once a ball is chosen, it is not replaced (so each ball can be selected only once). As if turns out, there are 24,024 possible "permutations" that can be chosen. However, when you change it to combinations (ie 1-2-3-4 is the same result as 4-3-2-1 or 2-3-4-1.... or 21 other permutations), there are only (24,024 divided by 24 = ) 1,001 possible results.

One of those 1,001 is thrown out (I don't believe that the NHL has ever identified which one it is) and the others are assigned to each of the teams.

Having watched last year's lottery, I think that the NHL could do a better job with building excitement during the drawing itself -- updating the odds after each of the numbers are drawn. Perhaps former Ranger announcer Monty Hall, or fellow Canadian Alex Trebek could host.

81 of those 1,000 combinations belong to the Isles, meaning that by chance the Isles should win the lottery every 12.345 years. Perhaps this is the one.

Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

(Sid) The Kid is good...really good

From the geniuses at Elias:


CROSBY CRUSHES ISLES FOR 2ND TIME THIS SEASON
Sidney
Crosby scored two goals and assisted on three others in the Penguins' 6-5
overtime win against the Islanders. Crosby, who had six points against the Isles
on January 10 (two goals, four assists) is the first player to record two games
of five or more points against the same team in the same season since 1992-1993.
Two players did it in that season: Mario
Lemieux against the Sharks and Steve
Yzerman against the Lightning.

Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Stamkos/Tavares

Rookie Seasons:

Stamkos 
2008–09 Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 79 23 23 46
Tavares
 2009-10 New York Islanders NHL  82  24  30 54
 
Sophomore Seasons: 
Stamkos 
2009–10 Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 82 51 44 95 
Tavares
2010-11  New York Islanders NHL   ??  ??  ??  ??


 Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Stat Trick: Penguins 6, Isles 5 (overtime)

Jordan Leopold scored with 35 seconds left in overtime to break a 5-5 tie and give the Penguins a season-ending victory over the Islanders at the Coliseum on Sunday.  With the single point the Isles earn the 5th seed, heading into Tuesday's draft lottery.  They will have an 8.1% chance to win the lottery and earn the #1 draft pick for the second straight season.  The Penguins finish 4th in the East and will face Ottawa as they begin defense of the Stanley Cup.  On to the Trick:

1. For the second time this week, the Penguins jumped all over the Isles in the first period as Evegny Malkin and Sidney Crosby sandwiched goals around the first tally since March 14, 2009 by former Islander Eric Godard.  Crosby's goal, the first of his two on the night, was his 50th of the season.  He is the first Penguins since Jaromir Jagr in  2000-01 to reach that mark.  The Isles got on the board late in the period as John Tavares scored the first of his two goals on a 5-on-3 power play. It was Tavares' 11th power play goal and 25th power play point.  Both totals led both the Islanders, and all NHL rookies.  Tavares is also the first Islander since Jason Blake (14) and Mike Sillinger (11)  in 2006-07 to record 11 power play goals in a season.

2. Crosby and Malkin scored again in the 2nd period, with Matt Moulson becoming the Isles' first 30-goal scorer in three seasons in between the two Penguin tallies. He is only the third Islander to reach 30 goals since the lockout; Miro Satan had 35 in 2005-06 while Jason Blake had 40 goals the following season. Crosby and Malkin combined for 79 goals on the season; Crosby's 2nd goal was enough for him to earn a share of the Maurice Richard Trophy with Tampa's Steven Stamkos.

3. The Isles fought back in the third period.  Kyle Okposo and John Sim scored 24 seconds apart to make it 5-4 and Tavares' second goal of the game, with 4:13 to play, forced overtime. Tavares finishes his rookie season with 24 goals and a team-leading 54 points.  The 24 goals tied Matt Duchesne for the league lead among rookies., while the 54 points was second to Duchesne's 55. 

.... a few more....

4. The Isles entered play with a chance to finish with anywhere from the 3rd to 6th seed in the lottery.  Florida's loss to Tampa gave them the 3rd seed.  The Isles' overtime point gave Columbus the 4th seed, however with Pittsburgh's overtime goal the Isles got the 5th seed and Tampa the 6th.

5. Brent Johnson made 33 saves for Pittsburgh; Dwayne Roloson finished with 31 saves for the Islanders.

6. The contentious game featured a first period fight between Joel Rechlicz and Mike Rupp and a second period scuffle between Rechlizz and Eric Godard. Rechlicz and Tim Jackman also earned misconducts as the Isles finished with 46 penalty minutes; Pittsburgh had 32.  The Isles went 2-9 on the power play while the Penguins were 1-6.  It's the first time since October 16, 2008 that the Isles have had nine power plays in a game. New York finished the season 49-306 on the power play and 71-300 on the penalty kill.  It's only the third time in club history that the Isles have had more power plays for the season than their opponents (last done in 1996-97)

7. Crosby, Malkin and Sergei Gonchar combined for 13 goals and 24 assists in the six games against the Isles this season. Crosby had 17 of them (6 goals and 11 assists); he now has 18 goals and 43 assists in  31 career games against the Isles (and 506 career points in 371 games over his first five NHL seasons). Crosby had two goals and three assists while Malkin had two goals and two assists tonight.

8. The Isles finish the season 34-37-11 for 79 points, and 23-14-4 for 50 points on home ice.  The 79 points represent an 18 point improvement over last season, while the 50 home points equals the second highest total for the Isles since 1987-88.  The overtime loss ends a three-game home winning streak; it's the first time that the Isles have ever ended a regular season with an overtime loss and the first time that they have ever ended a home regular season with an overtime loss.  The Isles are 21-11-5 in both regular season finales and regular season home finales.

9. The Isles allowed 20 goals in the last three games of the season.  It's the first time in over ten years that they have allowed 20 goals in three games (Dec. 30, 1999 -Jan. 4, 2000).  Only once in Isles history have they allowed more than 20 goals in a three-game span.  They allowed 22 in a three-game span November 3-8, 1972.

10. The Penguins win the seires five games to one,  and 10 points to four.  The Isles were 1-0-2 at home against Pittsburgh, including a shooutout loss in the season opener and an overtime loss in the season finale.  Overall, the Penguins finish the season 25-7-7 in one-goal games (14-7 in overtime/shootouts) while the Isles were 19-13-11 (14-11 in overtime/shootouts). The 25 extra session games are an Islander club record.

Up next:  The draft lottery is on Tuesday and the Entry Draft in on June 25 in Los Angeles.  Free agency begins on July 1 and the Isles will open their 38th NHL season in early October.  See you then!
 Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Stat Trick: Devils 7, Isles 1

Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk each scored a goal and added two assists while Travis Zajac added three helpers as the Devils pounded the Isles 7-1 at The Rock in the final road game of the 2009-10 season.  On to the Trick:

1. With a chance to wrap-up the Atlantic Division, the Devils wasted no time, grabbing a 3-0 first period lead on goals by Dainius Zubrus, Parise, and Dean McAmmond.

2. Patrik Elias (first of two on the night) and Brian Rolston scored second period power play goals to turn the game into a 5-0 rout.  Rolston, Elias and Parise each had four goals against the Isles this season.

3. Kovalcuk and Elias sandwiched Matt Moulson's third period power play tally.  Moulson now has 29 goals on the season; he'll look to record the 72nd 30-goal season in Islander history on Sunday.  Elias meanwhile will be looking for his 20th goal of the season, which would be an impressive total considering he has missed 24 games.

...a few more...

4. Dwayne Roloson came in to bail Marty Biron out on Thursday in Pittsburgh, but Biron was in net for the entire game tonight, making 30 saves. It's only the third time in his career that Biron has allowed at least seven goals in a game, and the first time that he has done so since November 5, 2003.  Martin Brodeur made 18 saves in winning his 601st career game.  He is 44-24-6 in his career against the Isles, which is almost identical to his 44-25-6 record this season.

5. The Isles are 19-15-3 in road finales, but have been blown out in the finale in each of the last two seasons (6-1 in Pittsburgh last season).  The Isles finish the road portion of the schedule with a record of 11-23-7 (29 points).  While an improvement of eight points over last season, the Isles are only 20-52-10 over the past two campaigns.

6. The Isles have allowed seven goals in consecutive games for the first time since October 15-17, 1991 (a span of over 1400 games).  It's the first time that they have allowed seven goals in consecutive games in regulation since October 23-24, 1990 and the first time that they have done it in consecutive games, both on the road, since January 28-30, 1989.

7. Micheal Haley made his NHL debut, playing 10:18.  He was credited with one hit, and fought Rod Pelley after Pelley injured Sean Bergenheim.
Trevor Gillies recorded 21 penalty minutes to set a season-high for an Islander, including a lengthy fight with  Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond.  Gillies now has 73 penalty minutes in just 13 NHL games; he is 13 minutes behind Tim Jackman (86) for the team lead.  Jackman has a chance to have the lowest penalty minute total of the Islander club leader in team history; Mike Comrie had 87 to lead the team two seasons ago.

8.  John Tavares and Kyle Okposo assisted on Moulson's goal.  They are the Isles' top three scorers this season, with 51, 49 and 47 points respectively.  Tavares' point total matches Trent Hunter's 2003-04 output.  No Islander rookie has had more points since Vladimir Malakhov had 52 in 1992-93.  If Tavares can earn a point tomorrow, he'll match the highest total by an Isles freshman since David Volek had 59 in 1988-89.

9.  The Devils went 2-5 on the power play, while the Isles were 1-3. On the season, the Isles have had 297 power plays to their opponents' 294.  They will enter the season's final day with a chance to finish a season with more power plays than their opponents for only the third time in club history.

10.  The Devils swept all three games at The Rock for the second straight season; the Isles are 3-7-0 in Newark since the facility opened three seasons ago.  The Devils win the season series four games to two (and eight points to four), outscoring the Isles 21-13. The Isles have lost seven straight divisional road games and finish the season 2-10-0 in divisional road tilts.  (They were 1-10-1 in divisional road games last season.)  The Isles have not won in Pittsburgh, Phialdelphia or New Jersey under Scott Gordon.

Up next:  The Isles conclude their 37th season in the National Hockey League on Sunday at 5:00 when they host the Penguins.  With the Penguins' 1-0 loss to Atlanta tonight, the game becomes a post-season tune-up for Pittsburgh, who will face Ottawa in the first round of the playoffs. (The game has potential implications for home ice in the Stanley Cup Finals, if the Penguins get there for the third straight season.)  The Penguins may be without Matt Cooke, who was beaten in a fight by Evander Kane on Saturday.  Sidney Crosby will be looking to score his 50th goal of the season against the Islanders for the second time in four days; his previous 50th goal was reversed in a post-game scoring decision. 

Draft pick Implications:  The Isles can still finish anywhere between 25th and 28th.  Here is where they will finish, based on the results of Sunday's games:

If Isles win -- Isles finish 25th (6th seed)
If Isles lose in overtime or shootout -- Isles finish 25th (6th seed) if Florida beats Tampa and finish 26th (5th seed) if Tampa beats Florida
If Isles lose in regulation - Isles finish 27th (4th seed) unless Florida beats Tampa in overtime/shootout.  If that happens, Isles finish 28th (3rd seed)

The draft lottery is Tuesday.

Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Draft position update

With one day left in the regular season, the Isles can still finish anywhere from 25th to 28th.

The Isles loss tonight means that they can not catch Atlanta or Carolina (the Hurricanes own the head-to-head tiebreaker)  Tampa's shootout win means that the Isles still have a chance to drop to 28th, and own the 3rd seed in the draft lottery.


Standings:
1 Edmonton Oilers             81 27 46 8 62
2 Toronto Maple Leafs       81 30 37 14 74

3 Florida Panthers              81 32 36 13 77
4 Tampa Bay Lightning      81 33 36 12 78
5 New York Islanders         81 34 37 10 78
6 Columbus Blue Jackets  82 32 35 15 79

7 Carolina Hurricanes        82 35 37 10 80
8 Atlanta Thrashers           82 35 34 13 83

Sunday's Draft position schedule:

Tampa Bay @ Florida 5:00
Isles host Pittsburgh 5:00

If Isles win -- Isles finish 25th (6th seed)
If Isles lose in OT/SO -- Isles finish 25th (6th seed) if Florida beats Tampa and finish 26th (5th seed) if Tampa beats Florida
If Isles lose in regulation - Isles finish 27th (4th seed) unless Florida beats Tampa in overtime/shootout.  If that happens, Isles finish 28th (3rd seed)

The draft lottery is Tuesday.

 Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Stat Trick: Pittsburgh 7, Isles 3

The Penguins closed out the regular season history of Mellon Arena by beating the Isles 7-3 on Thursday night.  On to the Trick:

1. After a lengthy pre-game ceremony, the Penguins jumped on the Isles in the opening minute as Brooks Orpik scored just 23 seconds in.  Alex Goligoski doubled the Pens' advantage 5:01 into play on the powerplay.  The teams traded four more goals in the period with Matt Molulson and Kyle Okposo scoring for the Isles and Evgeny Malkin and Sidney Crosby responding for the Pens to give Pittsburgh a 4-2 lead after 20 minutes.

2. Josh Bailey's 16th (and final) goal of the season brought the Isles within 4-3, but ex-Isle captain Bill Guerin deflected in a Crosby shot on the power play and Tyler Kennedy scored two minutes later to blow the game open, at 6-3 after two periods.

3.  Guerin's second goal early in the third gave the Penguins a 7-3 advantage. After the Isles failed to capitalize on a five minute power play when Alex Ponikarovsky was tossed (and later suspended two games) for boarding Josh Bailey, the game (and Mellon Arena's regular season history) was essentially over.

...a few more...

4.  Crosby finished with one goal and three assists.  He was credited during play for a second goal, that would have given him 50th, but a post-game review changed the goal to Guerin. Crosby now has 16 goals and 40 assists in 30 career games against the Isles. He has 12 points in the five games this season.

5. Martin Biron was pulled after allowing four first period goals, and suffered his first loss in a starting assignment since December 27 against Philadelphia.  Biron finished with only six saves.  Dwayne Roloson, making his first appearance in four games, made 22 saves.  Mark-Andre Fleury finished with 32 saves as he improved his career record against the Isles to 11-4-3.

6. The Penguins close Mellon Arena with an all-time record of 857-576-205-28 in 1667 games.  
 
7. It's the first time all season that the Isles have allowed seven goals in a road game; they have allowed seven goals twice at home this year.

8. John Tavares earned the back assist on Moulson's goal to give him 50 points on the season.  Jeff Tambellini, playing only his 34th game of the season, earned an assist on the Okposo goal.  It was his 14th point of the season, but first in his ten appearances since January 2.  Okposo now has 18 goals, matching last season's total.

9. Greg Mauldin replaced an injured Richard Park in the line-up.  He appeared in his first NHL game since the 2003-04 season when he played six NHL games for Columbus.

10. The Penguins sweep the three games in Pittsburgh for the second straight season.  Pittsburgh leads the series four games to one and eight points to three.  The teams will meet again in the season finale on Sunday at the Coliseum.

Up next:  The Isles play the final road game of the season in New Jersey on Saturday.  The Isles have lost all five games at The Rock over the last two seasons, but have beaten the Devils twice in three meetings at the Coliseum.  The Isles have earned eight more points on the road this season (11-21-7 for 29 points) than they recorded last season.

 Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Friday, April 09, 2010

Draft Position

Atlanta's loss means that the Isles could still finish as high as 23rd (8th seed).  Columbus took Detroit to a shootout, but lost.  The one point could be critical though--if the Isles lose their last two in regulation, they'll finish 1 point behind Columbus.

With two days left in the regular season, the Isles can still finish anywhere from 23rd to 28th.


Standings:
1 Edmonton Oilers             79 25 46 8 58
2 Toronto Maple Leafs       80 29 37 14 72
3 Tampa Bay Lightning      80 32 36 12 76
4 Florida Panthers              80 32 36 12 76
5 New York Islanders         80 34 36 10 78
6 Columbus Blue Jackets  82 32 35 15 79
7 Carolina Hurricanes        81 35 36 10 80
8 Atlanta Thrashers           81 34 34 13 81

Saturday's Draft position schedule:

CAROLINA  - BOSTON  1:00 PM    Carolina ends their season in Boston against a desperate Bruin team.  If Carolina wins, the Isles can not catch the Hurricanes because Carolina owns the tie-breaker

NY ISLANDERS  -  NEW JERSEY  7:00 PM   The Isles can have no earlier than the 6th seed if they win either of their final two games.

PITTSBURGH - ATLANTA 7:00 PM  If the Thrashers win or the Isles lose in regulation, the Isles can not finish ahead of Atlanta.

FLORIDA - TAMPA BAY 7:30 PM  The Isles are indifferent as to who wins this game as both teams won the season series from the Isles but the Isles' draft positioning would be enhanced if the game goes to OT.

The Isles could still get the third seed if:
2 Isles regulation losses (to NJ and Pit)
Tampa and Florida split their two games, but both games go to OT


 Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Draft position update

A bad night on the ice for the Isles becomes a very good night at ping pong as three teams close to the Isles (Carolina, Tampa and Florida) all won.

With tonight's loss, the Isles can not finish ahead of Dallas and are thus guaranteed a 9th seed or higher heading into Tuesday's draft lottery.  If Minnesota gets a point in their game in Calgary tonight, the Isles will be guaranteed an 8th seed or higher. 

1 Edmonton Oilers             79 25 46 8 58
2 Toronto Maple Leafs       80 29 37 14 72
3 Tampa Bay Lightning      80 32 36 12 76
4 Florida Panthers              80 32 36 12 76
5 Columbus Blue Jackets  81 32 35 14 78
6 New York Islanders         80 34 36 10 78
7 Carolina Hurricanes        81 35 36 10 80
8 Minnesota Wild               80 37 36 7 81  xxxxxxx does not include Thursday game in Calgary
9 Atlanta Thrashers           80 34 33 13 81

Friday's Draft position schedule:
Atlanta at Washington  If Thrashers win, Isles can not catch Atlanta
Columbus hosts Detroit  Final game of season  for Blue Jackets.  If they don't get a point, they will finish behind Islanders and are     guaranteed either the 3rd or 4th seed (because Tampa and Florida play twice against each other this weekend).

The Isles could still get the third seed if:
2 Isles regulation losses (to NJ and Pit)
Columbus gets at least a point vs. Detroit
Tampa and Florida split their two games, but both games go to OT


Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Draft position update

The two games affecting the Isles' draft position were played early on Wednesday.  The Rangers beat Toronto and Columbus lost to Detroit.  With the Rangers' win, the Blueshirts are guaranteed to finish ahead of the Isles.  Thus, the Isles are guaranteed a top-10 seed in the draft lottery.  Columbus' loss makes it likely that the Isles will finish ahead of the Blue Jackets, as Columbus has only one game to play (Friday vs. Detroit).


1 Edmonton Oilers             79 25 46 8 58
2 Toronto Maple Leafs       80 29 37 14 72
3 Tampa Bay Lightning      79 31 36 12 74
4 Florida Panthers              79 31 36 12 74
5 Columbus Blue Jackets  81 32 35 14 78
6 Carolina Hurricanes        80 34 36 10 78
7 New York Islanders         79 34 35 10 78
8 Minnesota Wild               80 37 36 7 81
9 Atlanta Thrashers           80 34 33 13 81
10 Dallas Stars                 80 35 31 14 84

Thursday's Draft Position Games:       
Montreal at Carolina; Canes won season series from Isles, which is second tie-breaker (after wins)
Isles at Pittsburgh;  With one more win, Isles will not finish in bottom 5
Ottawa at Tampa Bay ; Bolts must earn at least 5 points in last 3 to pass Isles
New Jersey at Florida;  Cats must earn at least 5 points in last 3 to pass Isles
Anaheim at Dallas; If Stars earn one point or Isles do not earn two, the Isles can not catch Dallas.
Minnesota at Calgary; If Wild earn one more point, they will be 13th Western Conference team at NHL .500 or better

       
Isles can finish anywhere between 21st and 28th (and hold 3rd to 10th pick in draft)       
If Isles win one of final 3, they can finish no lower than 25th (pick 6th)       
If Isles lose one of final 3, they can finish no higher than 22nd (pick 9th).       
       
Almost impossible for Isles to drop to 28th -- need 3 regulation losses and for Tampa and       
Florida to get 5 points each, including split weekend with both teams winning in OT/SO       

 Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Draft position update

1 Edmonton Oilers          79 25 46 8 58
2 Toronto Maple Leafs     80 29 37 14 72
3 Tampa Bay Lightning    79 31 36 12 74
4 Florida Panthers           79 31 36 12 74
5 Columbus Blue Jackets  80 32 34 14 78
6 Carolina Hurricanes      80 34 36 10 78
7 New York Islanders      79 34 35 10 78
8 Minnesota Wild           80 37 36 7 81
9 Atlanta Thrashers        80 34 33 13 81
10 New York Rangers    79 36 33 10 82
11 Dallas Stars             80 35 31 14 84

Today's Key Games:       
Rangers host Toronto  Isles can not catch Rangers if Rangers win.     
Columbus at Detroit  Columbus is tied with Isles in points, but has fewer wins     
       
Isles can finish anywhere between 20th and 28th (and hold 3rd to 11th pick in draft)       
If Isles win one of final 3, they can finish no lower than 26th (pick 5th)       
If Isles lose one of final 3 in regulation, they can finish no higher than 22nd (pick 9th).       
       
Almost impossible for Isles to drop to 28th -- need 3 regulation losses and for Tampa and       
Florida to get 5 points each, including split weekend with both teams winning in OT/SO       

 Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Stat Trick: Isles 4, Montreal 3 (shoot-out)

All season long, the Islanders have watched leads get away.  Tonight, the shoe was on the other foot as the Isles twice rallied from third period deficits to force overtime, and went on to defeat the Canadiens 4-3 in a shoot-out at the Coliseum.  On to the trick:

1.  The Isles had the better of play in the first period, outshooting Montreal 15-5.  Blake Comeau, who would later leave with an injury, scored the period's only goal.  It was his 17th goal of the season (in only 61 games), tying him with Kyle Okposo for third place on the club's goal scoring list.  He has scored 11 goals in his last 18 games and has earned a point in four straight games (5-2-7).

2.  Montreal grabbed the lead in the second period on goals by Tomas Plekanec (his 25th) and Brian Gionta (his 26th).  Gionta had 48 goals for New Jersey in 2005-06; this is the only other time in his career that he has reached 26.

3.  The Isles would tie the game twice in the third period, first with 2:01 gone by in the period, and again with 2:01 remaining. Sean Bergeheim knotted the game at 2, but Maxim LaPierre scored four minutes later.  The Habs kept the lead until late in the third, but Frans Nielsen's goal forced overtime. Montreal killed an overtime power play, before Matt Moulson and Frans Nielsen connected in the shoot-out to give the Isles the win.  Nielsen is now 11-19 (57.9%) in shootouts. No active player has scored as many as 11 shootout goals on as few attempts; among active players with at least ten attempts, only Slava Kozlov (58.7%) has been more successful.

...a few more...

4. It's the the third time this season that the Isles have rallied to win after trailing after 40 minutes (3-29-4).  Despite the club's penchant for blowing leads, the Isles record when trailing after two periods nearly mirrors their 27-3-4 record when leading after two periods.  The Isles improved to 14-10 in games requiring overtime, including 8-6 in shoot-outs.  The 14 wins and 24 games are club records, as are the 14 shoot-outs.  The Isles are 6-1 in shoot-outs in 2010, losing only to St. Louis.

5. Jaroslav Halak has had a tremendous season for Montreal, and tonight was no different, and he made 39 saves, including six in overtime. Comeau's goal ended his second shutout streak of over 150 minutes this season. It's the first time in 30 games that the Isles have had at least 40 shots in a game.

6. Martin Biron made 28 saves for the Isles and improved to 7-0-2 in his last nine starts.  He has won four straight starts, matching Roloson's season high (done twice).  He improves to 2-1 in shoot-outs this season, and 8-14 in his career.

7. Sean Bergenheim continues his strong finish; he recorded a goal and two assists to match his career high of three points in a game.  He has four goals and four assists in the last five games.

8. The Isles have won three straight games for the second time since the Olympic break and are 5-1-0 in the last six and 8-3-1 in their last 12.  With the win, the Isles move within one game of NHL .500 for the first time since a loss to Philadelphia on January 30th dropped their record to 23-24-8.  The Isles will need to earn four points in their final three games to finish at NHL .500.  With 78 points, they now have 17 points more than they recorded last year.  The Isles are 6-1-0 in their last seven at home and 7-2-1 in ten games at home since the Olympic break.

9.  The Isles improve to 23-14-3 at home. If they can win their season finale on Sunday, they will finish with 51 points at home.  The Isles had 51 home points in 1985-86, the final season of Al Arbour's first stint as coach; they have exceeded that total only once since, earning 55 points in 2001-02.

10. Montreal wins the season series three games to one and seven points to three.  The Canadiens dominated the special teams this season, going 6-15 on the power play and killing 17 of 19 Islander advantages. Montreal has earned points in 13 straight games against the Isles (10-0-3).

Up next:  The Isles head to Pittsburgh to participate in the final regular season game in Mellon Arena on Thursday. The Penguins lead the season series three games to one (and six points to three).  The Isles have lost seven straight games in Pittsburgh, all in regulation, and are 2-12 in their last 14 visits to Pittsburgh.  The Isles are 0-5 in Pittsburgh under Scott Gordon, and have been outscored 25-8.  They are 3-18-1 in divisional road games under Gordon (3-3-0 at Madison Square Garden, and 0-15-1 everywhere else).

Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Party like it's 1998?

...with apologies to Prince  :) 

The Isles' play these past 11 games is somewhat reminiscent to the 1997-98 season. The Isles started April 1998 with a 24-38-10 record and proceeded to dominate last placeTampa (mainly) for most of the month, going 6-3-1 in April, and finishing the season 30-41-11:

1-Apr-98 Vs Tampa Bay 4 0 W
4-Apr-98 Vs New York 3 0 W
6-Apr-98 @ Tampa Bay 3 0 W
8-Apr-98 Vs New Jersey 3 2 W
9-Apr-98 @ Boston 1 4 L
11-Apr-98 @ Montreal 3 3 T
13-Apr-98 Vs Washington 0 2 L
15-Apr-98 @ New York 2 4 L
16-Apr-98 Vs Tampa Bay 4 0 W
18-Apr-98 @ New Jersey 2 1 W

In addition to making Eddie Westfall's final days in the Isles TV booth just a bit more pleasurable, the Isles jumped over several teams in the standings and finished 19th in a then 26-team league.  The Isles ended up with the 9th pick that spring (expansion Nashville picked 2nd) and selected Mike Rupp, who never signed with them.  While this was not a particularly deep draft anyhow (Lecavalier and Legwand went 1-2, Tanguay, Gagne and Gomez were all on the board after Rupp), had the Isles not had such a strong finish they might have ended up with the 4th or 5th pick, instead of the 9th.

The Isles are 7-3-1 in their last 11 and are within two games of NHL .500 for the first time since January 31st.  Hmmm.


 Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Draft positioning

With the Isles being eliminated last night, the focus now is on the draft lottery, which will take place next Tuesday.

Entering play tonight, the Isles are the 6th seed, but could finish anywhere from 2nd to 11th)


1 Edmonton Oilers NW 79 25 46 8 58 (Long ago, clinched worst record in NHL)
2 Toronto Maple Leafs NE 79 29 36 14 72
3 Tampa Bay Lightning SE 78 31 35 12 74
4 Florida Panthers SE 78 31 35 12 74
5 Carolina Hurricanes SE 79 33 36 10 76
6 New York Islanders ATL 78 33 35 10 76
7 Columbus Blue Jackets CEN 80 32 34 14 78
8 Minnesota Wild NW 80 37 36 7 81
9 Atlanta Thrashers SE 79 34 32 13 81
10 New York Rangers ATL 78 36 32 10 82
11 Dallas Stars PAC 79 35 30 14 84

The range where the Isles are seeded could be narrowed to 3rd-8th after tonight.

Besides their own game, the most important game tonight is between Carolina and Tampa. (Do I hear "overtime"?)

Dallas hosts Chicago tonight - If Isles lose (reg/ot) or Dallas earns point, Isles can't catch Dallas
Rangers visit Buffalo - If Isles lose (reg) or Rangers win, Isles can't catch Rangers
Atlanta hosts Devils - If Atlanta wins AND Isles lose (reg), Isles can't catch Atlanta
Minnesota is idle.
Columbus is idle.
Isles host Montreal
Carolina visits Tampa
Florida hosts Ottawa
Toronto hosts Philadelphia - If Leafs lose (reg) OR Isles win OR both teams lose in OT/SO, Leafs can't catch Isles.


Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

TV alert

With the Isles eliminated from the playoffs, tonight's telecast of Isles-Canadiens has been moved to MSG-2. Rangers-Sabres will air on MSG-Plus.


Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Monday, April 05, 2010

Washington 3, Boston 2 (ot fimal)

You can remove the asterisk,  School is out.
 Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

It's over*

At approximately 9:37 EDT, the Isles' playoff hopes were officially extinguished when Boston forced their game with Washington to overtime.

Only one ridiculous thing can save the Isles now; they need the Bruins to pull their goalie and allow an empty-net goal, causing them to lose the point that they earned for getting to overtime.

Fuhgeddabout it.
 Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Johnstown - Isles connections

The Isles have a number of connection to the Johnstown Chiefs, who played their final game Saturday.

Scott Gordon played for them, Isles scout Toby O'Brien was their coach/GM at one point and also played for them, 40-day Isles GM Neil Smith owns the team. Here's one more: assistant coach Scott Allen -- featured in this story on the last day of hockey in Johnstown:


Mike Mastovich: 'A sad night for Johnstown'
Mike Mastovich The Tribune-Democrat
JOHNSTOWN — Scott Allen stood on the New York Islanders bench during Saturday's
game against the Ottawa Senators.

Long Island and the NHL is about as far from Johnstown and the ECHL as
one gets on a sunny afternoon.

During a break in the action, referee Ian Walsh skated to Allen and
asked, "You heading to Johnstown tonight?"

Allen responded to the former ECHL ref, "I sure wish I could."

Moments after the Chiefs lost 5-3 to Elmira in front of 4,017 fans on
Saturday night, a telephone in Johnstown equipment manager Mic
Midderhoff's office was being passed from one person to the next. Allen
was on the other end, reminiscing and rekindling friendships with people he hadn't seen in months or even years.

"A sad day," Allen said, referring to the Chiefs' relocation to
Greenville, S.C., next season.

The feeling filled an arena.

The standing-room-only crowd had a final chance to say goodbye.
Season-ticket holders and the regulars occupied the seats. Others who
used to come to games all the time but had been away lately made their
return.

Former players such as John Bradley, Jean Desrochers and Rick Boyd were there. Former front office mainstays such as Jim Brazill and Kevin
McGeehan were on hand. Ex-owner Jim Weber made the trip from Lancaster.
Former President Jim Edwards Sr. was in his usual seat. Former Jets were in the house too.

Penguins equipment manager Dana Heinze and athletic trainer Chris
Stewart were more fortunate than Allen.

Their afternoon NHL game was played in Pittsburgh, less than a two-hour drive away, and both former Chiefs staffers mingled in the crowd and
later camped out in Midderhoff's office sipping on cool liquid
refreshments and telling one story after another.

"I couldn't miss it," Heinze said of the game. "Twenty-two years. I was 20 years old when I stood on that bench for Johnstown in the East Coast Hockey League with Steve Carlson and 16 other guys. Just walking in the building, the memories. The stories I could tell. Just to be here is
memorable."

This was a reunion that on most nights would simply be an enjoyable
experience.

But this time, no one knew if or when the next Johnstown home game will be played now that the Chiefs are leaving. The little franchise lived
on the edge for most of its 22 ECHL seasons and each winter speculation
that the team would move seemed to surface. This time, it happened.

Minority owner Ned Nakles made an emotional presentation that lasted
nearly 15 minutes before the opening face-off.

"We're here tonight to pay tribute to the greatest hockey fans on the
face of the earth," Nakles said from center ice with the lights dimmed
and the spotlight glaring. "Here in Johnstown we have the tiniest market in the East Coast Hockey League, and we've got the smallest arena, but
our fans have always had the biggest heart anywhere in hockey."

Nakles called the Chiefs' departure a "fork in the road" and added "one part of our Chiefs family is leaving, but for those of us who are
staying, we still have some things to keep hope alive."

With owner Neil Smith and the ECHL's blessing, Nakles formed a
non-profit corporation to maintain the ECHL rights to the Chiefs' name,
history, statistics and memorabilia. His dream is to see the league
return to the city in a few years.

"We can step in and begin where we leave off tonight," he continued.
"If that never happens, at least our history, our logo and our name will stay here with us in Johnstown where it belongs."

A banner, "Hockey's Greatest Fans" 1988-2010 then was unfurled.

Appropriately, a recording of the late W. Robert Paul singing the
national anthem was played. Paul sang the anthem for the Chiefs first
game and was immensely talented and beloved by the local fans.

For the most part, the on-ice portion of the game, like so many others
this season, was forgettable. Elmira built a four-goal lead. Two late
tallies by the Chiefs made it close.

"It's a sad night for Johnstown," said Bradley, the former Johnstown
goaltender who won 37 games. "Everybody that played here or came to a
game, there are a lot of memories in this building, not just
hockey-wise. Some of the guys that came here to play stayed and raised a family here and made Johnstown their home, including me. To me, this is one of the greatest places in the world. Without coming to Johnstown to play a couple hockey games, I wouldn't have a wife and kids.

"Same thing with Galen Head and Rick Boyd and others. It's a special
place. That's why we call it home."

There still were plenty of special moments in this final home game.

The crowd chanted for its team despite the big deficit and had mixed
success in doing the wave.

The Varmecky family was seen waving its large gold flag with a black
letter "J" as often as possible. The Party Pit rocked throughout the
night.

Chuck White, a devoted statistician for decades of Chiefs and Jets
hockey, quietly waved, choking back tears as he walked out of the press
box. The small moments, it seemed, mattered the most on this night.

A long-distance relationship also was renewed. The rowdy and creative
bunch sitting in the top rows of Section 10 had for years strategically
waited for the right "quiet" moment each game to yell, "Hi, Mike!" to me in the press box. They'd receive an enthusiastic wave back in return.
The tradition waned in recent years as Section 10's seats often were
empty.

But on Saturday in the third period, there was the loud yell, "Hi,
Mike!"

This time, I stood up and waved goodbye.
Mike Mastovich is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat who has
covered the Chiefs for the past 19 seasons.

Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Tavares chasing history

John Tavares is now 22-27-49 on the season.

No Isles rookie has reached 25 goals or 50 points since Trent Hunter had 25-26-51 in the 2003-04 season.  Hunter was the first Islander rookie to have 25 goals since David Volek did so in 1988-89.

To find a rookie with at least 26, you have to go all the way back to Michael Dean Bossy, who scored 53 times during 1977-78.

While Tavares won't likely catch Matt Moulson for the club goal scoring lead (Moulson has 27), he does lead the team with 49 points.  No Isles rookie has won the Isles' scoring title outright since Denis Potvin did so in 1973-74. Hunter tied for the title in 2003-04.


Rookies who have led Isles in goals:
Billy Harris - 28 in 1972-73
Mike Bossy - 53 in 1977-78
Trent Hunter -25 in 2003-04 (tied with Mariusz Czerkawski)
Kyle Okposo-18 in 2008-09

Rookies who have led Isles in points:
Billy Harris -  50 in 1972-73
Denis Potvin -  54 in 1973-74
Trent Hunter - 51 in 2003-04 (tied with Oleg Kvasha)

 Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Stat Trick Left-overs

(With thanks to Elias)

The Isles 3-0 lead against Philly on Thursday came in just 7:45 of play.  It was their earliest 3-0 lead since October 20, 2005, when Miro Satan, Jason Blake and Mark Parrish all scored in the first 2:47 of a 5-4 win over the Rangers.

The Isles are now 5-1 in their last six at home.  They have scored 24 goals in those six games.  Since the turn of the calendar, the Isles have scored 66 goals in 20 home games (3.3 per game; 13-6-1 record).  They scored only 44 goals in 19 home games (9-8-2) in the 2009 portion of the home schedule.

... and one more from me.

The Isles have spent their fans to Wendy's for 6 consecutive home games by scoring at least three goals in each.  It's the first time since Dec 2003 that the Isles have scored three goals in at least six consecutive home games.  In December 2003, they did so in seven straight home games; Garth Snow was the winning goalie in each of the last 6.

Anaheim's late-night shoot-out win over Los Angeles means that the Ducks will finish ahead of the Isles.  If Isles (76 points) miss the playoffs, they can finish higher than only Dallas (84), Minnesota (80), Columbus (77) and Edmonton (56).

At close of play Saturday, Isles are in 25th place (tied with Carolina in wins and points, but with one additional game to play), which would be the 6th seed going into the April 13th draft lottery.
 

      Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Stat Trick: Isles 4, Sens 1

John Tavares extended his point streak to four straight games and Blake Comeau recorded his third straight multi-point game as the Islanders scored three second period goals and snapped Ottawa's six-game winning streak by defeating the Sens 4-1 at the Coliseum.  On to the Trick:

1. Following a scoreless first period, the Isles took control of the game with two goals exactly two minutes apart, early in the second period.  John Tavares and Dylan Reese, who each finished +3, had the goals.  Tavares' goal was his 22nd, one behind Colorado's Matt Duchesne for the rookie lead.  Tavares, who also earned an assist, is 4-9-13 in his last 13 games, and now has 49 points in his rookie campaign.  Only seven of Tavares' 22 goals have come at home; this was his first goal at the Coliseum since January 16th against Buffalo.

2. The Isles grabbed a 3-0 lead on a goal by Jack Hillen just before the midway point of the second period.  It was Hillen's third goal of the season.  The Sens have been outscored 90-66 in the second period this season.

3. Sean Bergenheim's 9th goal of the season, 4:13 into the third, put the game on ice. Bergenheim has struggled offensively this season (9-11-20) but extended his point streak to four straight games. Matt Cullen broke Marty Biron's shutout at 13:27

...a few more...

4. Biron made 28 saves for the Isles.  The Isles are now 6-0-2 in his last eight starts; it's Biron's longest point streak since winning nine straight games over parts of two seasons in 2006. Brian Elliott, who had been in nets for all six wins for Ottawa, suffered the defeat, depriving him of a 30th victory.  Elliott did record his first professional assist on Cullen's goal.

5. With the win, the Isles move within two games of NHL .500 for the first time since a loss to Florida on January 31st dropped their record to 23-25-8.  The Isles will need to earn six points in their final four games to reach NHL .500.

6. Blake Comeau had two assists, giving him four goals and two assists in three games this week.  He was +3 and is +5 for the week.  Reese completed a huge weekend -- he was +7 in the two games.  Tavares was +3 for the second straight game and is +8 since the Olympic break.  Richard Park had two assists; he now has 21 on the season, which is a career high.  Park is four games away from playing in every Islander game for the third time in four seasons.

7. Chris Campoli had an awful game in his return to the Coliseum, going -4.  At least Campoli finished the game.  A frustrated Andy Sutton took 14 penalty minutes at 7:11 of the third to end his afternoon. The Islanders stopped Jason Spezza's point streak after four games in which he had amassed eleven points.  Sens' Captain Daniel Alfredsson played in his 999th NHL game.

8. Kyle Okposo earned an assist on the Tavares goal; it was his 30th assist of the season.  He is the first Isles forward to record 30 assists in a season since Miro Satan (32) and Mike Sillinger (33) both did it during the 2006-07 season.

9.  Despite the win, the Isles were pushed to the brink of elimination by Boston's overtime win on Saturday night.  The Isles' tragic number is now 1. The Isles must win out, have Boston not gain another point and also get help from Atlanta and either Philadelphia or the Rangers to make the playoffs.

10. The Sens win the season series three games to one, and six points to four.  All three Ottawa wins this season were by one goal.

Up next:  The Isles could be eliminated by the time they face Montreal on Tuesday (as Boston visits Washington on Monday).  Montreal has dominated the series in recent years, going 10-0-2 in the last twelve meetings.  Les Habitants have won all three match-ups this season, including once in overtime.


Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Even closer to the brink

With tonight's results, the Islanders are still alive mathematically, but barely with a pulse.

Six teams were already guaranteed to finish ahead of the Isles.  Either Philly or the Rangers will finish ahead of the Isles as well as they play each other twice next weekend.

Boston's win over Toronto (on an overtime tip by ex-Isle Miro Satan, off a shot by ex-Isle Zdeno Chara) pushes the Isles to the very edge.  Boston has 84 points and 36 wins.  The most that the Isles can reach is 84 points, but with 37 wins.  Thus, the Isles are still alive.

At a minimum, the Isles would need to win all 4 of their remaining games, while Boston loses all 4, all in regulation.  They also need Atlanta to get no more than 3 points in their final three games, and either Philadelphia or the Rangers to get no more than one point in their final four games.

Today's results eliminated Carolina, Florida and Tampa Bay.  Yet the Isles can still finish behind any or all of them, as well as behind the last place Leafs.

On the draft position watch, St. Louis' win over Dallas means that the Blues (85 points) will finish with more points than the Isles.  Anaheim and Dallas can each guarantee the same with one point each. 


 Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Still on the brink

The Isles will enter Saturday's game against Ottawa still on the brink of elimination.

With Montreal's win in Philadelphia on Friday, the Isles can no lnoger finish ahead of Les Habitants.  While they can reach 84 points, which is Montreal's total, the Canadiens have won 38 times.  The Isles can win no more than 37.

The Rangers' win in Tampa on Friday guarantees that either the Rangers or the Flyers will also finish ahead of the Isles.  The teams play twice next weekend.  Even if they both lose all of their other games, either the Rangers or Flyers are guaranteed to get 84 points.  (If they split, the Flyers would have 84; if the Rangers sweep, they would have 84)  Both teams would win tie-breaks at 84 points from the Isles.  The Flyers already have 38 wins, and the Rangers, with a sweep over the Flyers, would have 37.  The Rangers come-from-behind win over the Isles Tuesday gave them the season series from the Isles (7 points to 6) and the second tie-breaker.

The Isels can still catch the Bruins, who have 82 points (but only 35 wins), either the Rangers or Flyers, and Atlanta.

Other Saturday games:
Atlanta-Pittsburgh
Rangers-Florida
Boston-Toronto

If the Isles beat Ottawa, they can not be eliminated on Saturday.
If the Isles earn one point, they would be eliminated if Boston beats Toronto
If the Isles lose in regulation, they would be eliminated if Boston gets a point vs. Toronto OR the Rangers beat Florida

The Isles enter play Saturday in a 3-way tie with Tampa and Florida.  With one more win than Florida, and one fewer game played than Tampa, the Isles currently are ahead of both teams, and in 26th place overall.

26th place carries with it the 5th seed in the NHL draft lottery, which will be held on April 13.

Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Stat Trick: Isles 6, Flyers 4

It's finally over.  Blake Comeau scored two first period goals as the Islanders broke a 15-game losing streak to the Flyers, with a 6-4 win on Coliseum ice.  On to the Trick:

1.  The Isles grabbed control of the game in the first eight minutes as Comeau scored the first two goals.  It was his second consecutive 2-goal games and his fourth multi-goal game of the season.  Frans Nielsen scored 28 seconds after Comeau's second tally to give the Isles a 3-0 lead just 7:45 into play.  The Isles dominated play throughout most of the session; the Flyers did not have an offensive zone face-off in the first 19:40 of the game.

2. Sean Bergenheim scored on the Isles' first shot of the middle session to give the Isles their first 4-goal lead since January 12th; Arron Asham got the Flyers on the board at 12:26 of the period.  Mark Streit assisted on Bergenheim's goal to extend his point streak to four games.

3. The Flyers had the better of play early in the third, but Trent Hunter's 98th career goal regained the four-goal margin, and chased starting goalie Brian Boucher.  After Flyer rookie James van Riemsdyk scored on a power play, Jon Sim's third point of the night put the game away at 11:52.  Flyer goals by Daniel Briere (after a lengthy video review) and Darroll Powe (with 69 seconds to play) made the final score more respectable than Philadelphia deserved.

... a few more...

4.  The win is the Isles' first over Philadelphia since February 12, 2008 (0-12-3); the Isles scored six goals against Philadelphia for the first time since February 27, 2007 (the day the Isles acquired Ryan Smyth) and matched their highest goal total against the Flyers in 17 years.

5. Marty Biron improved to 5-0-2 in his last seven starts, making 31 saves. Biron improves to 9-6-2 in his career against the Flyers; he also had record nine wins for the Flyers in their winning streak against the Isles.  It's the first time that he has recorded points in seven straight starts since going 5-0-2 for the Flyers in November 2008.  Boucher made 19 saves for the Flyers, allowing goals on the first shot of the first and second period, and on the second shot of the third.  Jeremy Duchesne, son of former NHL'er Gaetan, made three saves in his NHL debut.  Duchesne is the fifth goalie to play for the Flyers this season, and fourth to do so since the Flyers failed to acquire a goalie at the trading deadline.

6. John Tavares assisted on both Comeau goals; he now has four assists in three games.  Tavares now leads the Islanders in scoring with 47 points (21-26-47) , just ahead of Okposo (46), Moulson (45) and Streit (44); Tavares is 3-8-11 in his last eight games.  He is the only rookie currently leading his team in scoring; no other rookie is even close.  He is 2nd among NHL rookies in points; six points behind Matt Duchesne.  Tavares won alll nine face-offs he took in the first two periods; he lost all five he took in the third.

7.  Dylan Reese (who recorded his first NHL assist) and Bergenheim were both +4, while Tavares, Sim and Freddy Meyer were all +3.  Mark Flood was on-ice for all three Flyer goals at even-strength and was -3.

8. Comeau now has 16 goals in 59 games this season after entering the year with 15 goals in 107 prior NHL games.  He has recorded 10 goals and seven assists in his last 16 games.  His 16 goals are more than he has recorded in any professional season.

9. The win keeps the Islanders mathematically alive in the playoff race.  The Isles now have 74 points (13 more than they finished last season), and are eight points behind Philadelphia, Montreal and Boston.  Only eight points separate 6th and 14th place in the East. 

10. The Flyers win the season series five games to one, and ten points to two.  The series was much closer than it sounds; four of the five losses were by one goal.  It's the first time that the Isles have beaten the Flyers under Scott Gordon; he has now beaten every Eastern Conference team. 

Up next:  The Isles entertain Ottawa on Saturday afternoon.  The Senators rallied for a shootout win over Carolina on Thursday, after tying the game with just eight seconds to play.  The win, Ottawa's sixth straight, clinched a playoff berth for the Sens, who still have a shot at winning the North East Division.  The Sens have won all three games from the Isles, all by one goal, including an overtime game and a shootout.
Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

Mikko, Mikko

A generation ago they chanted "Chico".  Is it too early to start thinking of the chants of "Mikko" at the Coliseum.

Probably, but 6' 7"Mikko Koskinen is turning heads in the ECHL, where he recently debuted following recovery from a hip injury.

He was the Isles 31st pick overall, and the first goalie taken in the 2009 entry draft.  He'll turn 22 in July. 

Here's his stats from his first 5 pro games:

                                              Shots Goals Saves Result
UTA at STK 3/19/2010  60.00  38  2 36 W
UTA at STK 3/21/2010  60.00  39 2 37 W
BAK at UTA 3/24/2010  60.00  35 4 31 W
BAK at UTA 3/27/2010  60.00  30 4 26 W
UTA at VIC  3/31/2010  60.00  24 1 23 W
                                       166 13 153 5-0-0
                                           2.60  92.2% 

Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick