The New York Islanders - along with every other NHL team and many other businesses - have temporarily suspended operations due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. The Center for Disease Control and World Health Organizations have strongly advised the public to practice self-quarantining and avoid close contact and crowds to limit the spread of the virus. But that doesn’t mean we can’t gather in a virtual space and talk about old hockey players.
As long as the Islanders are on pause, we’ll run this series to give folks a place to chat, reminisce, and generally relieve the stress of the times.
This suggestion comes from reader Dan, and I’m glad it did. I can’t say I remember much about Hubie McDonough playing for the Islanders but I’ve definitely heard his name before (not too many NHLers named “Hubie”) and I’m sure I’ve seen at least one jersey with his name on the back at more than one game. Hey, maybe it was Dan.
Undrafted out of St. Anselm College, McDonough signed with the Kings and made his NHL debut in 1988 at the age of 25. The center came to the Islanders in November of the following year in a deal with (future Islanders legend) Ken Baumgartner for enigmatic Finn Mikko Makela.
Maybe it was the time zone difference or the crisp, Long Island winter air, but McDonough absolutely exploded offensively after the trade, scoring 18 goals and 11 assists in 54 games. He added a goal in the playoffs that year as the Islanders lost to the Rangers in five games. McDonough had three shorthanded goals that season and even came in 29th in Selke Trophy voting which... isn’t really close to winning it. But it was closer than 400-something other guys came so that’s something.
Unfortunately, that was where the ride ended. McDonough never hit double digit goals in the NHL again. He spent the next two seasons bouncing between the big Islanders and the Capital District Islanders of the AHL, and had less points in the NHL (21) than he did right after his trade (29). In August of 1992, he was traded to the second-year Sharks for straight cash, homie and played half the next season in San Jose and half in the old International Hockey League.
After that, he made a home in the IHL and lit it up, netting four 30-goal seasons and one 40-goal season for teams in LA, San Diego and Orlando over the next six seasons. He announced his retirement in 1999, but came back to play five games for Manchester of the AHL in the 2001-02 season, which is kinda bad ass.
So were some of these goals. I’m not sure what season or seasons these highlights were from, but some of these goals are awesome. I can see why the man still has fans. The one against Patrick Roy about halfway through is my favorite. (Bonus points for using Heart’s “Magic Man” as the soundtrack).