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|Hockey Hall of Fame, 1991|
Potvin skating with the New York Islanders
October 29, 1953 |
Vanier, ON, CAN
|Height||6 ft 0 in (183 cm)|
|Weight||205 lb (93 kg; 14 st 9 lb)|
|Played for||New York Islanders (NHL)|
|NHL Draft||1st overall, 1973
New York Islanders
Denis Charles Potvin (born October 29, 1953) is a retired professional ice hockey defenseman and team captain for the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League. He is a four-time Stanley Cup winner as a member of the early 1980s New York Islanders. He is also a three-time James Norris Memorial Trophy winner as the NHL's top defenseman. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991, and served as a commentator for Ottawa Senators' television broadcasts on Sportsnet. He is currently the color commentator for the Florida Panthers. Potvin was born in Vanier, Ontario, but grew up in Hull, Quebec.
After a stellar junior hockey career with the Ottawa 67s, Potvin was drafted first overall in the 1973 National Hockey League Amateur Draft by the struggling expansion Islanders, a team which had recorded the worst record in modern National Hockey League (NHL) history the previous season. Right after Bill Torrey drafted Potvin, Montreal Canadiens General Manager Sam Pollock approached Torrey, hoping to trade for Potvin. Pollock's strategy was to offer a "quick-fix" package of mature players to exchange for the top draft pick. Torrey ultimately turned down the offer since he felt that Potvin would be a long-term asset to his team.
Upon joining the Islanders, Potvin wanted to wear number 7 on his uniform but was forced to take number 5, as forward Germain Gagnon was wearing number 7. Potvin entered the NHL with high expectations; he was regarded by some as the savior of the Islanders' franchise, and by others as potentially the next Bobby Orr. While he did not dominate the game in the same way as Orr, Potvin became an immediate star, winning the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year in 1973–74 and the James Norris Memorial Trophy as league's top defenseman in 1975–76, 1977–78, and 1978–79. Upon Orr's decline and retirement in the late 1970s, Potvin became widely acknowledged, along with Larry Robinson, as the premier defensemen in the game.
Potvin was known for being intelligent, articulate, and outspoken off the ice. Throughout the 1970s, his Islander teammates often were turned off as these traits made Potvin come across as arrogant. He offended many hockey fans by stating publicly that he had played better in the 1976 Canada Cup than Bobby Orr, and that the latter's selection as tournament MVP was for sentimental reasons. However, as Potvin matured, he became seen as a great leader as he learned to use these same qualities to positively affect his teammates.
His best season offensively was 1979, during which he became the second defenseman (Orr being the first) to score 30 goals and 100 points in a single season. Potvin was awarded his third Norris trophy for the regular season, which the Islanders finished first overall in the NHL. However, despite being heavily favored to win their semi-final series against the New York Rangers, the talented but young Islanders' team ultimately lost in six games. Clark Gillies stepped down as captain during the off-season, and Potvin became the team's third captain, a position he held until relinquishing it in 1987. In 1979–80, Potvin's first year as captain, the Islanders won their first of four Stanley Cups. Potvin was a key part of the Islanders during the team's early 1980s glory years: in addition to the four consecutive Stanley Cup championships and five straight finals appearances, in the eight seasons he served as captain the Islanders never failed to reach the playoffs.
Potvin retired as the National Hockey League's leader in goals and points by a defenseman. His career totals were later surpassed by Raymond Bourque, Paul Coffey and others and as of 2014 he sits fifth in career goals and seventh in career points amongst defencemen.
Potvin was a more traditional defender than Orr and an extremely physical player. He averaged just under a point per game over his career (0.992), while Orr averaged 1.39 points per game. Late in his career, Potvin suffered a series of injuries that impeded his performance, leading to his retirement following the 1988 season. Potvin claimed to have received an offer from Mike Keenan to come out of retirement and play for arch-rival New York Rangers in 1993.Mike Keenan has yet to substantiate these claims. Potvin has admitted that although he believed it was a joke, he did contemplate a comeback. After a brief skate he decided his body could no longer handle the rigors of the game.
Potvin was a color commentator for Florida Panthers television broadcasts on FS Florida from the team's inception in 1993 through the 2008–09 NHL season. At various times, he was paired with Jeff Rimer, Dave Strader and Steve Goldstein. On May 6, 2009, the Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that the Panthers would not renew his contract in order to save money. He was replaced by former Panthers' player Bill Lindsay.
In September 2010, Potvin was hired as the Ottawa Senators’ television colour analyst, working with Dean Brown on Rogers Sportsnet. In August, 2014 he was rehired as color commentator by the Florida Panthers, working with Steve Goldstein on Fox Sports Florida. As a color commentator, he is known for his bizarre quips, such as claiming that the Sedins "...only use [their] fingers to lick the peanut butter off their bread."
Regular season and playoffs
|1973–74||New York Islanders||NHL||77||17||37||54||175||—||—||—||—||—|
|1974–75||New York Islanders||NHL||79||21||55||76||105||17||5||9||14||30|
|1975–76||New York Islanders||NHL||78||31||67||98||100||13||5||14||19||32|
|1976–77||New York Islanders||NHL||80||25||55||80||103||12||6||4||10||20|
|1977–78||New York Islanders||NHL||80||30||64||94||81||7||2||2||4||6|
|1978–79||New York Islanders||NHL||73||31||70||101||58||10||4||7||11||8|
|1979–80||New York Islanders||NHL||31||8||33||41||44||21||6||13||19||24|
|1980–81||New York Islanders||NHL||74||20||56||76||104||18||8||17||25||16|
|1981–82||New York Islanders||NHL||60||24||37||61||83||19||5||16||21||30|
|1982–83||New York Islanders||NHL||69||12||54||66||60||20||8||12||20||22|
|1983–84||New York Islanders||NHL||78||22||63||85||87||20||1||5||6||28|
|1984–85||New York Islanders||NHL||77||17||51||68||96||10||3||2||5||10|
|1985–86||New York Islanders||NHL||74||21||38||59||78||3||0||1||1||0|
|1986–87||New York Islanders||NHL||58||12||30||42||70||10||2||2||4||21|
|1987–88||New York Islanders||NHL||72||19||32||51||112||5||1||4||5||6|
Career achievements and facts
- Retired having scored 310 goals and 742 assists for 1,052 points (at the time, the NHL career leader in all those categories for defensemen) in 1,060 games, adding 1,356 penalty minutes.
- First NHL defenseman to reach 1,000 career points.
- Retired as the NHL career leader in playoff goals, assists, and points for defensemen.
- 43rd all-time in assists, and 10th among defensemen, as of the end of the 2013–14 season.
- 66th all-time in points, as of the end of the 2013-14 season.
- Won the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the NHL's best defenseman in 1976, 1978, and 1979.
- His jersey #5 was retired by the Islanders on February 1, 1992, the first such honor bestowed by the franchise.
- In 1991, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame.
- In 1998, he was ranked number 19 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players.
- In 2002, he was inducted into the Nassau County Sports Hall of Fame.
- One of only two players (Bryan Trottier being the other) to play 1,000 games in an Islanders uniform.
- Notable families in the NHL
- Captain (ice hockey)
- List of NHL players with 1000 points
- List of NHL players with 1000 games played
- http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/NHL/Ottawa/2012/02/20/19403056.html Melnyk won't break bank to make playoffs
- Crowning Glory. Sportschannel. 1992.
- "The Hockey News: Top 50 NHL Players of All-Time - The Definitive List". 1997.
- Fischler, Stan; Botta, Chris (1996). Pride and Passion: 25 Years of the New York Islanders. Walsworth Publishing Co. p. 77. ISBN 1-882608-13-5.
- "Ottawa Senators Game Broadcast". Sportsnet East. April 16, 2013.
- "CANOE - SLAM! Sports - Hockey NHL - Ottawa- Potvin joins Sens broadcast team". Slam.canoe.ca. 2010-09-07. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
- "Sportsnet ‘Mad’ Sedins, peanut butter fingers, and what sparked the scrum". 2016-01-12. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
|NHL first overall draft pick
|New York Islanders first round draft pick
|New York Islanders captain
|Winner of the Norris Trophy
|Winner of the Norris Trophy
|Winner of the Calder Trophy