Throughout my decades covering the Islanders, my journalistic tendency was to write about the so-called "Unsung Heroes" as much as the superstars.

Mind you, I never walked away from a Mike Bossy or Bryan Trottier and I even was the ghostwriter for Denis Potvin's autobiography, "Power On Ice."

But I got a special kick out of interviewing the Bob Bourne’s, Garry Howatt’s and similar lesser lights but important cogs in the Islanders machine.

Which is where Dave Langevin enters the picture. 

I recall when he came to Uniondale in time for the 1979-80 season. There was no fuss and fanfare as there had been six years earlier when Denis Potvin made his debut in the Orange and Blue. 

As a matter of fact, he was just another World Hockey Association name who had yet to prove that he was up for the challenge in The Show. I don't even recall if he had earned the nickname "Bammer" when he originally stepped on Coliseum ice.

"Dave turned out to be one of my best and most pivotal acquisitions," said General Manager Bill Torrey. "Bammer wasn't one for histrionics, but he sure was a solid blue liner who knew how to take care of his own end."

With that in mind, I decided renew acquaintances with Dave. Here are his thoughts on an assortment of topics.


"Each one of the clubs was special in its own unique way. Since I'd never been on a Stanley Cup-winner before, the first one was just tremendous for the pure and simple reason was that it was, THE FIRST. 

"But there was special meaning to the next one was well. As often happens, critics criticize and in this case there were some out there who figured that our first one was a fluke. So when we came back and beat the North Stars in 1981, there no longer was any question about the team's greatness. 

"What's important to remember was that Bill Torrey continued to bolster the lineup.

He wanted us to get better and better. By 1982, we were a better team than any of the previous two. There was no question but that we were head and shoulders the best team in the league. 

"And when you win three in a row that qualifies as a 'Dynasty' and not many NHL guys can say that they played on a dynastic team. So, one may wonder what else did we have to prove and that's where the fourth Cup comes into play. But the beauty part of the fourth Cup was the fact that my Mom and Dad were there to celebrate. I still have picture of my Dad and me drinking out of the Cup.

"But without that first Stanley Cup, I could not have had the great experiences of the next three Cups."


"In 1976 I attended the Edmonton Oilers (then in the World Hockey Association)  rookie camp, a guy named Gene Peacosh said to me after a practice, 'You hit like BAM BAM. That stuck with me even after I came to the Islanders. "But Bobby Nystrom said 'I can't call you Bammer,' so I said, 'Then call me Dave.' By Christmas of my rookie year even Ny was calling me Bammer. Since it was coming from a rugged guy like Nystrom, I figured the I deserved being called 'Bammer.'"


"Radar provided us with an atmosphere of success. Our system of play was flawless due to discipline and the hard work ethic of all the players. Most teams mistakenly build with offense in mind, but winning teams start with the defensive aspect of the game. 

"I often hear comments such as, 'If we would have gotten the big goal.' Of course that's important. But I never hear coaches say, 'We need the big defensive play to keep the win.' Good defense creates offense. It's as though our great Islanders success has been forgotten or not understood. Or, to put it another way, perhaps it's easier to erase our history than to repeat it."


"By 1982 we were going for our third straight Cup, but the Rangers got in our way. This was our possible series winner and it was tied in the third period. Our center at that face-off was Wayne Merrick in the Rangers zone on the left side. Merrick won the draw and the puck ricocheted off the boards. As the puck was coming to me, Bobby Nystrom blocked Ron Duguay of the Rangers while I one-timed a slap shot.

"The puck went into the top right corner of the net and that proved to be the series-winner which was sweet. Even sweeter was the fact that we did it against the hated Rangers."


'The Edmonton Oilers had become one of the sweetest teams in sports. Not only did they have Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier but lots of really good players. That's why -- in order for us to beat them -- we had to have every single player playing his best hockey. And we got that starting with Billy Smith in goal winning the first game in Edmonton. Billy got into their heads for two reasons: One he would stop everything they threw at him and Two: He would add a few slashes around the net."

Legends Plaque Series: Billy Smith


"Smitty was terrific for me. I played a physical game and I liked to block shots. Billy let me do what I did best and he would always be there when I needed him. We had a special bond due to him knowing what I was going to do in a certain situation; and I knew what he was going to do. My wife Deb would say to Billy after the contest, 'Great game, Billy.'  And in return Smitty would say, 'I couldn't have done it without Bammer in front of me. As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing more special than the bond established between a goalie and a defenseman."


"People have said that I ranked among the 'most underrated of the champion Islanders.' I know, personally, as time goes by the contributions of players like myself tend to be forgotten. It's easier to remember players who score goals. I may have scored a few goals but I was not a 'goal-scorer.' 

"I have three children and four grandchildren and have always tried to explain what I did with the Islanders. But they only understand goals, assists and penalty minutes. I didn't have many of any of those three. My good friend and teammate Jean Potvin once said, 'Dave brought toughness and a new spirit to the team.'  My spirit is what made me different from other players.

"In 1981 the leader of the Islanders' Fan Club came up to me and said, 'Because of the hustle you give every game -- and on every shift you played -- we had to create a new award -- 'The Player Hustle And Fan Appreciation Award."


"I cannot emphasize enough the love I have for the fans of Long Island. They were a big part of our success and made winning those Cups more enjoyable. That feeling we had winning those Cups will not be forgotten -- like many of the Cup players.”


"The key -- over the four years -- is to never quit. Throughout the ups and downs you have to keep focus and know that there's 'dirty work' to be done in the corners and along the boards. We were successful over nineteen consecutive playoff series because we were willing to pay a price and part of that is a determination to play through pain and never give up!"

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