Skip to main content

1983: Islanders and Oilers Collide

The year is 1983. The most anticipated Stanley Cup final in years takes place, as the 3 time defending Stanley Cup champion New York Islanders face off against the highest scoring team in NHL history - the Edmonton Oilers.

The Islanders had worked hard to establish themselves as perhaps the greatest team in NHL history, but they had a serious dislike for the cocky Oilers. This as much as anything motivated the Islanders on to their 4th Stanley Cup title in as many years.

The Islanders didn't just win, they completely humbled the high scoring Edmontonians. The Oilers scored 424 goals in the regular season, but could only must 6 in the 4 game finals loss. Wayne Gretzky scored 71 goals in the regular season, and another 12 goals and 38 points in these playoffs. But the Islanders great checking and the belligerent goaltender Billy Smith kept #99 off of the score sheet.

Smith was the story of the finals, slashing and hacking at Oilers forwards and infamously taking a dive to draw a five minute spearing major against Glenn Anderson. His 1.50 GAA against the Oilers scoring machine was a convincing argument for his Conn Smythe trophy win.

Denis Potvin played this series with a heavy heart. His ailing father was near death, but the two made a pact: Denis would win the Cup if his father fought for his life. In a happy ending, Denis' father was in attendance when his son lifted the Stanley Cup for the 4th and what proved to be final time.

The Sutter brothers, Duane and Brent, were the unlikely scoring heroes in the finals, with Duane leading all players with 7 points in 4 games, and Brent right behind with 5.

As for the Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Paul Coffey and the Edmonton Oilers, they learned a great lesson in their Stanley Cup set back. Kevin Lowe said it best in his autobiography when he and Gretzky were shocked as they walked by the Islanders dressing room on the way out of the rink. The Islanders were not in the midst of a grand celebration, but rather busy attending to their numerous bumps and bruises. Lowe said that was when they realized what it took to be champions.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M