Joined by Broad Street Hockey Radio’s Master of Fun & Games Bill Matz, Mike and Dan relive the short, strange and unsatisfying Islanders run of goalie and Flyers legend Ron Hextall.
On paper a player Islanders fans should have loved for his fiery temper, Hextall never had a chance with them thanks to his ties to Philly and an awful start on Long Island. Hextall and the Islanders righted themselves enough to make the playoffs, but a horrendous playoff performance hastened his trip outta town and back to the Flyers, where he had a resurgence before going into management.
Bill tells us what Hextall still means to the Flyers Faithful, how badly things went when he finally took over as the team’s GM and how much fun it was to watch him destroy our mutual enemy - the Pittsburgh Penguins - from the inside as their GM. It’s a wild ride with one of the wildest netminders of all time.
Thanks again to Bill for coming on. You can listen to Broad Street Hockey Radio everywhere you get podcasts or at their new website. You can follow him on Twitter at @BILLadelphia1. If you’re thinking, “why would an Islanders fan listen to a Flyers podcast?,” I promise you’ll enjoy it (especially when the Flyers are bad).
WEIRD BONUS MATERIAL!
- Hextall wasn’t surprised at his trade to the Islanders from Quebec. Funny to remember he was a Vezina winner just a few years before and was now on his third team in three seasons.
- That deal was the first major trade for GM Don Maloney and even before the call was completed, Hextall was already getting compared to Billy Smith. No pressure.
- Hextall actually got a spotlight piece on ESPN in October of 1993 about trying to reign in his anger and focus on stopping the puck. Too bad he wasn’t doing much of that, either.
- He did right himself enough to get the Islanders back to the playoffs, and clinched the spot by shutting out the Lightning in the second-to-last game of the season.
- The less said about the Rangers sweep of the Islanders in the 1994 playoffs, the better. But here’s some Game 4 highlights that showed that Hextall and the Islanders at least tried (feebly) to fight back.
- Calling Hextall’s Islanders tenure a “slow start and a disastrous finish” glosses over a few details, but more or less covers the gist of it at the time of his trade back to the Flyers for Tommy Soderstrom.
What makes a “Weird Islander?”
We’re always open to suggestions about other Weird Islanders to discuss. Remember the criteria. Candidates must fulfill one of the two of the following:
- Played one (1) season or less for the Islanders or very short stints over multiple seasons.
- Be a veteran NHLer who is not generally associated with his time on Islanders.
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Drum sfx via Zapsplat.com.