At 83, MSG Network's Stan Fischler has been working hockey dressing rooms for many decades and is old enough to be every player's grandfather. So how does he relate after all these years?
"I always look for another Nabokov," he said, referring to Evgeni Nabokov, a goaltender who played for the Islanders from 2011-14. "He and I had the best chemistry I ever had."
The two would hold conversations far outside the usual boundaries of an interview, including deciding what tune would fit a given game as a theme song.
These days, Fischler's favorite conversationalist is defenseman Johnny Boychuk -- "He's fun" -- but the logistics are not as convenient as they are with a goalie.
"With the goalie, it's easy," he said. "He was always there, and he had a seat [next to him] for me."
How has Fischler found captain John Tavares to deal with?
"Very serious -- veeeery serious," Fischler said. "I found that out the hard way, at the Coliseum two years ago. I heard one of these guaranteed jokes. I know jokes that are guaranteed, where you can't go wrong. I said, 'John, I want to tell you a joke.' I might as well be talking to that picture over there on the wall."
Might he simply have been intensely focused on the task at hand in the hours before a game?
"Yeah, and I appreciate that," Fischler said. "But that was the beginning of the end of telling jokes to the Captain."