New York Islander Fan Central | 5/04/2008 08:15:00 PM 1975 New York Islanders
Being that Newsday has time and newspaper space to contact Clark Gillies and JP Parise on comebacks why not release the backpages and the articles from the 1975 comebacks against Pittsburgh and Philadelphia as a tribute to them?
Post them in the Newsday blog as articles, should not be tougher than going to the archives.
For that matter it would not hurt to see the Islanders website feature them as well with every game highlight they can find for ITV. Sometimes you have to talk up the teams history and past accomplishments on the website.
Here are some articles from 2004 when Boston came back and the 75 Islanders got a lot of attention.
'75 Islanders: Been there, done that
Isles club is just one of just two teams to overcome an 0-3 deficit
by approaching it 'one battle at a time'
BY ALAN HAHN
October 20, 2004
Souvenez-vous les Maple Leafs!
In 1975, those words (translated to "Remember the Maple Leafs") urged
the Islanders to do the improbable. They thought the improbable had
already been accomplished only a week before, in an upset of the
Rangers in the first round of their first-ever playoff series.
Rangers forward Derek Sanderson was so unimpressed that afterward he
cracked, "They'll never win another game in the playoffs." He was
In the next series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Islanders
lost three straight. They gave up 14 goals. They were ready to give
up on themselves.
It was early spring, April 1975. The 3-year-old franchise hadn't
before played so deep into the calendar. It was months before Carlton
Fisk waved his home run into the leftfield foul pole. It was years
before the Red Sox ever faced the same oh-three hole to the Yankees.
But it was a similar feeling.
Coach Al Arbour watched five minutes of practice before Game 4 of
that Stanley Cup quarterfinals and blew his whistle.
"C'mere boys," he said, summoning them to a spot along the boards.
The lumbering taskmaster behind the thick glasses spoke from the
heart about a back injury that had him in and out of the hospital
during the series. He apologized for not giving them enough attention
as a coach.
Then he got their attention.
"Does anyone here not believe we can't come back?" he asked
them. "Because if you do, I want you to take your equipment off and
get the hell off the ice. I don't want to see you."
The Islanders that year became only the second team in sports
history - after the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs - to rebound from an 0-3
deficit to win a seven-game series.
"We almost did it twice," said Ed Westfall, the captain of that team
who scored the game-winning and series-clinching goal in the 1-0 Game
7 victory. After knocking off the Penguins, the Islanders again fell
behind 0-3 to the Philadelphia Flyers, only to storm back to force a
Game 7, which they lost, 4-1.
Even that has some historical significance in sports. Consider that
the Red Sox this year are the 26th team in Major League Baseball
history to trail a best-of- seven series 0-3 and 20 previous teams
went on to be swept, three others lost in five and two others, going
into last night's Game 6, lost in six.
Never has a team forced a seventh game, let alone come back to win
"I know it's not an easy accomplishment," said Jean Potvin, a
defenseman on that '75 Islanders team, "but it can be done."
Arbour believed so. He challenged each player, no matter what their
position or prominence, to be better than their opponent. Don't focus
on the entire game. Just win that one battle.
Then the next one, and the next one.
"We started looking at it that way," Potvin said, "and it suddenly
wasn't so insurmountable."
Lorne Henning, another member of that team, said the formula should
be the same no matter what the sport. "We used to do it one period at
a time," he said, "so [the Red Sox] are probably looking at it one
inning at a time."
You can also get help from your opponent, as the Islanders did when
Pittsburgh unraveled in Game 5 and went back to an energized Nassau
"You could see," Westfall said of the Pens, "they were starting to
Before last night's game, Potvin said the Yankees had to be feeling
it, too. "I don't care who they are," he said. "What they thought was
a lock in Game 4 ... I'm telling you, they're starting to get that
ill feeling in their stomach."
Not that he was rooting for the Red Sox to win.
"I'm a Yankees fan," he said. But he considered the historical
"The Yankees, to lose to the Red Sox in any year, would be very bad,"
Potvin said. "But to win the first three and lose the next four and
allow the Red Sox to be the first team ever to do this in baseball?
Wow! Talk about removing the curse."
From 0-3 to history
How the Islanders rebounded from an 0-3 deficit to beat the
Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1975 Stanley Cup quarterfinals.
APRIL 13 - Penguins 5, Islanders 4
Star defenseman Denis Potvin, the team's leading scorer, suffered a
pulled muscle in his left thigh to set a worrisome tone early in the
APRIL 15 - Penguins 3, Islanders 1
Potvin was noticeably slow and the Islanders' offensive effort weak
in their second straight loss.
APRIL 17 - Penguins 6, Islanders 4
The offense came alive with a franchise-record 47 shots on goal, but
Penguins power reigned again as they scored six times on shell-
shocked goalie Bill Smith, who had yielded 14 goals in three games.
APRIL 20 - Islanders 3, Penguins 1
A banner "Souvenez-vous les Maple Leafs!" (Remember the Maple Leafs)
among the Nassau Coliseum crowd encouraged the Islanders and Chico
Resch, who replaced Smith in net.
APRIL 22 - Islanders 4, Penguins 2
General manager Bill Torrey, looking for any edge, changed airlines
for the team's trip back to Pittsburgh for Game 5. Jude Drouin scored
into an empty net from the opposite end boards to cap the second win.
APRIL 24 - Islanders 4, Penguins 1
Garry Howatt scored twice and Resch kissed his goalpost after a Ron
Schock shot clanged off it as the Islanders luck was changing for the
APRIL 26 - Islanders 1, Penguins 0
A magnificent defensive battle carried into the third period, when Ed
Westfall scored the winner at 14:42. Resch danced on the ice as the
final buzzer sounded. Later, he called it "the Chico cha-cha."
NY Times: Jason Diamos has a feature from 2004 on the 1975 Islanders.
Florida Sun-Sentinel had a article from 10/22/2004
Potvin knows his history and rallying from 3-0 deficit
By Michael Russo
Posted October 22 2004
Few people know firsthand the fortitude it took for the Boston Red
Sox to rally against the Yankees from a 3-0 American League
Championship Series deficit to advance to the World Series.
It never happened before in baseball. It's never happened in the NBA.
It's only happened twice in the NHL since the league went to a best-
of-7 format in 1918.
But Hall of Fame defenseman Denis Potvin, the Panthers' television
color analyst, knows what it's like. As a 21-year-old in 1975, Potvin
and his New York Islanders pulled off the seemingly impossible by
rallying from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in the
Stanley Cup quarterfinals.
"No question, it's all about momentum," Potvin said Wednesday night
as he watched the Red Sox blow out the Yankees in Game 7. "After we
lost the third game, we had practice at Racquet N Rink in
Farmingdale, and [Islanders coach] Al Arbour said to us, `If anybody
doesn't think we can win this series, take your equipment off and go
home.' And that shocked us.
"We got ourselves together after that and decided we'd play for fun
again. We won Game 4, and the cocky, confident look in the eyes of
the Pittsburgh Penguins disappeared, and we felt we were starting to
gain on them. It was just a question of building and not taking the
foot off the pedal. And that's what I've seen in the Yankees series."
Potvin said a big individual effort is needed to catapult a team in
that situation. For the Islanders, captain Ed Westfall scored big
goals, including the winner with just over five minutes left in a 1-0
Game 7 victory.
For the Red Sox, Potvin was amazed at David Ortiz, who put Boston
into the ALCS with a home run, won Game 4 with a home run, had the
winning hit in Game 5 and got the Red Sox going with a two-run homer
in Game 7.
"No doubt he's their MVP," Potvin said. "There's got to be one guy or
two guys that come up with heroic efforts, and Ortiz turned the whole
thing around. Somebody had to make a big play, and you saw that over
and over again with Ortiz."
Three days after they rallied from a 3-0 deficit, the Islanders went
to Philadelphia. A week later, the Islanders found themselves down 3-
0 to the Flyers and rallied to even the series 3-3 before losing 4-1
in Game 7.
"So what the Red Sox did is very hard to do," Potvin said.
As Potvin spoke, he overheard Fox commentator Kenny Albert talking
about the '75 Islanders being the last pro sports team to rally from
a 3-0 postseason deficit and win.
That team, three years from expansion, sparked the Islanders' dynasty
that eventually won four consecutive Stanley Cups (1980-83).
"Boy, this is really special," Potvin said, his voice cracking. "We
were a special team in '75, which put us on a path to becoming a very
Potvin knows rallies
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
BY RICH CHERE
Hall of Fame defenseman Denis Potvin understands what the Boston Red
Sox are feeling right now.
Like the Red Sox, who can become the first major league baseball team
ever to come back from a 3-0 deficit in a postseason series, Potvin's
New York Islanders pulled off a seemingly-impossible comeback in the
1975 Stanley Cup playoffs.
"You need extraordinary plays by individuals," Potvin said yesterday
via telephone from his home in Florida. "David Ortiz getting those
hits makes everybody else believe they can get it done. You have to
have a series of good things happen to pull it off and then you hope
that the confidence disappears from the other team's eyes."
Only two teams in NHL history have lost the first three games in a
seven-game playoff series and then come back to win. The Toronto
Maple Leafs did it in the 1942 Stanley Cup Finals against the Detroit
Red Wings and came back to win it all behind Syl Apps and goalie Turk
The Islanders became the only other team to do it during their
quarterfinal series against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the '75
"In a team game, a lot of people are genuinely afraid," Potvin
explained. "In our case against Pittsburgh it was early in the
playoffs (second round). We thought we had something going. We had
just beaten the Rangers and that was our Stanley Cup.
"What happened in '75 that was really key was (coach) Al Arbour
brought us all together when we were down, 3-0. We had just lost the
last game at home. Al brought us to the middle of the ice and
said: 'If anybody here doesn't believe we can win, take you equipment
home.' It was a shocker.
"Al was suffering from sciatic nerve problems. He had been in
traction. He basically said, 'We can all work harder. I can work
harder, too.' That made an impression."
The Islanders won Game 4 at Nassau Coliseum, 3-1, and then pulled one
game behind by winning, 4-2, in Pittsburgh. A 4-1 triumph on Long
Island tied the series and set up the seventh-game showdown for
Ed Westfall scored the only goal of Game 7 with just over five
minutes remaining in regulation and goalie Glenn Resch made 30 saves
in a 1-0 victory. It would be another five years before the Isles
became a great team that started a run of four straight Stanley Cups,
but they arrived in '75.
"When a team can put you away with a win, you're not under a
tremendous amount of pressure," Potvin said. "You start to play for
fun again. Then you win a game or two and think, 'This feels good
again. We want to keep it going.'
"I think in '75 it took that first win for us, to get that feeling.
You need heroes. You never know how you will do. We all feel we'll be
heroes and jump into the water and save that drowning kid."