These two organizations will be forever connected by the Gretzky trade. The deal–in the opinion of many–changed hockey forever. Looking back on the days of summer 1988, the thing that stands out is the quotes from the principal players.
- Peter Pocklington: ”Wayne has an ego the size of Manhattan. ‘I understand that though. If people had told me how great I was day in and day out for 10 years, I’m sure my ego would be a pretty generous size, too.”
- Peter Pocklington: ”He’s a great actor, I thought he pulled it off beautifully when he showed how upset he was. ‘I think he was upset, but he wants the big dream.”
- Gretzky on Pocklington’s comments: ”I’m not going to get into a war of words with anybody from Edmonton. ‘But if that’s what he thinks, then I’m very disappointed. ‘I’m grateful for what the Oilers did for me for 10 years. I’m proud to have been an Oiler, and people who know me and are friends of mine know the statements aren’t true.’‘
- Edmonton Mayor Lawrence Decore: ‘It’s like taking all the bridges away and saying, ‘Edmonton, this is what you’re going to look like.”
- Los Angeles drew 452,248 fans to 40 home games last season, putting the team next to last in the 21-team league. (Detroit was No. 1 with 785,532; Edmonton was sixth with 678,270 and Vancouver was last with 440,095.)
- At the news conference in Edmonton, Pocklington portrayed himself as a somewhat reluctant participant in the deal.
In later years the Oilers and Kings have done business, with Lubo, Ryan Smyth and the pick that turned into Oscar Klefbom the major players coming to Edmonton and Jarret Stoll, Dustin Penner and Colin Fraser heading the other way for the Cup rings. Its funny, the Gretzky trade shook the foundation but Lombardi’s gathering of Oiler talent for the big run is impressive in its own way. I’m glad the Kings won the Stanley, and was impressed when they brought back Rogie Vachon and Marcel Dionne to help celebrate it opening night. A lot of people wondered why 99 wasn’t there, but for me bringing the old guard in was a reminder that champions and all time greats should never be measured by number of Stanley’s won. Greatness can exist on a mediocre or poor team, Oiler fans 92-now must know this to be true.
As far as I know, there won’t be any lineup changes tonight:
One thing the Oilers need to do tonight is stay out of the penalty box. Especially early. The game was in peril by the time Taylor Hall took his second shift, that’s craziness. Also, with the Kings defense decimated, the speed demon forwards need to push on the forecheck and try to get their blue to make mistakes and take penalties.
The Oilers have two outstanding PP units. Can we mail one back to MacT a decade ago?
The Barons lines and pairings were interesting last night. With two new arrivals, I was interested in seeing who would get pushed down the lineup:
- Brett Clark-Taylor Fedun
- Martin Marincin-Nathan Deck
- Kane Lafranchise-Colten Teubert
The ‘AHL veteran’ line is joined on defense by newcomer Brett Clark (also and AHL veteran) and Taylor Fedun, the most capable of the Oilers D prospects this season. Its interesting to see Rajala-Pelss pushing through (and on a line with Lander) past the others, and both had good games (Pelss 5 shots, Rajala an assist and 4 shots).
Marincin had his best game in a long while and flew several sorties into enemy territory. He resembled the player we saw in the fall, and scored (1-1-2) for the first time in forever.
Olivier Roy stopped 33 of 37. If I had to guess about callups, I’d go with F’s VandeVelde and Arcobello, and Fedun and Teubert on D. Brett Clark may find his way into that conversation soon.