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Wanderers imported first New York hockey stars before NHL began

Cleghorn brothers, Smeaton were considered 'ringers' from Canada in 1909-10 season

by Stan Fischler / Special to NHL.com

Legendary hockey writer 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, Fischler tells the tale of the first three hockey stars to play in New York, years before the NHL began.

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A Priest, A Hockey Player & A Cameraman Walk Into a Live Studio Set | SUN

Stan Fischler recounts a fantastic story about a live pre-game show that consisted a series of unfortunate (and hilarious) events

by Stan Fischler / Special to NewJerseyDevils.com

From time to time I'm going to take you behind the television scenes with stories you've never heard before. Some, like the following are both melodramatic and, in the end, hilarious.

This one features Father Edward Casey, a Philadelphia priest who also, for decades, has been a hockey historian with special emphasis on goaltenders. He's also a longtime and dear friend of mine.

But that's not all. My cast of noble characters also includes Matt Loughlin, the "Matt" of Matt and the Maven, as well as Yours Truly. 

The "Supporting Actors" have to be as you shall see John Madden, then New Jersey's best defensive forward, our Philly studio cameraman Mike Finn and then SportsChannel's (now MSG Networks) award-winning producer, Roland Dratch. 

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Maven's Memories: First Outstanding Upset in Franchise History

Stan Fischler recounts the Islanders dramatic 9-7 win over the Boston Bruins in their inaugural season

by Stan Fischler @StanFischler / NewYorkIslanders.com

Neither Bill Torrey nor his sidekick, Jim Devellano, were surprised. Here in the Islanders maiden season (1972-73) there were hurdles to jump and their skaters were failing left and right.

"We already knew we'd finish last in the league," said Bow Tie Bill, the General Manager. "It was just a matter of by how much."

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NHL Insider

Egan had successful second act in NHL after World War II

Defenseman scored hat trick as rookie, then revived career with Bruins, Rangers

by Stan Fischler / Special to NHL.com

Legendary hockey writer 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, Fischler tells the story of defenseman Pat Egan, who thought his NHL career was over when he reported for duty in World War II, only to have a successful second act after the war.

Fischler interviewed Egan in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, in the 1990s.

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Nicholls' Classy Yet Sad Memory | SUNDAYS WITH STAN

Bernie Nicholls had a storied NHL career, but the game he'll never forget was a loss the Rangers

by Stan Fischler / Special to NewJerseyDevils.com

It takes a special, classy, athlete to do what ex-Devil Bernie Nicholls did.

I'm talking about a guy who played 16 seasons in the NHL and only two for New Jersey,

Asked to choose "The Game He'll Never Forget," Nicholls chose a Devils loss of all things. 

And to the Rangers, of all teams.

Ordinarily this would be hard to fathom until you understand the game and the series to which Bernie refers.

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Maven's Memories: Schmoozing With Michael Peca

Stan Fischler catches up with Michael Peca on the Isles captaincy and the 2002 playoffs

by Stan Fischler @StanFischler / NewYorkIslanders.com

Although he arrived in Uniondale almost two decades after the Stanley Cup dynasty, Michael Peca emerged as a significant Islander during one of the club's most bitter playoff series in 2002.

His leadership skills earned him the nickname Captain Crunch. Michael became a Long Islander hero since the "C-Man" played some of his best and most intense games against the Rangers. 

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NHL Insider

Dornhoefer unsung hero who helped Flyers win Stanley Cup twice in 1970s

Forward was 'fearless,' scored 20 goals five times for Philadelphia

by Stan Fischler / Special to NHL.com

Legendary hockey writer 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, Fischler recalls the role Gary Dornhoefer played in helping the Philadelphia Flyers win consecutive Stanley Cup championships in 1974 and '75.

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How the Devils Helped Me Get Inducted in the U.S. Hall of Fame | SUNDAYS

Covering some of the most important moments in Devils history helped Stan Fischler build a HOF resume

by Stan Fischler / Special to NewJerseyDevils.com

Needless to say, I was shocked, pleased, grateful and shocked again when I learned that this Maven of yours would be inducted into the US. Hockey Hall of Fame.

I got the call last June - at first, I thought it was a gag - and the verification that it was not a joke a day later.

On December 9th, the actual induction took place in Denver, Colorado. Among the hockey notables sharing the dais with me were ex-NHLers Paul Holmgren and Tony Granato, among many U.S. hockey notables.

My former Devils colleague on TV broadcasts, Peter McNab, was another HOF recipient but, unfortunately, illness kept him away from the ceremony. Peter was one of my favorite New Jersey TV analysts - and pal.

Friendly faces from my distant past emerged and produced endless smiles and hugs. 

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Maven's Memories: From Doghouse to Penthouse in 1975

Stan Fischler recalls the drama of the Islanders-Rangers playoff series in 1975

by Stan Fischler @StanFischler / NewYorkIslanders.com

Good luck charms are a dime-a-dozen, but the "art" of bringing good luck to your favorite hockey team takes on many forms.

The Maven should know since I've spent 49 years trying to convince Lady Luck that she belongs on the Nassau side of the tracks.

Looking backward, I'd have to say that my biggest challenge took place during the 1975, best-of-three playoff between our guys and the Rangers.

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Maven's Memories: Al Arbour's Trifecta

Three ploys that made Al Arbour one of the game's greatest coaches

by Stan Fischler @StanFischler / NewYorkIslanders.com

The genius of Al (Radar) Arbour that enabled him to become the penultimate hockey coach can be defined in many ways.

For sure the easiest two equations go like this:

1. Arbour = four consecutive Stanley Cups, 1980-1983.

2. Arbour = 19 consecutive playoff series victories 1980-1984.

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