The atmosphere was much different at the morning skate today. Players were smiling, joking around with each other, even Craig MacTavish was in good spirits as he danced around Stortini and Jacques before going in all alone on Deslauriers and giving him the forehand, backhand, forehand deke.
There will be no line up changes for tonight:
21 – 10 – 83
12 – 89 – 19
18 – 13 – 34
27 – 51 – 46
The Colossal Fossil will start in goal, and the D pairings remain status quo.
Today I doubt any of you even care what the lines are, because a win is the only focus for those who still believe in miracles. Make no mistake miracles do happen in sports.
Miracle on ice: USA defeats the USSR and goes on to win Olympic gold in 1980.
Miracle on Manchester: In game three of round one, the LA Kings trailed the high-powered Oilers 5-0 after 40 minutes, but they scored five times in the third before Daryl Evans scored the OT winner and the Kings went on to win the best-of-five series in 1982.
The Miracle Mets of 1969: They won 38 of their final 49 games, before beating Henry Aaron and the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS, and then the Mets faced the powerhouse Baltimore Orioles with Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Jim Palmer and Davey Johnson. The Mets lost game won when their ace Tom Seaver got pounded, but the won four straight to cap off a four month Cinderella-type run.
The difference with the Oilers is that they need help for their miracle to happen.
The Predators host the Blackhawks tonight and the Blues are in the Desert to battle the Coyotes.
The Preds are 2-0 v. the Hawks at home this year, winning 4-1 and 5-3. They went 1-2 in Chicago. The Preds are still without Legwand, Arnott and Erat, and the Hawks have won three in a row.
The Blues are 3-0 v. the Dogs this year winning, 4-3, 3-1 and 2-1. The only good news for Oiler fans is that the ‘Yotes are 6-3-1 in their last ten and they are 22-14-3 at home, while the Blues are 16-18-3 on the road.
The other game of interest tonight is the Flames v. the Canucks. If the Flames win they clinch the NW and I’m hearing that if they win, then Curtis McElhinney could start both games this weekend v. the Oilers. McElhinney is 0-6-1 this year with a 3.73 GAA and a .883 SV%.
Some days you need something to make you believe the impossible is possible.
Kings won’t roll over
After last night’s 4-1 loss to the Flames, Terry Murray ripped his team for 15 minutes in the locker room. Then when he left the players had a player’s only meeting for 20 minutes. The message was to show some pride and play for each other.
The Oilers need to win, but it sounds like the Kings won’t just hand it to them.
Some days the best part of my job is sitting down and listening to Rod Phillips or Jim Matheson recant some classic stories. RP is one of the most animated storytellers ever. He gets right into it and makes the story all the more enjoyable.
Today RP was telling Stortini and me a story about Barry Melrose. Melrose was playing for the Cincinnati Stingers in the WHA during the 1978/79 season and they were playing the Oilers. Dave Hunter, who was a pretty good pest in his day, had given Melrose a few cheap shots earlier in the game.
Melrose skated by the Oilers and screamed, “Dave you cheap @#$%&*, I’m gonna kick your ass.” Well, Dave stood up, but it was Dave Semenko and he hopped the boards.
Melrose back-pedals and with a high-pitched shrill spouts, “Not YOU Dave, not you,” and Semenko proceeds to lay a beating on Melrose.
Semenko just said that Melrose didn’t specify which Dave he was gonna beat up.