The revamping of the New York Islanders’ front office included the introduction Thursday of general manager Neil Smith and head coach Ted Nolan, both of whom are returning to the NHL after lengthy hiatuses.
It must be about 16 years ago that Bud Stefanski came home from practice one day, telling his family about the likeable local kid that had come to try out for his Junior B team in Peterborough, Ontario.
About the same time, maybe even at dinner that same night, Stefanski’s daughter Mara, a high school freshman, excitedly described to the family the young boy who’d been smiling at her across the hallway at school.
“They turned out to be the same guy,” said Stefanski.
The boy who would become his son-in-law and the father of three of Stefanski’s grandchildren was Cory Stillman, itinerate hockey sniper and surprise playoff hero for the Carolina Hurricanes.
Peter Laviolette and Michael Peca envisioned being at the Stanley Cup finals together. They just thought they’d be on the same team.
These finals have reunited the coach-captain combination that got the New York Islanders back into the playoffs for the first time in eight years in 2002. This postseason, though, has them on opposite benches.