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Islanders News: Remembering Bill Torrey

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The NHL should name the GM of the Year award after him, says everybody.

2009 NHL Entry Draft, First Round
Always active.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

On just about every morning of every day of the year — sometimes we miss a day or a slow weekend — we at Lighthouse Hockey post a “bits”/Isles News thread to give you a place to discuss the last 24 hours and random topics and catch you up on news of the day.

I was thinking about this yesterday, as I personally reacted to the news of Bill Torrey’s passing while also trying to get a quick thread up for our community to collectively mourn. How can this morning’s post be anything but a collection of reactions and tributes to The Architect?

I think about the passage of time — many of us will be lucky to have reached age 83, which is three years more than my father reached, when he passed the week before I launched Lighthouse Hockey, and who steered me to Islanders and Al Arbour fandom in the first place. So in that sense Torrey’s death, though unexpected, is no “tragedy,” and I realize how long it has been since Torrey had any direct influence on the Islanders.

So many of you younger fans, many who are starting to feel the first phases of aging and “oh, life moves on and time’s relentless march does not pause and I have to conceptually adjust to that persistent yet changing reality,” have shared with us older farts how you first came to know and love the Islanders in the ‘90s or even the ‘00s. Personally, I love you for those tales.

Those of us who were children, or who came of age, or were even adults during the dynasty years — we probably talk about those times too much, but we also recognize how lucky we were. (I don’t often speak in broad generalizations but I feel this one is a safe assumption. You don’t follow a team with an unprecedented playoff series streak without realizing certain stars have aligned in your favor.)

Those of you who became fans when the Islanders were already a low-budget punch line — please know that older generations realize we had it good while you have merit and endurance badges we could never earn, nor hope to earn.

So if it sounds like we might as well be mourning Mickey Mantle — or some other guy you heard about but probably never saw — please bear with us and understand that the Isles, founded not so much as a promising expansion opportunity as they were a convenient check on WHA competition, would likely not still be around if not for the success forged by Torrey.

Give us this moment of reflection. Be proud of the legacy Torrey established for your club. And know that the current uncertainty will pass. If we’re really, really, really lucky, maybe someday someone will lead the team to achieve some of that silver hardware again.

But with Arbour and Torrey up there together now, you can bet God finally has the personnel in place to win a Stanley Cup.

Islanders Reading, Torrey Edition

  • Again, our initial thread had a lot of great reactions from you in comments and I thank you all for that. [LHH]
  • Reactions poured in from the league, teams, media, former players, everywhere. [LHH | NHL]
  • Stan Fischler has perhaps the best comprehensive overview, complete with great quotes and anecdotes. The Habs tried their best to keep the Isles from ever getting started. [MSG]
  • Denis Potvin reflects on the influence Torrey had during and after his playing career. [NHL]
  • Here it’s memories from Potvin, Ken Morrow, Bobby Nystrom and Jiggs McDonald, whom Torrey called “Kenneth” till the end. [Isles]
  • Torrey built the Islanders and bolstered Long Island in the process. [Newsday]
  • Longtime Isles statistician Eric Hornick: “I lost another part of my childhood today.” [NYI Skinny]
  • With Al Arbour he was part of the greatest GM/coach tandem in NHL history. [Post/Brooks]
  • More reactions from the Times | Newsday | Islanders | NHL/Bettman | Panthers | AHL]

Other Islanders News

  • Jordan Eberle is all too happy to oblige Team Canada for his sixth World Championship. [TSN]
  • Back when Tavares was the top (but not consensus) prospect in the 2009 draft, Brian Buke was the new Leafs general manager and he spent tons of time being a blowhard about trading up for the pick, even though Garth Snow barely gave him the time of day. Burke recounts his side of the story, which brings back flashbacks of what an ass he was. [FanRag]
  • Nikolay Kulemen (and Andrey Pedan!) may be KHL-bound. [TSN]
  • Should the Devils try to pillage from the Islanders? [All About The Jersey]

Elsewhere

Last night’s NHL scores had the Penguins and Predators winning to tie their series at 2-2.

  • With the Jets the last Canadian team standing, Down Goes Brown reminds fans of all the Canadian teams that have failed before them. [Sportsnet]
  • Before last night, the Capitals had excelled by keeping the Penguins’ league-best power play in check. [TSN]
  • And Tom Wilson was suspended for three games for doing Tom Wilson things. [Japers’ Rink]
  • Always a blowhard, but sometimes on point: “You’ll see Jesus before you see the NHL back in Hartford,” says Burke. [theScore]
  • The Tanevs are pretty awesome late bloomers. [TSN]
  • The Hurricanes don’t have a GM but they found a taker for Marcus Kruger. [Canes]
  • Former NHLer Jeff Parker’s family shares that he too had CTE. [Times]
  • The best names of the WHL draft. [Deadspin]