Isles Buzz

Islanders Award Winners: Denis Potvin, Norris Trophy, 1978



By winning the Calder Trophy in 1974 and the Norris in 1976, Denis Potvin had already established himself as one of the best defensemen in the NHL. That was the good news. The bad news was that his mouth and idiosyncratic disposition separated him from many of his peers and even his own teammates. An inflammatory series of diaries written during the 1976 Canada Cup tournament made many in and out of the game think of him as a petulant grouch or an outright villain. But by beginning his journey as a businessman, taking a more team-oriented approach to hockey and opening himself up emotionally to his teammates, Potvin - still just 24-years-old - was able to unburden himself from pressure and expectations. In a season in which the Islanders started out sloppy and ended up with their first division championship, Potvin was a rock of consistency. After watching his brother Jean get traded away from Long Island, Denis went on a second half scoring rampage, blowing past his defensive competition to reclaim the Norri