Wild at Oilers, G58/07-08

This is Lorne Worsley. Gump. There are a ton of stories about this fellow (afraid to fly, for one) but there are 3 that have always ranked among my all-time favorites.

The first one happened when Gump was in New York playing for the Rangers. They were an awful team, truly horrible but Worsley was well respected as one of the best goalies in the game. One day a reporter asked him which team gave him the most trouble while tending net, and Worsley snapped back with “the Rangers” which remains one of the most quoted lines in the history of the game.

His weight was often the subject of conversation, too. A reporter once asked his weight, to which Gump replied “180.” The reporter then asked “is that firm?” and Worsley replied “No. It is not firm.”

The other one comes from the early 70s, after he was dealt to Minnesota. The North Stars in those years were pretty good for an expansion team but no match for the best established clubs. One night they’re playing the Bruins of Orr and it’s getting ugly. With the score about 4-0 Boston and the Bruins on a powerplay, Phil Esposito is in the slot waiting for a pass. The pass comes and for some reason, Espo passes it off and the tape to tape continues without a chance on net. Worsley, well known for his humor, yelled out at Esposito “the next time you get the puck, would you just put it in the fucking net, already?”


Worsley died about a year ago, age 77. He didn’t wear a mask until his final season (#21 in the show). Worsley began his NHL career in 1952-53, winning the Calder Trophy as the rookie of the year with the New York Rangers. He helped Montreal win four Stanley Cup titles in 10 seasons with the Canadiens and finished his career with the Minnesota North Stars. He won the Vezina twice.

As for tonight’s game, hell I have no idea. The Oilers are a fun team to watch, maybe the Montreal Expos about 1977. Any fool can see there’s a bright future, but the present is a little frustrating for the fans and the veterans who won’t be around by the time the kids start kicking out the jams.

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44 Responses to "Wild at Oilers, G58/07-08"

  1. LJ says:

    Who are the good quotes today? My NHL diet is pretty limited and the Oilers don’t really have any good talkers, except maybe MacT. But he’s not really one for the ages, I don’t think.

  2. doritogrande says:

    lj, I’d say JR’s still among the better quotes in the NHL. John Tortorella for sure.

    Matt Greene’s a great quote from the Oilers on a “lets look as dumb as I can” kind of basis.

    On tonight’s game…It’s against possibly the most boring team to watch, so I probably won’t. Oilers are going to get frustrated with Minne’s trap and start taking dumb penalties. If Boogard’s dressed, look for Stortini to be completely invisible this game for fear that he might get the shit kicked out of him.

  3. Bruce says:

    The Gumper was an all-time fave. Hell I even liked him when he got traded to the Canadiens, the nemesis of my childhood. How could anyone not like Gump? I was a goalie fan even then, there were six of them in the league and they were all outstanding, every one unique in style. But if you asked me to pick “one-of-a-kind” I’d probably choose the Gumper.

    Like the remaining maskless goalies of his era — notably Johnny Bower, Glenn Hall and Ed Johnston — it was fascinating to watch Worsley’s facial expressions as he focussed on the puck. Gump wore his emotions on his sleeve, and when he wasn’t happy it wasn’t at all hard to tell.

    One particularly memorable such occasion occurred in the 1968 Stanley Cup Finals game against St.Louis Blues. It was the first year of expansion, Toe Blake’s last season as a coach and Scotty Bowman’s first. The Blues were giving Montreal a good game (it was a sweep, but they were all four one-goal games, two of them OT). In this game Montreal was clinging to a 3-2 lead, very late in the third. I’m almost certain the Habs had a powerplay, and seemed to be playing out the string. J.C. Tremblay — a player I would like just fine today, but whom I irrationally hated the most of anybody in the league, probably because of that bounce shot he scored the occasional goal on — controlled the puck, skating backwards in his own zone, head up, looking for the breakout pass he made thousands of times. Well he didn’t make it this time, the puck dribbled off the end of his stick and right onto that of the ever-alert Red Berenson, who jumped on it, walked around the flat-footed Tremblay, deked Worsley, tucked ‘er home. 3-3, and we’re heading to overtime.

    Well, the Gumper’s reaction was absolutely preiceless. He fished the puck out of the net and lifted it high into the stands, then skated out of the net and into the corner just cursing, cursing, cursing. Today it would have earned him an unsportsmanlike penalty, but he wouldn’t deserve it. He was just pissed right off, and a man does what a man’s gotta do.

    The whole scenario still makes me giggle 40 years on. Gump evoked that reaction frequently, one of the game’s great characters.

  4. Bruce says:

    If Boogard’s dressed, look for Stortini to be completely invisible this game for fear that he might get the shit kicked out of him.

    That’s pretty goddam harsh, DG. You can, and many do, say lots of negative things about Zack Stortini, but I don’t know how you can justify “fear”. One of the reasons I’ve got all day for this kid is that he’s got a ton of character. He’ll take on anybody and everybody; so far in his short NHL career he’s tangled with Eric Godard, George Parros, Andrew Peters, David Koci, Ben Eager, D.J. King, Darcy Hordichuk, Colton Orr, Raitis Ivanans. (Hell, in junior he took on a guy named Robin Big Snake … I’d be terrified by the guy’s name alone.) Then there’s this one from hockeyfights.com:

    Apr 03, 2007 3pd 05:55 EDM @ MIN Derek Boogaard
    Comments: Right off of the faceoff they drop the gloves and grab ahold of each other at center ice. They grapple in-tight and Stortini throws two short lefts to the side of Boogaard’s head. They take each other’s helmets off and continue to wrestle around in close quarters. Stortini throws an overhand right and Boogaard responds with a right to the back of a bent over Stortini’s head. Boogaard gets in an uppercut followed by two more rights to a still bent over Stortini. Stortini attempts a single-leg takedown on Boogaard, but Boogaard is able to keep his balance. Stortini connects with a right just before he loses his balance and falls to the ice. Boogaard goes down with him and gets in a right just as the linesmen are jumping on top of the two.

    Sounds like Boogaard got the better of it, but Zack was throwing them too. More importantly, he was standing up to a guy who had knocked three Oilers out earlier in the season, including Hemsky.

    That’s a common theme with Stortini. The last two scraps on his resume occurred last week against Robyn Regehr and Martin Lapointe, two guys who took vicious runs at Hemsky earlier this season. Now in a perfect world Stortini would fight like Laraque and lay a beating on every guy he faced. But UNLIKE Laraque, Stortini takes on the toughest guys on the other team AND responds to the guys who have been taking liberties with his teammates, something Big Georges always seemed reluctant to do for some reason.

    I’m not one who pines for ten punch-ups a game and frankly I could care less for some of the “By Appointment Only” sideshows like Laraque is famous for. But I do accept there’s a time and a place in the game for fighting, generally in response to a situation. Boogaard, Regehr, and Lapointe definitely fit into this category, and Stortini responded. If it winds up being Boogaard again, Zack will go with him, have no fear.

  5. Dennis says:

    ’77 Expos went on to be pretty damn good from the years ’79-82, LT.

    I didn’t have to tell you that I know but I doubt this team’s gonna go on to be one of the best in the league and that’s exactly where some of the ’77 Expos wound up headed.

    Plus, I don’t think there are ny Gullickson’s or Wallach’s kicking around in our minor league system either. Nash might be the closes but he’s a fuck of a long ways away from striking out 18 guys or being called Eli.

  6. Black Dog says:

    Boogaard is out with a bad back.

  7. Bendelson says:

    Looking back at Stortini’s draft year – he looks to be a very functional selection. Don’t see any other NHL names from his draft round playing in the bigs.

    Like’m or hate’m – he’s playing, and developing a role for himself.
    Solid late round pick (Pendergast again?).

    I always enjoyed Smytty’s non-sensical post-game comments.
    Has a little Yogi Bera in him that one…

  8. godot10 says:

    //Any fool can see there’s a bright future, but the present is a little frustrating for the fans and the veterans who won’t be around by the time the kids start kicking out the jams.//

    Which veteran won’t be around when the kids start kicking out the jams?

    Horcoff is a fitness maniac.
    Staios has “James Patrick” written all over him…sixth or seventh defenseman mentoring role.
    Moreau is a fitness maniac…why can’t he end his career on the 4th line.
    I don’t see why Pisani can’t play well into his thirties if he stays healthy.
    Heck…one might be able to throw Moreau, Horc, and Pisani out there together.

    Look how old the Red Wings are.
    Rod Brind’amour, Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby?

  9. Lowetide says:

    godot10: You’re kidding, right? Horcoff could be gone this summer!

  10. Ethan says:

    He looked more like our fathers
    Not a goalie, player, athlete period
    Smoke, half-ash, stuck in that permanent smirk.

    Tugging jersey around the beer gut
    “I’m strictly a whiskey man”
    Was one of the sticks he taped up
    and gave to a nation of pudgy boys

    Favorites from Plympton’s list of
    objects thrown by Rangers fans:
    Soup cans, persimmon, eggs, a folding chair and a dead rabbit

    The nervous breakdown of 68 and 69
    after Pan Crap flights from LA, the expansion
    A shrink told me to change occupations, I had to forget it

    He swore he was never afraid of the puck; we believe him
    If anyone asks, the inscription should read
    “My face was my mask.”

    The Weakerthans – Elegy for Gump Worsley

  11. Lowetide says:

    Gilbert is doing some strange things these days.

  12. Dennis says:

    I don’t want to let Horc go but if you could get an honest-to-goodness goal scorer for him, I might have to consider it.

    The top two pivot spots are nailed for years to come so while I wouldn’t be dangling Horc, I’d let him go for a kid who you can be sure can score 35-40 goals.

    I’m not sure one’s out there that a GM would deal for Horc.

    No matter; that’s probably not the kind of trade Lowe can make anyway,.

  13. Lowetide says:

    It’s been a tough season for Fernando, the Gods owe him a few. Oilers with a lead against the Wild, Colorado with a lead over ANA.

    What are the odds both EDM and AVS win these games being up 1-0?

  14. Bruce says:

    Both at home? Got to be at least the 25%. Likely at least one Bettman Point in the mix.

  15. Lowetide says:

    That’s what a crosscheck used to look like, kids.

  16. Bruce says:

    Man, Gilbert’s playing bad. I haven’t seen a guy hit the wall this hard in awhile.

  17. Bruce says:

    Shots on net this period: 21-1.
    Score this period: 1-1.

    A game star for Garon isn’t enough. I’m thinking a medal. It’s a shooting gallery.

  18. Bruce says:

    Cogliano has to bury that.

  19. danny says:

    what a terrible effort tonight. Zero intensity. Oilers are consistently last to every loose puck… thats not what the trademark of a young team should be.

    Theres really no reason why this team should be this listless tonight, none, sero, zilch.

    It blows my mind, and strikes a pain in the ol ticker.

    I’m a MacT guy but he needs more intensity than these guys bring. Bag skate em, anything, but this is just depressing to watch.

  20. PunjabiOil says:

    You know, maybe it wouldn’t exactly be a bad idea to lock up Garon by the end of the year, and hope it pays off a la Mikka Kipruosoff’s 3 year deal.

  21. Bruce says:

    Thanks, Danny, I was beginning to thinkI was the only one out here. Misery loves company.

    For the life of me I don’t know why MacT isn’t giving 20-46-51 more ice, they’ve had more energy than the other 9 forwards combined.

  22. digger says:

    This is like watching Homer Simpson “fight” Drederick Tatum.

    Will Homer survive the final 20 minutes?

  23. PunjabiOil says:

    All we need is Moe (Katz) to save them.

  24. Lowetide says:

    Good call on the Brodziak line, Bruce. Sometimes things go right, although that Moreau injury is a concern.

  25. Bruce says:

    You wanna know why Cogs has only 9 goals? There’s Exhibit B.

  26. Bruce says:

    Good call on the Brodziak line, Bruce.

    Thanx. Millions just talked about how the Wild have not liked the physical play, and that line has 30% of the Oilers hits (6 of 20) and 40% of the forwards’ hits in about 15% of the ice time. And guess what? The puck’s been in Minnesota’s end when they’re out there.

  27. PDO says:


    I think it’s a confidence thing right now for Cogliano. He just needs one to go in off his ass.

    It probably wouldn’t hurt if he kept shooting 500 pucks after practice ala Fernadno Pisani to add some weight to his shot either though.

  28. Bruce says:

    He should do like the golfers do on the practice green and start with the three-footers.:) Absolutely it’s a confidence thing, and the Rooster’s got the yips.

  29. PDO says:

    That’s just mean ;).

    I don’t remember much of Marchant pre-G7, but he never once looked as smooth with the puck as Cogliano. I wouldn’t pencil Cogliano in as a guy who’ll ever score 35 baring a Ribeiro-esque-selling-your-soul-to-the-Devil deal, but I can certainly see him potting 20-25 with pretty good consistency.

  30. Bruce says:


  31. Bruce says:

    PDO, by no means am I down on Cogliano. (See my remarks at the bottom of the “Impressions” thread) He just needs to calm down a bit, start getting excited after he scores. I think it’ll come … with his speed he’s gonna keep getting the chances, and I think he’ll start putting a few more of them away. I still expect to see him up around 15 by season’s end.

  32. Lowetide says:

    Garon’s SP is .921 (.92089) as of now and will win 20+ games for this team.


  33. Bruce says:

    A couple more games like that and Garon’s SP in games will catch up with his SP in shootouts (.923). Hard to believe it was Edmonton with the 4-1 lead in third, eh?

  34. Dennis says:

    Cogs for 20-25 but I’d be shocked if he ever went past that. The kid just doesn’t have finish. We saw that in the world juniors as well.

  35. Lowetide says:

    Which is why I’m disappointed. Listen, those two-way centers are just about my favorite hockey players but a guy with that kind of speed, brains AND hands is a difference maker deep into the spring.

    Keon, Goring, Backstrom.

  36. Dennis says:

    LT: speaking of small guys, and because I never spare you the needle, looks like you were bang-on about Samsonov.

    The guy’s been certainly worth the trouble in carolina. 12 points in 15 games after tonight.

  37. RiversQ says:

    Garon was fabulous on first shots tonight, but he was coughing up a tonne of juicy rebounds. The Oilers may have sucked for 40 minutes but the one thing they were doing well was clearing all that junk out of the slot.

    Funny game tonight. The Oilers should have been blasted out of the rink after 40 minutes but hang on and bury it with a solid 3rd period. Nice work from the 4th line and Smid tonight I thought.

  38. Bruce says:

    The ole +/- can be deceptive but tonight I think it tells a tale. Five guys at +2, and they were the five who had the least amount of ice time: the fourth line (mentioned above) and the third pairing of Greene and Grebeshkov. I got a little love for Grebs tonight, I thought he played a fine game. Still pretty weak in the O-zone, although he was involved in the 4-1 goal, picking up an assist. I really liked how he stood up to his man, not allowing easy access to the zone. In particular he handled Gaborik one-on-one better’n’anybody in this game. This kid has had his own case of the yips at time, but he’s starting to settle down, as evidenced by his +6 ranking over his past dozen games.

  39. Dennis says:

    Yeah, I tried watching a few of 37′s shifts tonight considering I’d read here that he was putting up some good numbers as of late. I must say that what I saw from him tonight didn’t look like a chaos defender.

    But that’s the thing with all these kids. Most youngsters, no matter what the pedigree, are gonna have their ups and downs and the better the kid the longer the up’s and the shorter the down’s. I’m not really sure where I see Grebs falling in terms of overall ability but now he looks way more like a defensive guy than offensive guy, ie he’s given up rushing the puck and now seems focused on defending.

  40. Bruce says:

    No doubt about the ups and downs, Dennis. Grebs was -5 in the 3 games immediately preceding the current 12-game positive run. In fact, he was bleeding minuses pretty much consistently for his whole career until this recent stretch. So time will tell whether it’s a temporary blip, it’s just worth noting in passing that he has turned things around, for awhile.

    With Tarnstrom gone and Souray done for the year, it would seem the current six will continue to see lots of ice down the stretch, barring — heaven forbid — more injuries. By season’s end we should have a better fix of who’s a keeper. 2, 5, and 37 didn’t hurt their own cause tonight.

  41. Dennis says:

    No question about that. It was a killer last year that Gilbert and Greene didn’t get to play more and work out more of the kinks but now this season they get a quarter-season to have at it and we get to see who’s worth keeping.

    Maybe all of them if you’re running at Tavaras:D

  42. doritogrande says:

    Didn’t catch the game, but anyone notice anything about Rolston? I’d love to throw 4-M for two years at him and see if he’d bite. I really cannot think of a better option with Hemsky/Horcoff or Gagner/Nilsson offensively. And he sure looks like a MacT guy if he’s been playing in Minnesota for the last 3 seasons. Good powerplay option as well.

  43. Dennis says:

    Yeah, I thought of him the other day as well DG when someone mentioned he was gonna be FA this summer.

    He’s pretty durable for an older guy and thus far you can make a good bet on just how many goals he’ll score.

    I guess it all depends on just how much money the Oilers are gonna free up this summer.

  44. Master Lok says:

    Before we start nailing down Cogliano as a guy without enough finish, and a pre-Marchant type – let’s remember he’s still just a kid. His shot can STILL develop. Ala Horcoff developing a better shot. Or Pisani.

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