Passion for game lasted until the end

Over time, Snider got to know Fay better — a lot better. Several years ago, when Rick was recovering from a heart attack and sleeping fitfully, he would often get up in the middle of the night and go online. Almost as often, Dave, weighed down with his own cancer concerns, would be online as well. And so they would Instant Message back and forth, giving each other support … until drowsiness set in and they could finally close their eyes.

“We’d both be awake because of the medication we were taking and the stress of the whole thing,” he says, “and Fay would pop up on my screen [on his AOL buddy list]. It helped, I think, for us to know there was somebody else out there going through what we were going through.”

Last Friday, Dave went to the Caps’ practice facility in Arlington to gather material for a training camp story. But the cancer had made it so difficult for him to speak — and be understood — that he went home empty-handed. He then, in classic Fay fashion, e-mailed an apology to his bosses, saying it was “the first time in 47 years that I have not done what I was assigned to do.”

The plan, he told them, was to rest the next day — unless he was needed in an emergency. And what emergency might that be?

“Unless [Peter] Bondra unretires, in which case I do the patriot deed.”

Au revoir, Dr. Puck.

(You know, it just dawned on me: In all the years I knew Dave, including the year we hung out together in Ottawa during the Stanley Cup playoffs, I never asked him whether he spoke French.)

About the Author
Dan Daly

Dan Daly

Dan Daly has been writing about sports for the Washington Times since 1982. He has won numerous national and local awards, appears regularly in NFL Films’ historical features and is the co-author of “The Pro Football Chronicle,” a decade-by-decade history of the game. Follow Dan on Twitter at @dandalyonsports –- or e-mail him at

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