I wish NHL Network, ESPN Classic and perhaps ESPN in general did more NHL history and showed more not just NHL classic games and not just in the offseason, but in the regular season, than they do now. Because even though I’m clearly not a hockey expert and it is at best my third or fourth sport that I follow and I’m not nearly the sports fan that I was as a kid, hockey is still pretty interesting to me and I would like to learn more about the history of the NHL. And seeing films and documentaries and old games allows for fans to do that.
Again no NHL or hockey expert here, but I do know that 1981 was the second of four straight Stanley Cups for the Long Island, soon to be Brooklyn Islanders as I call them. The Islanders of the early 1980s were very similar to the Edmonton Oilers of the mid and late 1980s. They had a lot of firepower led by Mike Bossy and many others. Great goaltending with Billy Smith and a very good defense in front of Smith with a great head coach in Al Arbor.
The NHL of the early 1980s was in a transitional period. With the Montreal Canadians having dominated the NHL in the 1970s, winning like four Stanley Cups. The power in the NHL was headed South to America with the Islanders and even West in Canada with the Oilers and Calgary Flames. Which was good for NHL fans because you didn’t know who was going to win the cup every year. Because you had at least three very strong Canadian teams and several strong American teams every year.