The Weight

Every once in awhile, something so unique, so unusual, arrives at your door and forces you to take notice. The Band (above) was like that, their first two albums are as pure as mountain water. The early 80’s Oilers were like that too, forcing a nation to take urgent bathroom breaks for fear of missing two or more goals while lollygagging.

The current group of Oilers is just getting started, we don’t know if they’re truly special or just the latest rage. There are going to be some stops along the way that remind us of the 79-83 Oilers and tonight is one of them. The Oiler kids may never raise the Stanley, but for the other side the theme is "No Country for Old Men." 

The Band honed their sound in bars and clubs throughout the eastern part of the continent. Most of them came from southern Ontario and it gave the group a unique mixture of influences specific to time and place. You are where you come from, and country, blues, working class and hard times are reflected in their wonderful music. The Band sounds as fresh today as they did the moment the needle hit vinyl the first time.

The 80’s Oilers were a happy combination of luck, skill and timing. When the WHA merged with the NHL, the established teams also had older, veteran rosters. The upstart clubs (like the Oilers and Minnesota North Stars) were youthful speed burners who could pass the old men coming and going. Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita retired in 1980; Phil Esposito, Jean Ratelle, Terry Harper, Gerry Cheevers and Ron Ellis in 1981; Dave Keon, Rogie Vachon, Jean Pronovost and Don Luce in 1982.

The summers of 1980-82 would see the (almost) complete wiping out of the pre-1967 NHL player. Wayne Cashman, Carol Vadnais and Serge Savard survived until 1983, but those Oiler kids and many like them ended an era in a proverbial heartbeat.

The current Oiler kids will be on display against an older group tonight. Among the 30+ players Calgary may play are Craig Conroy (39), Steve Staios (37), Brendan Morrison (35), Miikia Kiprusoff (34), Jarome Iginla (33), Ales Kotalik (32), Tom Kostopolous (32), Corey Sarich (32) and Olli Jokinen (32). Niklas Hagman and Alex Tanguay (both 31) and Robyn Regehr (and old 30, D is a tough position) who rounds out the group of 12.

Among the Flames best players in their 20’s are Rene Bourque (29), Jay Boumeester, Mark Giordano and Matt Stajan (all 27). 

They’re a savvy bunch and should be favored to win tonight. However, they’re going to face a young group of forwards who can pass them like a house on the side of the road. The Oilers have too many kids and not enough actual NHL players, and the Flames have too many veterans and not enough quality youth. 

One group could be special and owns the future, the other fades with each passing day.  

  • Lowetide

    ahh The Band! My brother convinced me to watch his blueray of The Last Waltz (movie performance of The Band filmed by Scorsese) and it blew my mind!!

    It was clear that Robbie Robertson was the leader but for my money I thought Levon Helm, who was the primary singer, while also playing the drums, and writing most of the songs was the true leader of The Band.

    Good stuff, LT. Keep bringin that old school sound!!

    • Jay Gray

      I don’t think there was a band where ‘The Leader’ was the 5th option at singing lead, The Band changed that. Levon Helm is a great singer, but The Bands voice was Richard Manuel…Rick Danko is greatly overlooked by most casual music fans. Great soulful voice…The Band should be regarded as Canada’s greatest musical import (aside from Neil Young).

      • Lowetide

        Yeah, they were all so talented. After I wrote that line about “first two albums” I made a mental list of all the good songs AFTER the first two albums.

        There’s a ton. Agree on the Band and Neil Young btw.

  • John Chambers

    Hmmm, there were rumors earlier in the year that Les Flamers were offered Brayden Schenn for Jarome Iginla. This deal may actually happen later in the season.

    Despite possibly losing their current franchise player, Calgary could very well have Schenn, Michael Backlund, and a 4th to 6th overall selection in their system, who could end up being Brandon Saad or Gabe Landeskog. Watching Landeskog and then Schenn yesterday I think I can confidently say that those kids are the Real Deal Holyfield.

    That’s actually a formula for a semi-accelerated re-build in the Land of the GodLess.

  • Dan the Man

    However, they’re going to face a young group of forwards who can pass them like a house on the side of the road.

    Beautiful….the Flames have been the better team for a while now But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will…

  • Wanyes bastard child

    I have a question for those of you that would know, my girlfriends roommate was telling me that even if Calgary were to trade Iginla they would be on tap for half his salary for the remaining term of his deal. This doesn’t make sense to me but he is quite sure of it due to a program he watched on the flames.

    The only thing I can see that might effect this is his no trade but even then other teams do salary dumps all the time…

    • Lowetide

      WBC: That is incorrect. If the Flames waived Iginla and then put him on re-entry waivers (that’s 2 different moves) THEN they would have to pay half his salary.

      This is the case currently with the Oilers re: Sheldon Souray. If they recall him from Hershey, they have to pay half his salary if another NHL team picks him up.

      Iginla isn’t at his best, but there’s no way in hell he gets waived. And if he is traded, the team that acquires him pays full price.

      • Wanyes bastard child

        You see, thats what I thought. But you know what its like trying to argue with a flames fan, the only difference between a flames fan and a terrorist is that at least you can negotiate with a terrorist 😛

        • Hey! We’re not all THAT dumb… although I did have one know-it-all at FlamesNation tell me the Flames should be trying for guys like Ryan Smyth & Michal Handzus out of LA, rather than Wayne Simmonds, Colton Teubert or a 1st rounder (this was in early November, about the same time I started preaching REBUILD!).

  • Wanyes bastard child

    I don’t think that Iginla can be traded. He’s a $7 million cap hit through 2013. A sublime player, tough minutes, but his contract isn’t front-end loaded, so Tampa Bay (say) would still have to pay the full $7 million freight. So he can’t go to a team that’s looking for a cheap way to hit the minimum.

    Maybe there are still GMs stupid enough who will take on this anchor of a contract, thinking that numbers don’t matter, but one of those stupid GMs was just toed out last week. Maybe TO will take Iginla in return for a first round draft pick in 2012? I’d do that deal in a heartbeat. A freaking heartbeat.

    I love Iggy. But he’s at least $1 million overpaid for the next three years, maybe $2 million.

  • Mitch


    Nothing related to your article but I just seen the oilers lineup on 630 CHED, I’am baffled as to why Big Mac isn’t in the lineup. Stortini and Jacques don’t do a dam thing out there besides the odd hit, especially Jacques. There’s a clear message if I’m Calgary run Eberle, Hall and Hemsky. I don’t get it.

    • Lowetide

      Mitch: MacIntyre probably isn’t dressed because Ivanans isn’t going to play. If Regehr is going to smash one of the kids, a MacIntyre-Regehr fight will not follow.

      MacIntyre isn’t going to be on the ice with Regehr unless there’s been a mistake.

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

    Happy New Year to the Nation. My resolution is to cheer like hell for the Oil, but to continue betting against them.

    May 2011 be better than 2011.

    Sorry, little hung over from last night…
    SB..may 2011 be better than 2010

  • jimmycrackcorn

    Make Iggy an Oiler! Keep the kids, deal Penner, even Hemsky. Iggy is tough and better than he’s Playing in Calgary now. He would be the most positive influence you could bring to the oil and the kids.. Feaster would be run out of town if he traded Iggy to Edmonton, so it wont happen, but I wish it would! Bring back Glencross at the same time!

    • That’s the problem. In today’s cap world it is infinitly harder to trade away a player with that much cap hit for a worthwhile prospect that will be making significantly less over the next few years. It has to be a perfect fit. I don’t think that trade with LA will ever happen either.

  • Wanyes bastard child

    I can’t believe all you fans of the Band failed to mention their keyboard player, Garth Hudson, and
    absolute virtuoso. Pay attention to the piano or organ the next time……beautiful!