Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Let's do the time warp

Since I'm not currently employed or in school, I thought I'd take a trip back to 1998, the last time we won us a playoffs series. Oh, those were heady days.

An icestorm had hit Ontario and Québec in January, causing a national emergency. Bill Clinton claimed he did not have sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. Titanic was making teenage girls pay to see it like 14 times, and I was in grade nine.

Glen Sather was still chomping his cigars in the press box, and Ron Low was still steering this ship. Kevin was still attempting to get over the inner ear infection that ended his career. I don't remember all of the assitant coaches, but I believe former Golden Bear Billy Moores would glare pointedly over his glasses at players from time to time, and Bob McCammon also stalked the bench, generally jawing at the other teams players more than giving advice to our own.

The Oilers were backstopped by Curtis Joseph, with Bob Essensa, the world's greatest back-up, working the gate. Recently acquired defenseman Janne Niinimaa and Roman Hamrlik were manning the points, Niinimaa acquired for Dan McGillis in what would turn out to be a fairly even trade, Hamrlik acquired for Steve Kelly, Jason Bonsignore and Bryan Marchment (possibly also Drew Bannister), if I recall correctly, in what one can only assume was a trade made because Slats had pictures of Phil Esposito touching children inappropriately while dressed as Ziggy Stardust. Boris "Bobo" Mironov, Drake Berehowsky, Greg DeVries and "Broadway" Bobby Dollas (who, as I recall, used to wear one of those Jofa helmets that made you look like people were worried about you falling down on your way to get some chocolate pudding) also patrolled the blue line, with Sean Brown and Frank Musil finding time in there as well.

Jason Arnott had been traded away for Bill Guerin and Valeri Zelepukin, one of a long line of underachieving European "second" liners. Doug Weight and Ryan Smyth rounded out the top line with Guerin, and some bastard combination of Andrei Kovalenko, Dean McAmmond, Scott Fraser (who scored almost a point a game in a late-season call-up, then signed a $2mil contract with the Rangers and promptly disappeared), Zelepukin and a wildly overachieving Tony Hrkac took care of secondary scoring duties. We still boasted a bevy of first-rate pluggers (not including those second-liners I just mentioned), notably Todd Marchant, Mike Grier, pre-wobbly neck Rem "the Gem" Murray, Mats Lindgren (okay, so they weren't all first-rate) and, of course, the king of them all, Kelly Buchburger, the man who would blindfight a grizzly that had a shark strapped on one arm if he thought it would help his team. GG saw occasional action, in place of former tough guy Bill Huard, who was so terrible he was actually benched for the last 50 or so games of the season. Boyd Devereaux was a young, up-and-coming fourth-line checker, as opposed to the veteran one he is today. Joe Hulbig was the six-foot-whatever behemoth we naïvely thought would turn into a power forward, and Mike Watt, Craig Millar and Doug Friedman never saw another NHL game.

You know, looking back, I can't believe we won a series, against the Avalanche of all people. The first-round 2006 Oilers would have tooled the first-round 1998 Oilers, even with Joseph standing on his head. What a long way we've come.


mudcrutch79 said...

Wow. Strange. I wrote a paragraph for my site that was like exactly the same as this and then wiped it because I didn't think it worked. Odd that other people are thinking the exact same thing.

But I agree. This team would have shitkicked that team. It would not have been a pleasant experience.

namflashback said...

yup. Cujo and a one line Oilers versus


was not Chris Drury amongst those too?

Dennis said...


Dollas playing with Niinimaa and giving us some good minutes.

I really liked that team:)

Graham said...

you should do something like this about the 97 team who were far worse than the 98 team.

Steve said...

Bannister was traded to, I think, Anaheim for Dollas. But he definitely wasn't involved in the Hamrlik trade.

Anonymous said...

Some nice historical perspective. I did quite like that team actually, especially when Billy "The Butcher" Guerin carved out Forsberg's eyeball late in Game 6 I beleive. I also recall dating a young Red Robin waitress during that series, good times...

Back to present day, from the Sun;

Dwayne Roloson faced 238 shots and stopped 221 for a .929 save percentage, while Detroit's Manny Legace faced 155 and stopped 137 for a .884 percentage.

OK, Keving Lowe wins this trade. I will give him credit although I am still not convinced about MacTool. Having said that he is of course one series win away from certifiable coaching legend status.

How about Legace's quote about going home and hanging himself? That was raw.

I also listened to the Calgary game last night. After the game their phone-in show was swamped with losers, it was despondent. Probably 6 callers in a row said something along the lines of "there's no shame losing to anaheim." WTF?!? There is shame my cow humping friends, and not just for 2 minutes.

So if we play the Flamers, let's get some real hate on for those losers. I think they are a team ready to crumble, their fans have almost already given up. Time to tape on the foil and head down the highway,


Simon said...

The thing I remember about that series was in Game One; the Oilers won the first game and Crawford put a goon out on the ice with a minute left to go after Guerin or Weight. Ron Low just about climbed over the glass to get after Crawford before his team hustled him off the ice.

And in the last game Cujo was *insane*. I remember one play he was out of his net, in the corner and came flying back across to stop a shot. My friend muttered something about defying the laws of physics.

People forget about those series: Those Edmonton teams were doing a hell of a lot more than the Flames were at the time.