The Champs: Glenn Resch
Chico to his many fans... One of the team's first playoff heroes in the mid-1970s, and a member of the 1979-80 Stanley Cup squad... First on the all-time Islander goaltender list with 25 shutouts and a 2.56 goals against average in 282 games... His 157 wins are second only to Bill Smith for most in franchise history... was traded to Colorado toward the end of the 1980-81 season... worked as a goalie coach for the Philadelphia Flyers, Minnesota North Stars and Ottawa Senators, and is currently a television commentator for the New Jersey Devils.
Here's what Chico had to say about how Butch Goring's acquisition affected the team in 1980. This is from the Islanders section of Fox Sports Net New York's Web site:
"How ironic that the man who turned the Islanders around during the first season they won the Stanley Cup is the same man leading the team into the new millennium.
Twenty years ago, in 1980, we were having another typically good season, but had gone through some serious hot and cold stretches. What all of us management included realized as the trading deadline approached was that we needed to make a drastic change. Something that would breathe new life into a team searching for its first Stanley Cup championship.
The key moment in the building of the Islanders team that would go on to win four straight Cups was when Bill Torrey and Al Arbour decided to trade Billy Harris (Torrey’s first-ever draft pick) and Dave Lewis to the Los Angeles Kings for Butch Goring.
That was really the turning point in a couple of ways. It showed that management was willing to do something drastic to take a run at the Cup, psychologically giving us the belief that this team was for real.
The biggest impact it made was to give us a second centerman, a second offensive threat at the position that we had been lacking. To win a Cup before you can start talking about a dynasty you must have two bona fide centers who can help the wingers light it up. Teams had been lining up their best defenders against the line featuring Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier and Clark Gillies, and they were able to shut that line down. Before Goring arrived, that second line was a huge question mark, and you never knew what you were going to get from it. Goring gave us the confidence that we were going to score with that second line.
Butch was a great addition to the team because he was just as hungry as we were. He was a great player in L.A., playing with not-so-great players. We didn’t know how good he was until he lined up on our side. Many of us had been there since day one, growing with the organization. We were desperate to win, and had put in a lot of work and effort.
Now, here comes Goring, who was just as desperate after playing with a Kings team that had little chance of winning a title. If we had brought in an established player with three championship rings, he might not have been as hungry, as intense. When Butch arrived, we went on a tear in the final part of the season, winning 10 or 12 in a row. We were playing inspired hockey leading into the postseason.
In the first round, we struggled against the Kings, but we beat them because we were the better team. The biggest obstacle came against the Boston Bruins. We were a skill team, and while we had a lot of the stuff necessary to win, opponents thought we were soft. The belief was that if you could intimidate us, we would back off. The battle with the Bruins was the most ferocious series I was ever involved in.
It was a physical series that featured lots of fighting. Bruins winger Terry O’Reilly and Gillies fought every night in what became the battle within the war. After the series, O’Reilly told Gillies, "No hard feelings, Clark. I did what I had to do for the team because we thought we could intimidate you."
That’s when we knew we had what it took to win the Cup.
Once we won the first two games in Boston, we knew we could play with anyone in the league. Winning two games at Boston Garden two extremely physical games was our proving ground.
Once we got past the Bruins, everything else seemed to fall into place. We never doubted ourselves in the toughness area again."
Here's more from Resch on the 1981-82 season.