Will past Islanders help shape future?
As the 1980 players are feted, talk is how they might lead now
BY ALAN HAHN
March 5, 2006
Al Arbour stood among his boys in his old house, looking not old, but
sage. Looking not elderly, but grandfatherly. Looking at peace with
his family back together and enjoying each other.
Getting them back for last night's celebration of the Islanders' 1980
Stanley Cup team at Nassau Coliseum wasn't difficult. They came from
all over and, in the cases of Anders Kallur and Stefan Persson, they
came from as far as Sweden.
Keeping them here - at least in spirit - is what many of them believe
is just what the franchise needs after all these years of detachment
from the dynasty era.
"We consider ourselves a family," said Arbour, the dynasty
coach. "You've got to consider that, bringing the family back
together. We've been kind of split down the middle. It's got to be
With a major reorganization of the franchise under way, which
includes the search for a new general manager and, in all likelihood,
a new coach, the Islanders' legacy finally might be rediscovered.
One member of the 1980 team, Steve Tambellini, is a candidate for the
GM position and is expected to meet with owner Charles Wang soon. A
few others, Duane Sutter and Ken Morrow, also are well qualified for
the job or, at the very least, qualified for upper-level management
And then there's Brent Sutter, who arrived in 1981, later was handed
the captaincy from Denis Potvin and now is considered a wild-card
candidate for either GM or coach. It is unknown if Sutter, who runs a
junior hockey team in Alberta, would come back to Long Island. But it
is known he is interested.
"It's a big jump to do both positions, as a rookie. But Brent's a
pretty intelligent individual and he's had success at many levels,"
said his brother Duane, who is the director of pro scouting for the
Florida Panthers. "It's a challenge, but if anyone can do it, it
would be Brent." Duane Sutter believes the current Islanders team "is
not that far away" and said hiring a former Islander to run the
team "would put a spark back into the program."
Sutter and the rest of the Islanders' alumni aren't clamoring for a
former Islander. What everyone would like to see - as the franchise's
first GM, Bill Torrey, put it - is "absolutely the best guy, the most
Said Torrey, "If he's someone from the past, so much the better."
"I think one of the things you have to look at is there are guys who
were here that are now qualified to be here," Bob Nystrom said,
referring to Brent Sutter and Tambellini, a longtime assistant GM
with the Vancouver Canucks who played on the 1979-80 team and part of
the 1980-81 season.
Tambellini did not attend the celebration because of a previous
engagement, but Torrey said he spoke with him at the AHL all-star
game last month. "He's very, very interested," Torrey said.
The belief is that several former Islanders will seek roles within
the organization. Dave Langevin has been successful in real estate in
Minnesota but is interested in coming back to the organization as an
assistant coach. Bryan Trottier remains an option behind the bench.
All of this pleases Arbour.
"I think you've got to keep the flame going and the past and the
history of the team; that's got to be kept here," Arbour said. "A lot
of that has been forgotten. You have to bring it back."
Where are they now?
Mike Bossy Director of sales for Humpty Dumpty snack foods in Canada;
morning radio host on XM
Real estate broker and investor in British Columbia
Senior investment adviser for Raymond James; also runs Clark Gillies
Pro scout for the Vancouver Canucks
Owns and operates a golf course/driving range in New Jersey
European scout for the Islanders
President of Next Shift, a firm that helps athletes make transition
Vice president of marketing for Sceptre Investment Counsel, Ltd.
In private business in London, Ontario
Director of pro scouting for the Islanders
Vice president of marketing for HRH Consulting; director of alumni
relations for the Islanders
Member of the disciplinary board of Swedish hockey; also in private
Principal of First Albany Capital on Wall Street
Color analyst for Florida Panthers games on FSN South Florida
Color analyst for Devils games on FSN New York
Touring with NHL Legends, which plays games across Canada to raise
Director of player development for the Florida Panthers (2000 photo)
Assistant general manager for the Vancouver Canucks and Team Canada
Senior vice president of Fidelity National Title
Vice president of Rebellion Hockey; works closely with First Nations
Not pictured: Alex McKendry works at Suncore in Canada
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