(This month, Puck Daddy asked bloggers for every NHL team to tell us The Essentials for their franchises — everything from the defining player and trade, to the indispensable fan traditions. Here's Pat McLean of Black Dog Hates Skunks, along with well-known Oiler blog commenter and season-ticket holder 'Woodguy', giving us The Essentials for the Edmonton Oilers.)
By Pat McLean and 'Woodguy'
Oiler fans love their players to be tough and nasty, so Mark Messier is the favourite of many. But there's only one guy with a statue outside of the arena. Lots of great Oilers, but none greater than Wayne Gretzky.
This is a tough one, the Oilers had some great ones. The 1989-90 season is a favourite, as the team bounced back from losing Gretzky to win their fifth Cup proving that his supporting cast had what it took as well but have to go with 83/84 the year the Oilers first won the Cup, all of the Boys on the Bus were still there and they beat their nemesis.
Game 1 of the 1984 Cup Final. The year before the Isles ground the flashy Oilers down. In this game Edmonton went into New York and beat them at their own game, 1-0. The Isles evened the Series in Game 2 but the Oilers swept the remaining games. Game 1 proved that they could beat the Isles' dynasty at their own game.
A million of them but have to say it's Game 2, 1988 Division Finals. Gretzky, shorthanded, OT, beats Mike Vernon high. Gretzky beating their greatest rivals in OT, an absolute definition of the franchise in its glory years. Honourable mention to Todd Marchant racing by a stumbling Grant Ledyard to score in OT to knock out Dallas and kick off a fun decade of those little teams that could that culminated in the Finals run of 2006.
There is only one. Gretzky shipped away for kids and money. Oilers would ship out their good players for the same return for decades after but Gretzky getting traded was the death knell for the dynasty and a true 'Where were you when?' Canadian moment.
So many great grinders on a team known for flashy stars — Marchant, Huddy, Moreau, Grier, Pisani, Buchberger ... but it has to be Craig MacTavish, a workhorse centre during the dynasty years and a coach who squeezed everything out of youngsters and castoffs for years.
Chris Pronger and Mike Comrie were recent villains, but for Oiler fans there is no greater villain than Peter Pocklington, the owner who broke up the dynasty.
Dave Brown pummeling Calgary Flame Jim Kyte. It was the hated Flames and Kyte made the mistake of punching up on Brown when he was on the ice and Brown.
Glen Sather, cocky and smirking, who let the kids play their game and won four Cups in the eighties doing so.
The recently retired Rod Phillips.
The arena has always been quiet when it's not a playoff game, so six years out of the playoffs and you can often hear crickets. The high cost of the lower bowl seats (about 6th highest in the NHL) also lends itself to a less boisterous type of fan. If the kids score it gets loud, if the vets score, not as much. Horcoff will still get 75 percent cheers and 25 percent boos when they announce his name after he scores a goal. The 2006 playoffs saw the crowd singing the anthem in a newer tradition, unfortunately we have not seen it since as there have been no playoffs.
You get better fed at a high school cafeteria. You have a choice between three kinds of Boston Pizza, bad hamburgers, hotdogs, popcorn, and salty nachos with high gloss cheese. Beer is $8 for a warmish 16oz draft, water and pop are $4 for 330ml.
Lots of new jerseys of Hall, Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle in the crowd and expect a pile of Yakupov's in the fall (winter?). Still lots of Gretzky and Messier jerseys in the group with a sprinkling of Kurri, Coffey, Fuhr, etc.
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