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.