I’ve been a fan of the Oilers since forever, and honestly Sunday night was one of the really fun nights in forever. Not the ’06 run or the Stanley’s or the first season in the NHL–actually, it does feel a little like that one. Quite a bit, actually. It was kind of a “birth” into the league of tradition and history, that’s if the NHL cared diddly about its own history.
A few things both teams have in common:
- Shawn Horcoff is in a similar role to Stan Weir 1979-80.
- The current Oilers have two teenagers (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov) and the 1979-80 edition also had two teenagers (Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier).
- The current Oilers have some injuries. Nikolai Khabibulin, Andy Sutton, Ryan Jones and Theo Peckham are all unable to perform. The 1979-80 edition of the Oilers had all kinds of early season troubles involving Brett Callighen, Pat Price, Stan Weir and Ron Chipperfield. The earlier group ended up employing 40 players that season.
- In the fall of 1979, the Oilers goaltending situation was complete chaos. Part of the problem came from their veteran incumbent–Dave Dryden–who finally pulled the chute at Christmastime. Now, Nikolai Khabibulin can write his own script and perhaps he comes back and plays at a very high level, but his inability to recover from injury in time for the season–and his impending free agent status–means that the Oilers are going to be looking to add a goaltender. In Christmas 1979, Jim Corsi was called up but the organization eventually used six goalies that season, including Ron Low who was acquired late in the season.
- The Oilers left the station unsettled in their bottom 6 forwards, and in early December attempted to make a move when acquiring veteran winger Bobby Schmautz. Schmautz was filthy, I don’t know if there’s a comp in modern hockey. He’d spear an opponent and then punch him if no one noticed the spear. They got him from Boston for Dan Newman and dealt him to Colorado in Feb for Don Ashby, and that would have been a trade for the ages but Don Asby died in a car accident driving to Kamloops from Wichita in 1981 late spring. The current Oilers have some 3 and 4line issues–or at least we thought so–but that 1979-80 Oiler team had some guys in the lineup they thought would be players but it didn’t happen (Cam Connor, Dan Newman, Kari Makkonen, others).
- The odds of someone getting waived this season is pretty high. Peckham, Khabibulin, Potter, it’s probably going to happen. It happened in 1979-80, as winger Peter Driscoll grew tired of sitting.
- There have been rumors about the Oilers being interested in making a deal with the Canucks. Although rare, there was talk about Rick Blight coming to the city in 1979-80; not quite Luongo but he had a solid NHL career.
- The 1979-80 Oilers were in real trouble in the goaltending spot pretty much from the time they left the station. At the deadline, Edmonton sent away Ron Chipperfield to Quebec for veteran Ron Low–this was the same deadline as the historic Butch Goring-to-the-Islanders deal.
Steve Simmons tweeted this morning that Cam Cole has confirmation that a deal for Luongo is in place:
- Gillis says he has trade in place for Luongo re
@rcamcole barring some shoes to drop and I can confirm deal he talks about isn’t with Leafs.
I don’t think its the Oilers, but Steve Tambellini has Canuck connections, spent a wild amount of money on a genuinely aged goaltender in Khabibulin, and has enough parts to satisfy the Canucks (Gagner, others).
Ben Eager had some issues after Sunday night’s game, one suspects he’ll be fine and the club may stay with the same 20 men who played in Vancouver. HS’s would be Paajarvi, Hordichuk and Mark Fistric.
We saw Ralph Krueger’s line matching on the road (Dellow is on fire over at his blog btw, great posts up there about every 12 hours lately) and it’ll be interesting to see what happens at home.
Sharks look like they have at least 7 very good forwards (Thornton, Marleau, Pavelski, Couture, Havlat, Clowe, Handzus) and of course Boyle plays all 60 minutes and Brad Stuart will hammer someone. I wish the Oilers would trade for Vlasic pickles, that guy is a very nice player.