The New York Islanders Top 15 Moments of 2015: Part III

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UNIONDALE, NY - APRIL 19: John Tavares #91 of the New York Islanders celebrates his game winning goal at 15 seconds of the overtime against the Washington Capitals in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on April 19, 2015 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Capitals 2-1 in overtime. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

We conclude the New York Islanders Top 15 Moments of 2015 with the Top 5. In our segment yesterday, which highlighted numbers 10 to 6, Bobby Nystrom and Kenny Morrow said goodbye to Nassau Coliseum, Kyle Okposo had a four goal game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, John Tavares won another game in overtime, the Islanders won their first game at the Barclays Center and the Rangers were handed a defeat in their first visit to Brooklyn. If you missed it, you can get caught up right here. 

Get ready for the top five and for the third consecutive day, John Tavares is going to win one in overtime.

5. January 16, 2015 – Bryan Trottier Says Farewell to the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders

All five events listed today could all have been top choices. Forty-one years ago Bill Torrey made the greatest second round selection in the history of the NHL amateur draft when he selected Bryan Trottier with the 22nd pick from the WCHL. This year “Trots” said farewell to the building he called home for parts of three decades as a New York Islander.

Trottier had a chance to comment on the Islanders current captain during his pregame press conference and he was as gracious as always, “Holy cow, can he stickhandle, can he score. He generates and he’s tireless on the puck. It’s wonderful to see him have the success he’s having. If you folks are kind enough to see a little of my game in John’s game and vice versa, great.”

He also commented on the Coliseum and shed some light on what the building meant to him as a young player. “You know, it’s kind of where I grew up. I came here when I was 19. It was the building I wanted to play in, be a part of its history. And now it has that history. Every time I come back, it’s just great to talk about those memories with whoever wants to. It’s fun to reminisce.”

It’s been twenty-five years since Bryan last played in an Islanders’ uniform, but his legendary status remains in tact. He’s the franchises leader in games played (1123), assists (853) and points (1353). No. 19 won almost every piece of hardware you can win in the NHL while dawning an Islanders uniform, but he’s most proud of his Stanley Cups.

ny_islanders_03

4. April 19th, 2015 – John Tavares Beats the Caps in Game 3 OT Thriller

Yes, the Islanders eventually lost this series, but if you weren’t alive in the 80’s the boys of 2015 gave you a little taste of the good ol’ days.

John Tavares needed only fifteen seconds in overtime to put away the Washington Capitals. Nick Leddy fired a shot from the point and Tavares directed the rebound in from the side of the cage and absolute mayhem ensued in Uniondale. Only J.P. Parise‘s 11 second heroics in 1975, which we highlighted in Part I, ended an Islanders playoff game faster in franchise history.

JT was quoted on NHL.com after the game, “I had some chances. I had one early that I don’t know how it didn’t go in. I just tried to stay with it. It was a tight game. I just wanted to get to the net and I finally got rewarded.”

3. January 29th, 2015- Mike Bossy Says Farewell to the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

People love to recount Bossy’s 50/50 night in ’81, but the number of heroic nights Bossy brought to the Coliseum are countless. Put the 50 goal seasons aside for a second and try to wrap your brain around 39 career hat tricks. Bryan Trottier is obviously second on the Islanders all-time career list, but he only has 16.

If you’ve never seen a Bossy hat trick, take a look at this one below from the 1979 playoffs.

Let’s not completely forget the 50 goal seasons. Bossy was quoted in Newsday,”I have no doubt,” he said of playing in the NHL as it is now, “that I’d still score 50 goals.”  Mike had 50 goals in each of his first nine seasons and a balky back is all the prevented him from a perfect 10 for 10 in his tenth NHL campaign. He is joined only by Wayne Gretzky on the plateau of players with nine 50 goal seasons.

Goals number 49 and 50 would both come late in game number 50 in 1981. A John Tonelli forecheck, followed by a cross ice pass from Bryan Trottier found Bossy all alone in the final minutes of the third. Mike made sure his final opportunity of the night did not go to waste.

Mike was selected 15th overall by the Islanders in the 1977 NHL amateur draft. He was the only first-round selection to score 300 goals on his career from that year. The eventual 1982 Conn Smythe Trophy winner scored 573 goals in his career. Teams were worried about Bossy’s skating ability, in fact, the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers made two selections before the Isles grabbed No. 22.The Islanders were ready for a big time sniper and felt Bossy couldn’t be passed up. It’s safe to say nobody has any regrets with their Hall of Fame selection.

1982 Stanley Cup Finals - Game Four: New York Islanders v Vancouver Canucks

2. April 25th, 2015 – The Isles Take Game Six Over the Washington Capitals, 3-1, at the Nassau Coliseum

UNIONDALE, NY - APRIL 25: The New York Islanders celebrate their 3-1 victory over the Washington Capitals in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on April 25, 2015 in Uniondale, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

UNIONDALE, NY – APRIL 25: The New York Islanders celebrate their 3-1 victory over the Washington Capitals in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on April 25, 2015 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

It would be the Islanders final game at the “Old Barn” and although the team didn’t lift “Lord Stanley” it was important, really important, that the team didn’t skate off the ice in defeat.

John Tavares, Nikolay Kulemin and Cal Clutterbuck would all score for the Isles and no one has forgotten John Tavares’s salute to the crowd as time expired in the third period.

I still remember the Mikhail Grabovski shot that hit Braden Holtby, trickled over his helmet, down his back and rolled to the post during a tie game. It seemed so ominous at the time.

Matt Martin was quoted after the game, ” It was great to win in this building. We don’t want it to be the last one. It’s been home to me my whole NHL career. It’s the best atmosphere to play in. They don’t really make them like this anymore.”

No, they don’t make them like the Nassau Coliseum anymore and it was a great victory.

1. August 28th, 2015- Al Arbour Passes Away at 82 Years Old After Suffering From Complications Related to a Long Illness

Canadian-born hockey coach and former professional hockey player Al  Arbour, head coach of the New York Islanders, drinks champagne out of the Stanley Cup after the Islanders swept the Edmonton Oilers in four games to win their fourth consecutive final, Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, Long Island, New York, May 17, 1983. It was also Arbour's fourth straight championship as the head coach of the Islanders, and he wears one of his championship rings. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Canadian-born hockey coach and former professional hockey player Al Arbour, head coach of the New York Islanders, drinks champagne out of the Stanley Cup after the Islanders swept the Edmonton Oilers in four games to win their fourth consecutive final, Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, Long Island, New York, May 17, 1983. It was also Arbour’s fourth straight championship as the head coach of the Islanders, and he wears one of his championship rings. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

The Islanders legendary and Hall of Fame coach passed away from complications related t0 Parkinsons disease and dementia in August. It was felt all around the hockey universe.

Garth Snow, the Islanders president and general manager, was quoted on the day of his passing, “Al will always be remembered as one of, if not, the greatest coaches ever to stand behind a bench in the history of the National Hockey League. The New York Islanders franchise has four Stanley Cups to its name, thanks in large part to Al’s incredible efforts.”

The Islanders continue to wear a patch on their shoulder this year in Al’s honor and everyone is hoping the Stanley Cup is raised at the end of the year to celebrate his legacy as well.

According to Newsday, Arbour’s 740 Islanders wins are the most for any coach with one NHL team and his 782 victories overall are second only to Scotty Bowman, who gave Arbour his coaching start in St. Louis.

When the Islanders honored Arbour in 1997 for having been enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame, emcee Clark Gillies, one of his great players, introduced him this way: “Please welcome the greatest coach in the history of hockey.”

Gillies statement really wasn’t an overstatement. His four consecutive championships and nineteen consecutive playoff series victories have not been matched by any coach in any league since the Islanders had their historic run under his leadership in the early 80’s.

He has never been replaced and he will forever be missed.

That brings our Islanders Top 15 Moments of 2015 to a conclusion. I hope you enjoyed looking over them as much as I enjoyed summarizing them. Let’s look forward to next year’s list which will include hoisting the Stanley Cup.

 

 

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