Al Arbour: Live in Concert FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY!

Coach AlYes, Al Arbour, the legendary former coach of the New York Islanders (and, briefly, the St. Louis Blues) is coming out of retirement to coach one game in November.

Why? Well, apparently old Al coached 1,499 games with the Islanders, and that just didn’t sit right with their current coach, Ted Theodore Nolan.

Al hasn’t coached since the end of the 1993-94 season, but hey, he’s still got it, right?

“I don’t know that much about coaching anymore, I’ve been away from it a long time, but still two points is two points and we certainly want to win this hockey game.”

Oh.

Nolan’s still going to be behind the bench, officially as an assistant coach.

“He better be, let me tell you, because I don’t know the players, I don’t know the system or anything,” Arbour said with a laugh. “There’s no question about it, I’ll need a lot of help.”

Oh.

Isles fans seem happy enough. I’m not sure that Arbour coaching precisely 1,500 regular season games for the Islanders is that important a milestone – his overall total is 1,606 games (1,499 + 107 for St. Louis) and he coached over 200 playoff games…but whatever.

They’re also playing Sid, Malkin and the Pens that night. Good luck with that.

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Why My Team Is Better Than Your Team: THE Toronto Maple Leafs

The Best Logo in Hockey

It’s hard to explain what it’s like to support the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It’s sort of like being a Boston Red Sox fan pre-2004…a team with a storied tradition and history, a giant fanbase, deep pockets and constant sellouts. Except your team inspires the same kind of loathing attributed to the Dallas Cowboys or New York Yankees. All the antipathy and none of the success. The team even named their fanbase “Leafs Nation”.

The last year the Leafs won the Stanley Cup (or even made it that far) was 1967. That also happens to be the last year of the Original Six. The only team with a longer drought is the Chicago Blackhawks, but they folded in 2002.

Leafs fans have put up with a lot. The possibility of Jim Balsillie buying a team, any team, and moving it to Hamilton (about a 45 minute drive from Toronto) had many people dreaming of jumping ship and supporting the Hamilton Blackberries. But still…there’s reason for hope.

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R.I.P. John Ferguson

John Ferguson died today of cancer.

This is a sad thing. He always seemed like a nice guy when I would listen to him being interviewed on the radio. Articulate, friendly, genuine – everything you would expect from a hockey guy.

That said, at least the Maple Leafs are finally free from him. After all, he committed to building from within, then traded 6 of our last 8 picks in the top two rounds of the entry draft. He traded arguably the #1 goalie prospect in hockey, Tuukka Rask, to the Bruins for a guy who had gone from rookie of the year to third stringer in about 18 months, then gave him a three year extension for $2 million plus before he played a single game for the Leafs. Then, after he was terrible, he traded his #1, #2 and #4 picks in the draft to San Jose for Vesa Toskala, who has played well in limited time for the Sharks but has never played 40 games in a single season. Naturally, a year away from free agency, Toskala was also awarded a two year extension for $4 million per. Throw in trades for guys like Yanic Perreault and spending huge dollars on guys like Pavel Kubina (decent player for $5 million), Jason Blake (5 years at $4 million for a one-year wonder) and giving Bryan McCabe a no-movement clause, and it’s a wonder this guy had survived as GM of the Leafs.

Say what? His father?

Oh, shit.

So he’s still the General Manager?

You don’t say.

Shit.