THE GREATEST RIVALRY IN THE NHL: THE ALBERTA CIVIL WAR
This Blog is one of a series of blog suggestions from my friends at HockeyBuzz site
his name was drjsay. I would also love to thank Patrick Hoffman he did a real nice job on editiing my blog thanks again Pat.
MOST MEMEORABLE FORWARDS
I remember the four years that Wayne Gretzky achieved over 200 points: 1981-82, 83-84, 84-85, 85-86. He had a bad year in 82-83, when he tallied only 196 points.
The Oilers were like a factory of super stars. Jari Kurri, who was one of the most skilled players from Finland, is a prime example of that. I watched Kurri do things with the puck that I did not think were possible and wondered “What could he do next?” Kurri was a pure goal scorer who would kill the Calgary Flames all by himself. Kurri had 5 straight 100 point seasons in a row, two 50 goal -seasons, one 68 goal- season, and one year in which he scored a remarkable 71 goals.
How many teams do you know that would have a 2nd center like Mark Messier, who had four 100 point seasons in the 80’s. Mark was a hard-nosed, talented center who had the strength of an ox and the speed of a cheetah. On the wing was Glen Anderson, who had an abundance of speed to go along with his silky moves. I especially remember his smile, which used to get under opposing players' skins. This tactic would get the Flames way off their games and they would end up chasing the Oilers all over the ice. I remember how badly I wanted to wipe that smile right off of his face.
I also remember Mike Krushelnyski coming over to Boston and thinking “Oh great, another high-scoring forward”. I also wondered why the Flames could not pick up these high-flying players. In Mike's first year as an Oiler, he scored 43 goals and added 45 assists for 88 points. I still think that the Messier-Anderson line was the best number two line in the NHL.
These kinds of players are the ones you hate the most out of all the Oiler players. They are the players who got in the Flames players' back pockets and took them off their game.
The number one that I use to hate was Ken Linseman, who could also score and set up some nice goals. So not only was Linseman a disturber, but he was also an offensively skilled player who took players off of their game and took advantage of their mistakes.
The second was Esa Tikkanen, a Flames killer. He played a rough game, and always left his best games for the times he played against the Flames. He was always able to get the Flames to take retaliation penalties. Everyone knows that it is always the second player who retaliates that gets the two minutes, which would result in the Flames facing a lethal Edmonton power play. Anyone knows it’s always the second player who retaliates that gets the two minutes.
The third one was Dave Semenko. He had one reason for being on the ice and that was to protect Gretz. Dave knew his job and most of the time, he was able to intimidate the Flames players, which allowed Wayne to have more room to skate.
I was there in the Paul Coffey years in which he had three straight 100 point seasons. The only other defenseman who had a more exciting end-to-end rush in his prime was Bobby Orr. Coffey's end-to-end rushes were amazing. He was one of the smoothest skaters in the NHL.
Kevin Lowe, in my opinion, was Mr. Oiler. He was one of most sturdy and reliable defenseman in the league. Kevin was constantly the one who could break up an offensive rush.
Most of the time, the other defenseman that was on the ice with Lowe was Lee Fogolin. He was a solid defenseman who just like Lowe, constantly bailed out his high scoring forwards.
Lowe and Fogolin might not been as flashy as Coffey, but they were just as vital to the Oilers' success.
Grant Fuhr and Andy Moog were one of the best goaltending tandems in the NHL back in the 80’s.
Grant Fuhr had cat-like reflexes and would face 35-40 shots a game against the Flames. Fuhr might have always been on the right end of the scoreboard but that was not because of his ability, but because of the way the team in front of him played.
Grant and Andy mostly split the duties, but it always seemed that Fuhr would always play against the Flames and kill them with his brilliant saves. It seems like all the Flames would need is one more goal to get back into the game. More often than not, that goal would never come.
The Edmonton Oilers were probably the most consistent franchise in the NHL during the 1980’s.
The key to this team's success was the speed and skill of their players. Quite often they made up for their mistakes with their speed. Glen Sather ran this team like a well-oiled machine.
Now, I have heard that anyone could have run this team; but is that really true? Could anyone have kept all the stars happy? It really takes talent to run a team full of stars and keep them all happy. Glen Sather guided the Oil to four Stanley cups in the 80’s and was a key factor in bringing those championships.
Sather was a true enemy to all Calgary Flames. But you could not argue with his success as Manager of the Edmonton Oilers.
There you have it: Part one of the Civil War, the Edmonton Oilers.
Part 2 will be posted on Monday