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Arbour timeline highlighted by Islanders dynasty

by John Kreiser

A timeline of the life of Hockey Hall of Fame member Al Arbour, who died Friday at age 82.

Nov. 1, 1932: Born in Sudbury, Ontario

1953-54: Makes his NHL debut when he was called up to the Detroit Red Wings. Arbour has one assist in 36 regular-season games; however, he does not play in Detroit's run to the Stanley Cup.

1955-56: After two seasons in the minor leagues, Arbour is recalled and has one assist in four Stanley Cup Playoff games for Detroit.

1957-58: He plays a full NHL season for the first time, finishing with one goal, seven points and 104 penalty minutes in 69 games for the Red Wings.

1958-59: After being claimed by the Chicago Blackhawks in the intra-league draft, Arbour plays all 70 games, finishing with two goals and 12 points.

1960-61: Arbour is part of the Blackhawks' first Stanley Cup-winning team since 1938, though he has no points in seven playoff games after finishing with three goals and five points in 53 regular-season games.

1961-62: Arbour is again a member of a Stanley Cup-winning team after joining the Toronto Maple Leafs via the intra-league draft. He is scoreless in eight playoff games after finishing with one goal and six points in 52 regular-season games.

1963-64: After spending most of two seasons in the minors, Arbour is recalled from Rochester of the American Hockey League and is part of Toronto's third consecutive Cup-winning team. He has one assist in six regular-season games and is scoreless in his lone playoff appearance.

1967-68: Arbour returns to the NHL after two full seasons in the minors when he is taken by the St. Louis Blues in the expansion draft and is named the first captain in franchise history. He finishes with one goal and 11 points in 74 regular-season games and has three assists in 14 playoff games while helping the Blues reach the Stanley Cup Final.

1970-71: Arbour plays his final 22 NHL games, finishing his career with 12 goals and 70 points in 626 regular-season games, but begins his coaching career when he succeeds Scotty Bowman. He is replaced by Bowman on Feb. 8, 1971, but goes back behind the bench on Dec. 25, 1971. He is fired on Nov. 9, 1972.

1973-74: Following a stint as a scout for the Atlanta Flames, Arbour is hired as coach by the second-year New York Islanders. In his first season behind the bench, the Islanders reduce their goals-against total by 100 and increase their win total from 12 to 19, though they again fail to make the playoffs.

1974-75: Arbour leads the Islanders into the playoffs for the first time. They upset the New York Rangers in the preliminary round, become the second team in NHL history to rally from a 3-0 series deficit when they defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins in the quarterfinals and nearly accomplish the same feat against the defending champion Philadelphia Flyers in the semifinals, winning Games 4, 5 and 6 before losing Game 7.

1978-79: The Arbour-led Islanders finish with the NHL's best regular-season record, earning Arbour the Jack Adams Award as top coach. However, they lose in the semifinals for the third time in four seasons, this time to the Rangers.

1979-80: After struggling through much of the season, the Islanders finish 8-0-4 after the acquisition of center Butch Goring and the arrival of defenseman Ken Morrow from the United States Olympic team. The Islanders then defeat the Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time, where they upset the Flyers in six games. Bob Nystrom's overtime goal at 7:11 in Game 6 starts a run of four straight championships.

1980-81: Arbour and the Islanders breeze to their second straight Stanley Cup. After finishing first in the League standings, they roll through the playoffs, culminating with a five-game victory against the Minnesota North Stars in the Final.

1981-82: Arbour again leads the Islanders to first place in the League standings, this time with a franchise-record 118 points, and they win their third consecutive Stanley Cup. After a first-round scare from the Penguins and a six-game win against the Rangers, the Islanders sweep the Quebec Nordiques and Vancouver Canucks in the final two rounds.

1982-83: The Islanders fail to finish first in the League for the first time in three seasons, but they become the second team to win four straight Stanley Cups when they sweep the Edmonton Oilers in the Final.

1983-84: Arbour leads the Islanders to first place in the Eastern Conference, and they defeat the Rangers, Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadiens to extend their NHL record of consecutive playoff series victories to 19. But the Oilers avenge their loss to the Islanders the previous year, ending New York's reign with a five-game victory in the Final.

1985-86: Arbour announces his retirement as coach after the Islanders are swept by the Capitals in their best-of-5 first-round playoff series. He joins the front office as vice president of player development.

1988-89: After a disappointing start under Terry Simpson, the Islanders bring back Arbour as coach. They finish sixth in the Patrick Division and miss the playoffs for the first time in 14 seasons.

1992-93: Arbour leads the rebuilt Islanders back to the playoffs for the first time since 1988. They upset the Capitals in the first round before ending the Penguins' hopes of a third consecutive championship with an overtime win in Game 7 of the Patrick Division Final. However, they lose to the Canadiens in the Wales Conference Final.

1993-94: Arbour retires for the second time after the Islanders are swept by the Rangers in the first round of the playoffs. In 19 seasons as Islanders coach he has 739 victories in 1,499 games.

1996-97: Arbour is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a Builder in November 1996. A banner honoring his 739 victories is raised to the rafters of Nassau Coliseum on Jan. 25, 1997.

2007-08: At the behest of Islanders coach Ted Nolan, Arbour returns for his 1,500th game behind the Islanders bench on Nov. 3, 2007, two days after his 75th birthday. The 3-2 victory against the Penguins is his 740th with the Islanders, the most by one coach with a single team. After the game, the "739" banner is taken down and replaced with one bearing the number "1500." He finishes with a 782-577-248 record in 1,607 regular-season games as a coach, as well as a 118-83 record in 201 playoff games.

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