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HHOF Al Arbour passes away at 82.

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This guy was the real deal..great player even better coach..a true legend....

Hockey Hall of Famer and four-time Stanley Cup winning coach Al Arbour has died at the age of 82.

Born in Sudbury, Ontario, Arbour made his NHL debut in 1953 with the Detroit Red Wings and went on to compete in 653 NHL games over the course of 16 seasons in the league, also playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues.

Arbour was a member of three Stanley Cup-winning teams as a player with the Blackhawks in 1961 and the Leafs in 1962 and 1964.

His greatest success, though, would come behind the bench.

Beginning as a player coach with the Blues in 1970-71, Arbour would embark on a storied coaching career of 22 seasons. Arbour coached the New York Islanders from 1973 to 1994, making the playoffs 15 times (including 12 straight postseason appearances from 1975 to 1986) and winning the Stanley Cup in four straight seasons from 1980 to 1983. He won the Jack Adams Award in 1979, given to the league's top coach.

"Al will always be remembered as one of, if not, the greatest coaches ever to stand behind a bench in the history of the National Hockey League,” Islanders president and general manager Garth Snow said in a statement . "The New York Islanders franchise has four Stanley Cups to its name, thanks in large part to Al’s incredible efforts. From his innovative coaching methods, to his humble way of life away from the game, Al is one of the reasons the New York Islanders are a historic franchise. On behalf of the entire organization, we send our deepest condolences to the entire Arbour family."

Arbour would return to the Islanders' bench for one game in 2008 to reach 1500 games as Islanders coach. He finished his coaching career as second all-time in games coached at 1607 and in wins with 782.

Arbour was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996 as a builder,

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Sad news. I was a big Islander fan in those days, a result of playing against Trottier's younger brother in the Kamloops International Bantam Tournament. (Followed BT's career closely after that)

Losing to the Isles made the '82 Cup loss a bit more bearable.

RIP, Al.

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One of the better coaches to ever coach in the NHL.

During the 1977 draft the Islanders had the 15th overall pick. Arbour wanted a goal scorer. Mike Bossy was available but GM Bill Torrey wanted to pass because he was so poor defensively. Arbour told Torrey if he can really score like I think he can I'll teach him to play defence.

Bossy went on to become one of the most prolific scorers in league history. Good call Mr Arbour.

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Sad to hear this... Arbour is probably the 2nd greatest coach of all time, behind Bowman.

Very understated, understood how to lead as the calm focused center of the team.

Was very much a part of building that Islander team, his suggestions and advice were a big influence on Torrey.

What a team that was... the so-called enforcer, Bob Nystrom, was blindingly fast for his time, and had soft hands... he'd score highlight reel goals and then kick the sh*t out of the other team's goons.

Billy Smith... one of the best, and toughest goalies ever to play... and a dirty b*astard to boot... as certain Oiler players learned.

Mike Bossy... in my opinion, the greatest pure shooter ever to lace them up. Look at his goals per game and compare that stat to anyone. If it wasn't for a career ending back injury, he would be up there with the best for total goals scored.

Bryan Trottier... Not the fastest scater, but someone whose game IQ has rarely been equaled, at both ends of the rink... and a rock. Not the tallest guy in the world, but solid, when he hit you, all forward momentum was instantly stopped.

Denis Potvin... Another bad*ss player, his hip check were legendary... if you didn't see him coming across the rink at speed to catch you... well, you were gonna be in for some rehab. Plus he could carry the puck and score.

Clark Gillies... another rock... a bigger, badder better scoring version of Nystrom... maybe not the speed, but try to move him from the front of the net or stop him when he drove... Great shot. He'd pummel the opposition and score points.

Bob Bourne... Another big, skilled centerman, with great puck sense and awareness... scored 35 goals, 30 goals twice during the years of the cup runs.

I could go on... Butch Goring, John Tonelli, Duane Sutter, Brent Sutter, Ken Morrow, Tomas Jonsson, etc. etc.

But it was Arbour who played the hand he was given to perfection, he understood matchups, understood pace, understood how to put his team on a confidence level which made them almost unbeatable.

I remember the '83 Cup finals, everyone was predicting the hotshot Oilers would romp on the old beat-up Isles... not to be. After that series, Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky said they learned a lot... wasn't enough just to be exceptional... you had to be willing to sacrifice everything to win the cup... they learned that by watching the Isles, battered and bruised, but victorious. Next year they came back with a more workmanlike attitude with the lesson learned.

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Sad to hear this... Arbour is probably the 2nd greatest coach of all time, behind Bowman.

This is a common opinion and it goes to show that there is no "book" on being an NHL coach.

Bowman, while I agree was likely the best coach in history, was often loathed by his players. He was often aloof and played mind games with players, often earning their disdain long after playing for him. Dino CIccarelli is one player who has gone public with his dislike of his former coach.

But you can't argue with success. Mike Keenan was also a successful coach...

Al Arbour, OTOH, was universally loved by his players. Glen Healy, Kelly Hrudey, Mike Bossy, Bob Nystrom, among others have all referred to Arbour as a "father figure" and someone they're proud to be associated with.

Just goes to show that there is no "best" style of coaching. Just what works best with certain players.

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