History can teach us many things. Never get involved in a land war in Asia. Don’t cheat on any woman, and get it in writing. Oilers history has a few cautionary tales for modern fans and one of the most important is the following: enjoy these kids as they emerge as NHL players. Some day, money and playing time and other "life" items will cloud the view.
This is a portion of a Dick Chubey article that appeared in the October 1987 Hockey News:
- There are cracks in the foundation that could spring a leak in Edmonton’s hopes for a 4th Stanley Cup in 5 years. Capable of being a starting goaltender on most other NHL teams, Andy Moog grew tired of awaiting a trade and made good on a threat to play for the Canadian Olympic team. Half of the Stanley defense–Paul Coffey (holding out), Randy Gregg (Olympic team) and Reijo Ruotsalainen (returned to Finland) isn’t with the team. They also need to replace Kent Nilsson, who is off to Italy.
The Oilers enjoy better ownership than the day that was written, and the salary cap means there’s only so much money to go around. I submit though that the possibility exists that the Edmonton Oilers will one day have to choose between talents like Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Pääjärvi.
Their markers will come due at the same time. The club can deal Penner and Hemsky and ride out the Khabibulin contract, but there’s a massive payday down the line and if these kids continue to have success it’ll be a helluva problem. Not unlike the old timey Oilers, who boasted Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, Anderson, Coffey, Fuhr, Moog, Lowe and others. Not everyone could play, not everyone could get paid.
I know, I know. This is a little early in the game to be crying "to arms" but there’s method to my madness. Driving around the city today and talking to a few Oiler fans, I got the feeling that last night’s game didn’t inspire a lot of people. The Jackets goalie was terrible, the club was outshot and outchanced and the first period was a cluster-something. Oiler Nation is already a little jaded.
All true. ALL EXPECTED. Folks, these are kids. ENJOY THEM. When they’re scoring goals from everywhere, drink deep and hold it until you’ve sucked everything you can out of the game.
There will be plenty of time to analyze and find fault and bitch and moan. Take it from someone who thought the Glory Days would last forever: milk this thing, even at this early stage. It’s later than you think.