How Thomas Hickey went from last-chance NHL to ‘passionate’ Islanders TV rookie

According to Thomas Hickey, the plan was to play this season. but he was totally determined to play.

Even after his professional tryout contract with the Devils ended without New Jersey signing him, Europe still had options for Hickey. It was only when he was faced with the prospect of playing abroad that Hickey decided to consider the option of working with MSG.

“As I was going through my options trying to figure it out, they offered me an audition,” the Post recently told the Post over the phone. Things started to turn around for me and I realized that it might be a good fit because it’s something I was interested in. But it’s not exactly a hobby, it’s more of a career.”

Things quickly wrapped up, and Hickey officially joined the Islanders broadcast team as a studio analyst in late October. There’s no exact number of games he’ll be working on this season, but it should be somewhere between 40 and 50, with Hickey and AJ Murektsko splitting roles with Shannon Hogan.

Thomas Hickey will play 40-50 games as an analyst alongside MSG Networks host Shannon Hogan this season.
MSG Networks

Looking comfortable on camera, Hickey, 33, quickly demonstrated his mastery of the medium, giving fresh insight into a team he played as recently as last season. He says the future of the broadcasting industry never crossed his mind as a player. He eventually considered coaching and his role in hockey operations, but ultimately, he decided those tasks were too much of a burden. Still, he wanted to be closer to the game. This turned out to be a good solution.

“I want to be passionate about what I do,” said the former No. 4 overall pick who scored 117 points in some of his nine seasons with the Islanders. “I loved the game and still love playing it. [to play] The one year experience would have been great, but I don’t think I would have had the desire to go to a new team every year. With his wife, after years of traveling, he wanted some normalcy, so having the possibility to do something for a while or a long time was a big thing.

After about a month in the role, Hickey says the feedback has been mostly positive, but he’s still learning.

Mackenzie Blackwood #29 and Thomas Hickey #24 of the New Jersey Devils defended against Artemi Panarin #10 of the New York Rangers in the second period on September 30, 2022 at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. increase.
Thomas Hickey (right) spent preseason with the Devils before deciding to pursue television opportunities rather than continue playing professionally in Europe.
Getty Images

“In dealing with the team, there’s a lot of work to do, so that’s what really caught me off guard the most,” Hickey said. I think it’s exciting because I love talking about hockey and watching games.I used to have that kind of conversation with my teammates all the time.And maybe that would fall on deaf ears. One or two others just want to sit down and talk more about hockey.

“So it was really cool just to have that opportunity. It’s not easy to be clear, and I think it’s a growth point for me to keep improving it.”

1. Given that the Islanders have regularly produced shorthanded rushes, JG Pagoh’s shorthanded goal at 4:33 of the second period was only the team’s second of the season. I was a little surprised. It wouldn’t be entirely surprising if that number increased at some point.

2. Oliver Wallstrom’s physical prowess made headlines at the Toronto game. In the meantime, he fought Rasmus his Sundin and helped galvanize the Islanders’ comeback. Lane Lambert pointed out after the game that Wallstrom made a similar play against Dallas. Wallstrom said 1 he hadn’t played like that before the season. It’s now part of his toolkit.

Oliver Wallstrom #26 of the New York Islanders checks in on the board with Brett Clack #27 of the Edmonton Oilers on November 23, 2022 at UBS Arena in Elmont, NY.
Oliver Wallstrom and the Islanders won 3-0 on Wednesday night for their 13th victory in 21 games.
NHLI via Getty Images

3. After the game, Lambert clarified the circumstances surrounding Kyle Palmieri’s upper body injury, telling reporters that he expected Palmieri to play and that Palmieri’s absence from the ice was simply a matter of equipment. He said he hadn’t spoken to his trainer before telling him that he was skating early in the morning. Still, what threatened the head coach’s credibility after just 21 games in his first season was an unnecessary mess, and it’s hard to see as a result of the Islanders’ strict policies regarding lineups and injury disclosure.

4. Ilya Sorokin probably doesn’t get enough credit for his role in starting the team. His teammates take note of his play after almost every game, but notable ones like Igor Shestakin with the Rangers last season. 19 of his 49 saves against Edmonton were classified as high-risk chances. natural stat trick — Superior performance at every level. Kudos to Semyon Varlamov for his .914 save rate as a backup.

5. Even on a non-scoring night, watching Oilers’ Conor McDavid live is an emotional experience. His speed and dynamism in the pack are unmatched by any player in the league.

Thoughts on the Quarter Market

When the Islanders (13-8-0) head to Thanksgiving, their record isn’t all that surprising. The hope for this season is a return to the playoffs, and the Islanders are on track to make that happen. It’s not yet clear if they’ll be able to do so easily, especially since both the Rangers and Devils have played well for the Metropolitan, with Cross River’s first-round playoff potential his series looming.

What’s amazing is how the islanders adjusted the start. This is no longer a team to grind you down, nor a team trying to win 2-1. Yes, the identity line is still a factor and the Islanders are happy to play physical hockey, but the Islanders will play Wednesday’s game against Edmonton, ranking 10th in expected goals and 31st in expected goals. Their conceding of just 2.62 goals per game is testament to Ilya Sorokin’s .934 save percentage, and if it continues, deserves consideration for the Vezina Trophy.

Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin (30) saw defender Noah Dobson (8) beat Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander (88) in the first period at Scotiabank Arena on November 11. I kept away and defended the goal.  February 21, 2022.
Ilya Sorokin’s play at the net helped the Islanders achieve a better record than their expected goals stats indicated.

Manager Lane Lambert said, “We’ve prepared and created some chances. There are some areas in the D zone that we want to clean up. Yes. Want a better game start

The Isles played more interesting hockey Under Lambert, scoring follows his system. There were signs that they could be a serious threat in the Eastern Conference if they could get it all together. The special teams unit continuity helped keep that from happening.

The structure of the defense zone was also worrisome, but Sorokin is a player who can eliminate such mistakes. The Islanders were always going to ask him a lot of questions this season. It’s no surprise that he delivered. Still, I’d love to see more games that don’t ask too much of him, or where the Eyelander is in control throughout. win in the end.

That said, we’re doing a little something here. Everyone involved signed up for 26 points on Thanksgiving, and unlike last season, there’s no impending disaster on the horizon.

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