Bryan Trottier could pass a puck through rush hour traffic without it being tipped, and he could find an open teammate with three opponents in his face. But his shot? Hardly legendary, as he's admitted himself.
So to note that he scored 500 NHL goals is to recognize his positioning, his subtle finishing hands in tight -- "I tried to take a goalie by surprise," he's said of his shot -- and of course, some great teammates who helped.
On this day in 1990, in front of home fans at Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders' heir apparent Pat LaFontaine's relentless pressure helped create the 500th goal by an Islanders legend who would soon be finishing his career with two more Cups -- just for good measure -- in Pittsburgh. Trottier's 500th goal came against Rick Wamsley and the Calgary Flames, another team that was unwittingly entering a decade of pain.
Besides LaFontaine, Randy Wood (who retrieved the puck), Gary Nylund and Marc Bergevin were on the ice. Seconds afterward, the mob of celebrants was joined by Brent Sutter, Doug Crossman, Jeff Norton and others who streamed off the bench to congratulate Trots. Let's roll the tape:
Were you there? Would you like to pretend you were there? Of the Islanders dynasty legends, Trots was the last to depart. This milestone feels like one final coda on that era, and watching it now is a little bittersweet with the knowledge of the pain that lay ahead.
Memories, tributes, who-cares-I-was-young ... all welcome in comments.