From the hockey hotbed of Israel comes a reminder that today, May 24, is the 40th anniversary of Bob Nystrom’s goal that gave the Islanders the first (of what would be four consecutive) Stanley Cups.
"You're tellin' me?!?!" Nystrom told journalist Hillel Kuttler in their phone conversation, which is part of Kuttler’s podcast series about how noted athletes are trying to stay safe during the virus plague. A few weeks back, Kuttler reached the hallowed Brooklyn Dodger nonagenarian Carl Erskine.
Kuttler, a Queens boy now living in Israel, had to remind me that the best team I ever covered has a Big Four-Oh anniversary.
Kuttler had a 30-minute chat with Nystrom, who is currently holed up in Boca Raton, Fl., but has been a resident of Long Island since playing for the Islanders. Kuttler recalled “that glorious afternoon when I sat on a stool at the Charlie O's pub in Rockefeller Center, glued to the TV throughout a terrific game, climaxed by Nystrom's magical goal off superb feeds by Henning and Tonelli.”
It’s true. In that final sequence, the broadcaster described how a Flyer “took a hit from Nystrom” -- that was known to happen – and the puck went squirting up the ice, followed by a back pass from Henning to Tonelli on the right side and a cross to Nystrom for the goal, just as they practiced it, for years and years.
The Islanders had been showing talent and discipline but a lot of potential dynasties never happen. This one did. The Islanders won three more, and Nystrom, a tough guy from out west in Canada, was a vital part of it. He could play with skill…and he could play rough….and he could handle the guff from Al Arbour the bespectacled coach when he needed somebody to scold in practice. Nothing bothered Bobby Ny.
One of the last N.H.L. players to not wear a helmet, as the league got serious about safety, Nystrom was the guts of those four teams. The Islanders, a frugal outfit run by Bill Torrey, were not restocking with expensive stars as the Yankees did, so the team stuck together under Arbour. Sixteen of them played on all four Stanley Cup teams and three others played on three championship teams.
Go ahead, Islanders fans, try to remember all of them.
Every player on that list evokes a smile from me…and I am sure from Kuttler, and all Islanders fans of a certain age.
Kuttler asked Nystrom how he would rank the Islanders with other Stanley Cup dynasties like the Oilers who followed them, or the Canadiens, who preceded them, and Nystrom said: "I would put us up there with the best ever to win the Stanley Cup."
These days I don’t indulge in much nostalgia -- life is too serious. Haven’t seen a second of Michael Jordan and don’t plan to watch a second of Lance Armstrong, and I don’t watch old games even when Willis Reed or Rocky Swoboda or Mookie Wilson or Mike Bossy are involved. But I love the old days, and I love hearing Bob Nystrom, 40 years after his goal, talk about social-distancing. He never did much of that on the ice, back in the day.
Hillel Kuttler’s interview with Islander immortal, Bob Nystrom:
5/25/2020 08:38:47 am
hi george-the only thing that i here or read about sports now is your wonderful stories and life insights.it is very serious.thank god we are all fine.hope the same for you and yours.ahron
5/25/2020 09:36:06 am
As a devout Rangers fan living and working in Philadelphia at the time I recall feeling “why can’t both teams lose?” The Islanders moves to Long Island and chased my Blue Shirts from Their Long Beach practice facility to Westchester. The Flyers beat up Dale Rolf. It was a dark time ...
5/25/2020 12:01:21 pm
5/25/2020 12:18:33 pm
5/25/2020 12:08:00 pm
5/25/2020 12:38:21 pm
bruce-as an old ranger fan it was good to see schutz get his
5/25/2020 12:44:16 pm
5/25/2020 01:02:09 pm
bruce-watched it. iam 72.blue seats in the old garden
5/25/2020 01:06:23 pm
5/25/2020 01:12:48 pm
I never saw the need for the goons in hockey. However, it was probably necessary for an enforcer to protect their team’s leading players.
5/26/2020 10:28:52 pm
At the risk of sounding really ugly - here I go - women's soccer is an inferior product. Professional sports are about selling a product, and the better product is deserving of financial support in a free market economy.
5/25/2020 01:28:02 pm
5/25/2020 07:36:52 pm
Wow, I go outside to do some yard work, and suddenly 11 comments pop up. Well done.
5/25/2020 07:54:39 pm
Comments are closed.
From the great Maureen Dowd:
As I write this, I’m in a deserted newsroom in The Times’s D.C. office. After working at home for two years during Covid, I was elated to get back, so I could wander around and pick up the latest scoop.
But in the last year, there has been only a smattering of people whenever I’m here, with row upon row of empty desks. Sometimes a larger group gets lured in for a meeting with a platter of bagels."
--- Dowd writes about the lost world of journalists clustered in newsrooms at all hours, smoking, drinking, gossipping, making phone calls, typing, editing.
"Putting out the paper," we called it.
Much more than nostalgia.