Sunday, June 18, 2006

Let's Go Oilers!

Game 7 of a Stanley Cup finals has only happened 13 times since the 7-game format began in 1930-something. My Oilers are playing in the 14th game 7, so any local topic this week is seriously trumped by the game. I have a mild post planned but I'm postponing it until Tuesday or Wednesday after The Cup has been awarded. So, why do I like the Oilers so much - especially when there are so many former Cyclones playing for the 'Canes?

It all starts with the WHA Stingers - when I learned that I loved hockey. Actually in those days I hated the Oilers because they usually killed the Stingers. I still have a game program with Melrose and Messier as Stingers and Gretzky as an Oiler. It is probably my most treasured piece of memorabilia. When the WHA folded, I was crushed. I was too young to really even realize what the NHL was. I saw it more of a merger than an absorption. Ahh, the ignorance of youth.

So after that happened, I paid close attention to the old WHA teams in the NHL - Hartford/New England Whalers (Carolina), the Winnipeg Jets (Phoenix), the Quebec Nordiques (Colorado) and of course the Edmonton Oilers - the only team remaining in their original city. There is lots of nostalgia for me here. I love the fact that Edmonton is still in their original city.

And there is the nostalgia of actually seeing the Oilers fairly regularly when I was a kid. Man, those are good memories. And of course it helped that Gretzky truly became "The Great One" in the NHL; and he did it with truly a team around him. They were great players and a great overall unit. I love that.

And finally, I've maintained my loyalty to the Oilers because they have continued to play wide-open, run and gun hockey all through the advent, use, and misuse of the dreaded trap. Yeah, they have occasionally used it but mostly they have truly played old tyme hockey. The suffered some losses but they maintained the principle of hockey the way it was (in my humble opinion) meant to be played.

So here they are with the new rules finally returning hockey to that original style, and having overcome adversity all these years, and especially this season. They acquired Roly and had to fight tooth and nail to secure an 8th seed in the playoffs. They played Detroit, with the best record on the league, and knocked them off the mountain. They lost Roly in Game 1 of the finals, but have still found the way to come back from 3 games to 1 deficite.

That is hockey character. I love it.

I am thrilled that two WHA teams are in the finals. That is terrific and I wish they would bring out the AVCO World Cup tomorrow night as a show of respect. If Carolina were playing any other time, I would be all over the Hurricane Bandwagon - both because of their WHA roots and their ties to Cincinnati - not to mention that I also like their style and hockey character. But they are not playing any other team; they are playing the Edmonton Oilers.

I think the Oilers deserve the cup. Carolina has now had two games where they could have had the most prized trophy in all of sports and they played like it was a game 1 or 2. They brought back Cole and only got a minor spark out it. Edmonton, facing elimination, played with heart and soul and has beaten all odds to force a game 7.

Come Monday night at about 11:00 PM (maybe later if there is OT) the cup will be awarded and I'll be happy with the whole playoff run. If the Oilers win, I will be absolutely, intoxicatingly thrilled. They are "my" team, they've come this far, they've defied all conventional wisdom, and they deserve the cup. The city of Edmonton and the fans deserve the cup. Canada deserves the cup.

But no matter who does win - we hockey fans are all winners this season!

This blog is my sole opinion. It may be based on reason and fact; or it may be purely my emotional preference but it is mine alone. I only claim to be perfect most of the time. You are entitled to disagree, and I invite you to do so - somewhere else.


Blogger Pucknut said...

The Oilers didn't win...but they deserved it. Wow, what an inspiration! Down 2-0, then 3-1 & then game 7. There are no losers in a finals game 7. Very proud of those guys & we are Senator fans. Edmonton did hockey proud!!!

11:06 PM  
Blogger Gerald Bateman said...

For people who remember and loved the old Cincinnati Stingers. Take a look at my website Stingers History. It is loaded with tons of great stuff and has the game summaries and box scores of every game the Stingers played in their first two years (the other two years will be finished this winter).....

I also have a few radio snippets for people to listen to under my Multimedia section....

1:33 PM  

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