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Orr brothers nearly fighting in game among odd hockey tales

Bouchers faced Ruth, Gehrig on baseball diamond; New York mayor's Walker Cup

by Stan Fischler / Special to NHL.com

Legendary hockey reporter Stan Fischler writes a weekly scrapbook for NHL.com. Fischler, known as "The Hockey Maven," shares his humor and insight with readers each Wednesday.

This week, a hat trick of odd hockey tales.

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SUNDAYS WITH STAN: Zeal, Zest and Zoom -- Travis Zajac

Stan Fischler looks back on the career of Devils forward Travis Zajac, who was honored for his 1000th game this past Saturday

by Stan Fischler / Special to NewJerseyDevils.com

It's hard not to like Travis Zajac.

Unless you happen to be an opposition goaltender.

And even then, the kudos kayo any animosity because if anything is celebrated today -- apart from the well-earned tribute to The Man's milestone, it's the Winnipeg native as the role model's role model.

"Nobody's perfect," says Devils radio play-by-play analyst and longtime NHL goaltender Glenn Resch, "but when it comes to being a model hockey player -- and person -- Travis is your guy."

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ZAJAC 1000: It's the Family

Check out the great ones, starting with The Great One and you'll find that their success -- blended with humility -- is rooted in a healthy family upbringing

by Stan Fischler StanFischler / NewJerseyDevils.com

Check out the great ones, starting with The Great One and you'll find that their success -- blended with humility -- is rooted in a healthy family upbringing. 

Wayne Gretzky credits his parents with making him the mensch he is today.

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ZAJAC 1000: Zajac and Henrich

It's not often that a hockey player is favorably compared to a legendary member of the New York Yankees, but Stan Fischler makes that connection with Travis Zajac

by Stan Fischler StanFischler / NewJerseyDevils.com

It's not often that a hockey player is favorably compared to a legendary member of the New York Yankees..

That's especially the case when the Bomber in question isn't even a Hall of Famer in the Babe Ruth-Lou Gehrig class.

Yet Emmy Award-winning sportscaster George Falkowski of Phillipsburg, New Jersey argues that Travis Zajac fits in the same category as right fielder Tommy Henrich.

A clutch hitter on Yankees' World Series teams in the 1930's and 1940's, Henrich was overshadowed by the more glamorous types. 

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ZAJAC 1000: What Big-Leaguers Says About Travis

Stan Fischler compiled quotes from several big leagues about Travis Zajac

by Stan Fischler StanFischler / NewJerseyDevils.com

Not surprisingly, both friends and foes laud Travis Zajac for what he is -- a pro's pro. Here are some comments:

BRENT SUTTER: "The best way to say it is that Travis has taken the necessary steps needed to be a good pro. The more he played the more he became mentally and physically stronger."

MARTIN BRODEUR: "As he found himself in the league Travis became a dominant player, scoring big goals for us and playing in a lot of situations."

PETER DEBOER REFLECTING ON ZAJAC IN 2012 PLAYOFFS: "We couldn't have gone as far as we did -- to the Cup Final -- without him. He became our most effective and consistent player."

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ZAJAC 1000: Loughlin Knows Him Best

Stan Fischler chatted with Matt Loughlin about Travis Zajac's Devils career

by Stan Fischler StanFischler / NewJerseyDevils.com

Devils radio play-by-play ace Matt Loughlin has observed Travis Zajac in action as long as anyone. With that in mind, it's worth putting Matty's observations in the A-1. category. To wit:

"Travis is the last link to the Devils glory days," Loughlin points out. "He played for Cup-winners and helped the club to the Cup Final in 2012. Now he's guiding this young team through its growing pains as the franchise moves back to contending status.

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Maven's Memories: Jim Devellano, The Other Architect

Stan Fischler profiles Jim Devellano, Director of Scouting from the dynasty era

by Stan Fischler @StanFischler / NewYorkIslanders.com

At first, Bill Torrey didn't recognize the little guy and neither did Bill's sidekick, Ed Chadwick.

The pair, who comprised the baby Islanders entire high command, were minding their business strolling along Montreal's Sainte-Catherine Street. The 1972 Draft had been held and now they were plotting the Isles future.

The Little Guy instantly recognized the Isles duet and shook Bow Tie Bill's hand. Jim Devellano told them that he was looking for a hockey job and maybe the Islanders' General Manager could help him out.

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column

Howe overcame scary head injury, briefly wore helmet for Red Wings

Hall of Famer sustained brain hemorrhage when he crashed into boards during playoffs in 1950

by Stan Fischler / Special to NHL.com

Legendary hockey reporter Stan Fischler writes a weekly scrapbook for NHL.com. Fischler, known as "The Hockey Maven," shares his humor and insight with readers each Wednesday.

This week Stan offers his "A Picture Is Worth 100 Words" feature. This rare photo from his collection depicts Hall of Famer Gordie Howe wearing a helmet, one of the precious few times the indomitable right wing was photographed wearing one.

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SUNDAYS WITH STAN: Curtain Rises on Lemaire

A week into New Jersey's training camp, Lemaire gathered the ingredients and began stirring the pot. His recipe was the acme of simplicity.

by Stan Fischler StanFischler / Special to NewJerseyDevils.com

It was hard not to like Jacques Lemaire.

The warm smile was enough to get you.

His overwhelming love of teaching hockey was another.

The balding French-Canadian by way of Montreal was a smoothie and a softy in the best sense of the words.

There's a bushel more to like about the guy but suffice to say that Devils players -- almost to a man -- would second the motion of New Jersey's Cup-winning center Bobby Holik:

"He was the best coach I ever had," Holik asserted, "and there's nobody in second place."

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Maven's Memories: Fresh Faces Prove a Tonic in 2003-04

With a new coach and renewed energy, the Islanders make playoffs for a third-straight season

by Stan Fischler @StanFischler / NewYorkIslanders.com

"Contrasts."

That one word best describes two consecutive -- and vastly different --Islanders playoff seasons, 2001-02 and 2002-03.

The former campaign culminated with a tempestuous seven-game series against the unfriendly Maple Leafs that ended in defeat, but with considerable honor.

The latter season -- in which Ottawa negated the Nassaumen four games to one -- stuck in just about everyone's craw, especially Mike Milbury's 

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