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Ex-teammates and friends recalled “funny” islander Jean Potvin

It’s particularly cruel, all that but Jean Potvin and Clark Gillies – two men who brought lightness and lightheartedness to the Dynasty Isles – died within two months There is a special kind of horror to befall a group of men who have been intertwined for four decades.

“It’s really ironic. Clark Gillies and Jean Potvin set a room on fire,” Chico Resch told the Post in a phone call Wednesday morning. “They were probably the two most outgoing, friendly and welcoming players on our team.”

jean potvin, who died on Tuesday at the age of 72 After a long battle with the disease, he played portions of eight seasons with the Islanders, including their first two Stanley Cup title seasons in 1980 and 1981. After that, he stayed in the team’s radio booth — where he resided and cared for during both playoff runs originally “Yes! Yes! Yes!” Call for Bobby Nystrom’s overtime winner against the Flyers in the 1980 Cup – for eight years.

Elder Potvin brother Jean was originally brought into a 1973 trade from the Flyers by general manager Bill Torrey. Two months later, the Islanders drafted Denis Potvin for the overall pick of the amateur draft. Jean’s presence helped Denis come to Long Island rather than join the nascent World Hockey Association, and his personality contrasted with that of his more famous brother.

A smiling Jean Potvin presents his former coach Al Arbor with a lawn chair during a 2006 ceremony honoring the Islanders' first Stanley Cup victory.
A smiling Jean Potvin presents his former coach Al Arbor with a lawn chair during a 2006 ceremony honoring the Islanders’ first Stanley Cup victory.
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Jean was a smart dresser, often wore a pocket square inside his jacket, and held up a little finger when he was drinking. He was a talented player but didn’t fit in with the Broad Street Bullies – his game was physical but not mean. The Islanders brought him to Cleveland in 1977-78 but brought him back before that first Cup season even though they already had a top-six defense that was more or less set in stone.

“When Torrey brought him back, Jeanny told me he said, ‘I’m bringing you back for a specific role to be light and lively in the dressing room and to step in when we need you,'” Resch said. “I said, ‘Jeanny, you could be the highest paid comedian in New York.’ ”

To that end, Jean would nudge coach Al Arbor and remind him from the end of the bench that he was there and ready to go.

Denis wasn’t that person. But having his brother around helped him in every way.

“Off the ice, Denny certainly noticed how committed and humorous and connected he was to his teammates, and Jeanny probably did that a little better than Denny,” said Resch. “I think they just saw each other’s strengths and ate each other up. These two brothers just loved each other and I also knew Mr Potvin, he was a great father to them both.”

At his Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Denis said of his brother, “He walked me through every door to opportunity.”

While Denis was burdened with the burden of expectations and spent his career in the public eye, Jean could afford to be more relaxed.

“Potsy was kind, generous, funny — hilarious,” said Joe McCann, a longtime Islanders coach and friend of Jeans. “He always brought hilarity when he was in a room.”

Jean would keep Joe on the phone for an hour and start spinning threads about Arbor and the Dynasty, his family and kids, and the other alumni.

“All these years later you don’t look back and you’re like, ‘Oh, I played with this guy 20 years ago,’ and you didn’t talk to him,” McCann said. “Our alumni are very closely connected and very unique. And that in turn goes back to the people who brought the players and the staff here to be one and to be proud to be an islander.”

The close ties that continue to this day have made things that much harder lately. Earlier in the season, Mike Bossy was diagnosed with lung cancer. Gillies and Jean Potvin recently passed away.

It impacted the group and made people think.

“I guess what happened 42 years ago was a phantom dream,” said Resch. “And what is happening now is the harsh reality of life. That we are mortal and we all have to face that.”

https://nypost.com/2022/03/16/funny-islander-jean-potvin-remembered-by-ex-teammates-friends/ Ex-teammates and friends recalled “funny” islander Jean Potvin

JOE HERNANDEZ

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