Featured Post

The Skinny: Dallas 5, Isles 2

"The Skinny" By Eric Hornick Game 31 Dallas 5, Isles 2 Tyler Pitlick scored two goal and Jamie Benn added a goal and an assist as ...

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Skinny on May 24, 1980

Today is the 34th anniversary of Bobby Nystrom's famous goal to win the Islanders' first Stanley Cup.

I was 16 that beautiful May afternoon, and I was still about 20 months away from starting my long-term role as the Islanders TV statistician.

But that doesn't mean I wasn't already in training.  1979-80 was the first season that I kept a complete box score of every game -- and the minutiae contained in there is very similar to some of the things that make The Skinny on a nightly basis.

Sometime after the Isles won the Cup, I typed up my notes from that memorable day and put it into my binder for the following season  -- which is exactly where I found it:


At exactly 5:40pm on Saturday, May 24, 1980 Long Island became the center of the hockey universe as the Islanders won the Stanley Cup.

We have heard lots about "rebuilds" on Long Island in recent years; it bears repeating exactly what Bob Lawrence said on the Islander radio broadcast that afternoon

""Henning at his own blue line...shoots it up ice to Tonelli.  Tonelli on the off wing ...comes in front.. the shot to Nystrom,,,SCORE!!!!!

Islanders win the Stanley Cup! Islanders win the Stanley Cup!

Bobby Nystrom with the goal...from John Tonelli...and the Islanders have won the Stanley Cup!....The Islanders have taken 7 years, 352 days, 17 hours and 33 minutes, but they have finally won the Stanley Cup."

(You can hear Lawrence's call here:  --the overtime call is at 39:18)
Bob Lawrence: The Chemistry was just Right

Here's the CBC coverage  of the winning goal and aftermath -- Jim Robson and Gary Dornhofer were at the mics:


Or enjoy the whole game here:


And now a sobering thought -- unless Jaroslav Halak leads the Islanders into the Conference Finals, by the time the 35th anniversary arrives, the Islanders will no longer be Long Island's team.

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Skinny on Halak's Career Numbers

Goals against average -- 5th among active players (thanks hockey-reference.com)

GAA
1. Martin Brodeur 2.239
2. Henrik Lundqvist 2.264
3. Jonathan Quick 2.281
4. Antti Niemi 2.350
==>5. Jaroslav Halak 2.377
6. Pekka Rinne 2.393
7. Jimmy Howard 2.415
8. Evgeni Nabokov 2.426
9. Niklas Backstrom 2.457
10. Jonas Hiller 2.507

Save percentage -- 5th among active players
Rank     Player     SV%
1.     Henrik Lundqvist .9205
2.     Tim Thomas       .9199
3.     Roberto Luongo   .9190
4.     Pekka Rinne      .9182
===>5. Jaroslav Halak   .9177
6.     Carey Price      .9168
7.     Jimmy Howard     .9165
8.     Jonas Hiller     .9164
9.     Antti Niemi      .9162
10.    Niklas Backstrom .9159

By comparison, the combined GAA of the three Isles goalies was 3.00 (done the same way an individual goalie average is done) and their save percentage was .898

If Isles goalies had matched Halak's career save percentage they would have allowed 47 fewer goals this past season; had they matched his career GAA, they would have allowed 51 fewer goals.  Had they done that, the Isles would have almost certainly been a playoff team.

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 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Step 1: Check. #isles sign Halak

Jaroslav Halak will be an Islander for more than a few months; he has agreed to a 4-year deal with the team, worth a reported $18 million.

Halak, who the Isles acquired from Washington on May 1st for the 4th round pick they acquired in the Peter Regin/Pierre-Marc Bouchard deal, was expected to be one of the top goalies on the free-agent market this summer.

Halak, who turned 29 last week, went 29-13-7 for St. Louis and Washington this season, compiling a 2.25 GAA and a 92.1% save percentage.  Both his GAA and save percentage were better than his career figures, which both rank 5th among all active goalies.

Halak, who won the Jennings Trophy (Best team goals against) in 2011-12 has twice finished in the top 10 in the Vezina balloting. He has also twice represented his country in the Olympics.

Halak holds a career record of 144-85-29, meaning that he has won well over 50% of his career decisions.  To put in perspective, only one goaltender in Islander history has won more than 50% of his career decisions-- Chico Resch went 157-69-47 as an Islander.
 
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

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Former Islander Marchinko passes away

Brian Marchinko, who played 47 NHL games, including 42 for the Islanders in 1972-73 and 1973-74 has passed away.  He was 65.


Brian Marchinko Obituary: View Obituary for Brian Marchinko by Henderson's Funeral Homes & C...
Obituary for Brian Marchinko, It is with heavy hearts that we announce the unexpected death of Brian Marchinko on May 12, 2014. He passed away peacefully while asleep at his home in Chilliwack, BC. Brian enjoyed a career in
Preview by Yahoo
Marchinko played 5 games for the Maple Leafs over two seasons (1970-71 and 1971-72) before being claimed by the Isles in the 1972 Expansion Draft.

He managed two goals and six assists in 36 games with the team in 1972-73.  His first NHL goal was a game-winner on St. Patrick's Day 1973 against the Blues; fellow rookie Bobby Nystrom earned his first NHL assist on the play. Marchinko's other (and final) goal came in the Isles' final game of that season, a 4-4 tie in Atlanta.

Marchinko, who played six games for the Isles the following season but was pointless, was the only Islander to wear number 14 prior to the arrival of Bob Bourne.

Based on my records (which match records maintained by the Society for International Hockey Research), Marchinko is only the 8th former Islander to pass away -- six of the eight played on that original 1972-73 team while two others were killed in the tragic Yaroslavl plane crash in 2011.


 
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

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

It was 21 years ago tonight....

<<1993 - New York Islanders Coach Al Arbour recorded his 30th career playoff series victory with a win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in game 7 of the Patrick Division Finals. It was Arbour's 200th playoff game as a coach, joining only Scotty Bowman.>> David Volek scored at 5:16 of overtime to dethrone the two-time champion Pens.

If you're old enough to (legally, at least in the US) drink, raise a glass to David Volek.  It was the Isles' 30th series win -- they have not won a playoff series (0-7, including the 1993 Conference Finals), not scored a playoff overtime goal (losing six straight games), since. 

BTW -- two decades later, Bowman and Arbour are still the only two coaches to coach over 200 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Joel Quenneville leads all active coaches with 174, including 12 games this spring.

 
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

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

RIP Shirley Fischler


Shirley Fischler, the wife of MSG's "Hockey Maven" and a noted author in her own right, passed away yesterday.  Sincere condolences to Stan and his family.

Shirley wrote regularly for many years for The Freeman, a Kingston NY newspaper.  The paper published this story on her passing today:
http://www.dailyfreeman.com/general-news/20140513/shirley-fischler-longtime-freeman-columnist-and-pioneer-dies-at-74

As the story notes, Shirley fought for access for female writers to the locker room, and also was the first female hockey commentator (covering New England Whaler games in the WHA in the 1970s).

Her most recent piece for The Freeman "There's No Manual For Dying" was published earlier this month.
 http://www.dailyfreeman.com/lifestyle/20140502/shirley-fischler-there-is-no-manual-for-dying

Stan and Shirley were married for 46 years.  May she Rest in Peace.

 
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

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Czuczman honored by Soo

<<LSSU defenceman a double award winner

By Randy Russon, Sault This Week

It was a night of awards and good-byes.

Lake Superior State University Lakers were the featured attraction on a special night last week as the Soo BlueLiners held their 32nd annual banquet in support of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association team.

LSSU junior Kevin Czuczman, who ended the 2013-2014 season by making his National Hockey League debut with the New York Islanders, was honoured by the Lakers as their best defenceman and most valuable player.

The LSSU awards night paid special tribute to LSSU seniors Kevin Murdock, Zach Sternberg, Dan Radke, Kevin Kapalka, Niels-Erik Ravn, Colin Campbell, Matt Bruneteau and Andrew Perrault who — along with Czuczman — who have graduated the Laker program.

(snip)

As for Czuczman, who hails from Port Elgin, Ont., the junior defenceman certainly departed LSSU in style.

He played in 13 NHL games with the Islanders following the conclusion of the Lakers 2013-2014 season.

Czuczman became the first Laker to make such a sudden jump to the NHL since forward Doug Weight signed with the New York Rangers back in 1990.

Weight went on to play in more than 1,300 NHL games, including playoffs.
>>
 
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