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FlightZone: Rest Peacefully, Al Arbour

"“Al will always be remembered as one of, if not the, greatest coaches ever..."

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The legendary Al Arbour has passed away at age 82. In addition to a lengthy playing career, Arbour helmed the New York Islanders for 1500 games, leading them to four straight Stanley Cup victories from 1980 to 1983.

New York Islanders President and General Manager Garth Snow had this to say: "Al will always be remembered as one of, if not the, greatest coaches ever to stand behind a bench in the history of the National Hockey League...The New York Islanders franchise has four Stanley Cups to its name, thanks in large part to Al’s incredible efforts. From his innovative coaching methods, to his humble way of life away from the game, Al is one of the reasons the New York Islanders are a historic franchise. On behalf of the entire organization, we send our deepest condolences to the entire Arbour family."

If you have six minutes this weekend, Newsday has a phenomenal video featuring stories of Al from Pat LaFontaine, Clark Gillies and former Newsday sportswriter Pat Calabria. It's worth your time, in my opinion.

And now, your AIH News at Noon.

Central Division

In some very good news for Stars fans, Valeri Nichushkin says that he feels great. (ProHockeyTalk)

Oh what a day, what a lovely day Friday was for Dallas, as they also locked up fantasy sleeper Cody Eakin. $3.85 million might be a bit pricier than folks would like to see their third line centre, but he's an underrated, versatile player who can contribute in all situations and move up and down your lineup. (Yahoo! Sports)

As per the St. Louis Blues, Patrik Berglund underwent successful surgery on his right shoulder. I'm still waiting for the day a team's press release says the surgery was botched and the doctor's a hack. Well if it isn't my old friend Mr. McKeggwith a leg for an arm and an arm for a leg. (St. Louis Blues)

Speaking of Berglund, St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Jeff Gordon thinks that the loss of "a peripheral player in a deep offense last season" can be largely mitigated. Good to see we're not the only team betting on the kids, then. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Sportsnet's Ryan Dixon tackles the Dustin Byfuglien contract question. He thinks that "the best plan for Winnipeg might be to sit tight and see how the first quarter of the season plays out", for the sake of maybe winning a playoff round or two. Read it, and debate in the comments section below. (Sportsnet)

Serving as both a traveling circus and the world's best* Winnipeg Jets podcast, your AIH Superfans have posted their latest episode to be dissected by one and all. Alan, they miss you. (Podomatic)

*according to nine out of ten inanimate objects surveyed

And A Few Scattered Others

The Detroit Red Wings have hired Bryan Campbell as Director of Statistical Analysis and he's got a laundry list of responsibilities, none of which include basement blogging. (CBS Sports)

Cam Talbot has yet to play his first game with the Edmonton Oilers, and so of course here is an article headlined: "Does Jimmy Howard of Detroit Red Wings make sense as long-term bet for Edmonton Oilers?" (Edmonton Journal)

Our Pittsburgh friends had a looksie at where they can expect Sergei Plotnikov to play in the lineup. In completely unrelated news, Evgeni Malkin's stall has a new neighbour. (Pensburgh)

Speaking of Pittsburgh, the Penguins have signed their first 2015 draft selection, Daniel Sprong, to an entry-level contract. As a well publicized 'boom or bust' pick, his will be a very interesting career to watch. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Does anybody else think these Top 5 Lightning prospects are really, really strong? And it doesn't even list Andrei Vasilevskiy, who has still only played a grand total of 20 NHL games. (NHL)

Corey Long's three Tampa Bay questions centre around Stamkos, Bishop and Drouin, even though he could have easily gone with "Has Stamkos signed yet?", "How bout now?" and "Why hasn't Stamkos signed yet?". I for one really hope he waits to ink a new contract, because who doesn't love an entire year of Stamkos-to-Toronto speculation? (NHL)

If Daniel Winnik likes a challenge, he's going to love his continuing stay with the Toronto Maple Leafs. (The Score)

And finally, the Saginaw Spirit are ready for hockey. We're almost there folks, September is nearly upon us:

Thanks for reading! What do you folks think of Ryan Dixon's ideas regarding Dustin Byfuglien? Is it a great plan, or the greatest plan? Be sure to discuss in the Comments below!