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Understanding the Islanders' offensive decline in 1982-83

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Old
10-14-2014, 11:38 AM
  #1
Nylanders
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Understanding the Islanders' offensive decline in 1982-83

One of the greatest strengths the dynasty era Islanders had is how balanced they were, they could beat you anyway you wanted and were often one of the top teams in the league in both GF and GA. But on the last dynasty team, this is not the case in the regular season as while the Islanders finished 1st in the league in GA, they were 15 in a 21 team league in GF, scoring 302. Does anyone know what exactly happened? Looking at the three major offensive stars, only Bossy scored over 100 points with Trottier scoring 89 points despite playing one more game than Bossy. Potvin did miss a few games that season, only playing 69 where he scored 66 points but I don't see how that explains Trottier's numbers or the team at large. 15th is middle pf the pack today, it was in the almost in the bottom 1/4 of the league in 1983.

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10-14-2014, 03:09 PM
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A few things :

- 10 more goals moves NYI inside of the top 10 in scoring, so things were pretty tightly packed.

- Potvin was the motor of that offense and, as we saw in 79-80, when he missed time it had a huge effect.

- someone who followed the Islanders through this period can probably confirm/deny this, but just eyeballing it, it looks like John Tonelli (who had been a huge offensive driver from the 2nd line in previous years) was shifted up to LW on the top line for much of the season while Gillies was dropped down the lineup. First-line production was still decent, although down a bit, but their 2nd line production was VERY poor for that era of the NHL. Bob Bourne was the only guy outside of Bossy/Trottier/Tonelli with more than 33 adjusted points. So I'd say that a big reason for the drop was probably the change in Tonelli's usage, and that the 2nd line really missed his production.

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10-14-2014, 05:36 PM
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LeBlondeDemon10
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Another factor might be that they decided to pace themselves better by the 4rth year of their cup run. They started their dynasty in the era of the 4 round playoff format. That adds up. Perhaps, by the spring of 83, they were fully healthy and able to turn it up a notch.

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10-14-2014, 06:21 PM
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Lord J T Shark
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They burned themselves out from playing so many games over a 5 year period

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10-14-2014, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by LeBlondeDemon10 View Post
Another factor might be that they decided to pace themselves better by the 4rth year of their cup run. They started their dynasty in the era of the 4 round playoff format. That adds up. Perhaps, by the spring of 83, they were fully healthy and able to turn it up a notch.
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Originally Posted by jumptheshark View Post
They burned themselves out from playing so many games over a 5 year period
Neither of these would seem to be the explanation for offensive drop-off in 1982-83, since their offense rebounded to 3rd in the NHL in 1983-84.

It is definitely a weird anomaly that they went 1st-2nd-15th-3rd-5th in GF between 1980 and 1985. That year sticks out - hell, they were outscored by the 1983 Vancouver Canucks.

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10-15-2014, 12:26 AM
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It is definitely a weird anomaly that they went 1st-2nd-15th-3rd-5th in GF between 1980 and 1985. That year sticks out - hell, they were outscored by the 1983 Vancouver Canucks.
Now that's a fascinating stat. Really puts that last Cup run in perspective. It was won on guile (experience) and pride.

Wonder how many teams won the Cup ranking that low in regular season offense.

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10-15-2014, 03:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trottier View Post
Now that's a fascinating stat. Really puts that last Cup run in perspective. It was won on guile (experience) and pride.

Wonder how many teams won the Cup ranking that low in regular season offense.
LA was 29th and 25th in their Cup seasons, that blows my mind

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10-15-2014, 06:49 AM
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Just shows how little does regular season matter. Now less than ever.

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10-15-2014, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Trottier View Post
Now that's a fascinating stat. Really puts that last Cup run in perspective. It was won on guile (experience) and pride.

Wonder how many teams won the Cup ranking that low in regular season offense.
Guile and offense, since they scored 4.7 goals per game in the playoffs. The secondary scoring surged and Bob Bourne led the team in points. The Sutters had a big run, and guys like Goring and Nystrom upped their disappointing RS pace.

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10-16-2014, 12:39 AM
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Yeah, that is weird. Potvin and Trottier both rebounded with excellent offensive years in 1984. I really don't know. Burnout could be a factor. Maybe they wanted to focus on defense a bit more. You know, Roland Melanson and not Billy Smith was a 2nd team all-star that year. Hard to believe. Because they did the opposite in 1984. Had a more offensive team in the regular season, but scored less in the playoffs.

Could it be that the way the Islanders were winning was working? Their depth was what helped them. Look at the 1982 Oilers. They lost to the lowly Kings because they were just playing shinny hockey. Maybe the next year the Islanders tightened up, preserved themselves and wanted to play the usual all around game that had helped them win before. Three straight Cups, I mean, it isn't as if it wasn't working.

So why the jump in 1984? I don't know. Potvin played 10 more games, but that wasn't the only reason. My guess is that they saw the success of the Oilers, the 51 game point streak Gretzky had in the beginning of the year and realized that sooner or later the Oilers were coming. Maybe with this ridiculous offense that the Oilers had it made the Isles ramp up their offensive game a bit since they knew it might be a repeat Cup final. Just a hunch. But I never thought about this with the 1983 Isles.

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10-16-2014, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
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Could it be that the way the Islanders were winning was working?
Not exactly, because they dipped 15 or 20 points in the standings from '82 to '83.

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10-16-2014, 07:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Yeah, that is weird. Potvin and Trottier both rebounded with excellent offensive years in 1984. I really don't know. Burnout could be a factor. Maybe they wanted to focus on defense a bit more. You know, Roland Melanson and not Billy Smith was a 2nd team all-star that year. Hard to believe. Because they did the opposite in 1984. Had a more offensive team in the regular season, but scored less in the playoffs.

Could it be that the way the Islanders were winning was working? Their depth was what helped them. Look at the 1982 Oilers. They lost to the lowly Kings because they were just playing shinny hockey. Maybe the next year the Islanders tightened up, preserved themselves and wanted to play the usual all around game that had helped them win before. Three straight Cups, I mean, it isn't as if it wasn't working.

So why the jump in 1984? I don't know. Potvin played 10 more games, but that wasn't the only reason. My guess is that they saw the success of the Oilers, the 51 game point streak Gretzky had in the beginning of the year and realized that sooner or later the Oilers were coming. Maybe with this ridiculous offense that the Oilers had it made the Isles ramp up their offensive game a bit since they knew it might be a repeat Cup final. Just a hunch. But I never thought about this with the 1983 Isles.
The issue was with the 2nd line.

The production they were getting from the guys underneath Bossy/Trottier/Tonelli would be bad by 2003 standards, much less 1983.

When Greg Gilbert and Brent Sutter establish themselves as quality NHL producers and score 30 goals in 1983-84, the team's offensive production goes back up to the levels of previous years. Plus it looks like Tonelli is back on the 2nd line in 83-84, with Gilbert seeing a fair chunk of time with Bossy/Trottier.

To me, it looks like they moved the big offensive driver from their 2nd line (Tonelli) up to their top line in 82-83, and the other guys weren't able to produce secondary offense without him there.

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Old
10-17-2014, 09:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trottier View Post
It was won on guile (experience) and pride.

Wonder how many teams won the Cup ranking that low in regular season offense.
Having the League's best defense (speaking of 1982-83) also definitely helped, especially come playoff time.

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10-17-2014, 10:00 AM
  #14
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Having the League's best defense (speaking of 1982-83) also definitely helped, especially come playoff time.
What's interesting is the finals, facing the Oilers who'd scored 424 goals that season (I believe that was the most ever) 122 goals more than the Islanders and almost 200 more goals than the Devils. Astounding how great of an offense that Oilers team had. Next highest was MTL at 350 - Oilers outscored them by 74 goals (99 had 71 that year).

Isles defense in that '83 finals was unbelievable. Even as a hard core fan, I had little confidence going into the finals that the Isles could beat EDM, especially after a lack-luster regular season. Billy Smith had been "outplayed"? by Roland Melanson (at least statistically) and I worried about his ability to deliver, with his style, against that powerhouse offense. Game 1 proved me dead wrong and the next three games just floored me.

Isles outscored the Oilers 17-6 (including a 2-0 shutout in game won).
Oilers outshot the Islanders in every game by a wide margin: 35-24, 33-25, 33-28 & 26-25.

Billy Smith deserved that Conn Smythe - to say the least.


Last edited by redbull: 10-17-2014 at 11:31 AM.
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