The Islanders hosted their annual Hockey Fights Cancer Night on Saturday.
But this one took on special meaning as the team recognized former Islanders Clark Gillies, Mike Bossy and Jean Potvin, all who passed away this year from the disease, before beating the Blue Jackets, 4-3, in overtime at UBS Arena.
“I think it’s just a reminder that cancer is a terrible thing that affects everybody,” Matt Martin said. “You just think about the impact they had on Long Island and their history here and how much they’re missed. I was closest with Clarkie out of all of them. I miss him every day. He was such a role model for me.”
Gillies and Bossy, both Hall of Famers, played for all four Stanley Cup champions from 1980-83. Potvin, the older brother of Islanders Hall of Famer Denis Potvin, had his name engraved on the Cup in 1980 and 1981.
It was also an emotional night for Zach Parise as he scored the overtime winner. His father, former Islander J.P. Parise, died in 2015 because of lung cancer.
“My mind starts to wander on these nights when you see those three kids drop the puck before the game,” Parise said of Owen Shouldice, 12, Henry Schafer, 6, and Mason Maier, 6, who are patients at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park as they fight cancer.
“It’s an emotional time. Personally, it’s the illusion of losing my dad to that. It can be a pretty sad day.”
The Islanders are 2-0 in overtime after going 3-10 last season … Defenseman Sebastian Aho had his first career two-assist performance … Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen opted to use Fs Patrik Laine, Boone Jenner and Johnny Gaudreau for the three-on-three overtime. Gaudreau, the former Flame, was booed when he touched the puck after signing elsewhere as an unrestricted free agent.