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Friday, August 28, 2015

The Skinny on Al Arbour's passing

The Islander family lost a legend today, when Al Arbour passed away at the age of 82.

Any Islander fan knows that Arbour had coached 1,499 games when, at the insistence of Ted Nolan, he came back in 2007 to coach game number 1,500.

It was a truly magical night, and of course, It Happened At The Coliseum:

Follow the link below for my coverage of November 3, 2007:

On November 2nd, the night before Arbour's return, I shared these Arbour facts:

Assorted Arbour facts

Al Arbour returns to the Isles' bench for his 1500th game on Saturday. Here's a few facts you might not know: 1. On April 15, 1992 Arbour coached his 1438th game to set the all-time record (Previously held by Dick Irvin) This includes games with the Blues. (Saturday's game will be #1,607 for Arbour; Scott Bowman now holds the all-time record with 2,141).

2. Arbour's first game as a coach was on October 10, 1970 -- final score: St. Louis 3, Rangers 1. No player on the Islanders' current roster was born -- Guerin arrived in the world thirty days later.

3. Arbour's first game as Islander coach: October 10, 1973 -- Islanders 1, Atlanta 1. Of the current Isles, only Guerin, Sillinger and Simon were alive.

4. Arbour's first win as Islander coach: October 27, 1973 -- Islanders 3, Rangers 2

5. Arbour's 739th win as Islander coach: April 13, 1994 -- Islanders 2, Tampa Bay 0 (Hextall shutout)

6. Last game as coach: April 24, 1994 vs. Rangers

7. Last Islander to score in game coached by Al Arbour: Dan Plante -- his only playoff goal coming in his only playoff game.

8. The Islanders have been swept in the playoffs twice in their history (1986 by Washington 3-0 and 1994 by Rangers 4-0). Arbour retired after both series.

9. Mike Sillinger has played for four of the six winningest coaches in NHL history (Bowman-1244, Quinn-657, Murray-613, and Keenan 590, including six this season). Playing for Arbour - 781 will make it five of six. (Dick Irvin won 692 games before passing away 50 years ago)

10. Arbour's career record is 739-537-223 with the Islanders and 781-577-248 overall.

11. Arbour won four Stanley Cups with the Islanders after winning four as a player.

12. Arbour will extend his NHL record for most games coached, one team (currently 1499) and his 739 wins for the Isles is also an NHL record. Billy Reay is second in both categories, winning 516 of 1002 games for the Blackhawks.

The Skinny wasn't written in 2007-08.  I did share some short notes after the game:

Stat Trick - Isles 3, Penguins 2

1. Al Arbour 15002. Al Arbour 740
3. The Isles are 7-4-0. It's only the second time in the last 20 years that they've won seven of their first 11. (9-0-1-1 in 2001-02). The Isles had 14 points in 11 games in 2003-04, but were 6-3-2.

Stat Trick Part Deux

1. The Isles are now 6-0 against teams that made the playoffs last season and 1-4 against teams that missed the playoffs.2. When Trent Hunter scored in the second period, it removed the name "Dan Plante" from the answer to the question: "Who was the last Islander to score a goal for Al Arbour?"
3. As best I can determine, there is only one current NHL player who played for Arbour (prior to tonight). Derek Armstrong, now with the Kings, made his NHL debut in Arbour's 1499th game, April 15, 1994 at Florida. Four other players were active in the NHL last year: Kasparaitis, Turgeon, Green and McLennan --all but Turgeon are still active in Europe. Malakhov was also under contract last season but he did not appear in an NHL game.

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