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Hockey from the Blind Side, Still Playing Hockey in May … Somehow

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So the 23 year “curse” or whatever you want to call it ended last Sunday with the New York Islanders defeating the Florida Panthers in game 6 of their opening round playoff series. Words could not describe how good that made me feel. I would even say that when JT scored the overtime game winner, it was a rather emotional experience for me personally, as my mind looked back on the years since David Volek’s overtime winner against the Penguins and all that has happened to the Isles since then.

Then, on Wednesday after I had spent the day walking the fields and hills of Gettysburg and was awed by the history and the solemnness of those 25 square miles of American history from what was the turning point of the Civil War in 1863, I was thrilled and, yes, surprised by an Islander 5 to 3 victory over the Lightning to open the second round. Well, let me say that I was thrilled by the first two periods of play …

The Curious Case of Josh Bailey

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Throughout my three decades of following this team, fans have always seem to find guys to hate, no matter what their performance was:

Mikko Makela

Jeff Norton

Alan Kerr

Derek King

Sean Bates (minus penalty shot goal)

Oleg Kvasha

Andrew MacDonald

Brian Strait

The list can go on and on.

The one for the last couple of seasons that really comes to the top of the list, is on Josh Bailey.

Now – for this piece, I will say that I have zero ill will for this player; I am sure that he will feel that if you asked him, he would hope that his numbers and stats would be better.  We can debate that until the cows come home.

I will say this, from what I see in practices and games, I really feel that Josh is hard-working player.  I really feel that he tries to leave everything on the ice.

Blog: Isles Take Game One In Tampa

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The New York Islanders managed to keep their momentum going by defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-3 last night in Tampa to take a 1-0 series lead. Shane Prince added two goals and John Tavares came up with the game winning goal again. Travis Hamonic scored his first career playoff goal while Ryan Strome returned to the lineup and assisted on both of Prince’s goals. Tampa Bay pressed in the third period and managed to cut the deficit down to make the score 4-3. Nikita Kucherov and Valtteri Filppula but Cal Clutterbuck made it 5-3 with less than a minute to go on an empty-netter. The Islanders continue their series against Tampa on Saturday afternoon at 3pm.

Key to Game 1 – Stop the Triplets

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Tonight is the start of the second round (doesn’t that have a great ring to it?)

The Tampa Bay Lightning have had a great deal of time to relax and wait for the winner of the Isles/Panthers series.  They had a good 5 game victory against the Wings, with their top forward and top defensemen on the shelf.

And with Steven Stamkos and Anton Stralman still out of the lineup, the Bolts made easy work of the Wings with the “Triplets” lineup of Nikita Krucherov, Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn.  20 points and 8 of the 12 goals scored were compliments of the number one line.

The Isles and Lightning are similarly matched in the fact that the primary line has been responsible for most of the scoring to date.  Getting involvement from the secondary lines will be crucial to the success of the winner of this series.

Ryan Strome – Will he be Possessed?

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When I was a kid, I was a pitcher.  Our town had a “Little League” as well as another baseball organization for which I belonged to.  One year, they had a ‘exhibition’ matchup of our two leagues.  I was the starting pitcher that night (even then in the mid 1970s, having a lefty pitcher was a good thing), and I was at the mound.  There was going to be a picture taken before the first pitch.

Sports Talk 1240 – Sunday 4/24/2016

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Here is a link to the SportsTalk1240 show that John and I did last night.

We were STUCK in the studio while Game 6 was going on.

The utter relief from John and I when JT scored his goal…

Click on the logo below to listen…

 

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For the Isles – What to do About Tampa?

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Round 2 – Isles Bolts.

It is so nice to get to talk about ROUND 2. When I last could talk about it – I wasn’t even 30 years old…. (Guess my age!?)

Are we Tired from Celebrating, Islander Nation? Yes! Yes! Yes!

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Blog: Time To Exorcise The Demons

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The New York Islanders have been performing feats that resemble the franchise of old. Two back to back 100 point seasons for the first time in over 30 years. Overtime victories by a defenseman not accomplished in decades. Overtime winners in general not seen for many years. The Islanders are holding a 3-2 series lead for the first time since 1993. The Isles also vanquished the dreadful stat of losing game 5 in every series 11 straight times. However, there are three things that the Islanders will be able to accomplish tonight if they can defeat the Florida Panthers at the Barclays Center: First, win back-to-back games in the playoffs for the first time since in over a decade, win a playoff series since 1993 and finally learn to finish off a team when they have the advantage.

Islanders Resilience Retakes Momentum

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The New York Islanders and many fans from Long Island introduced Brooklyn to hockey playoffs last night with Thomas Hickey scoring the game winning goal in overtime to win the game 4-3 and the Isles lead the series 2-1. I’m not going to go into the game because all you have to do is go on any Islanders Facebook fan page or Twitter or any of the other Islanders media to catch up on the game. Before the playoffs started I had stated that this series would be all about momentum. and so far it has been nothing but momentum, so let’s compare the Islanders and Panthers series thus far.

Blog: Playoff Bracket Is All About Momentum

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! When you live in my neck of the woods, this is my hunting season. This is every nerds Comic-Con. This time of year not to think about baseball until it’s absolutely necessary. Basketball playoffs don’t matter until the NBA Finals, and by then Golden State should win it all anyways. This time of year brings out all the trash talkers from every bandwagon fan there is until you see them a year from now. This is the time of year where everyone at ESPN does everything wrong with hockey. The one time of year where anything is possible and upsets are abound: the NHL playoffs. For me, there’s a theme to this years playoffs: Momentum. Who has it, and how will it shape out.

Isles on WFAN/WCBS for the Playoffs

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wfanSports Radio 66 and 101.9 WFAN, the radio station for the New Jersey Devils, will broadcast the Islander games for the remainder of the playoffs.

Actually – WCBS 880AM will broadcast games 1 and 2 on Thursday and Friday from Florida.

One of the strongest signals in radio, will broadcast Islander games, along with the current Islanders radio network.  The Devils, eliminated for postseason play, gave permission for their flagship station to cover the Isles for the playoffs.

With the pockets of places that normally can not hear the station even on Long Island, it will be nice for anyone to be able to listen to John Tavares and the rest of the Orange and Blue, take on Jaromir Jagr and the Florida Panthers.

Blog: Learn About Your Enemy So You Can Beat Them

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After going over the New York Islanders season and showing how depth and goaltending helped them reach the 100 point plateau for a second straight season, it’s time to look at the other teams in the Eastern Conference from my predictions article back in October and see what has changed and what it may mean for the playoffs. I’m going to specifically look at the Islanders and Panthers after going over the rest of the teams and will be making my playoff predictions tomorrow morning based off what I’ve been able to find.

Core Teams: Islanders, Rangers, Penguins, Tampa Bay, Montreal, Washington.

Blog: Depth, Greiss Help Isles Into Playoffs

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The New York Islanders ended their 2015-16 season yesterday with a loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, but still managed to accumulate 100 points. For most who like to predict a season’s outcome like myself, I had the Isles finishing between 98-103 points and one of my “Core” teams that even with injuries should have made the playoffs. Mission accomplished. During the season however, we witnessed teams like Tampa Bay and Montreal drop in the standings for various reasons and it was an opportunity of sorts for the Islanders to improve in their own standings, yet they ended up 5th in the Conference and 4th in the Metro Division. The Conference part I got right, but 4th in the Division would’ve been the Pittsburgh Penguins. First let’s take a look at the Islanders themselves and then see what happened and maybe this will give you some more info before picking your playoff bracket.

Blog: Isles Clinch, Who’s The First Round Opponent?

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The New York Islanders clinched a playoff spot a few days ago against the Washington Capitals and are going for the second year in a row and their third year in four. A gutsy player performance and a coach, whose job mayor may not still be on the line, finally called out a few players and the team responded after they had a team-only meeting before the game. Before I continue about who the first round opponent could be, there was a reason why I have not written in a while and I wanted to discuss this. I have written this all season long: Don’t look at the point standings alone, look at and play the percentages or point pace. In doing so, many would’ve been much more relaxed like I was about a team just making it to the playoffs. There are a few fans (and a few in the blogosphere) that were still concerned about the Islanders not making the playoffs.

Hamonic out for Regular Season… Does Isles Nation Panic???

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Oh no – not again…

It is an extremely significant blow at the totally wrong time of the year.  For the second straight season, the Islanders lose mainstay defenseman Travis Hamonic with a LOWER BODY INJURY.

There is no speculation of anytime after that, but this will be a bitter pill for Islander nation to swallow.

Blog: Islanders Prevail; Lose Halak

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The New York Islanders continued to keep the winning attitude alive but it came at a cost. They defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 2-1 and continue to climb in the standings. The Isles scored the 2 goals on the powerplay from Anders Lee and John Tavares. Those goals pushed the team into a tie for 10th place I the League. The penalty kill continued its mastery of not allowing the Penguins to score on the man advantage and the kill continues to be in first place with an 86.6%.There was nothing fancy about the game and that special teams was certainly the advantage for this game. The only drawback is the injury to Halak. I know they’re calling it a lower-body injury, but if you were ask anyone who watched or played that position (hand raised here) he appeared to have done something to his groin. The real question is how bad is it? That answer will come in a day or two.

Hockey from the Blind Side, Good Teams Find Ways to Win

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The New York Islanders managed to steal 2 points in Winnipeg on Thursday night to make them 5 and 1 on their 7 game road trip. They have one more game today against their crosstown rivals, the New York Rangers, at Madison Square Garden this evening at 5. The Isles currently have 77 points, and are 5 points behind the Rangers for 2nd place in the Metro Division.

There has been a lot of chatter and, within that activity, more than a little concern and worry about the future of the Islanders for the season. There is almost this perception that there is utter disbelief that they have managed to earn 77 points and are realistically a playoff bound team again. Furthermore, if you tell some fans the Isles are 9-2-1 in their last 12 games, I have received reactions of disbelief from some people.

Blog: Home Is Where The Heart Is

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Now that the NHL trade deadline has come and gone, most fans have one of two things to look forward to this hockey season: the playoffs or the draft lottery. For the New York Islanders, it’s the playoffs and this year the Islanders must make a run at home ice advantage in the first round instead of giving it away like they did with last years end of the year stumble at their old home of Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Could things have played out differently had they won home ice? Maybe. Which is why a stronger finish to this season will make getting out of the first round all more important. Beating a horse that not dead yet, I still believe it’ll be the Penguins, Rangers and Islanders battling for second from here on out and I think the Isles will win against either team in the first round with/without home ice, but before we go any further on the future, let’s take a look in the brief past to see how the teams improved at the deadline.

Blog: Hawks Making Moves; Isles Remain Silent

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The Chicago Blackhawks have bolstered their roster in the hopes of winning the Stanley Cup this year by acquiring forwards Andrew Ladd, Thomas Fleischman, Dale Weise and defenseman Christian Ehrhoff. The LA Kings got some familiar defensive depth in Rob Scuderi in a trade with Chicago that included Ehrhoff. The St. Louis Blues received some goalie depth in former Isles Anders Nilsson. Montreal and Toronto have already been selling off players and they’re not done yet. So why haven’t the Islanders gotten into the mix? Let’s take a look at the percentage standings. If the playoffs were to start today, these would be the first round matchups, with their expected point pace in front of them:

Dallas: 108 Avs: 89
Unless the Avs want to completely ruin the Las Vegas odds or Draft King’s, bet on the Stars to make it to the next round.

Kings: 104 Predators: 94
See Dallas and Avs

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