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Man of the Hour: The Wit and Wisdom of Bill Torrey on his birthday

All this and poetry, too.

William Torrey, rush chairman. Damn glad to meet ya.
William Torrey, rush chairman. Damn glad to meet ya.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Former Islanders GM and dynasty architect Bill Torrey turned 81 today, so let's take a minute to celebrate the man, his legendary hockey wisdom and his mercurial sense of humor.

First: a cool AP story from February, 1972, as Torrey just barely begins the process of building an NHL expansion team from scratch basically without a hope in Hell. The whole (short) article is interesting, but this sequence is extra fun. I never thought of the Islanders logo as splashy.

"I don't think it makes sense drafting somebody who won't be here a long time," said Torrey. "We'll be better off over the long haul with younger players who are likely to give us more than a year or so of service."

The Islanders, who unveiled their splashy orange and blue emblem along with their new GM at a Tuesday press conference, will begin play next season in the new $28 million Nassau Coliseum.

"We have a tremendous facility here and I think the public is entitled to the best possible team," said Torrey.

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Second is a video from the 1981 Stanley Cup Final, in which Torrey tweaks North Stars GM Lou Nanne with some Mohammed Ali-style poetry. No doubt Nanne didn't find this as funny after Game 5 of the series, which the Islanders won 5-1 to capture their second straight Cup.

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A sincere happy birthday to Mr. Torrey, who has given us much, much more than we ever could put in an envelope for him. Congrats on eight decades and here's to a few more.