A yr in the past, after I spoke to Denis Potvin on the eve of the fortieth anniversary of the Islanders’ first Stanley Cup, the dynasty’s captain talked about how a lot he had loved the “Big Boy” closing of 2019 between St. Louis and Boston.
So it’s best to have the ability to think about how No. 5 feels about these Islanders as they proceed the Drive for a Franchise Five coming into Saturday night time’s second-round opener against the Bruins in Boston.
“I am very impressed,” Potvin informed The Post on Friday whereas making the drive from his residence in Florida to his home in Canada. “First of all, if you discuss ‘Big Boy,’ I imply, it doesn’t get higher than Anders Lee, and when he went down, in my thoughts I assumed, ‘How the heck are they going to replace him or at least compensate for the lack of Big Boy presence in front of the room as their captain, and all of that?’
“So from that side, I’m actually amazed at how effectively they’ve carried out. And after all, Lou Lamoriello the final couple of years with [Jean-Gabriel] Pageau, [Kyle] Palmieri, [Travis] Zajac on the commerce deadline, I simply assume the machine on Long Island is working very, very effectively.
“And that’s because it’s working as a team,” Potvin mentioned. “They’ve got big strong defensemen, they’ve got centermen who can win draws and score, they have depth, and like everybody else they’ve got the goaltending that’s not surprising, but is even better than expected.”
When Lee went down along with his season-ending knee harm on March 11, 29 video games remained. But after acknowledging the severity of the blow, the Islanders by no means once more cited his absence as an excuse for a late-season dip. Never as soon as was there proof of a woe-is-us angle. Never did the Islanders discuss every little thing they have been going by.
“I think if you consider yourself a good team, you’re never going to feel like the loss of one player is … Well, I can give you a good example … Even if it’s a Mike Bossy in Game 1 of the finals in Edmonton in 1983 and it’s essentially a 1-0 game [2-0 final score with an empty-netter],” Potvin mentioned whereas a man in a bike drove up beside him. “We knew going into that sport we have been going to have to regulate accordingly as a result of we wouldn’t have that dynamic goal-scorer and we did modify. Boom!
“And that’s the mentality that the Islanders are exhibiting me with [Barry] Trotz behind the bench after having gained the Cup with a Washington team that had been extremely irritating for plenty of years. It’s an exquisite factor to observe.
“That last game against Pittsburgh had to be one of the best games I’ve seen in a long time,” the three-time Norris winner mentioned. “And that’s the best way they play. They have a number of heroes on that team. When I speak concerning the Islanders of our dynasty, you might rely the heroes on each palms, whether or not it was [John] Tonelli, Kenny Morrow’s additional time targets, or Bobby Ny[strom], and on and on.
“And I think this is the way this team has been built.”
This represents the third-straight season the Islanders have gained not less than one playoff spherical. They, the Bruins and Avalanche are the one three groups to attain that. The Islanders hadn’t carried out that since advancing seven straight years from 1979 by 1985.
“You take a look in your archives and you’ll find a quote from Bill Torrey saying that he builds a team for the regular season and he also builds a team for the playoffs,” Potvin mentioned, referring to the Hall of Fame common supervisor. “Bill counted on having the ability to add sure elements to the team going into the playoffs, and it wasn’t solely the Butch Goring commerce. If we don’t get Mike McEwen [in 1981 in the Chico Resch deal], we lose to Pittsburgh within the first-round the following yr.
“And that’s exactly what Lou has done the last couple of deadlines, building a team for the playoffs. They’re talented and they’re physical. And they have courage.”
Potvin retired following the 1987-88 season. He was affiliated for a time with the Senators as a broadcaster and spent twenty years with the Panthers in that capability. But he retired from that enterprise a few years in the past. Now an ardent fisherman, he once more bleeds blue and orange.
“Jon Ledecky, who is the minority owner but the one who is there every day, has made a huge effort to reach out to the alumni. That has changed  degrees from before the team was sold,” Potvin mentioned. “This possession worth the blokes who performed on the Island, and never solely the dynasty years.
“This is the old team, the New York Islanders, and I am very much a fan. Absolutely. And depending on COVID quarantine rules in Canada that may be changing, if there is an opportunity for me to be at the Coliseum, I’ll be there for sure, cheering them on.”