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Potvin remembers difficulties of first training school with Islanders in 1973


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Epic hockey press reporter Stan Fischler creates a weekly scrapbook for NHL. com. Fischler, referred to as "The Hockey Wizard," shares his humor and understanding with readers each Wednesday. This week Fischler reaches back a half-century when a declared junior hockey defenseman named Denis Potvin attended his initial training camp with the New york city Islanders. Though "concerned" at the time, Potvin ended his NHL occupation 15 periods later a four-time Stanley Mug champion that won the Norris Trophy as the top NHL defenseman 3 times. What course did you require to reach your first NHL training school?"My dad was my motivation. He was an adequate player to be welcomed to a Detroit Red Wings camp. However whatever NHL future remained in store for him ended when he experienced a broken back that was so significant, he also was declined when he attempted to join the Canadian armed pressures for The second world war. Yet he handed down his love for hockey down to his sons, my older brothers Bob and Jean along with to me. Daddy's tragedy was, in a sense, our good luck. We were the branches of the Potvin hockey tree and Dad was the trunk, the initial where we expanded. "When did you really feel that you were great sufficient to take component in an NHL camp?"Jean, who was 4 years older than me, became part of my self-confidence builder. When I started playing 'serious hockey,' he was among the 'large men' and I pushed him to allow me have fun with him and versus fellas that were much older and bigger than me. But I was holding my own Larry Robinson Jersey. When I started in younger hockey, I was only 14 however I was skating against individuals that were 19 and two decades old. In retrospect, I would certainly claim I was precocious, however that characteristic never held me back. I had an incredible quantity of motivation behind me and a fantastic good example. Jean Beliveau, that was the captain of so many Stanley Cup-winning Montreal Canadiens groups. "As a younger hockey celebrity, when did you begin thinking of an NHL career?"When I made it to the Ottawa 67's younger team, I already was playing a striking video game. Also though I was among the youngest players in the league, I struck everyone in sight and also tackled Dave Schultz, that later on came to be the supposed 'Heavyweight Champ' of the NHL. I obtained respect in juniors since the opposition understood that if anybody struck me, that I would certainly offer it right back. And afterwards, they wouldn't trouble me once again. But I began to question the NHL when movie critics in the media started discussing me. That simply included in my confidence since those media people had absolutely nothing to gain by applauding me. "Which reporter gave you a large boost?Earl McRae, that was a strong author, did a story on me for The Canadian magazine. 'It's obvious Potvin is something unique,' he composed. 'He belongs to the play and afterwards he's not. He seems to transcend the action. His relocations are so cool, so positive, never ever incorrect. He rules all he studies and there is no person to endanger his kingdom. ' That was full marks from a wise hockey man and various other journalists began observing me. By the 1971-72 period, I can feel that I was ready for the NHL. Not that I desired to hear that kind of things, but several of the authors began calling me 'The following Bobby Orr' and I hadn't even been composed yet Jesse Ylonen Jersey. "What was that 1973 NHL Draft like for you?"I need to start with the reality that I had decided that I had not been going to play in the Globe Hockey Association. And also, it was quite noticeable that I would certainly go first overall in the '73 NHL Draft. Which meant that the big question was whether the Islanders-- they had the very first pick-- would certainly choose me. The factor that there even was an inquiry is that Montreal's GM Sammy Pollock was trying to make a deal with Costs Torrey, the 'Isles' employer. Pollock was using Torrey a number of NHL players in exchange for the Islanders initially choose-- me. Perhaps it appeared ironic-- thinking about that I matured a Canadiens fan-- but I wanted none of the 'Habs. '"Why not?"I recognized that every red-blooded French-Canadian was intended to wish to play hockey for the Canadiens. However I wasn't among them. I really did not want to be traded to Montreal because I was scared I would certainly be under significant pressure to be an immediate superstar. Also, I knew that there was a long listing of players that had broken under the strain of having to live up to those demanding Montreal rooters. I saw what took place to Guy Lafleur in his newbie year and exactly how they virtually drove him insane, wanting him to be one more Jean Beliveau. I was pleased that absolutely nothing resulted the Canadiens offer which Costs Torrey rejected Sam Pollock and selected me. "Explain your first NHL training school in 1973. "We trained in Peterborough, Ontario, and I was lucky. My older bro Jean was with the large team and he made me feel right at home. So did some other individuals like Andre St. Laurent that I had actually played against in jr hockey. I will not lie concerning it, I was assured to understand that there was a big contingent of French-Canadians in camp. Besides St. Laurent, we had Richard Grenier, Germain Gagnon and Gerry Desjardins. "How anxious were you?"I was worried regarding exactly how the various other gamers felt about me. Their acceptance of the No. 1 novice-- or lack of acceptance-- might make or break me. Otherwise, I really felt excellent physically and psychologically. In terms of acceptance, the individual that transformed all of it about was captain Eddie Westfall. His response to me would certainly be critical. He was to get here the day after I reached camp. We were in the lobby of the Holiday Inn when Ed strode in with the usual huge smile on his face. He found me immediately. Our eyes satisfied and I awaited his response Yvan Cournoyer Jersey. It fasted and cozy. 'Welcome to the Islanders!' he screamed, pumped my hand, and before I understood it invited me out for a round of golf. Eddie and I became buddies right from the begin. "That provided you a difficult time?"Gerry Hart, a challenging defenseman. My impression was that Gerry didn't wish to satisfy any person who was brand-new to the club, the very least of all big-shot Denis Potvin. I believed that he was fretted concerning me taking his work far from him. When he was persuaded that his task was safe, he started to come about and to be more pleasant. After a while we would certainly locate ourselves sitting throughout a dining establishment table having long talks because we discovered that we had a great deal of common passions. I likewise had a tough time at very first with our brand-new train, Al Arbour. What was the trouble?"The very first time we sat down at camp, Al stated to me, 'I'm concerned concerning you. You're obese by at the very least 10 extra pounds. ' So, I told 'Radar' that I had actually exercised all summertime and felt excellent, although possibly a little slower than I need to have been. Then, Al added: 'I'm gon na' be harder on you than with some of the various other guys. ' That bothered me a little bit till Costs Torrey added some softer guidance. 'Just play your video game,' Bill claimed. 'Take your time going along if you want however be ready for the period. '"How did you feel in the preseason games?"I recognized that people would certainly resent me. It would either be bitterness, envy or hate. My first call with these beliefs followed our initial exhibit video game with the Rangers. We originated from behind and tied them, 6-6. Apparently, some of the much more childish Rangers had actually made a deal prior to the game not to address press inquiries concerning their impressions of Denis Potvin. Brad Park was one. After he was asked regarding my game, he said, 'I'll reserve my decision in the meantime. ' That didn't trouble me. What did you learn because initial training camp and preseason?"Nobody made me really feel substandard. I truly felt that I remained in the huge time. I felt a brand-new drive inside me, pressing me, pressing me.

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