Posted 5:24 PM ET | Comments 0
As the Edmonton Oilers celebrate the 30th anniversary of their first Stanley Cup, it's remarkable watching history repeat itself.
Once again we have an exciting young team that everyone agrees is destined for greatness. But more than that, it's amazing how similar these players are to their predecessors. It's essentially a casting call for a re-imagining of the original roster. Let's see how the auditions are going.
Part: Wayne Gretzky
Auditioning: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sam Gagner
Part Goes To: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
A left-handed centre with elite vision and maturity beyond his years, The Nuge raises the hockey IQ in the locker room just by showing up. With the same humble attitude and slight build as The Great One, we haven't begun to see what the former 1st overall pick is capable of. Body BrEakins' emphasis on physical fitness is exactly what the kid needs.
Part: Mark Messier
Auditioning: Taylor Hall, Ryan Smyth
Part goes to: Taylor Hall
Bless Smytty's heart for trying. His new coach is going to throw cold water on his face on a nightly basis, and I hope his ego is prepared for it. Taylor Hall's similarities to Mess are striking. A passionate guy with a big smile, he's all business on the ice. He'll fly down the wing, hitting and scoring, and hating to lose. He'll get the captain's C this year because he embodies the coach's favourite word: compete.
Part: Jari Kurri
Auditioning: Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov, Ales Hemsky
Part goes to: Jordan Eberle
Easily the toughest competition of the entire play. Hemsky often looks similar to Kurri out there, but he's never been able to consistently put it all together. In the end, Eberle's smooth skating and slick hands resembled Kurri more closely than N64's frenetic youthful exuberance.
Part: Glenn Anderson
Auditioning: Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov, Ales Hemsky, Ryan Jones
Part goes to: Nail Yakupov
Yakupov just doesn't back down, similar to Anderson and his feud with psycho Billy Smith. They also both get better under pressure. Anderson was noted for his unbelievable performances in the playoffs, and we can expect the same of Nail. Ask Jonathan Quick.
Part: Paul Coffey
Auditioning: Justin Schultz, Jeff Petry
Part goes to: Justin Schultz
The Wisconsin standout was one of the hottest NCAA defensive prospects ever. Everyone wanted him, but the Oilers got him. He's the lone Oilers D with unlimited offensive upside, and this could be the most accurate doppelganger of the entire casting process. Check back in 5 years.
Part: Kevin Lowe
Auditioning: Ladislav Smid, Nick Schultz, Andrew Ference, Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse
Part goes to: Andrew Ference
The producers will reluctantly give this role to the fairly reliable Ference, but everyone knows he's just keeping it warm for Oscar Klefbom.
Part: Grant Fuhr
Auditioning: Devan Dubnyk, Jason LaBarbera
Part goes to: Nobody
Grant Fuhr was the first Oilers goalie to win the Vezina, and it doesn't look like we're getting another one soon. These guys are just not up to par at all. It's too bad we missed Fucale by one pick.
Part: Dave Semenko
Auditioning: Mike Brown, Kale Kessy
Part goes to: Nobody
This isn't even close. I actually miss Steve MacIntyre.
Part: Glen Sather
Auditioning: Dallas Eakins
Part goes to: Dallas Eakins
Dallas is a tough, smart father figure of a man. While not stylistically the same as Slats, it's a different time now. Society just wasn't ready for the intricacies of relationship-building that Eakins employs. It's going to be fascinating to watch how the players respond.
In conclusion, we need a legit #1 goalie and a serious enforcer. The producers better get on it.