It was a cool morning and I had to get to work early. About 7:40am, as I tooled past the Winks in St. Albert while listening to the radio, news came across my radio that Tommy Salo was a Colorado Avalanche. The return was mentioned, and I may have known a little about Tom Gilbert but it’s safe to say that we all know more about him these years later.
This is sunset on lake Minnetonka. Minnesota is home for Tom Gilbert, although his legend includes a very successful run at the University of Wisconsin where he scored one of the most famous goals in NCAA history. Gilbert arrived in the NHL with the Oilers as a pretty solid hire and quickly established himself as an effective player. He could move the puck by pass or carry, he could hit the tape on the fly with aplomb, he had good instincts in the offensive zone and improved his defense markedly as time wore on. He became a “complete” player type, able to handle the most important minutes in all disciplines for the Edmonton Oilers.
Gilbert became a tougher physical player too, answering critics who suggested early on he was too passive in his own zone. I’m not certain he convincered everyone, and suspect that the Oilers were hesitant to roll 2 pairings at the top of their depth chart with Gilbert and Petry representing 50% of the group.
Sail on, Bloomington Jaguar. We’ll see you down the line.