Earlier this week, new Buffalo Sabres assistant coach Bryan Trottier revealed that his former bench boss, legendary Isles coach Al Arbour, is suffering from dementia.
“We love the man. Today, he’s going through a little tough time with dementia right now,” Trottier explained, per Buffalo’s WGR Radio. “We all love Al for all the great times we’ve had together and his leadership.”
Arbour, 81, coached the Islanders to four straight Stanley Cups in the early 1980s and his 782 career wins are second only to Scotty Bowman on the all-time list. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996.
Trottier isn’t the only Sabres coach with a special affinity for Arbour. Current bench boss Ted Nolan put forth a tremendous gesture while coaching the Islanders during the 2007-08 campaign. From the Buffalo News:
Nolan always noticed the signage that honored Al Arbour’s 1,499 games as Islanders coach. During a meeting with owner Charles Wang, Nolan suggested they improve that number by one.
So on Nov. 3, 2007, Arbour accepted an invitation from Nolan and coached on a one-day contract. He led New York to a 3-2 comeback victory over Pittsburgh.
“That whole night, it was kind of like standing behind the bench with Toe Blake, Vince Lombardi. Al’s a legend,” Nolan reminisced. “To see the way the people reacted and see the game the way it went, to come back and tie up Pittsburgh, 2-2, and all of a sudden beat them, 3-2, it was one of those magical nights I’ll always remember.”
Ducks take control of second in Pacific after edging Oilers
McDavid scored a goal and two assists, yet Ryan Getzlaf was right there with him with three assists, helping the Ducks win 4-3.
With that, Anaheim is clearly ahead of Edmonton for second in the Pacific. The Ducks would hold home-ice over the Oilers if the playoffs began today, and better yet for them, a division title isn’t out of the question:
1. Sharks – 91 points in 73 games played
2. Ducks – 89 points in 73 GP
3. Oilers – 87 points in 73 GP
4. Flames – 86 points in 73 GP
As you can see, the Oilers aren’t exactly far ahead of the Flames for third, either.
Going forward, the Oilers have an interesting schedule: a mix of games against cellar dwellers (two apiece against the Canucks and Avalanche) plus two games apiece versus the Kings and Sharks.
The Ducks’ schedule includes two matches against the Flames, one against the Kings and one more match at Edmonton on April 1.
Long story short, the jockeying for position is far from over, but this was a pretty significant win for the Ducks.
Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)
Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.
Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.
McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).
The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.
They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.
The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.
Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.
The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.
The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.
Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style