A few old Al Arbour Stories

New York Islander Fan Central | 1/04/2008 10:19:00 PM | | | | | |
SI.com: Michael Farber had an interesting article on the goaltenders oversized equipment with comments from Martin Brodeur on smaller players allowed to wear pads made for goaltenders much taller.

Why I did post this article was some old stories on Al Arbour from Mr Farber where he looked at Devils coach Brent Sutter and some tactics that seem like things Arbour used to do with are priceless.

Arbour was notorious for his didacticism. When he was unhappy with the physical side of a player's game, he would have them carry an egg in their jacket pockets because "the way they went into the corners, they wouldn't have broken an egg."

That was a modestly clever bit ... at least until defenseman Pat Price cracked an egg over Arbour's head. Price escaped with his life, barely.

"Al could really get on you," said Denis Potvin, the Islanders' Hall of Fame defenseman who does color on Florida Panthers games. "He'd say, 'Potvin, I know you skate like you have a piano on your back, but don't stop to play the thing.' Not much you can say to that."

Potvin, by the way, took a cookie from the media meal in New Jersey to his broadcast booth for mid-game sustenance, which reminded his former New York teammate Chico Resch of the time Resch, then a backup goalie, stashed some M&Ms in his blocker to snack on during the game.

"So Al says, 'Billy Smith, you're out. Get in there, Chico,'" Resch recalled. "Let me assure you that M&Ms do melt in your hand."

NYI Fan Central Comments:
I never read the Chico Resch story with the M&Ms or the Potvin story.

To correct Mr Farber, Al Arbour had the players carry the eggs in their pants pockets and guaranteed they would come back unbroken because the team was not hitting. Pat Price did take his egg and crack Arbour over the head, Price was on waivers by next season.

One of my favorite stories was Arbour left a plate of dog biscuits for the players because they were playing like dogs, one of the players, not sure who (Kallur/Bourne?) bit into one and thought it was a tasty snack.

Of course Arbour reportedly once walked off a roof doing work on his home looking for a hammer and crashed his car into a plane because he did not put it into park when he got out of it.

Priceless stuff, but all about how much hockey was his focus which is what made him such a great coach.