Dynasty Era Islanders

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by KillerCarlson, Jan 12, 2011.

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  1. KillerCarlson

    KillerCarlson Registered User

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    Hey guys. I'd like to get your perspectives on this subject since I've previously read some great info here. I've been watching quite a few Islanders games from the dynasty era and I am really interested in the team. So in your opinion, what made this team so successful? What was it about Bossy's, Trottier's, Gillies', Potvin's play etc. that made them a 4 time cup winning team. It would be really appreciated to hear some opinions from people who were around during that time. Sadly, I wasn't.
     
  2. Trottier

    Trottier Very Random

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    Hey Killer - I've thought about this recently. I think the answer lies within your question.

    One can certainly argue about if this was the greatest team ever, had the best this or that, BS about the era, etc.

    It is indisputable, however, that they had three all-time greats - three of the top 50 (easily) or better players of alltime, importantly, each in their prime, playing simultaneously.

    On the ice, it all started there.

    One can argue that it was the most lethal trio ever. Without question it was among the very best.

    Talk about a core, a foundation. :nod: These were truly GREAT players, among the very best the game has ever seen. Think about it. Whenever a discussion about the top 5-10 dmen ever appears here, Denis Potvin is included, no exceptions. Whenever the discussion turns to top snipers, Mike Bossy is included on every top 5 list. Most complete players? Trottier is always at or near the top.

    That, of course, is not to take away from an exceedingly deep and versatile supporting cast which could beat you at any type of game you wanted to play (physical, open ice). Or a HOF coach, whom to this day is talked about with a degree of respect, reverance and true love by his players unlike any other I've certainly ever known.

    But everything was built upon those three; that's where it started.

    I say that as one who watched the dynasty built and realized, through its entirety.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2011
  3. LeBlondeDemon10

    LeBlondeDemon10 BlindLemon Haystacks

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    Definitely the big three. All three are underrated in history IMO. If Bossy had played in Montreal he'd be as big as Lafleur. I think they were very difficult to play against because they had some of the best two way forwards in the game at the time. Trottier, Bourne, Tonelli, the Sutter's could score and play tough defensively. And Billy Smith is not remembered with the greats but for 5 years he was very good in the playoffs. They were an intimidating team with Smith, Potvin and Gillies all playing very physical.
     
  4. Nedved1*

    Nedved1* Guest

    From what I saw, the Islanders were the second most complete team I have ever seen in the 33 years I have watched the game (since age 11)

    They could beat you 4 different ways.

    3 lines that could score

    dogged defence and commitment to eachother as a team

    solid goaltending

    transition .

    They were a better team unit than the oilers were. The only better team I ever saw was the the 1977 montreal Canadiens but I doubt we will ever see a team as overstacked as that ever again.
     
  5. BraveCanadian

    BraveCanadian Registered User

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    The best part to me about the Isles is that they could adapt their game to beat any type of team. This is largely because of the all around ability of Trottier and Potvin, of course.

    They could play any style of team and beat them.

    They had enough quickness to beat teams based on speed.

    They had enough toughness and grit to beat grinding teams.

    And they had enough pure talent to beat finesse teams.

    I think that is the #1 reason they won a record number of playoff series in a row. They could beat anybody and had no glaring weakness.
     
  6. Psycho Papa Joe

    Psycho Papa Joe Porkchop Hoser

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    One of the best one-two punches in the history of the game.

    The best pure goalscorer I've witnessed

    The 2nd best all-round forward I've witnessed

    A top 5 d-man of all-time and the best d-man I've seen.

    The best clutch goaltending I've seen, and always had the best backup in the NHL which allowed them to rest their #1 guy half the season.

    Great coaching. Probably the 2nd best coach of the post expansion era.

    A committment to play at both ends of the rink from all their lines.

    Depth, depth, depth and 4 very good to excellent lines in their respective roles

    Clutch goalscoring

    Could play just about any style and beat you in any way

    No glaring weakness

    Mental toughness

    Intangibles coming out the wazoo

    At the end of the day, the 2nd or 3rd best dynasty team I've seen. The late 70's Habs are 1st and then I'm torn between them and the Oilers for 2nd. The Oilers had more skill, but the Isles played much better all-round hockey and IMO were better coached.
     
  7. brianscot

    brianscot Registered User

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    Beyond the big stars, the Islanders had a supporting cast that had offered a great variety of abilities.

    Nystrom -- Grinder and mean. Could also score.
    Bourne --- Goal scorer and penalty killer with intimidating speed.
    Sutter --- See Nystrom.
    Tonelli --- Grinder who became a scorer.
    Langevin --- Solid defenseman who could lay the smackdown.
    Jonsson --- Slick good skating puck mover.
    Morrow --- One of the best defensive defenseman of his time.
    Persson -- Underrated and took offensive pressure off Potvin from the blue line.

    Like others have stated, they were a great clutch team with great pride who showed up every night.
     
  8. Derick*

    Derick* Guest

    Lol, my first thought upon reading the OP was "Trottier will love this thread," then I scroll down to see he has the first post :laugh:
     
  9. JackSlater

    JackSlater Registered User

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    In addition to clearly having great players I think of this team as the strongest mentally that I've ever seen. They just seemed to keep coming at the opposition shift after shift, especially in the playoffs. Ridiculously determined and as others have said very diverse.
     
  10. KillerCarlson

    KillerCarlson Registered User

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    Thanks for the input guys. It will help me put those old games into context.
     
  11. C77

    C77 Registered User

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    Unfortunately I wasn't around to watch those teams but I've watched a bunch of their games on DVD.

    I think they are unsurpassed in terms of mental toughness. In my opinion there is something to be said for "championship pedigree" or guile. I don't think it affected those guys much if they were losing or got a bad bounce because they had confidence in their collective ability.

    I didn't know that much about Denis Potvin before, but he finished every check and controlled the pace of the game like only the very best defensemen can.

    Besides the big 3 and Billy Smith they had

    An experienced and tenacious checking center in Butch Goring...he was a guy that like Trottier always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. Goring is referred to as the "last piece of the puzzle".

    I have to think that Goring and Bourne were probably two of the best skaters in the league.

    One of my favorites (John Tonelli) won almost every one on one battle on the boards. Another guy who ended up with over 300 career goals.

    Also they had Persson and Jonsson as mentioned above as skilled defensemen.

    Sometimes I think of a team as a collection of different abilities and those teams had everything you could want. Skating ability, toughness, character, talent, experience, goaltending, coaching etc.

    In my opinion they still are the gold standard for American hockey teams.
     
  12. Trottier

    Trottier Very Random

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    :laugh:

    Was spoiled early in my life as a sports fan. Knew then and know now that I'll be remembering those teams fondly the rest of my years because I'll certainly never experience anything like that again.
     
  13. greatgazoo

    greatgazoo Registered User

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    They had a Will-to-Win that was beyond belief.

    Ask the Oilers who walked by their dressing room after game 4 of the '83 finals. They expected to see guys pouring champagne over one another and going crazy, but instead saw an exhausted bunch who were wrapped in ice nursing injuries and sipping on beers.
     
  14. Poignant Discussion*

    Poignant Discussion* I tell it like it is

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    The person who has not been mentioned yet, who had the most to do with it was William Torrey, who not only drafted all of their stars, but added the pieces to put them over the top.

    Alot of people forget that the Islanders pre dynasty had a few playoff failures. Some teams (lets use recent examples Ottawa and San Jose) when failure occurs, play the blame game and fire coaches or GM's or trade stars to shake things up. Great teams figure out what went wrong and go out and correct it. After the Rangers upset the Islanders in 1979, Al Arbour decided that the regular season means squat. The 1980 team finished with only 91 points (first time in 5 years under 100 points) but the players were rested for the marathon that is the NHL playoffs. And they did it!

    As for the players....wow, what a complete TEAM. As a few others have posted, they could play any style and win. They had the right amount of skill, grit, defense and power to make any opposing coaches job just that much more difficult. I'm not going to mention any player by name because EVERY player had an important role and without each player the team would not have been as great as they were.

    The Islanders were the last true dynasty (3 or more cups in a row) to be in the NHL and the second best team I have seen (behind the 76-77 Habs)

    Thanks for the memories Killer
     
  15. tony d

    tony d Registered User Sponsor

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    Yeah, they where such a deep team that had it all. Scoring in Bossy and Trottier. A top 10 all-time defenseman in Denis Potvin. Great goaltending from Billy Smith. A great coach in Al Arbour. They where such a good team. Probably one of the top dynasties of all-time in the NHL.
     
  16. SealsFan

    SealsFan Registered User

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    As someone who was there seeing it all unfold in real time here on the Island (and hating every minute of it, I despised the Isles!), I think the mental toughness and intangibles were a big part of their success.

    Yes, they had some upper-tier players like Bossy, Trottier, D. Potvin.

    After that, they had players who would be rated average-to-good on lesser teams. But somehow they all gelled together on the Isles to give sustained effort that made them close to being upper-tier players as well. The team had tremendous unity. You could just feel it. It was as if no one wanted to let his teammates, or Al Arbour, down with a sub-par performance.
     
  17. TheDevilMadeMe

    TheDevilMadeMe Registered User

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    Sounds a lot like the Red Wings between 95-96 and 96-97.
     
  18. Psycho Papa Joe

    Psycho Papa Joe Porkchop Hoser

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    Just as an aside, the Isles started playing much better in 79-80 once Goring was acquired and Potvin returned from injury.

    In addition, there were significant rumblings that the team was going to be broken up if they failed in the playoffs in 79-80. I think those rumblings was a major kick in the butt to those players and they responded.
     
  19. McGuillicuddy

    McGuillicuddy Registered User

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    Wondering exactly what you mean by this?
     
  20. Trottier

    Trottier Very Random

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    Not to mention a certain dman arriving from the Gold Medal US Olympic team (making his NHL debut same game as Potvin's return after being out three-month, a home loss to lowly Detroit on a Saturday afternoon in February*). Ken Morrow's stellar play affored NYI major, quality depth on the blueline, which helped lead to Dave Lewis being moved as part of the Goring deal.

    *Why do I remember a trivial event from 31 years ago, yet cannot recall what I had for dinner last night. :huh:

    True. Isles simply could not win on the road much that season, certainly though the first half of the season. Arbour's job security was even mentioned, though faintly.

    After they won that May, I remember Bryan Trottier, brutally honest, quoted as saying they were motivated by fear....fear of losing and what the repercussions would be.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2011
  21. HabsByTheBay

    HabsByTheBay Registered User

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    Where is Long Island, o flag waving Canadian?
     
  22. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    I'm pretty sure he means that there isn't a better American based team than the Isles as far as dynasties go. The only one comparable would be the Red Wings in the early 1950s.

    The Isles were a team that could beat you in so many ways. They could play any style. But I think the thing that best associates them is that they were loaded with top tier players while having some of the best depth a championship team has ever had.
     
  23. Coffey77

    Coffey77 Registered User

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    Never got a chance to see them play but they sure had depth...

    Bossy
    Trottier
    Potvin
    Smith

    Goring
    Morrow
    Persson
    Langevin
    Tonelli
    Brent Sutter
    Duane Sutter
    Bourne
    Nystrom
    Jonsson
    etc. etc. etc.

    I would definitely say they are the best Dynasty ever for the simple reason that they have the most Consecutive playoffs series wins. 19 is it? Habs may have won 5 in a row but that required 10 series wins. Islanders almost doubled that.
     

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