Michael Grabner Comes of Age: Al Arbour Could Have Taught Him To Check

January 31st, 2011 by BC ISLEMAN Leave a reply »
A longstanding legend of the Islander dynasty era is that when Al Arbour was asked by Bill Torrey at the 1977 NHL Draft whether to select Mike Bossy, who had a reputation as a goal-scorer but supposedly avoided physical play, he said yes. "I can teach a player to check," Arbour said. "I can't teach him to score goals."

Recently a Canuck fan defended his team's decision to trade Michael Grabner, their 2006 14th overall first round pick, to Florida as part of the trade for Keith Ballard (mainly distinguished for nearly killing then teammate Tomas Vokoun). His argument was that Grabner was not big or physical enough and was poor defensively.

This brought the Arbour quote to mind. True goal scorers are not that easy to find. When you find one, it makes more sense to teach him to check than to trade him for a rather unimpressive defenseman and hope one of your other prospects can learn how to score goals.

It has become quite popular to mock Islander general manager Garth Snow. In fact, it seems that every time the Islanders are mentioned in the news, the writer finds a way to mock Snow and owner Charles Wang. This has been especially true during the r ...

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