The islanders pulled back a shirt in the Colosseum for the first time in 19 years on Friday evening.
John Tonellis No. 27 was raised to the rafters and paid tribute to the former left winger's seven seasons with the franchise and contribution to his historic four-year Stanley Cup run.
"Since I got the call from [general manager Lou Lamoriello]"I was in a different mood," said Tonelli on Friday before the islanders defeated the Red Wings 4-1. "Everything is optimistic. Nothing bothered me, it was just constant excitement and a great feeling. "
The islanders won 60 of 78 postseason games during these four trips to their Stanley Cup titles, went 12-1 in extra time, and proved to be one of the most dominant teams in NHL history. Tonelli played an important role in the continued success of the team and was successful in almost every big moment he got.
From supporting Bobby Nystrom's series-winning overtime goal in game 6 of the 1980 Stanley Cup final against the Flyers to maintaining the dynasty with a game-winning goal in regulation and the game winner in extra time against the penguins in the preliminary round of the playoffs of In 1982, Tonelli consolidated as one of the island's greatest.
Tonelli distracted the individual spotlight and praised his teammates for the success he could have.
"It's an individual honor, but I don't have it without my center icemen Wayne Merrick, Bob Nystrom, my right winger and the rest of my teammates," he said. "I have nothing without these guys."
Tonelli said that the islanders' success from 1979 to 1983 would not have been possible without the then head coach Al Arbor, who died of Parkinson's and dementia on August 28, 2015.
Trying to find the words with tears in his eyes, Tonelli greeted Arbor for his guidance.
"Everything for me is – he was an incredible leader, mentor," Tonelli said before pausing to find his words. “I get emotional when I talk about Al because he was so important to me. He just said the right things and he was good to all of us. He got the best out of each of us. "
Still, No. 27 is not officially retiring considering that islanders' captain Anders Lee has worn the number since joining the club in 2013. But Tonelli wouldn't be any different.
"I've watched him like a hawk since he dressed 27," he said with a smile. "But I am so impressed, I feel so honored that he will continue to wear our number. I can only say that he has character, he is a great leader and I want him to wear it and hopefully one day we will be up there together. I'm very glad about that. "
Cal Clutterbuck, who has been paused since wrist surgery on December 21, was placed in the long-term injury reserve and assigned to AHL Bridgeport as part of a conditioning task.
Coach Barry Despite said Clutterbuck told Lamoriello that he wouldn't mind going to the team's AHL partner to do some work before returning to the islanders.
"That says a lot about Clutter," and tries to prepare to help us, "said Trots." Some boys feel too big to go down there. He is preparing to help us, and in this way he will get a game action and hopefully come to us if everything goes well. "
Kieffer Bellows was assigned to Bridgeport, and Otto Koivula and Andrew Ladd were recalled by the Sound Tigers.