Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: al arbour
According to the Daily Freeman's Stan Fischler, the recently-deceased Al Arbour stands as the best coach in all of sports:
Alger (Al) Arbour, who recently died at age 82, ranks — in my estimation — as the absolute, all-time top coach — or manager — in professional sports history.
And my memory goes back three-quarters of a century, alias 1939, when I saw my first hockey game.
I’m aware that there are critics out there who’ll vote for football’s Vince Lombardi — fair enough — and perhaps even lobby over Casey Stengel, honoring his championship skein with the Yankees.
The trouble with a Stengel vote was his clownish persona. Too often The “Ole Perfesser’s” double-talk act detracted from his conduct of a ball team.
But this column is not meant to stir Arbour-Lombardi-Stengel arguments but rather recall the gentleman, scholar, generalissimo and hockey impresario that embodied Al’s work as Islanders coach.
Fischler continues, but he avoids comparing Arbour to Scotty Bowman...
A look back at the storied career and life of New York Islanders legendary coach and Hall-of-Famer Al Arbour, who passed away at the age of 82.
Watch the 7 1/2 minutes video below...
NEW YORK (Aug. 28, 2015) -- National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman today released the following statement regarding the passing of Hockey Hall of Famer Al Arbour:
“The National Hockey League deeply mourns the passing of Al Arbour, revered head coach of the dynastic New York Islanders.
"A four-time Stanley Cup champion as a player and a brilliant motivator and tactician as a coach, Al Arbour directed the Islanders' rapid transformation from expansion team to NHL powerhouse -- guiding them to four straight Stanley Cup championships, five consecutive appearances in the Stanley Cup Final and an astounding 19 consecutive playoff series victories. As it grieves the loss of a profound influence on coaching and on the game itself, the NHL sends its heartfelt condolences to Al's family and friends, to his former teammates and to all the players he mentored."
The hockey career of Al Arbour...
from the Hockey Hall of Fame,
Alger Joseph Arbour was one of the most successful head coaches in NHL history. As of 1996 his career totals of 1,606 games behind the bench and 781 victories trailed only Scotty Bowman in the record books. Arbour's guidance contributed significantly to the New York Islanders' rapid ascent to competitive status and subsequent run of four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983.
Born on November 1, 1932 in Sudbury, Ontario, Arbour played defence on the junior Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey Association. He distinguished himself as a junior and was signed by the Detroit Red Wings. Arbour gained his professional baptism of fire with the Edmonton Flyers of the Western Hockey League in 1952-53. He split the next four years between Edmonton, Detroit and Sherbrooke of the Quebec Senior League.
In 1957-58 Arbour enjoyed his first full NHL campaign in the red and white of the Wings. Following that season he was claimed by the Chicago Blackhawks where he toiled for three years including a Stanley Cup triumph in 1961. Arbour next played four seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs and earned his second Stanley Cup ring in 1962. After spending the 1966-67 season off the ice, he returned to add experience and stability to the defence corps of the expansion St. Louis Blues in 1967-68. Early in the 1970-71 season,he retired as a player with in excess of 600 games played and almost fourteen years of service to his credit.
Upon retiring, Arbour was immediately hired to stand in as the coach of the Blues for the remainder of the 1970-71 campaign. Over the last 50 games of the schedule the team responded well by posting a 21-15-14 mark before losing to the Minnesota North Stars in the Stanley Cup quarterfinals.
added 12:25pm, via the New York Islanders...
These kinds of articles are so superb that you can only begin at the beginning, and this one from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Dan O'Neill is a helluva read:
The way Scotty Bowman sees it, three components turned the St. Louis Blues into Stanley Cup finalists during their first three seasons. One was goaltender Glenn Hall. One was a trade to acquire Red Berenson and Barclay Plager.
And one was Al Arbour.
“He was the toughest competitor, most courageous player I ever coached,” Bowman said. “He was the guy all the young players looked up to.”
Alger Arbour now leans on every bit of that resilience and fortitude. He is being treated for Parkinson’s disease and dementia near his home in Sarasota, Fla. He has difficulty with balance, with recollection and with words. He is in hospice care. The prognosis is dire.
But you can count on one thing. Arbour will battle, as he did as a defenseman for the Blues, as he did throughout a career in which he has been with teams that won the Stanley Cup eight times, representing four cities. The fact one of those locations isn’t St. Louis is a pockmark on a franchise that is without a championship 48 seasons into its existence.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
Some days - not too many, thankfully - I feel like it sucks to get old. Or, more precisely, it sucks to watch great hockey people you admire and respect grow old.
Friday was one of those days.
That's when the family of 74-year-old Stan Mikita announced the Hall of Fame Chicago Blackhawk centre and beloved franchise ambassador is facing serious health issues, that he has "been diagnosed with suspected Lewy Body dementia, a progressive disease and is currently under the care of compassionate and understanding care givers."
On the same day as that most unwelcome Mikita news, blogger Howard Berger (bergerbytes.ca) posted a current photograph of 82-year-old former NHL defenceman and Hall of Fame coach Al Arbour, updating his condition (dementia and Parkinson's Disease) and inviting fans to send best wishes to Arbour at his retirement home in Florida. Arbour's health issues were widely reported in the media last summer - it isn't necessarily 'news' he's now suffering dementia - but what's that they say about one picture being worth a thousand words?
That the failing health of these two Hall of Famers intersected, sadly, on the same day only added to the magnitude of the misfortune. At least it did for a kid who spent his formative Original Six hockey years growing up in Toronto in the 1960s, admiring the two men for very different reasons.
Amongst the Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons' notes:
What Leafs management likes most about Nazem Kadri — his inherent cockiness — is also what they like least. It’s good to have that when you’re producing. Kadri’s assist Friday night in Columbus was his first in 18 Toronto games, dating back to last season. ... Determined to get David Clarkson back on track this season, the Leafs coaching staff watched every game he played in his final two seasons in New Jersey this summer to get a sense of what he did well. So far, the reset, as Randy Carlyle calls it, seems to be working out just fine.
With 712 wins, Joel Quenneville is two seasons away from moving past Al Arbour on the NHL list of all-time coaching victories. He will end up second but nowhere near Scotty Bowman’s 1,244 wins . Quenneville, by the way, began his coaching career as a playing assistant to Marc Crawford with the Leafs farm team in St. John’s.
This is a tough time for hockey royalty: Gordie Howe, Arbour, Pat Quinn are all struggling. Wish all of them, and others we may not know about, the best. And from football, our friend, Dick Thornton, who writes via e-mail: “I’m fighting the best I can.” You can follow Tricky Dicky at http://www.coachthornton.com.
Simmons continues at length...
from Mark Herrmann of Newsday,
Al Arbour, the coach of the Islanders during their Stanley Cup run in the early 1980s, is experiencing health problems, former general manager Bill Torrey told Newsday.
"Al has had some health problems of recent vintage, but the family hasn't released anything and I respect the family," Torrey said. "I've talked to some of the former players who have called him, and they say the conversation doesn't last very long."
Torrey did not expand on Arbour's condition or mention any symptoms.
Bryan Trottier, who won four Stanley Cups playing for Arbour, said Tuesday on a Buffalo radio station that Arbour is suffering from dementia.
from Jim Baumbach of Newsday,
But I have a hard time accepting the fact that Arbour gets credit for the game and the win when his presence was completely ceremonial. In baseball there is a rule that limits the number of coaches who are in uniform in the dugout during the game, but I skimmed through the NHL record books and I couldn’t find a similar rule….
There was nothing wrong with having an Al Arbour night and putting him behind the bench for the 1,500th time with the Islanders. Everyone there still would have had a blast. But let’s stop fooling ourselves. In my record books, I’m crediting Ted Nolan with the win.
Wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning Jim?
This was not a PR stunt, but was actually suggested by Coach Nolan. Hockey honors their past greats, and it will continue to do so, with or without your record book.
Watch the post game press conference with Al Arbour….
from George Vescey at the New York Times,
A bunch of lucky Islanders are about to play for Arbour tonight in his 1,500th game with the team, after an invitation from Coach Ted Nolan.
This is the kind of homespun event that only hockey could produce, turning the Nassau Coliseum into a town rink somewhere in the true north strong and free.
Arbour signed a one-game contract yesterday in the cramped team quarters under the Coliseum.
He insisted that this was mostly a ceremonial duty, but Nolan said that Arbour was going to do more coaching tonight than he expected. Is there a bonus for winning for the 740th time with this team?
“Trust me,” General Manager Garth Snow said.
“I’ve heard that before,” Arbour said, deadpan.