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Islanders Core of the Four Lorne Henning: The player-coach

UNIONDALE, NY - MARCH 02: Former New York Islanders legend Denis Potvin carries the Stanley Cup before the game against the Florida Panthers at the Nassau Coliseum March 2, 2008 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders are celebrating the 17 men that were part of all four Stanley Cup winning teams from 1980-1983. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NY - MARCH 02: Former New York Islanders legend Denis Potvin carries the Stanley Cup before the game against the Florida Panthers at the Nassau Coliseum March 2, 2008 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders are celebrating the 17 men that were part of all four Stanley Cup winning teams from 1980-1983. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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UNIONDALE, NY – MARCH 02: Denis Potvin of the ‘Core of the Four’ New York Islanders Stanley Cup victories take part in a ceremony prior to the Islanders game against the Florida Panthers at the Nassau Coliseum March 2, 2008 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Lorne Henning was the one name I couldn’t think of from the New York Islanders Core of the Four, and there’s a good reason for it. He didn’t win four cups as a player.

Through four Stanley Cup championships, the New York Islanders were able to keep a core of 17 players. It’s an incredible feat considering how things were back then and how things are still today. In today’s NHL, players get traded away for new blood or because their cap hit is too large of a burden. Keeping that many players together for that long is something that won’t ever be re-created.

In thinking about the Core of the Four recently I had a difficult time remembering all 17 players. Lorne Henning was the one that I just couldn’t remember. And it took me a while to remember his name. So I started this series to help me not only know the names but the players behind the names.

Some will say that there are only 16 players with four rings. And that’s true. Lorne Henning only has two rings, as a player. His other two rings are as an assistant coach with the Isles. So that’s why he typically gets excluded.

Normally I would have taken that as enough to keep him out as well, but back in 2008, the Islanders honored the Core of the Four and Lorne Henning, introduced by Bryan Trottier was one of those honored. So if they’re going to honor him so will I.

How did he get to the Islanders?

Like just about a third of the 17 players that form the Core of the Four, Lorne Henning was drafted by the New York Islanders. Bill Torrey and his scouting staff headed by Jimmy Devellano, picked Henning in the second round (17th overall) in the 1972 draft.

The Islanders had an epic draft in 1972. They drafted Billy Harris first overall (he would be traded in 1980 as part of a package for Butch Goring). Bob Nystrom was taken in the third round and Garry Howatt in the tenth round.

Lorne put up huge numbers in junior. In his draft year, 1971-72, Henning scored 51 goals and 114 points for the New Westminster Bruins of the WCHL. He was tied with eventual Hockey Hall of Fame player Lanny McDonald for seventh in WCHL scoring that season.

It didn’t take him long to make it and stick in the NHL. Henning played four games in the AHL in 1972-73 with the New Haven Nighthawks before stepping up to the NHL and putting up 26 points in 63 games. (He had a short stint in the CHL with eight games for the Fort Worth Texans in 1974-75.)

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