First, the names: Glenn Anderson, Paul Coffey, Pat Conacher, Lee Fogolin Jr., Grant Fuhr, Randy Gregg, Wayne Gretzky CAPTAIN, Charlie Huddy, Pat Hughes, Dave Hunter, Don Jackson, Jari Kurri, Willy Lindstrom, Ken Linseman, Kevin Lowe, Dave Lumley, Kevin McClelland, Mark Messier, Andy Moog, Jaroslav Pouzar, Dave Semenko, Peter Pocklington, Owner Glen Sather General Manager-Coach.
When I visited the HHOF many years after the 1984 SCF, the Stanley Cup was my destination and 1984 was my first stop. Two of those names were new arrivals (Pat Conacher had been signed in October of 1983; Kevin McLelland, acquired in early December for Tom Rouston), but the first Oilers Stanley team was pretty much the Boys on the Bus. I saw all of these men, live and on television, and many of them own iconic status in this northern outpost. When great feats are achieved by any of these men, it is celebrated here. When anyone on this list suffers loss, it impacts the city, too. Fred Shero told his Philadelphia Flyers (on the day his men would win their first Stanley) “win today and we walk together forever” and that applies to these Oilers to this very day. They were a wonder and 1984 remains a special year in our town’s history.
Edmonton swept the Jets, won a 7-game classic against the Flames you could write a book about (Calgary won two OT games), swept the Minnesota North Stars, won Stanley against the NY Islanders in five games. It might have been the most emotional experience I’ve ever had as a fan. The Stanley Cup hadn’t been west in my lifetime. Five years previous the bully NHL had steamrolled my team and the WHA babies in the expansion draft. The NHL fathers had been dismissive every. damned. day. of the Oilers existence. And these young Oilers beat the whole damned league like a rented mule. I will never forget them. They were giants.
THE POWER AND THE GLORY, YEAR OVER YEAR
- Oilers in October 2015: 4-8-0, goal differential -7
- Oilers in October 2016: 7-2-0, goal differential +10
- Oilers in November 2015: 4-7-2, goal differential -6
- Oilers in November 2016: 5-8-2 goal differential -3
- Oilers in December 2015: 7-6-1, goal differential -9
- Oilers in December 2016: 7-2-5, goal differential +3
- Oilers in January 2016: 4-5-2, goal differential -5
- Oilers in January 2017: 9-4-1, goal differential +8
- Oilers in February 2016: 3-8-2, goal differential -18
- Oilers in February 2017: 6-6-0, goal differential -2
- Oilers in March 2016: 8-8-0, goal differential +5
- Oilers in March 2017: 9-3-1, goal differential +15
- Oilers in April 2016: 1-1-0, goal differential -1
- Oilers in April 2017: 1-1-0, goal differential -1
- Oilers after 79, 2015-16: 30-42-7, goal differential -42
- Oilers after 79, 2016-17: 44-26-9, goal differential +30
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM APRIL
- At home to:
Anaheim(Expected:1-0-0) (Actual: 1-0-0)
- On the road to:
Kings, Sharks, Canucks (Expected: 1-1-1) (Actual: 0-1-0)
- At home to Canucks (Expected: 1-0-0)
- Overall expected result: 3-1-1, seven points in five games
- Current results: 1-1-0, two points in two games
OILERS TOP SCORERS, 2016-17
- McDavid’s season is spectacular from every angle. The gap between 97 and his RW is 20, and he’s 50 points beyond his LW.
- Leon’s season is going to be expensive this summer, those 26 power-play points will put a large bow on a negotiating position that is very strong today.
- Four 20-goal men, will we see another? Will CMD, Leon and Maroon hit 30 goals?
- Mark Letesu’s 15 goals are distributed in genuinely unique fashion. Not many seasons have been divided up in this way.
- Zack Kassian has a 5×5/60 of 1.76, and is 2-2-4 in 37 minutes 5×5 with Connor McDavid. I wonder if he emerges in more of a feature role next season.
- Most of this table is from WoodMoney earlier in the week, so slightly outdated but the averages and percentages remain similar/same.
- I added TOI with McDavid because that’s the real thing when it comes to being an Oiler this season. As you can see, we are looking at a top 4D who play almost identical minutes with 97 at 5×5. I went into this looking to see if there was a push for any defender. Looks like it is across the board even save for Nurse and that could be all kinds of things (injury, natural deployment of 97 in the big parts of the game).
- The slotting done by WoodMoney really does offer us a chance to see who the coach believes can do the job. Among the top 4D, Adam Larsson has the best DFF percentage and DFF rel comp, which matches my eye. I do think a defenseman is dependent on his partner to a large extent, and would vote for Andrej Sekera as Edmonton’s best defenseman this season. It’s close, there are some noble warriors here.
Joe Gambardella had a goal and an assist in his pro debut, what I saw of him was impressive. As Ryan Lambert and others had suggested to us, Gambardella is a demon on the forecheck and a lot of his offense comes immediately after turnovers. A better passer than I thought he’d be, and he has that sixth sense that allows him to be in good places.
Bakersfield lost and now trail Stockton Heat by two points in the race for the final playoff spot in the Pacific Division. Jesse Puljujarvi was -3 on the night, but did have some good looks when playing with Anton Lander. Jujhar Khaira had an assist and also had some nice moments. It will be a disappointing result if these team can’t grab some playoff games, lots of new pro players looking for spring at-bats.
OILERS-SAN JOSE, BY THE NUMBERS
- Oilers (San Jose)
- Fenwick for 5×5: 50.6 (52.1)
- Corsi for 5×5: 49.7 (51.2)
- Goals for 5×5: 157 (148)
- Goals against 5×5: 135 (132)
- Shots for percentage 5×5: 50.5 (51.9)
- Shooting percentage 5×5: 8.25 (7.82)
- Save Percentage 5×5: 92.75 (92.46)
- Power Play goals for 5×4: 49 (32)
- Penalty Kill goals against 4×5: 37 (35)
Fairly even overall, I think Edmonton has an edge in McDavids, starting goaltending and (at least during the regular year) special teams. The health of Joe Thornton and Logan Couture seems assured for the playoffs (if not tonight), so I think it reasonable to frame the Oilers as underdogs entering the series.
THERE ARE COMPLIMENTS, AND THEN THERE’S THIS
- Roman Josi: As a defenseman, a guy with this combination of skill is extremely tough to stop, because you want to maintain a close gap to take away his space, but in the back of your mind you know he can accelerate so quickly and burn you with his speed. So how far do you play off of him? I don’t think there’s a right answer. That’s why he’s so tough to play against.
I quoted just one part, the entire article is outstanding. The Players’ Tribune is a fantastic site, only downside is it’ll be dark by the time you’re done clicking and reading.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
We are once again live at Northlands Coliseum for the 2017 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship. At 10 this morning, TSN1260, scheduled to appear:
- Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. We’ll talk Oilers-Sharks, Gushue at the Worlds, and a few other hockey items along the way (1984, Polei).
- Al Cameron, Director, Communications & Media Relations for Curling Canada. Putting this run by the Gushue rink in historical perspective.
- Jake Sundstrom, Fear the Fin. Playoff preview, updates on Jumbo and Couture.
- Frank Seravalli, TSN. Is the Hart race over, Letang.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!