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Bryan Trottier article - Newsday

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  • reorgman
    Trottier s grand homecoming Mark Herrmann SPORTS COLUMNIST March 5, 2006 No hard feelings. Bryan Trottier was, is and always will be an Islander, as far as
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 5, 2006
      Trottier's grand homecoming
      Mark Herrmann

      March 5, 2006

      No hard feelings.

      Bryan Trottier was, is and always will be an Islander, as far as
      Islanders fans are concerned. It doesn't matter that he used to coach
      the you-know-whos.

      That was obvious last night, when it was 1980 again at Nassau
      Coliseum. It was clear that Long Islanders still love all of the
      players who started that four-year Stanley Cup reign. Fans cheered
      for every one of them as they were introduced in a stirring and
      touching pregame ceremony. But they had a little extra feeling for
      Trottier, just like old times.

      Maybe it is because he likely was the best two-way player in hockey
      when the Islanders were the best team. Perhaps it was because he best
      embodied the spirit of the Islanders in the early 1980s: Extremely
      talented, utterly hard-nosed, dramatically low-key.

      Possibly it is because he still is the franchise's all-time leading

      In any case, he has a special place in Long Island's heart. And vice

      "I'll always call this home," he said before the 1980 team was
      saluted in a 25th anniversary celebration (delayed a year by the NHL
      lockout). "This will always be a big part of my life. I was a kid
      when I got here and I grew up here. My original home is in
      Saskatchewan and those are my roots. But this is my home."

      The cheers for Trottier last night were rivaled only by those for his
      buddy Mike Bossy. "I'm always extremely honored to be applauded the
      way I am when I get back here and have any kind of liaison with the
      fans," said Bossy, yet another Hall of Famer. "I'm humbled by it."

      Humility always was one of the best qualities of those Islanders.
      Last night was one of the best occasions the Coliseum has seen since
      Trottier and Bossy skated on the same line. Their classy team
      received the kind of toast they deserved, capped when captain Denis
      Potvin came on the ice with the Stanley Cup and passed it along.

      There was a private party Friday night at which the players got to
      say how good coach Al Arbour looks after having suffered a serious
      staph infection. "I'm upright," Arbour said. "But I've got a bad back
      from all the darts these guys have been shooting at me."

      Trottier remembered everything about his Islanders experience, back
      to his first trip to the Coliseum as a draftee, during the 1975
      playoffs. He recalled walking up to the press box, hearing the Long
      Island accents of the vendors: "Beeah heeah!" He couldn't forget
      being "totally intimidated" by the noise and thinking, "I'm going to
      have an opportunity to play in this building someday? That is

      It got most phenomenal on May 24, 1980, when Bob Nystrom scored the
      overtime goal that won the Stanley Cup and Trottier was the first
      Islander ever named MVP of the playoffs.

      "Ken Morrow was screaming 'We won!' and I was saying, 'Ken, I'm so
      tired,' " Trottier said, recalling using his last gasp of energy to
      try to touch the Cup for the first time. "We were all chasing each
      other like a bunch of little kids."

      But life isn't all Conn Smythe Awards and silver Cups. In the past 25
      years, Trottier has endured bankruptcy, an unwanted departure from
      the Islanders, a broken first marriage, an unsatisfying turn as an
      Islanders executive and a brief, very unsuccessful shot as coach of
      the Rangers.

      The Rangers, of all people. The team whose fans Potvin openly taunted
      last night (in a little payback for a quarter- century of Potvin
      chants at the Garden).

      "The Rangers organization was nothing but first-class to me,"
      Trottier said. "Whenever I've been in New York since, I've had a
      different appreciation for Rangers fans, having felt the Ranger
      loyalty. There's no fun in being fired, but the experience was
      nothing but first-class."

      Last night was his first appearance at the Islanders' home as an ex-
      Rangers coach. All was forgiven and forgotten. He looked just fine in
      his Islanders jersey.

      Maybe there will be a place other than the rafters for No. 19. The
      Islanders could do worse than hire him as an assistant or consultant.
      He is wiser now, from his struggles as well as his triumphs.

      "I always get a high," he said, "when I walk into the Coliseum."

      Of course he does. He's home.
      Copyright 2006 Newsday Inc
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