Butch Goring shakes his head when he's reminded that it's been 31 years since he was involved in the best trade deadline deal of all time.
The New York Islanders had struggled for most of 1979-80 after finishing first overall the previous season. GM Bill Torrey refrained from making any moves until the trade deadline, when he swapped a pair of productive long-time Islanders -- forward Billy Harris and defenseman Dave Lewis -- to Los Angeles for Goring, a speedy center.
The rest is history. With Goring anchoring a second scoring line, the Isles went 8-0-4 for the rest of the season, won the first Stanley Cup in franchise history, and then went on to win the next three, as well.
Goring said he was surprised -- and not at all pleased -- when the deal went down.
"I had signed a six-year deal with the Kings -- I think I was in the second year -- so I really wasn't expecting to go anywhere. At least I was hoping not to go anywhere," he told NHL.com. "My initial reaction was one of anger and disappointment."
Once he took a look at the team he was going to, he says he felt better.
"I got here and I realized I was going to an awfully good hockey club," he said. "That made it a lot easier to handle. This was a team that had a chance to win a Stanley Cup. Once I was able to get the emotions out of it, I realized it was a tremendous opportunity. In L.A., we were pretty much a .500 hockey club."
The Goring deal has become the gold standard of deadline deals because it led to four Cups, not just one.
"As we now know, you can say it was a pretty good trade," he said with a laugh. "It's because we didn't just win one; we started a dynasty of some sort. I'm not saying that trade was the reason we won four (Cups), but the fact of the matter is that they made a trade and they ended up winning four. That's why it's been such a much talked-about trade, and I'm happy to enjoy the moment every year."