On August 22, the New York Islanders announced the return of Islander Legend Billy Smith, who will be the team's new goalie coach and replace Mike Palmateer.
Billy Smith is a Long Island Legend who needs no introduction. If you were born before 1990 and you live on Long Island, you have to know who he is. The greatest money goalie in the history of the sport, Smitty led the Islanders to 4 straight Stanley Cups and won the 1983 Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs. His #31 hangs proudly from the rafters of the Nassau Coliseum as a tribute to his 18-year Islander career.
Billy the Kid played 680 games in his career and in the 1979, in a game against the Colorado Rockies (who are now the Devils), he became the first NHL goalie ever to record a goal. Battlin' Billy is also the all-time leader in penalty minutes by a goalie. In 132 playoff games, Smithwon 88 contests, five of them shut-outs. His goals against average was 2.73 in the post season.
Billy Smith will be the perfect mentour for the Islanders young Rick DiPietro. He'll also be working with other goalies in the Islanders organization as well. Guys like Garth Snow, Dusan Salficky and Steve Valiquette will also benefit under Smitty's tutelage.
Islanders fans everywhere are thrilled to have Billy Smith back with the organization. The past meets the future in Nassau Coliseum. And with the new look of the Islanders, who have added Alexei Yashin, Mike Peca, and Adrian Aucoin to the ranks, maybe it's time to start making plans for playoff tickets!