Connect with us

New York Islanders

Mark Recchi: ‘I Knew Johnny Boychuk Would Come Through For Islanders’

Published

on

Johnny Boychuk

Jimmy Murphy
Special to NYI Hockey Now

Newly hired New Jersey Devils assistant coach and Hockey Hall of Famer Mark Recchi wasn’t surprised that 36-year-old New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk made Islanders head coach Barry Trotz look like a genius. Trotz opted to dress seven defensemen in Game 5 to allow Boychuk back into the lineup for the first time in a month.

“I knew he’d come through for them,” Recchi told NYI Hockey Now Tuesday night.

The New York Islanders veteran leader delivered a retro Johnny Boychuk performance in Game 5 with five hits and a team and game-high six blocked shots that helped the Islanders to a dramatic 2-1 win in double overtime over the Tampa Bay Lightning that staved off elimination in the Eastern Conference Final.

“He lit that fire for them that they needed to stay alive,” said Recchi, who played two seasons (2009-2011) with Boychuk and won a Stanley Cup with the now 36-year-old New York Islanders rearguard and the Boston Bruins in 2011. “He will do anything it takes to win and be there for his teammates no matter what. We don’t win that Cup without the type of sacrifices a guy like Johnny makes.”

New York Islanders forward Jordan Eberle scored the OT winner 12:30 into the second extra frame, but there was no doubt following the game, how big a role Boychuk played in just getting the Islanders to that point.

“He brings a presence for us, he goes out there, he blocks shots, he plays tough,” Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock said after the dramatic win that gave the underdog Islanders hope. “We knew when he was getting his opportunity, he was going to step in and do his job. Big block early on the kill, and just playing hard. That’s what we expect from him, and that’s what he did.”

In the 2011 Cup Final between the Bruins and Vancouver Canucks and specifically Game 7, Boychuk played 20:23 and dished out five hits to emerge into the all or nothing, shutdown defenseman that helped the Bruins hoist the Cup for the first time in 39 years. He then helped them to another Stanley Cup Final in 2013 – playing 41:37 with nine hits in Game 1 – when they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.

“I could just see the presence he had in the dressing room when I was there and the leader he was becoming,” Recchi recalled. “He was all business on the ice and hit like a freight train but in the dressing room, he kept everyone loose.”

Former Islanders general manager Garth Snow was more than happy to oblige to what amounted to a salary cap dump for the Bruins prior to the 2014-15 regular season when Boston dealt the rugged defenseman to the Islanders. Snow sent back 2015 and 2016 second-round picks, as well as a conditional third-rounder.

In his six seasons with the Islanders since that trade, Boychuk has emerged into the leader Recchi saw developing back in what was his final season in the NHL. Now Trotz and the current roster are grateful to have a player like Boychuk that can lift a team when they need it most.

“Johnny is one of those unique guys that you come across,” Trotz said following Game 5. “He’s old school, he’s one of the most likable guys that you’re ever going to meet, one of the most committed guys. I think the first shift he blocked two or three shots, he’s got welts all over his body, just gives you everything he has night in and night out. He’s fearless. He’s really a little bit of a leader and father figure for some of the younger guys, he’s always taking care of people around him.”

Johnny Boychuk and the Islanders will try to force a Game 7 tonight at 8 p.m. in Game 6 in Edmonton.

Welcome to your new home for New York Islanders breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to NYHN+ for all of our members-only content from Christian Arnold and the National Hockey Now network.

New York Islanders

Can Dobson, Greene Really Fill Hole Left After Toews Trade?

Published

on

Noah Dobson

Going into this unique offseason, it was apparent the New York Islanders had difficult decisions to make with the flat cap.

That first real casualty came in the form of trading defenseman Devon Toews to the Colorado Avalanche for a pair of second-round draft picks.

Subscribe here for daily coverage of the New York Islanders

As was posited on this site before the start of free agency, the Islanders didn’t have a ton of space to make a splashy move and Lou Lamoriello needed to keep his focus on the team’s own restricted free agents. By dealing Toews, it left the Islanders more room in the future with cap space. In the short run, it doesn’t affect the cap space the team has this offseason, but it could help them make moves to free up some space.

But the Islanders also had to consider what the contracts they would end up paying out to their other big restricted free agents — Ryan Pulock and Mathew Barzal. Coupled with uncertainty of what the salary cap situation for the entire league might look like over the next few years, the Toews trade makes sense under that context.

Devon Toews Traded to Colorado for Second Round Picks

“Any time you see one of your friends and teammates traded, it sucks,’’ Anders Lee said this earlier week. “It’s not fun. It’s part of our business, that side of it. Devon is a great guy and a great player, and you wish him nothing but the best in Colorado.”

On its face, the loss of Toews is a tough one for the Islanders for a number of reasons. He was a key piece on the power play and he excelled in his possession metrics.

According to Hockey Reference, Toews had a 6.1 Corsi relative percentage last season, which was the best among the team’s defensemen. It did take a dip to 1.1 percent in New York’s extended postseason run and he struggled in the Eastern Conference Final, but Toews was an integral puck-moving blue liner for the Islanders the last two seasons.

So where do the Islanders get those minutes and production from now that Toews is in another uniform?

Well, the easy answer is to say Noah Dobson comes in and becomes a full-time player after an impressive 34-game stint in 2019-20. In fact, Dobson’s 4.8 Corsi relative percentage was the best among Islanders defenseman after Toews, albeit in about half the games played.

But Dobson’s pedigree and ability to play well within the defensive zone have made him a valuable piece of the puzzle going forward. When the Islanders made the deal with Colorado, Lamoriello said the team would not have even considered the move had they not had Dobson already in the mix.

“We would not have made this move if the ice time that Devon received, we didn’t have the ability to put a player into that,” Lamoriello said. “And Noah Dobson, we feel, is certainly ready to take the next step.”

The issue here is Dobson is a right-handed defenseman, so it’s pretty safe to assume he won’t be sliding to the left side. So that leaves the Islanders with a hole on the left. Andy Greene will likely don orange and blue next season and would be the top candidate to play alongside Dobson from the outset. But in turning 38 this coming season, it will be interesting to see what Greene can provide not only in minutes but in quality play down the stretch.

The Islanders did re-up with left-handed shooting Sebastian Aho earlier this month, and though he only has 22 NHL games under his belt, he’s still just 24 years old and gives the Islanders a little more depth on the left side.

There are options to fill the hole on defense, but there are plenty of question marks if the Islanders can still replicate — or get close to — the numbers Toews had with the New York Islanders.

Welcome to your new home for New York Islanders breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to NYHN+ for all of our members-only content from Christian Arnold and the National Hockey Now network.
Continue Reading

New York Islanders

Islanders TV Voice Brendan Burke Recalls Memories with Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick

Published

on

Brendan Burke along side Mike "Doc" Emrick at Barclays Center

New York Islanders TV broadcaster Brenden Burke had just walked out of the Barclays Center feeling pretty good.

It was the night of Oct. 16, 2016 and the Islanders had just defeated the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 in overtime off a goal from Josh Bailey for their first win of the 2016-17 season. It had been Burke’s first big moment as the television voice of the New York Islanders and he was particularly happy with the call he had.

Burke packed up his things and walked back to his home at the time in Brooklyn. It was then that he got a surprise email that capped the memorable night for the young broadcaster.

“I pulled out my phone as I was walking back and I think the NHL had tweeted out the highlight,” Burke said during a phone interview with NYI Hockey Now. “I felt really good about what I had done in that first real test and then I’m still on my walk home and a couple of minutes later my phone buzzes. It’s an email from (Mike Emrick) that says ‘hey you sound great.’  To have that on top of already feeling good about it, and then to have the guy who you think is the best broadcaster in the world tell you so is a very special moment for me.”

The goal and the email from legendary broadcaster Mike “Doc” Emrick have gone hand in hand in the mind of Burke since it happened, and it was a memory that came to mind on Monday when Emrick announced he was retiring from broadcasting. Emrick has called NHL games for the last 47 years and has been the voice of the league for the last 15 calling games nationally for NBC.

Emrick is regarded as one of the greatest broadcasters in all of sports and has called 22 Stanley Cup Finals, 45 Stanley Cup Playoff game sevens, six Olympics, 14 NHL All-Star Games and 19 NHL Winter Classics and Stadium Series games.

“He’s the best,” Burke said. “He became as big as the sport. You’re talking about a guy who won seven or eight straight sports play-by-play Emmys up against the Joe Bucks and Ian Eagles and the big guys. The guys that do the other big sports and he beats them all every year. … I love not only what he’s done for broadcasting and for the profession, but for the sport of hockey and elevating it to another level.”

Emrick’s overlap with the Islanders has been limited on the national stage. Emrick also served as the TV voice of the New Jersey Devils for 21.

Emrick famously called the Easter Epic on ESPN and was behind the mic for John Tavares’ game-winning goal in Game 3 of the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2015. Emrick noted the atmosphere at the Nassau Coliseum that game during his retirement conference call on Monday.

Mike Emrick was also on hand to call an early regular-season game in November of 2016 between the Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins. Sitting next to Emrick for the night to shadow the Hall-of-Famer was Burke.

“Just to see him go through the mechanics of (broadcasting), to see the notes that he had, to see what he has scripted out and what is off the top of his head,” Burke said while describing that night. “Just to see the way he goes about the game and interacts with his analysts when they’re off the air. The communication with him and the producer. I think I was 20 games into my television tenure and I was still very raw in a lot of those areas, especially in the ins and outs of television, so to be able to observe him doing those things was a really cool experience for me.”

Burke added: “I figured if I was going to learn a way to do things and to conduct myself in a television booth watching Doc work in my booth, sort of speak, was the perfect way to do it.”

As great of a broadcaster that Emrick was, he has often been described as an even better person. Reaction from across the hockey and broadcasting world poured in on Twitter following Emrick’s announcement on Monday, along with plenty of stories about his kindness and generosity.

Bridgeport Sound Tigers radio voice Alan Fuehring recalled receiving an email from Emrick last August after briefly mentioning that he was getting married. Emrick reached out to Burke as well following the announcement that he would be the new play-by-play announcer for the Islanders.

“He’s extremely kind and he’s genuine,” Burke said. “He really is that guy and he’s the person you want to ask a million questions and he keeps asking you questions. He wants to know more about you. That’s not an act, that’s him.”

The two have continued to correspond and talk since which included recently as Emrick prepared to call a game between the Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning during the Eastern Conference Finals.

“Always the consummate professional he was calling me to make sure that he was getting those names pronounced right and wanted to go over the Islanders names and double-check, and make sure he was ready to go,” Burke said.

It’s uncertain when hockey will be played again, but whoever NBC taps to replace Emrick will have big shoes to fill.

“We are all going to be sad that Doc won’t be around and I think the sport for certain is better off for having had him,” Burke said.

Welcome to your new home for New York Islanders breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to NYHN+ for all of our members-only content from Christian Arnold and the National Hockey Now network.
Continue Reading

New York Islanders

‘It Still Stings,’ Loss Drives Lee For Another Push

Published

on

Anders Lee

While the hockey world looks forward and waits to find out when or even if the 2020-21 season will start, New York Islanders captain Anders Lee took a moment to look back and reflect.

Lee and the Islanders are now just over a month removed from their season-ending loss in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals to Tampa Bay. It had been the deepest the Islanders had gone in the playoffs since 1993 and the run shocked much of the hockey world.

This content is for NYHN+ subscribers only. Join us for only $3.49 per month, or get a yearly subscription for $29.99!
Join us!

–OR–
Welcome to your new home for New York Islanders breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to NYHN+ for all of our members-only content from Christian Arnold and the National Hockey Now network.
Continue Reading

GET NYIHN IN YOUR INBOX!

Enter your email address to get all of our articles delivered directly to your inbox.

NYI Team & Cap Info

Follow me on Twitter

Recent Comments

0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x

Get the best of NYI Hockey Now in your inbox

Be the first to know! Enter your email to get all of our articles sent straight to your inbox, the minute they're published.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.