September 12, 2009

Canucks vs. Islanders: A History

It is fitting that New York Islanders are the Vancouver Canucks' opponent for the Kraft Hockeyville 2009 game in my hometown. One of my earliest hockey memories involved the Isles and Canucks.

Back in 1982 the Islanders were the undisputed best team in the NHL. They were in the middle of four consecutive Stanley Cup championships and an unparalleled 19 consecutive playoff series victories. With the likes of Mike Bossy, Denis Potvin, Bryan Trottier, Billy Smith, and Clark Gillies, the Islanders of that era were arguably the greatest hockey team of all time.

Wayne Gretzky
's Edmonton Oilers would one day topple the Islanders' dynasty, but in 1982 they suffered a shocking upset at the hands of the lowly Los Angeles Kings. But the biggest benefactor of that surprise was actually my bunch of scrappy Canucks. With the Oilers knocked out, the Canucks were the surprise team to conquer the wide open Campbell Conference.

With Roger Nielson's coaching, "King" Richard Brodeur's goaltending and Stan Smyl's heart and will, the 1982 Canucks gave all of BC their first great NHL memory, although ultimately they were far overmatched by the dynastic Islanders.

I have much more here in a piece I did earlier this year.

Here are some interesting statistics involving the Canucks and Islanders, courtesy of Eric Hornick's amazing website Forever 1940:

The Canucks and Islanders have faced off 97 times in the regular season. The Islanders hold the edge with a 48-35-13-1 record.

The two teams met 6 times in the playoffs, including most famously in the 1982 Stanley Cup finals. The Islanders have a perfect 6-0 record there.

The Islanders shut out the Canucks on 4 occassions, twice by Chico Resch, and once each by Billy Smith and Glenn Healy. Gary Smith and Kirk McLean returned the favor for the Canucks.

Five Islanders have scored hat tricks against the Canucks: Clark Gillies (twice), Bob Cook, Mike Bossy, Brent Sutter and Pierre Turgeon. Only three times have Canucks notched hat tricks against the Islanders: Bobby Schmautz, John Gould and Todd Bertuzzi.

Speaking of Todd Bertuzzi, he was part of the most famous trade between the two franchises, with Bertuzzi, Bryan McCabe and a third round draft pick going to Vancouver for Trevor Linden.

That was one of only 6 trades between the two franchises. The other trades were:
Richard Brodeur to Vancouver for switch in 1981 Amateur Draft choices October 6, 1980.

Dave Fortier to Vancouver in October 1976 for future considerations (Fortier played in 1 playoff game for Isles and 0 regular season games)

Felix Potvin to Vancouver along with the Islanders 2000 2nd round draft pick and a conditional draft choice

for Bill Muckalt, Kevin Weekes and Dave Scatchard on December 19, 1999.

Brent Sopel: Acquired from Vancouver for a 2006 conditional draft pick on August 3, 2005.

Jason Strudwick to Vancouver for Gino Odjick on March 23, 1998.

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