In the spring of 1983, the Oilers were on the brink of greatness, boasting a lineup full of future Hall of Famers, including Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, Grant Fuhr and Paul Coffey.
The Oilers compiled a gaudy 11-1 record en route to the finals (the opening round was a best-of-five affair in those days) and squared off against a New York Islanders team that had won three straight championships.
Still, many believed the Oilers would prevail based on their level of talent. They didn't, of course, as the battle-tested Islanders swept the Oilers in four games.
The Penguins naturally play the role of the Oilers in this 2008 production of Stanley Cup finals drama, while the Wings are a viable stand-in for the Islanders after winning three Cups since 1997.Full Story
I respectfully disagree with those who posit that the '08 Penguins parallel the '83 Oilers. This argument, of course, is based on the belief that Pittsburgh will become a dynasty over the next ten years and will win many championships. Such comparisons are premature first of all, but more importantly based on faulty premises.
The Oilers of '83 boasted a core cast of characters who would stay with the team for years and years (Gretzky, Messier, Coffey, Kurri, Anderson, Lowe, Huddy, Moog & Fuhr). The Penguins have a lot of up-and-coming youngsters, but it is highly doubtful that all of these guys will be in Pittsburgh 5 years from now (given today's NHL's highly competitive, 30-team, salary-cap state). In fact, there is already deep concern that they will have to part ways with Ryan Malone and one or two others this summer.
Having said that, the Penguins are indeed an entertaining bunch to watch, and will most certainly remain competitive for a long time to come. I also believe that you have to lose first in order to win, and so I see the Red Wings dominating ways from Game 1 continuing.
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