The Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks first met early in the 1991-92 season. San Jose was an expansion team with a 1-15 record and the Oilers were 18 months removed from their 5th Stanley. No contest, right? Right.
Do you remember Esa Tikkanen? Holy man he was a character. If you didn’t see Esa, this is a nice introduction.
Tikkanen was an ass. He really was. I loved him, even when he played elsewhere. Tikkanen was an actual hockey player and he could mark his man very well, score goals, and agitate like an old time washing machine. He was so unique I can’t really give you a modern comparable. Esa Tikkanen drove his teammates crazy!
The thing about Esa Tikkanen is he could play.
Among the young Oilers the guy with the most spirit is Taylor Hall, but you don’t want him engaging in this sort of thing–he’s going to be injured enough just skating around trying to score goals. Tyler Pitlick is the most obvious answer via the draf, and Ben Eager holds down some of the position but there’s no one on the horizon who can do was Tikkanen did those years ago.
Is finding another Tikkanen too much to hope for?