A significant portion of the Edmonton Oilers history involves the Winnipeg Jets. One of the great comebacks in team history (1990) came at the expense of the Jets, something that still lives in their fanbase and haunts them. You’ll hear all kinds of stories about that series if you ask a Jets or Flames fan of a certain vintage, but the fact remains this game could have gone either way.
There was a time when the Hockey Gods smiled on our Oilers, and it was long ago.
LINEUP FOR THIS AFTERNOON
- Ference-J Schultz
Lineups lifted from this article. No Yakupov, No Hemsky, so the fun level of the game is going to be reduced. Ryan Jones keeps showing up in unusual places, a couple of fights and now the second line. I wonder if there’s interest from another team. The top line is back together, Gagner is at center (Hendricks does appear to be a utility player) and Joensuu draws back in (and maybe Potter too).
A lot of negative talk about the Oilers best defenseman these days, which (if history repeats) will have him on another team within a couple of years. Part of the problem for the Oilers is the fanbase is absolutely incapable of embracing a finesse defenseman. This just in: Lidstrom was a finesse defenseman. Petry’s having a tough time of it but he’s certainly the best available man for the current club. I’m very impressed with the Marincin/Petry pairing and wonder if the Oilers roll that out now through the end of the season. Smid-Petry was effective early in their time together, Petry does seem to be adaptable.
This is the Vollman Sledgehammer via Extra Skater, you’ll have to click on it to see things properly. Petry is in the tough zone, with difficult opposition and a severe zone start to boot, so the group who want him out of town are really not looking at the complete picture. This is the team’s most effective defenseman playing difficult minutes and surviving. I’d rather trade Justin Schultz.
Mr. Cox and his astute prose have been discussed in these pages before (notably here) and I wouldn’t post this but wanted to make a point: folks, it is open season on the Oilers. Various members of the HNIC panel have been putting the boots to them for weeks, Darren Dreger keeps mentioning “Oilers” “Cam Ward” and “Jordan Eberle” in sentences that come close together and then there’s Cox with this piece of brilliance.
I think Oilers fans should have more confidence in Craig MacTavish. We can discuss the wisdom of the Srivens for Dubnyk exchange, but I think we can agree that the GM couldn’t bring DD back next season without a large degree of risk. If the club signed Dubnyk this summer, and rolled him out as the #1 guy, I’m reasonably confident things would have worked out well. It’s not my ass on the line. If it failed, MacT would look like a goober. There aren’t many General Managers in history that would have handled the Dubnyk performance this season differently.
I don’t think the Oilers are going to deal Yakupov, but if they did the price would be miles past Reimer. The Oilers got Scrivens for a third round draft pick!!!! Reimer isn’t that much better (if at all), and he’s not a helluva lot more proven, either. Is he worth a second? I don’t know, but it’s one helluva lot less than Yak City.
HOCKEY DAY IN CANADA
The only time I got to see Bobby Sheehan (that I can recall) was on HNIC. Cesare Maniago too, in Minnesota and Danny O’Shea in St. Louis. The NHL wasn’t on television every night in the 1960′s, and the expansion teams rarely got a chance on the national stage. Toronto-Montreal, Toronto-Boston, Montreal-Rangers, that’s what we got on television when I was a kid. Once in a long while there would be a game with the North Stars, or I remember a late west coast game involving LA-Montreal (Juha Widing!) but it was so rare to see the expansion teams in those early years.
My Dad used to work six days a week, so Saturday nights were a special time for me as a kid. In the summer, the neighbor man would come over and play cribbage with Dad on Saturday nights, and this was in the 1960s when kids would ‘speak when spoken to’ when visitors were over. So fall and winter Saturday nights for me were really a time when the adults in my life were completely interactive. Loud, laughing, with beer, cards, the game on the television (“turn on the tv, the Maple Leafs are on, Jim!” my Grandma would say) and I could talk to my Dad about Frank Mahovlich, and Dave Keon and Tim Horton. We hated Montreal, I grew to love Bobby Orr, steal my first beer (Lucky Lager!), steal mints, learn poker, blackout whist, cribbage, fall asleep on Grandma’s old sofa with the warmest quilt I’ve ever known, gain comfort from happy adult voices as I drifted off to sleep.
I would often wake up at Grandma’s house, on that sofa, and run home Sunday mornings. I have so many memories from HNIC sometimes it feels like everything revolved around them, and in a way, for a working man like my Dad, Saturday night with the hockey game was one of the few times when recreation and relaxing were available. That’s what HNIC is for me, a grand tradition that has stretched out over miles and years, and over many generations of players. It’s part of the fabric, just like that old sofa.