August 03, 2009
(Ed. Note: Welcome to Puck Daddy's August series, "5 Reasons I Love Hockey," which will feature famous fans, infamous fans, bloggers, traditional media ... a plethora of puckheads. Our pitch was simple: We wanted five things that either made them a fan or that keep them watching hockey. As you'll see every weekday until the end of the month, the reasons range from the sublime to the ridiculous. First up, a man who needs no introduction, even though we'll give him one: Baba Booey.)
Gary Dell'Abate is the longtime executive producer of "The Howard Stern Show" on SIRIUS XM Radio, and the co-host of "The Wrap Up Show," which is a daily look at that day's events on the Stern Show. He's also been a New York Islanders fan since 1974 (video).
The Stern Show has had its hockey moments, none greater than a legendary incident in which Jackie "The Jokeman" Martling may (or may not) have defecated in the Stanley Cup after the Devils won in 1995. The Cup makes a few appearances on Gary's "5 Reasons I Love Hockey."
Here's why Mr. Booey loves hockey; reading the following using Fred Norris's impression of Gary is optional:
No. 1: The Islanders' four Stanley Cups.
DELL'ABATE: When the Islanders won their four Stanley Cups, it was from the age of 19 to 22 for me, and it was the most amazing time. I grew up on Long Island in the shadow of the New York Rangers, and those four Stanley Cups gave Long Island its own identity.
I was also interning at a radio station at the time and I was the only one who knew anything about sports, so I got sent out to cover all the parades and I interviewed all the big stars. I think about those Cups all the time; and even though the Islanders haven't even been close to winning one, it makes me believe that maybe one day they can and they will.
No. 2: The short-handed goal.
The short-handed goal gets no respect. It might be one of the most exciting plays in all of sports. It's up there with the home run, it's up there with the touchdown, and I think it's hockey's version of those, even more than the penalty shot.
When a team is down one, and that guy breaks away, and he's one-on-one with the goalie and the shot goes in, it is one of the most exciting plays in all of sports, and that's why it's always a play on ESPN's Top 10 whenever it happens.
No. 3: The Stanley Cup.
I love that trophy. It's the only trophy that gets its own introduction, it gets carried around by guys in white gloves in its own case and it's the only sport trophy I know of that has a whole plethora of rules. You're not allowed lift it over your head unless you've won it, but I did that once and I got yelled at by everyone at the NHL.
The stories behind it are amazing. People said their dogs have drank out of it. It's been to strip clubs. I mean, really, can you tell me any other sports trophy that you know more about than that trophy? Every time I see it, I get my picture taken with it, and I never stop being amazed by it.
No. 4: The Islander/Ranger playoff series from the mid-'70's and early '80s.
The rivalry between the Islanders and the Rangers was amazing from Day 1. The Islanders were always the little kid in the backyard; of the big bad Rangers from the big city. And in 1975 when the Islanders went on their unbelievable run, they beat the Rangers and just stunned them, and for years after, those series were so exciting and brutal. They always went six or seven games, there was always a ton of fighting, you were always on the edge of your seat and, generally, the Islanders prevailed, so that's why I love them.
No. 5: Clark Gillies/Dave Schultz fight on national TV.
The Islanders were an up-and-coming team, and Dave Schultz was the big bad bully. He was the original enforcer playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. Everyone was afraid of him. Nobody wanted to get into a fight with him.
I remember on national TV, Clark Gillies came out and annihilated him. I remember Dave Schultz getting pummeled so bad that he fell to his knees and while he was on his knees, Gillies was standing, over him and he continued to punch the crap out of him. And I remember when they both got sent to the penalty box, Schultz addressed the crowd at the Nassau Coliseum by holding up both hands and flipping the crowd the bird, and it ended up on national TV.
But from that day forward, everybody knew that the Islanders were a team not to be messed with.
The Howard Stern Show airs weekdays at 6 a.m. ET on Howard 100 and 6 a.m. PT on Howard 101. The Wrap Up Show airs at 11 a.m. ET on Howard 100. For more information visit www.sirius.com/howardstern. Big thanks to Gary for participating in this project.