Glenn “Chico” Resch, former NY Islanders star, signing copies of Who’s Better: Rangers, Devils, Islanders, or the Flyers?
*4/1/10 7:00 PM at Book Revue – New York Avenue. Huntington, NY.
These four teams and their fans have been rivals for as long as they ve existed. This book is sure to start arguments among their faithful fans. Hockey experts Fischler and Resch pick who they think is the best of the best of these four heated rivals. You can t count the number of times hockey fans have raised the question about their favorite players, teams, coaches- you name it. Inevitably, the discussions ensue because no aficionado is more passionate nor dedicated than the hockey fan. Give a follower of the Rangers, Devils, Islanders, and Flyers a subject for debate and you ll get in return, keen interest and more than likely heated debate. The Book will not only invite fans in North America s most hockey-intense corridor to debate their favorite subjects but the authors will provide authoritative, substantiated, anecdotal and statistical conclusions; which, of course, will spur further arguments.
Glenn Allan “Chico” Resch (born 10 July 1948 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender and television sportscaster. Resch played 14 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) from 1973 to 1986, winning one Stanley Cup with the New York Islanders in 1980. He is currently the color commentator on New Jersey Devils telecasts for MSG Plus and MSG Network.
He started his playing career with the University of Minnesota Duluth in which he played goal for their team, the Bulldogs. After earning a four-year degree in education, he turned pro by joining the Muskegon Mohawks of the IHL where he won three prestigious awards in his first season: the James Norris Memorial Trophy (fewest goals against), rookie of the year honours, and selected as a First-Team All-Star.
Having out-grown the IHL, the following year he stepped-up to play for the New Haven Nighthawks of the AHL and then spent most of the 1973–74 season playing for the Fort Worth Wings of the CHL where he won the league’s MVP Honours and was voted as a CHL First Team All Star. He made his National Hockey League debut for the Islanders on February 3, 1974 in a 4–2 defeat to the California Golden Seals and earned his first NHL victory two nights later, with a 6–2 win over the Minnesota North Stars before returning to the Wings for the remainder of the season.
New York Islanders
The next season, 1974–75, Resch was ready for the NHL. In 25 games, he had 12 wins, 7 losses, 5 ties and 3 shut-outs with a 2.47 goals against average. His success during the regular season carried over into the playoffs as he had an incredible 8 wins and 4 losses with a 2.17 goals against average. Resch was in goal as the Islanders erased 3–0 deficits to both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers. The Isles defeated the Penguins in seven games, winning the decisive game 1–0 on a goal by team captain Ed Westfall. The comeback is considered one of the greatest in sports history and marked one of only three times in history that a North American professional sports team won a best-of-7 series after losing the first three games, the others being the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs (also ice hockey), and the 2004 Boston Red Sox (major league baseball).
In the following round, the Islanders again rallied from a 3–0 deficit to force a game seven, but the defending champion Flyers eliminated the Islanders with a 4–1 win in the decisive game.
Resch saw increased action in the next season, 1975–76 and he did not disappoint. In 44 games, he had 23 wins, 11 losses, 8 ties, and 7 shut-outs with a 2.07 goals against average. Over the next few seasons, he would share the workload with another promising young goalie, Billy Smith.
In 1978-79, the tandem of Resch and Smith backstopped the Islanders to the best regular season record in the league, with Resch earning Second All-Star team honours. However, the team was upset by the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup semifinals.
In 1980, his sixth full season with the Islanders, Resch was part of a Stanley Cup win, but generally served as the backup through most of the team’s playoff run. Resch was among one of the key players of the Islanders’ 1979 first place team that would leave the team or have their roles relegated; before the end of the 1980 regular season, General Manager Bill Torrey had traded away longtime and popular veterans Billy Harris and Dave Lewis to the Los Angeles Kings in return for Butch Goring.
Colorado Rockies/New Jersey Devils
The next season, on March 10, 1981, Resch was traded to the struggling Colorado Rockies along with Steve Tambellini for Mike McEwen and Jari Kaarela. He returned to Long Island for the first time as an opponent on February 20, 1982. The Islanders defeated the Rockies 3–2 on a goal in the final minute by John Tonelli. The victory was the Islanders’ 15th straight, which set an NHL record at the time.
Resch played in Colorado for only the rest of the 1980–81 season and the 1981–82 NHL season before the franchise moved to New Jersey to become the New Jersey Devils. Resch shouldered a heavy load over the next few years, but the lowly Devils didn’t win many games.
Resch was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers on March 11, 1986 for a third round pick in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft (Marc Laniel). The next NHL season would be his last, as Resch backed up rookie sensation Ron Hextall in 1986–87.
Resch didn’t get any playing time in the 1987 playoffs, where they defeated his old team, the New York Islanders, in seven games during their second-round matchup. In the pre-game warm-up of game 6 of the conference finals contest with the Montreal Canadiens, Resch was ejected from one of the games for his part in starting a brawl with Montreal’s Claude Lemieux. The Flyers won that series but lost to the Edmonton Oilers in 7 exciting games in the Stanley Cup Finals.
While with the Islanders, he never had a losing season and compiled an impressive 157 wins and only 69 losses. After he was traded, he didn’t have a winning season again until his very last one with the Philadelphia Flyers in 1986–87 where he went 6–5–2 in 17 games.
Resch won the Bill Masterton Trophy in 1982 and made a total of three NHL All-Star game appearances in 1976, 1977, and 1984, in the 1984 NHL All-Star Game he was the winning goaltender for the Wales Conference. Resch was named to the Postseason Second All-Star team in 1979. In 1980, he was a part of the New York Islanders first of four Stanley Cups in a row, abeit as the backup goaltender.
Resch also played in two Canada Cups, once for Canada (where he was the third, spare, goaltender) and once for the United States in 1984. Resch also played for Team USA at the 1982 Ice Hockey World Championships (he was originally shortlisted for the 1981 Canada Cup but missed the tournament as his application for American citizenship had not been fully processed by the time the tournament started).
Resch was considered to be a good interview during his playing days, so it was no surprise that he became a television commentator. He actually began broadcasting during his playing days, often working as an analyst for CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada in the playoffs after his team had been eliminated.
After retiring as a player in 1987, he had a short broadcasting stint with the Minnesota North Stars, working as a color analyst on the team’s television broadcasts during the 1987–88 and 1988–89 seasons.
Following work as a general manager for a Canadian junior hockey team and as a professional coach, mainly for the Ottawa Senators, Resch joined Fox Sports NY (later renamed MSG Plus) as a commentator on New Jersey Devils games, where he is paired with Mike Emrick. During home telecasts of the 2008-09 season, a segment entitled “Chico Eats!” was regularly shown, in which Resch tastes food from the many eateries at the Devils’ newly opened Prudential Center.
Resch was given the nickname “Chico” by former Islander teammate Doug Rombough. The nickname is a reference to the character portrayed by Freddie Prinze on the 1970s sit-com Chico and the Man. Chants of “Let’s go, Chico!” rang out at every Devils game during his reign as goaltender.
In the early 2000s, the same nickname was passed on to goaltender Robert Esche, then with the Phoenix Coyotes. Like many hockey players, Esche’s sticks had his first initial, and then his last name. Hence, “R. Esche” became “Chico”.