EAST MEADOW, N.Y. -- The memories came flooding back the moment Pierre Turgeon walked into the New York Islanders' practice facility last week to participate in their first fantasy camp.
Turgeon, who was named an assistant coach of the Los Angeles Kings on July 10, immediately started thinking of former Islanders coach Al Arbour, the man who led Turgeon and the Islanders on an improbable run to the Wales Conference Final in 1993 that featured a seven-game series win in the second round against the Pittsburgh Penguins, who were seeking their third straight Stanley Cup championship.
"What I learned from Al off the ice, the mental part of the game, the structure of the game as far as positioning, that experience and what I learned from Joel Quenneville, they were two coaches that really influenced me," said Turgeon, who played for Quenneville with the St. Louis Blues from 1997-2001. "I learned a lot of different things from practice to the way they communicate with players and try to have a relationship with them at the same time. What do I need to do to get the best from every individual? Everyone is different. You've got to find a way to push that right button to make sure they perform the way they're supposed to. It'll be a nice challenge. I'm looking forward to it. It'll be a lot of fun."
After some convincing from Kings president Luc Robitaille, this will be Turgeon's first foray into coaching. His role was defined by the Kings as an offensive coordinator on coach John Stevens' staff.
Turgeon retired as a player in 2007 after 19 seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, Islanders, Montreal Canadiens, Blues, Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche. The No. 1 pick in the 1987 NHL Draft by the Sabres, Turgeon had 1,327 points (515 goals, 812 assists) in 1,294 games.
"Luc called me a couple months ago and brought that up," Turgeon said. "He said, 'We'd love to have you. Come to L.A. for a couple days for our rookie camp and spend some time with the coaching staff.' It turned out to be great. Great people. Next thing you know I'm an assistant coach for the L.A. Kings. I'm looking forward to it. Great challenge. We've got to go there in the next couple of weeks and find a place and get set up for California."
Before the big life change, Turgeon got to spend some time with some old friends in New York. He led the Islanders and tied for fifth in the NHL in scoring in 1992-93, when he had 132 points (58 goals, 74 assists) in 83 games.
Turgeon missed the first six games of that second-round series against the Penguins because of a separated shoulder after he was knocked into the boards by Washington Capitals forward Dale Hunter during a goal celebration in Game 6 of the opening round. Hunter received a 21-game suspension, at the time the longest in NHL history.
Turgeon said he heard from Hunter three days after the incident and does not hold a grudge.
"It was just very short," Turgeon said. "He apologized. I never really saw him after, never talked about it. It's been so many years. Life goes on. Things happen. I wish him well. He's been great with his team in London [of the Ontario Hockey League]. It's OK. Now after many years, you move on."
Video: Pierre Turgeon talks about his new role for the Kings
The Islanders were forced to move on that postseason without their best player, set to face a Penguins team that featured Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Ron Francis, Larry Murphy and Joe Mullen. Realistically, without Turgeon, the Islanders didn't stand a chance.
"I remember Al Arbour was saying, 'We're going in there with nothing to lose,'" Turgeon said. "He believed in us. Pat Flatley as our captain really had a huge impact on our team. The rest was just a puzzle that moved it together. And the next thing you know we were able to win the series against Pittsburgh. It was a great time, great experience. We still talk about it today.
"I didn't play one shift in the seventh game [against the Penguins], but I wanted to be on the bench. It was incredible beating Pittsburgh, because we were the underdogs. We weren't supposed to win, and then the next thing you know it got to be one of the unique times and experience for us to win against Pittsburgh."