Time to get to a few episodes of note and not-so-note over the years here for you:
1. Matt and the Maven: Talk about shtick, Matty Loughlin and I had more fun schmoozing on the Devils shows. Our nonsense included the fly-down Chuck The Duck and assorted other props, I never could figure how Godfather Lou Lamoriello ever let us get away with it.
Then again, Lou — like our audience — probably didn’t know what the heck we were doing in the first place. Of course, neither did we and that’s the nutsy part of it. And speaking of nutsy, how about this: The Matty and Maven Couldn’t Stop Laughing episode in Philly.
2. It all started when my Flyers pal, Father Ed Casey, accidentally walked across the set in the midst of Matty’s live John Madden interview. (Producer Roland Dratch’s screams could be heard in Delaware.) Then, our set started falling only to be saved at the last second by our cameraman. Suddenly, Roland pipes up on our earpieces, 10 seconds before we go on camera, with this thoughtful gem: “Next time let the Father fix it.” Hearing that, Matty and I literally could not stop laughing during the entire spot until the incredulous Doc and Chico came on. How we didn’t get canned for that I’ll never know.
3. Thanks to Dauntless Dan Ronayne who came up with the “Five For Fischler” idea and super-pro George Wrage and Matt Fineman who steered it to a New York Emmy. Gorgeous George and Meticulous Matty and I were all over the place, from Sing Sing Prison to the Brooklyn piers and even the Sanitation Department Hudson River dump. (I can still smell it.) On shoots, we froze, sweated but never stopped laughing. That was especially true when Marty (The Duke Of Per Diem) Orner okayed our expenses.
4. Phenomenal crew folks, from Kate on camera, to Mario on sound — also the sweet composer Vaughn — all of whom made interviews with Commish Bettman as good as could be.
5. Handicapping the funniest guy was a neck-and-neck affair between Roland (The Head Waiter Who Still Owes Me A Dinner) Dratch and Larry (The Merry Moaner) Roth. Since my decision is done scientifically, I give the nod to Rollie on tall-ness. (Dratch outdid Rickles, Hackett and even Fat Jack Leonard with two-hours of non-stop stand-up in Raleigh at a Lou between playoff games dinner. I do think Deb Placey and Paula McHale will second that motion. Well, maybe Paula.)
6. Fran Healy did one of those long one-on-ones with me that I underestimated. Wow! Did the big guy fool The Maven. That saga actually made me look like I actually knew The A Train from the No. 1 Local. I will always honor Franny for that. It was all laughs even though I had a nerve problem that night that had nothing to do with the Islanders’ defense.
7. I hardly ever got to see Slats — alias Glen Sather — but when I did, I keeled over his cigars which reminded me of my Grandpa Friedman who smoked Royal Bengals and my Dad who alternately smoked Phillies and Between The Acts Little Cigars.
8. Jim Dolan once asked me how his Rangers were doing. I said, “They’re gonna win The Cup.”
My luck, the Kings got in the way.