The Edmonton Oilers are hosting a 30th anniversary reunion of the team that won their first Stanley Cup.
Mark Messier joked that this is his first reunion since he never graduated from high school. But when he was asked if Oilers of 30 years ago could play in today's NHL, he got a lot more serious.
“I think the difference is now the players are probably trained better so they can sustain the shift longer and I would argue to say that because of the guy sitting to my left here, I would stack us up against any team on any day in any era and I would take our chances.”
That guy to Messier’s left?
Here's some more coverage of the Oilers 30th anniversary gathering.
From The Edmonton Journal:
Even though the Edmonton Oilers of 30 years ago weren't exactly known for their defense, but Jim Mathieson remembers the "dream team" of the blue line - Paul Coffey and Charlie Huddy:
How did Huddy, who had to spent time in the minors as a free-agent signee when he was undrafted, wind up with the best skating D-man this side of Bobby 0rr, when he got to Edmonton?
“Gretz would say it was because nobody wanted to play with me,” laughed Coffey.
“I do remember one day we were practising at Father Bonner Arena, freezing our butts off and Slats was there skating around in a fur coat,” said Coffey. “Charlie had just come up from Wichita and you could tell from the first practice that he belonged. Then the next day there was a picture of Charlie in the paper…he was sitting on top of a net and the headline said ‘Charlie Who?’ ’’ recalled Coffey, who won three Norris trophies and had 1,531 career points in 1,409 games.
“Took a few games with us and everybody knew who Charlie was. He was the perfect complement for me. Believe it or not, he used to sing to me when I’d carry the puck around the net. He’d sing, ‘you can dance if you want to…’ We had a lot of fun.’’
Wayne Gretzky gives us a little more insight on his trade out of Edmonton:
“At the end of the day and this is kind of unique the Oilers said, ‘what city do you want to go to?’ I had the choice of New York, Detroit or L.A.
“Everyone thought that my wife (actress Janet Gretzky) had picked L.A. and my wife said, ‘you should play in Detroit.’ It was my dad who called me and said, ‘you should play in L.A.’ For whatever reason, he said, ‘I think you should move to L.A.’ and I became an L.A. King after that.”
Peter Pocklington is in Edmonton for the reunion. It's the first time in 10 years he has been in the city. He had this to say about the trade:
“I didn’t want to do it,” he said. “I was a fan. I loved watching him perform magic. That doesn’t happen very often. He was magic. He had whatever formula that he still has was pretty impressive. “I knew what effects it would have. My hands were tied.
Glen Sather is in town, too, and the media is giving him his due as the great architect of the team.
Glen Sather was the coach/general manager/father/babysitter/psychologist during the early days of the Edmonton Oilers, taking a bunch of precocious kids and older role players and shepherding them to their first of five Stanley Cups in 1984.
“He was the catalyst of our organization and we wouldn’t be here without him,” said Wayne Gretzky.
On a side note, Larry Brooks of the New York Post recently made a good point: Why have the Oilers honoured just about everybody except for Glen Sather?
It would be the perfect time and place for the organization to honor Glen Sather, who will be in attendance and, as Yogi would say, without whom none of this would be necessary.
One by one, they all left, one by one they all return to celebrate one of hockey’s great teams, and one by one they are all forgiven by the powers that are.
All except Sather.
Here's a look at just how the 1984 Edmonton Oilers were built.
The Edmonton Sun has a TON of coverage.
- Oilers 84: Much More Than Wayne Gretzky
- Oilers 84: Where Are They Now?
- A look back at the 1984 Stanley Cup Final
- Flames vs Oilers: A Rivalry Is Born
- Fuhr And Moog: Made Each Other Better
- Remembering the 11-0 Loss To Hartford
Be sure to check out some of this and more excellent coverage of the Edmonton Oilers 30th anniversary of the 1984 Stanley Cup championship.