Tribute to the 1983 New York Islanders

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/17/2008 01:10:00 PM |
Happy twenty fifth anniversary.

New York Post, May 18, 1983

By Doug Gould

A Dynasty grew into a legend at Nassau Coliseum last night. The
Islanders, laying claim to the title of greatest playoff team in
hockey history and, perhaps, greatest team of all time, captured
their fourth straight Stanley Cup by beating the Oilers 4-2 to sweep
the final series. "We're the best that ever skated and if anybody
doesn't believe it they're just kidding themselves," said Denis
Potvin, one of many Islanders dripping from a champagne bath in the
madness of the dressing room. "Nothing has ever matched this." It
would be hard to argue with the Islander captain, who carried the Cup
for a fourth straight year and who led the traditional handshake line
for a record- breaking 16th time. The Isles have tied the Canadiens
of 1976-79 in winning four straight Cups and can tie Montreal's
record five straight (1956-60) next season.

"Right now, we'd love to play them for a lot of money," GM Bill
Torrey said of the legendary Canadien teams. "I think this club in
its own end, well, I don't think any team has ever played
better." "For all the guff we've taken, I think it's time that
people give us the credit that's due," said Bobby Nystrom, whose
overtime goal May 24, 1980 against the Flyers started the string of
Cup victories. "People criticized us. I'll tell you right now, we've
proven to everybody that we can handle it. We've got a lot of
depth and a lot of character." The dept came through in the first
period when goals by Bryan Trottier, John Tonelli and Mike Bossy in a
97-second span propelled the Isles to a 3-0 lead. And when the Oilers
came back with two goals in the second period, the player with the
most character, Bill Smith, grabbed the spotlight once again.

Smith was magnificent in the third-period, making a lightning-fast
glove grab on a Don Jackson shot from the top of the left circle at
the eight-minute mark, stopping Kevin Lowe with a stick save 10
seconds later and foiling Glenn Anderson on a 20-foot slap just
moments after the Edmonton right wing had returned from serving a
five-minute slashing penalty against Smith. Every shot should have
been a goal. With Smith in goal, they never had a chance. And so,
after Ken Morrow sealed it with an empty-net goal with 1:09 remaining
and the Isles took their familiar but still exhilarating victory lap
with the Stanley Cup, Smith was taking his own thrilling journey,
skating around the ice with the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff
MVP. In doing so, he joined teammates Trottier, Bossy and Butch
Goring as recipients of the coveted award.

"I said to [league president John] Zeigler, "There were a lot of
people rolling around in their graves over this," Smith said after
allowing just six goals in four games to a team that scored a record
424 regular-season goals and 74 in 11 playoff games coming into the
final round. "But I feel very honored about getting the Smythe. There
were three or four guys who deserved it as much as I did." One of
them was Bossy, who set a record with his fifth game-winning goal in
one playoff year. Another was Trottier, who did not have his
customary outstanding season, but played hurt in the playoffs and was
magnificent. And then there were Bob Bourne and Duane and
Brent Sutter, who were kept of the score sheet last night but were
responsible for putting the Isles into position for a sweep. From the
opening face-off it was obvious the Isles were determined to end the
series. They stormed through the first period, withstanding a shameful
display of butt- ending (by Ken Linseman) and slashing in the first
eight minutes without losing their poise, then exploding for three
goals to send 15, 317 fans into a frenzy.

The first came on a power play, with Dave Lumley off for interfering
with Goring at 9:54. Goaltender Andy Moog was not able to control a
Bossy wrap-around shot. Instead, it went to Clark Gillies at the end

Gillies, who had just one assist in seven previous playoff games,
alertly threw a pass out to Trottier at the dot in the left circle.
Trottier took one stride and put his eighth goal through Moog's legs
at 11:02. Tonelli, scoreless in the series, combined with Nystrom
just 43 seconds later to make it 2-0. And 54 seconds after that
Trottier, at the left circle in his own end, spotted Bossy breaking
to the red line. His well-timed lead pass let Bossy break in alone on
Moog. Bossy skated to the inner edge of the right circle and put his
17th goal through Moog's legs for a 3-0 lead. The goal, matching
Bossy's production of last year's playoffs, put him ahead of
Gordie Howe into sole possession of third place in career playoff
goals with 69. He trails Maurice Richard (82) and Jean Beliveau (79).

The cheering stopped 35 seconds into the seconds into the second
period and the nail biting started 21 seconds before the end of the
period as the Oilers climbed back into the game. Wayne Gretzky,
bottled up in the first period, drew a pack of Isles when he picked
up a loose puck behind the end line in the offensive end. So many
people came over to visit that Jari Kurri was left wide open below
the right circle. With Smith hugging the right post, Kurri easily
swept in his eighth goal. If that wasn't the way to start the
period, the Isles certainly finished it the wrong way. With
just 21 seconds left Anders Kallur, having a rough night, skated past
a puck lying at the inner edge of the left circle and fell on his
derriere. He was still sitting when Mark Messier pounced on the puck
and beat Smith over the right shoulder. It was Messier's first point
of the series and his 15th goal.

But Smith and his defense were superb in the third period and the
season ended the way it has for four straight years. "It feels
great, I think the best it ever has," Bossy said. "We came into this
series not really supposed to win and I think with our experience and
talent, all our beliefs and desires, we went out there and showed the
world we're the best hockey team."

NY Post, May 18, 1983

Justice At Last-A Smythe For Smith
By Mark Everson

Smith-Smythe. It even sounds right.

The Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded to the playoff MVP, fit Billy Smith
like his catching glove. As Bryan Trottier put it: "Smitty could have
won it the last three years."

He won it last night as the Islanders completed their sweep of the
Oilers for their fourth straight Stanley Cup. Smith turned in a
spectacular final round performance by allowing six goals in four
games to the highest-scoring team in NHL history. The Oilers outshot
the isles 128-103.

I was very honored to get the Conn Smythe. It's something I'll
cherish all my life," Smith said after running his lifetime record in
the finals to 16-3, including nine straight.

"I've probably got an unfair point of view, but from what I've
seen . . . I think he's the all-time greatest," John Tonelli said.

Smith became only the fifth goaltender to win the Smythe, joining
Bernie Parent (1974, '75), Ken Dryden ('71), Glenn Hall ('68) and
Roger Crozier ('66). There were other worthy candidates this year --
Denis Potvin, Butch Goring, Bob Bourne, Duane and Brent Sutter,
Trottier -- but Smith was a choice no one could argue with.

"Three or four other guys deserved it," Smith said. "I'm pleased they
picked me over those guys, but they deserved it as much as I did."
Smith, with a 13-3 mark in this year's playoffs, allowed a total of
43 goals on 491 shots in 17 playoff games. His career playoff record
is 73-24. Smitty struggled in the early rounds, but during the Bruin
series, he showed the form that has earned him the title "Best Money
Goalie in Hockey."

And during the finals he was a this best, turning in a shutout in
Game 1 and finishing with a 1.50 goals-against average. Even Smith
agreed it was his best final round yet. "I think it probably was,"
the 32-year-old said. "I was called on a little bit more than in any
other playoff."

"Still, the guys scored goals when we needed goals. It's very hard
playing behind. When you're up one or two goals, it makes it a lot
easier." After the Oilers had pulled within 3-2, Smith preserved the
Islander lead with giant stops on Don Jackson, Kevin Lowe, Glenn
Anderson and, of course, Wayne Gretzky, who was kept out of the
scoring column.

But even in his moment of triumph, Smith unleashed his anger over the
controversy that followed his swipes of Anderson and Gretzky in

"This was the toughest because of the aggravations and the cheap
shots the press were taking at me," Smith said. "I'm bitter, very
damn bitter." Last night, he paid the Oilers back. Ten seconds into
a critical Edmonton power play in the third, Anderson sticked Smith
in the neck. Smith fell like a keg of beer, and Anderson was handed a
major penalty.

"I did the same thing Gretzky did," Smith crowed. "I hit Gretzky and
he rolled around, so Anderson hit me and I went over on my back and
rolled around. He got a major penalty. "You can tell the people in
Canada two can play that game."

But those incidents will be forgotten soon. What will linger, and
what will be engraved on the Smythe, is how important Smith was to
the Isles. The Oilers still don't know how to figure him out.
NY Post, May 18, 1983

Trottier Leads Victory Parade
By Mark Everson

As the clock wound down, there was Bryan Trottier, back to the ice,
circling his arms in windmills, getting the Coliseum crowd to enjoy
the moment as much as he did. The Heart of the Islanders was at the
bursting point, and what a heart-warming sight it was.

"This was probably the most emotional series I've ever played in,
because I could not control my emotions," Trottier said. "I was sick,
but an enjoyable sick."

Other players should get so ill as Trottier, who did so much for his
team in the final, diving on defense, forcing pucks free at center
ice, and setting up goals on offense. Again, he probably played
nearly half the game, and took almost every defensive draw.

All despite that bad wheel, his left knee, which has partially torn
ligaments. And he even scored his first goal of the final, converting
Clark Gillies' feed for the opening goal last night, giving the Isles
the lead they never relinquished.

After the buzzer, and while the Stanley Cup was being wheeled out.
Trottier skated in front of each section, blowing kisses and waving
to the crowd, when he was able to get out of Duane Sutter's jersey-
grab. Clearly, this was no blase player.

"It's hard to explain," Trottier said. "I couldn't control what I was
doing, what I was feeling. There were times when I was blowing up,
here were times I almost felt like crying, and you fight that and
say, "this is awful, I can't control it,' but at the same time,
things were happening good out on the ice. I was just caught up in
this thing. It was really, really awesome."

The champs do recognize the budding power, they had beaten.

"What we've done in four years might never be done again," Gillies
said. "Probably they said that about the Canadiens, but I think the
league's a lot closer together now. But I hope we can go for five."

It may be against the same team, and at least one Islander figures the
Oilers will eventually learn what the Isles are feeling today. "I
think the Edmonton Oilers will win the Stanley Cup one year," Butch
Goring said. "There's no doubt in my mind. And not too far away,
either." This could be a long running battle. and it can only get
Mark Everson

New York Post, Wednesday, May 18, 1983

Bossy's Goal Sets Him Apart
By Mark Everson

The list of players with two Cup-winning goals is short, and filled
with clutch scorers. Miked Bossy joined it, and went one better last

Bossy joined Toe Blake, Jean Beliveau, Henri Richard, Jacques Lemaire
and Bobby Orr as the only players to score two Cup winners, but only
Bossy did it back-to-back.

"The winning goal has to be a highlight of my career," said Bossy,
whose tally on Andy Moog at 12:39 of the first was the goal Edmonton
was unable to equal.

It also vaulted him past Gordie Howe and into third place in career
playoff goal-scoring with 69, behind Rocket Richard (82) and Beliveau

"It's most gratifying for me personally," Bossy said, "not that I
rewrote the record books, but just the team effort. Go down the
list, and everyone contributed everything they had.

His breakaway goal, set up by Bryan Trottier, was the fifth playoff
game-winner Bossy scored this year, breaking the mark shared by
Maurice Richard, Beliveau, Rick MacLeish, Guy Lafleur, Clark Gillies,
Bill Barber and Steve Payne.

Bossy has scored 17 goals in each of his last three playoffs.
New York Post
Wednesday, May 18, 1983.

Howe: Isles Rank Among All-Time Best
By Hugh Delano

The Islanders are as good as any team that has played hockey. They
even may be the best all-around team in NHL history. That was Gordie
Howe?s assessment last night after watching the Islanders whip
Edmonton 4-2 to win their fourth consecutive Stanley Cup. "The
Islanders match up with the best team in any era of the game," Howe
said. "The Islanders are strong in every area. Great goaltending,
great defensemen, forwards who can go, go, go offensively and
defensively. They?ve got a real sniper in Mike Bossy and they?ve got
one of the steadiest defensemen I?ve ever seen in Denis Potvin."

Howe, an executive with the Whalers, was particularly impressed with
Potvin?s play throughout the playoffs. "That Potvin did some
defensive job, blocking all those shots," Howe said. "He didn?t
shoot the puck as much as he could, but when he did, he really fired
that sucker." Howe played 35 seasons of professional hockey (26 in
the NHL) from 1946-80. He played with Stanley Cup championship teams
in Detroit in 1950, ?52, ?54 and ?55. He finished his brilliant
career as the highest scorer in hockey history, with 801 goals and
1850 points. "I remember those great Toronto and Montreal teams I
played against," Howe said. He referred to the Maple Leafs, who won
three straight Cups from 1947-49 and duplicated that feat with
championships from 1964-64.

"This Islander team is just as good as those teams were," Howe said.

Howe also played against the awesome Canadien teams which won a
record five straight Cups from 1956-60. "Montreal had great all-
around teams then, just like the Islanders have had guys like the
Rocket and Jean Beliveau," Howe said. "The Islanders of today have
got to be considered just as good."

Howe also was impressed with the play of defenseman Tomas Jonsson.

The hockey Hall of Famer said much of the Islanders success is
attributable to its management/coaching team of Bill Torrey and Al
Arbour. "The Islanders impressed me as a very classy organization
with great togetherness," Howe said. "They seem to treat their
players better than a lot of other teams.

I?ve never heard many rumblings of trouble within the team. They?ve
got a heckuva coach in "The Kingfish." That?s what I call Al
Arbour. We played together at one time."

Although the Oilers were swept in four games, Howe was impressed with
their youth, size and skill. He would not be surprised to see the
same two teams meeting again next year in the Stanley Cup
finals. "The way I look at it," Howe said, "the Islanders never let
Edmonton dictate the way the games would be played." Wayne Gretzky
had a sub-par playoff, failing to score a goal against the
Isles. "The Islanders did a helluva job defensing against
Gretzky?s game," Howe said. "Basically the Islanders took Wayne?s
wingers away from him." Meaning Gretzky had difficulty passing and
receiving passes from his linemates. "Wayne is a great, great
athlete," Howe said.

"I think he had to be pressing a bit against the Islanders.
Unconsciously he probably was trying to overdo things. It was only