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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

HNLI Programming Update

The next episode of Hockey Night on Long Island will be Sunday May 3rd at 3:30 PM EST. Host Alex and Steve will recap the 2008-2009 Islanders season, preview the offseason and continue to discuss who the Isles should select with the first overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Of course, listeners are encouraged to call in during the show to talk about the Isles. Last week's episode was great with special guest Tom Liodice (TheTigerTrack.com) and can be listened to on the right sidebar. Be sure to keep checking hockeynightonlongisland.com for updates on who the special guest will be on Sunday.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

HNLI Returns This Sunday

After an unanticipated hiatus, Hockey Night on Long Island will be returning to the airwaves this Sunday at 3:30 PM EST. Hosts Steve and Alex will be joined by special guest Tom Liodice (TheTigerTrack.com) for sixty minutes of intense hockey talk. At the forefront of the banter will be the Islanders' position going into the NHL Draft, the recent criticism of John Tavares, the Bridgeport Soundtigers' playoff series, and of course the NHL playoffs. You can throw in some more topics or give your two cents on any of these by calling in by phone, sending an IM, or joining other listeners in the HNLI chatroom. It is going to be an exciting episode that no hockey fan should miss!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hockey on SportsCenter

Yes....that's "SportsCenter" spelled the American way. It's both funny and sad that I find it newsworthy that ESPN devoted almost 5 minutes of this morning's SportsCenter to hockey. The bulk of this airtime surrounded Boston University's comeback victory in the NCAA hockey championship last night to beat Miami of Ohio. The segment featured both highlights from the game and an interview with BU Coach Jack Parker. ESPN also compiled a countdown of the top 5 plays of the 2008-2009 NHL season. Richard Zednik's goal against the Islanders was featured as #4. Mikka Kipprusoff's incredible save against Kyle Wellwood topped the list. Interestingly enough, the NHL.com "Save of the Year" by Joey MacDonald was absent from the list. Still, in my mind, Kippur's save was the top stop of the year by far. While clearly this little hockey moment on ESPN isn't nearly the attention the sport deserves, it brought a little smile to my face to see a little bit of hockey on ESPN.

Also worth noting is that both Barry Melrose and Matthew Barnaby were absent from this segment. Bizzare much?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

HNLI Sunday Postponed

Hockey Night on Long Island unfortunately will not be on the air this Sunday as previously scheduled. Be sure to stay tuned to Hockeynightonlongisland.com for information about the next episode of HNLI.

Happy Easter & Passover from HNLI!

Friday, April 10, 2009

And We Have a Winner......

With a 6-1 loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Islanders are officially the winners in the NHL's race to last place. With this "victory", the Islanders will have the best odds at grabbing the first overall draft pick (48%) in Tuesday night's draft lottery and are guaranteed either the first or second pick. But what exactly does that mean?

-The Islanders will either pick John Tavares or Victor Hedman in the 2009 NHL Draft.

-There is a very good chance of being able to grab John Tavares. Despite the fact that the Isles' odds of picking first are only 48%, there is a good chance that if the Lightning or Avalanche get the first pick, they will go with Hedman. I feel strongly in this regard about the Lightning due to the fact that they drafted forward Steven Stamkos last year and already have offensive weapons in Vinny Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis. They need to sure up the blue line. So, I'd say the Isles' shot at Tavares is over 50% despite what the lottery odds may say.

-The hype around this team will absolutely skyrocket after Tuesday night's draft lottery. Even people outside of hockey circles realize the hype around John Tavares and the impact he will have on a franchise like the Islanders.

Further Reading
Be sure to check out a great blog entry by Chris Botta on Islanders Point Blank about what the Islanders' PR staff should do if the Islanders get the first overall pick on Tuesday night.

Okposo Net's Ken Dick wrote a nice entry about finishing last as well.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

HNLI Mid-Week Update

The latest in Islander Country:

NHL Draft Lottery TV Info: The NHL has announced that both TSN and Versus will be broadcasting the 2009 NHL Draft Lottery live on Tuesday, April 14 at 8 PM EST. The Islanders, who are close to clinching last place, may very well be guaranteed the first or second pick in the draft. Click here to check out the announcement from NHL.com.

Magic Number Down to 2: With the Islanders' 9-0 loss last night in Carolina and Colorado's 1 point in an overtime loss to San Jose, the Islanders' magic number to clinch last place is 2 points. The Islanders can clinch tomorrow night with a loss against former captain Bill Guerin and the Pittsburgh Penguins (until then Tampa technically has a shot)...and speaking of Bill Guerin......

Conditional Pick Now a 4th Rounder: Thanks to some key losses last night, the Pittsburgh Penguins clinched a playoff berth. For the Islanders, this means that the conditional pick that the team received in the Bill Guerin trade has appreciated from a 5th rounder to a 4th rounder. If the Pens advance past the first round of the playoff, the pick will become a 3rd rounder.

Isles Sign Weight to a 1-year Extension: In what is being applauded by fans as a win-win kind of deal, the Isles signed a contract extension with Doug Weight. With a cap hit of just over $2 million next season, the Islanders will continue to get great veteran leadership and a guy who hustles night in and night out.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Interesting Roundtable and Lighthouse Discussion

Saturday's (April 4) episode of Hockey Night on Long Island was certainly a memorable one. With an tumultuous situation surrounding the chase for last place, hosts Alex and Steve were joined by "representatives" from the blogging communities of both the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning. Needless to say, putting fans who have become used to losing together on the same program makes for some interesting banter. This one-of-a-kind segment is definitely worth catching on the archive if you missed Saturday's live broadcast. You can also subscribe to the podcast version by searching "Hockey Night on Long Island" in the iTunes music store.

Saturday's HNLI also touched upon the chaos that is the Lighthouse Project, the Soundtigers' playoff stint at the Coliseum, college free agents, the final four, and much more.

Friday, April 3, 2009

HNLI Home Stretch Episode Saturday

As we enter the home stretch of the 2008-2009 Islanders' season, HNLI is excited to bring you what should be another awesome episode of Hockey Night on Long Island this Saturday at 3:30 PM EST. With just 5 games remaining in the season, HNLI will spotlight the race for last place and the first overall draft pick with a truly one-of-a-kind round table. Hosts Alex and Steve will be joined by bloggers from both the Colorado Avalanche and the Tampa Bay Lightning, the remaining teams in the Tavares sweepstakes, to discuss the high stake conundrum that could change the future of three franchises. In addition to draft talk, HNLI will feature the latest in Islanders' news and the big time developments in the Lighthouse saga. Like always, we encourage our listeners to call, IM, and join us in the HNLI chatroom for the best banter around. Don't miss what is set to be an entertaining hour of hockey chatter.

The "Biggest Loser" blog can be found just below. Be sure to keep checking Alex's commentary on the race for last place.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Quest to Be the Biggest Loser

Update (Saturday, April 4 @ 11:30 PM EST): The Islanders' 3-1 victory over Tampa Bay tonight keeps Tampa Bay in the race and gives both the Avs and the Bolts a legitimate hope of "catching" the Islanders in what MSG+ is calling "The Race to the Bottom". As we said on today's episode of HNLI, the Islanders were guaranteed the last place finish if they acquire 5 points or less going into tonight's game regardless of what the other two teams did. Now, that number is 3. Once the Islanders get 3 points, destiny is no long entirely in their hands. I would not put it past Tampa or Colorado to lose the rest of their games this season. Therefore, the Islanders would truly be jeopardizing their future by winning any more. That said, the Islanders have a tough schedule coming up that will allow me to sleep this evening.

Update (Saturday, April 4 @ 11:30 AM EST): In the only action in the "Race for Last Place" last night, the Lightning lost to the New Jersey Devils.....IN OVERTIME!!! This expands the Islanders' "lead" over Tampa to 7 points, while the cushion with Colorado is idle at 5 points. This is all guaranteed to change tonight when the Islanders take on the Lightning on home ice. Expect to see plenty of Isles fans verbally rooting for Tampa tonight. Nobody wants to see the Isles miss the opportunity to draft a gem like Tavares.

Update (Friday, April 3 @ 6:30 PM EST): Last night's loss against Montreal brings the Islanders down to 5 games remaining in the season and a 5 point cushion seperating them from Colorado. The Tampa Bay Lightning are the third team in contention with just one more point than the Avalanche.

If the Lightning beat the Islanders tomorrow night, however, it would virtually put them out of contention for the first pick. Without Vinny Lecavalier, however, it's anybody's guess who will come out on top in the game that nobody wants to win. As for the Avs, their next contest is on Sunday night against the Vancouver Canucks. With 8 straight losses, it looks as though the Canucks will be a tough test for Colorado.

I personally believe that Colorado is not going to start winning. It is up to the Islanders to "win" this race on their own.

With less than half a dozen games left on each team's schedule, the Islanders and the Colorado Avalanche are both vying for last place in the standings and more importantly a 48% chance at the first overall draft pick. With this pick, the top team will have the choice between Canadian phenom John Tavares and the Swedish D-man Victor Hedman.

The most recent standings have the Islanders with 59 points and the Avs with 64. Still, nobody should be counting out the Avalanche just yet. In addition to the fact the Islanders still have one more game to play (and potentially gain points in), the Avalanche are on quite a tear as of late. Colorado has lost a ridiculous 8 games in a row and is showing no signs of turning things around.

According to HNLI statistician Steve, the Islanders' magic number currently stands at 7 points (pre-Islanders v. Montreal). This number can be reached via the Islanders losing points (2 for a regulation loss, 1 for an OT loss) or the Avalanche picking up points (2 for a win, 1 for an OT loss).

Needless to say, emotions are running high amongst Islander fans. With the Avalanche plummeting, it seems it might be up to the Isles to continue losing. Despite losing 2 in a row, the team has looked pretty good as of late. Wednesday evening's game against Washington showed signs of a disaster before Mike Green pulled it out for the Caps. With 6 Islander games left this season, I don't think any fan can even pretend to be rooting for the Orange and Blue.

Sweepstakes At A Glance (Remaining Schedules):
Islanders: Montreal, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston
Avalanche: Vancouver, San Jose, Dallas, Vancouver, St. Louis
HNLI Host Alex on Newsday's Back Cover with John Tavares! HNLI Alex w/ John Tavares