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A MEETING WITH THE MASTER

Monday, 05.22.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
New York Islanders
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A MEETING WITH THE MASTER
NYI Video Coordinator sits down for lunch with Al Arbour

by Joe Heydenberg
Islanders Video Coordinator

[Editor's Note]: Joe Heydenberg, who works with the Islanders' coaching staff as Video Coordinator, was in Naples, Florida a few weeks ago to speak at the NCAA Coaches Convention. When the Islanders held their 1980 Stanley Cup Celebration in March, Heydenberg introduced himself to Hall of Fame coach Al Arbour and the two spent a few minutes before the ceremony discussing the craft of coaching. Since Arbour now lives in the Florida Keys, he was gracious enough to accept Heydenberg's invitation to lunch while he was in the area for the NCAA conference. We asked the Islanders' Video Coordinator to share his experience in an email.]

It isn't often you have the privilege of learning from one of the best who ever was.

I had a very unique opportunity to sit down at a local restaurant called Marina Jacks with Al Arbour. He graciously shared 90 minutes with me about everything I could learn about championship coaching in one meal. Coach Arbour warmly and enthusiastically shared the best pointers he could offer me about what it take to win a championship. Or four.

I did not need to hear how to diagram a forecheck or defeat a power play. Rather, I was more interested in the qualities, standards, techniques and tricks he used during his coaching career. He emphasized how important that his drills and practices prepared the players for all of the intensity and stress of games.

Coach Arbour re-counted that the famous 7:11 goal scored by Bobby Nystrom in 1980 was from a drill that he used for years. Coach Arbour believes this drill gave Bobby, Lorne Henning and John Tonelli the natural sense to create the Stanley Cup scoring opportunity at the very moment it was needed. This emphasized that drills do indeed win games and championships.

A funny story he was fond of sharing was how unwilling he was to put Mike Bossy on the ice when there was an empty net opportunity for the Islanders. Despite his reliable defensive play and being the best pure goal scorer of his generation, apparently Mike was exceptionally unable to score on empty nets. Coach Arbour also shared how intense and prideful Mike Bossy was a player. With tremendous dedication, Bossy eventually became as skilled a defensive player as he was gifted offensively.

It was easy to get Coach Arbour to talk about what it takes to be a successful coach because he is justifiably proud of what he has done. He also made it easy for me ask questions because he wanted me to come away with some things that can make me a better coach.

This was a priceless opportunity to gain a special insight into championship coaching. For one sunny day the fine weather elicited some of Coach's best stories and best advice. For someone who only got to see on TV what he and his players accomplished on the ice, it was a day that I will never forget.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
4 TBL 63 38 19 6 207 167 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 63 33 20 10 184 159 76
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 62 27 22 13 150 175 67
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 61 26 31 4 157 191 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 62 25 32 5 170 189 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 64 30 35 4 65
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 64 14 27 22 41
B. Nelson 64 17 19 7 36
F. Nielsen 64 11 25 12 36
A. Lee 58 20 13 13 33
J. Bailey 52 12 19 10 31
J. Boychuk 54 7 23 16 30
N. Leddy 64 8 18 15 26
T. Hamonic 54 4 21 15 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 33 13 0 .911 2.46
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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