By Chris Botta
Anders Kallur was as important to the Islanders dynasty as anyone. Need proof? Kallur played five seasons for the Islanders -- four Stanley Cup championships and one loss in the 1984 Final to an emerging dynasty in Edmonton.
That's why it's so nice to hear that Kallur is crossing the ocean to be part of the 1980 Stanley Cup celebration on March 4 before the 2006 Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.
"I wouldn't dream of missing it," said Anders, still a European scout for the Islanders. "Those guys are some of my best friends, and I just don't get a chance to see them as much as I'd like."
Kallur detailed for us what he witnessed when he joined the Islanders at training camp in 1979. The franchise was still hurting from a devastating upset at the hands of the Rangers just a few months earlier.
"When I joined the Islanders in 1979, I came with a clean slate," Kallur told us this week. "I didn't have the experience they had of losing to the Rangers in the playoffs. I didn't have the hurt or the disappointment. All I knew is that we had a great team very capable of winning the Stanley Cup in 1980.
"I hadn't experienced the NHL before, so my focus at camp was just making the team. I didn't talk to the players much about the year before and losing to the Rangers. But the feeling I got was that they were all very hungry to win and to prove themselves. That was the feeling I had, too. They had something to prove and I had something to prove. It made me feel part of things.
"The funny thing is, people have told me that when I first came to Long Island guys tested me. They were running me to make sure I was tough enough to play, and I really didn't notice because I was so motivated to make the team. I was so concentrated on my job, it never occurred to me they were trying to run me through the boards!
"It also helped that Stefan Persson was already there. To have a fellow Swede around made things easier. I had someone to talk to, someone to explain things to me if I didn't understand. Stefan was a big help that way.
"I had a good first 7-10 days of training camp, then I pulled a groin and was sent to our farm team in Indianapolis for a few days to get in shape. When I came back, I scored a big shorthanded goal in a game against Montreal and it made me feel like part of the team. I was very proud to be part of that team for the next five years."
The 1980 Stanley Cup celebration, presented by Modell's and Newsday, will begin at 7:00 pm, followed by the regular season matchup between the 2005-06 Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers. In addition to the 1980 team, the Stanley Cup will also be in attendance at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Islanders full season subscribers will receive an added treat. Season subscribers are invited to the Islander's morning skate on March 4, followed by an introduction of the 1980 team, sneak preview of that night's ceremony, plus a meet-and-greet with the legends.
Tickets are still available for the March 4 game between the Islanders and Flyers, preceded by the celebration of the 1980 Stanley Cup team. Tickets are available at the Coliseum box office, TicketMaster or by contacting the Islanders at 1.800.882.ISLES.
* MEMORIES OF 1980: John Tonelli
* MIKE'S MEMO: All Hail the 1980 Isles
* JIGGS TO EMCEE 1980 CUP REUNION
* 1980 CUP CELEBRATION SET FOR MARCH 4