Well, it looks like the tumbleweeds are starting to congregate in the normally bustling Oilogosphere as we progress further and further into this Edmonton-free post-season, with even stalwart daily poster Lowetide taking a few days off as the Oilers-related news topics have continued to dwindle.
So what better time than to do what Oilers fans do best and wallow in ancient history? I must admit that the date slipped right past me unnoticed, but as Scarlett pointed it out on her blog All Oil All The Time two Sundays ago, April 29th marked the 10th anniversary of Edmonton's first playoff victory after a five-year absence from the second season.
As some of you may or may not recall, it was in overtime on that Tuesday night in 1997 that a certain Mr. Todd Marchant exploded the minds of a generation of wounded, defensive young hockey fans when he took a pass from Doug Weight, blew by a creaky-looking Grant Ledyard and beat former Oiler Andy Moog high and to the blocker side ... High, and to the blocker. High, and to the blocker. High, and to the blocker. That, coupled with Cujo's absolutely fucking reality-bending save on Joe Nieuwendyk just moments before, was enough to send the powerhouse Dallas Stars packing, while allowing the Oilers to advance to the second round where certain elimination awaited at the hands of the Avalanche.
I remember I was in a basement of a house in Strathearn Heights that night, drinking Pilsner from the can and watching the game with friends Kenny and Jay. I was wearing a novelty-sized cowboy hat and a recently-made-obselete Jason Arnott jersey. Like most who had grown up in the lean years, the (spits) Corson Years, we were hesitant to give our hearts away too easily to the throes of unbridled fandom, and we made the Oilers work for our love. Up until the moment Marchant scored, there was still the lingering expectation of failure, that surely, despite our heroics to force Game 7, this could only end in the most obvious, logical way. Who, then, could have imagined how things would turn out?
Joseph's save put us on the edge of our sofa cushions. And, after an instant of stunned disbelief, Marchant's goal sent us leaping into the air, hollering and hugging like drunken idiots. The look on Nieuwendyk's face after Joseph's save still sends shivers of ecstasy down my spine. April 29, 1997, was the beginning of the Oilers I know and, occasionally, love today.
So, like, where were you guys?
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