The Oilers get the Canadiens tonight, a club that shares some history with the town team. Who can forget the brilliant youngster Moog, and his out of this world goaltending over 30 years ago?
The two teams are miles from 1981 these days, Montreal hasn’t won Stanley in 20 years and Edmonton won their last three years before the Habs’ 1993 win. In modern terms, these are elite level post-expansion clubs, as reflected in the pennant totals:
- Montreal (11): ’68, ’69, ’71, ’73, ’76-’79, ’86, ’89, ’93
- Boston (9): ’70, ’72, ’74, ’77, ’78, ’88, ’90, ’11, ’13
- Philadelphia (8): ’74, ’75, ’76, ’80, ’85, ’87, ’97, ’10
- Edmonton (7): ’83, ’84, ’85, ’87, ’88, ’90, ’06
- Detroit (6): ’95, ’97, ’98, ’02, ’08, ’09
- Chicago (5): ’71, ’73, ’92, ’10, ’13
- New Jersey (5): ’95, ’00, ’01, ’03, ’12
- New York Islanders (5): ’80, ’81, ’82, ’83, ’84
- Dallas (4): ’81, ’91, ’99, ’00
- Pittsburgh (4): ’91, ’92, ’08, ’09
No sir, the Habs are no ‘pretend dynasty’ like the left coast bunch, they actually ruled the world in the post-expansion era with Lafleurs and Shutts and Lemaires and Lapointes and Savards and Robinsons and Drydens. Just as the Oilers have their icons (99, Kurri, Messier, Anderson, Coffey, Fuhr, Lowe, Tikkanen, etc) Montreal has their heroes too, and just as the current Oilers dream of a better day so do these Canadiens.
They are closer to the goal, but both teams are miles and miles away.
LINES, PAIRINGS AND GOALIE
- Ference-J Schultz
- Smid-N Schultz
I’m as surprised as you are, but there’s no denying Smid’s been moved down the depth chart since the 2nd period of the NJ game. I’d guess it is a short term item, but there appears to be a lot of emphasis placed on moving the puck by coach Eakins, and Belov is a very nice passer. It’s also interesting to see the move of Gordon to Smyth-Yakupov, suspect the coach loves the Yak spirit but wants a stronger rhythm section to contrast the rollicking solo’s.
Dubnyk draws back in, that’s the right play.
Not much to say about the Habs, they have wonderful players (Plekanec, Eller, Pacioetty, Subban, Price) but some guys don’t seem to be delivering (Desharnais, Briere) and the blueline is strong in some areas and a little off in others. Price remains a quality goaltender.
There appears to be much worry over the Calgary Flames and their start, but that’s not really a worry that holds water. Edmonton beat Calgary in standings a year ago (24th, Flames one behind) and if they can’t do that again then the Oilers seriously need to have coaching and management vacate the premises and allow Daryl Katz to bring in a new group. I count fewer than 10 “actual NHL players” on that team and they have three young men who are going to be outstanding. If the Hall Oilers can’t beat that, then stop all the clocks.
Credit to the Flames, though. I watched some of last night’s game and they are working hard every shift and give no quarter. I have a great deal of respect for that hockey club this morning.
I think it’s very informative to follow the Oilers in-game Corsi, because this team hasn’t really put their feet on the ground and pushed back for 60 minutes yet–and yet they are basically 50% Corsi. Bruce McCurdy mentioned the other day that the 50% mark for Edmonton is probably putting the team in a positive position due to superior finishing skills. Good point, and if they can gain some consistency the next phase of the schedule might be a delight.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
10 this morning, TSN 1260. Scheduled to appear:
- David Staples from Cult of Hockey. We’ll talk about tonight’s game, a little Habs-Oilers history and the arena.
- Ed Valentine, Big Blue View. I don’t remember an 0-5 Giants team, and I remember Joe Pisarcik. We’ll talk to Ed about it.
Guy Flaming from the Pipeline Show. We’ll talk Moroz, Khaira, Betker (all played at Rexall last night) and Dillon Simpson.
- Lester Wiltfong, Windy City Gridiron. The Marc Trestman era started 3-0, now 3-2. We’ll find out why.
Calls and tweets welcome (@Lowetide_ on twitter) and text to 10-1260.
- Dallas Eakins: “The thing I like about Nuge is that he’s a bobblehead. I ask him to do something and he nods his head. And not only does he nod his head but he goes out and does it.”
I think the truth is that RNH is one of those guys who knows the game well enough to understand it on a higher level. I’d suggest the Nuge is less “bobblehead” and more “intellectual contemporary” but as long as it works.