THIS DATE IN HISTORY: Aug. 12
1981: Serge Savard, a defenseman who was one of the keys to the Montreal Canadiens' dynasty in the late 1970s, says he's "done with hockey" and announces his retirement. "This is the most difficult decision of my life," the 35-year-old says after playing on seven Stanley Cup winners with Montreal and earning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1969.
However, Savard soon changes his mind. Former Montreal teammate John Ferguson, now the general manager of the Winnipeg Jets, acquires Savard's playing rights and persuades him to take an on-ice leadership role with the third-year NHL franchise. Savard helps steady a young defense, and the Jets improve by 48 points in 1981-82. They qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of Savard's two seasons with the Jets before he retires for good in 1983 and rejoins the Canadiens as GM.
Savard is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1986.
Video: Serge Savard was standout stay-at-home defenseman
2008: The New York Islanders name Scott Gordon the 14th coach in their history. Gordon succeeds Ted Nolan after New York fails to qualify for the playoffs in 2007-08. However, the Islanders miss the playoffs again in 2008-09 and 2009-10. When they start the 2010-11 season by going 4-10-3 in their first 17 games, Gordon is replaced by Jack Capuano.
2017: Bryan Murray, a longtime NHL coach and executive, dies of colon cancer at age 74. Murray serves as general manager of the Detroit Red Wings (1990-94), Florida Panthers (1994-98), Anaheim Ducks (2001-04) and Ottawa Senators (2007-16), and coaches the Washington Capitals (1981-90), Red Wings (1990-93), Panthers (1997-98), Ducks (2001-02) and Senators (2005-08). He wins the Jack Adams Award as the League's top coach in 1984. His final NHL job is as a special adviser to Senators general manager Pierre Dorion after stepping down as Ottawa's GM in April 2016 to focus on his health and spend time with his family.