GDB 69.0: THE CURSE OF BERANEK

The Oilers drafted Josef Beranek in the 4th round, 78th overall, in 1989. He made his debut in 1991 and after 84 games they traded him to Philly for Greg Hawgood. After the Flyers traded him to Vancouver, the Oilers re-acquired him in the summer of 1998 for Tony Hrkac and Bobby Dollas. He spent another year and half in Edmonton before the Oilers dealt him to Pittsburgh for German Titov. He played 513 NHL games, which is very good for a 4th round pick, but he seems to have jinked number 42.

During his second tour with the Oilers even Beranek wouldn’t wear 42, instead opting for #20. He had much more success in the new number scoring 49 points in 1999. Doug Weight wore 42 when he was acquired at the deadline in 1993 and scored eight points in 13 games. He realized it wasn’t a scorer’s jersey and changed to 39 for the start of the 1993/1994 season, and clearly he was right, as he tallied 74 points in his first full season in Edmonton.

Kevin Brown wore it for a short-lived 19 games over parts of two seasons, 1999 and 2000, and tallied four goals. He never played another NHL game again. Tony Salmelainen pulled it over his head for 13 games as an Oiler and never scored a goal, before being traded to Chicago for Jaroslav Spacek in one of Kevin Lowe’s best trades.

The brother of Paul and son of Peter Stastny, Yan, wore it next and tallied no points in his brief three games as an Oiler before Lowe traded him along with Marty Reasoner and a 2nd rounder  to Boston for Sergei Samsonov. Ryan O’Marra is the other player to wear 42 and he’s been the most productive with four points in 12 games. It hasn’t been a productive number for the Oilers thus far, and this year 42 is literally injurying the Oilers at every turn.

Taylor Hall, Ales Hemsky and Sam Gagner have all been injured after scoring their 42nd point of the season, and it seems likely that the Oilers will set a new-franchise low with a leading scorer having less than 48 points. Petr Klima had 48 points in 1992/1993, and unless Jordan Eberle (36) gets red-hot, no one will surpass that mark this season. (Doug Weight had 40 points in the abbreviated 1995 season.)

LAMBS TO THE SLAUGHTER

The Oilers have been a rather feisty bunch at times this season, but unlike our determined Ewe above, they won’t be able to avoid the slaughter tonight. Even if Hemsky, Hall and Gagner were healthy, tonight’s tilt in Detroit would have been a challenge for the young Oilers, but now the chances of winning are about as likely as Air Canada following through on their childish threat.

The Wings have seven players with 36+ points, they lead the league with 3.28 goals-per-game and Nick Lidstrom has played more games, 1479, than all the Oiler forwards combined, 1446, excluding Shawn Horcoff. The experience and talent of the Red Wings will be front and centre tonight, and considering they’ve lost four straight it will hard for the Oilers not to get killed in the Murder City. Like Mark Spector said earlier this week, "You will need a smoke and a blindfold to watch this one."

EASY ON THE EYES

Tonight won’t be easy to watch, but it is Positive Friday and hopefully you can appreciate the beauty of these fine ladies. Bollywood’s most popular film star, the lovely Aishwarya Rai, has the a pair of the most stunning eyes I’ve ever seen.

Selita Ebanks is one of Victoria Secret’s Angels and I can see why. The big question is why Nick Cannon went from being engaged to her to Mariah Carey?

You might recognize this South African beauty, Candice Swanepoel, because she was in Edmonton last August for the grand opening of the Victoria Secret store in WEM. I wonder if you are one of those guys who regrets going with his lady friend that day?

Finally Olivia Wilde is flat out beautiful. I find it interesting that in 2006 she was ranked 95th on FHM’s hottest 100 women, but in 2009 she was #1 in Maxim. Was there really 94 more beautiful women than her in 2006? Tough crowd.

GAME DAY PREDICTION: This will be over quickly. The Wings have lost four straight and they do not want to give the Oilers any reason to believe they can stick around and win this game. Wings handle the Oilers 4-1. Devan Dubnyk keeps it respectable.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Many of you will be multi-tasking during the game. You’ll be watching with one eye, but also searching the 2006 FHM top 100 women, wondering how Wilde slipped to 95th.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: After looking at the roster for tonight’s tilt, even the most diehard Oiler fan will accept that a loss in is inevitable. There will be no screaming out a player’s name, followed by a %$&*#^ because even a true Oiler fan can see when they are overmatched. The good news is come Sunday, while hungover on the couch, you will return to your usual fan-self; demanding the Oilers play better. If the Oilers are allowed a night off once or twice a year, I would think the diehard fan is allowed an off-game where he doesn’t curse and cheer…. 

  • Love Monkey

    I love the write up on the #42! I have been obsessed with this number since it was worn by Doug Weight when he got traded to Edmonton. I got a retro oilers WEIGHT 42 jersey, and had Doug sign it a couple years ago. He said in all his years in the league, he had never been asked to sign a jersey of him with the #42!

  • PhillipSmithson

    While it is probably very true that the Oilers are going to be tucking tail by the 15 minute mark of the 1st period, there is one interesting trend that cannot be ignored (ok..it can be ignored, but dare to dream). Here it is..*drum roll*..

    When the Oilers lose their leading scorer to injury the following game is a victory for the Copper and Blue!

  • Horcsky

    Game Day Prediction: Wings score three in the first period. Oilers wrist a meaningless, softie past Jimmy Howard with 3 minutes to go in the third. 6-1 Wings.

  • Aitch

    I bet Smac never imagined he’d be playing a game against Detroit when they signed him as the part-time enforcer.

    Gregor, I has similar thoughts around #42 last night. I half figured that O’Marra would be on his way for tonight’s tilt. Seems fitting, plus, they could keep our mind off the hockey by continually referring to the fact that he was born in Japan.

  • Aitch

    I still have a Beranek hockey stick stored away. When I was just a little kid Josef Beranek handed me his hockey stick after the game. That’s the only memory I have of Beranek as an Oiler.

  • The Real Scuba Steve

    Don’t know why, but for some reason, one of the first thoughts that pops into my mind whenever I think of Beranek was a story that was in the Edmonton Journal.

    Don’t remember who wrote it – Matty, Spec, Cole, whomever, but it was right before Beranek joined the Oilers and the writer was talking about his numbers. The article quoted somebody (maybe an anonymous scout) who said the bok on Beranek was that he was a not-bad scorer, but don’t be deceived by those 98 penalty minutes in his last season in the Czech Republic, just in case you thought he was tough. Those PIMs were basically the sum-total of 49 slashing penalties.

    Don’t know why I remember that anecdote, but I still do.

    Also – I had no idea that Weight first wore 42. I always thought he had 39 from the minute he switched dressing rooms that day the Oilers picked him up in New York. Learned something new today.

  • Really nice writeup Jason. I didn’t think there was any way to put a positive spin on this game, but damn boy did you come through!

    *You need to speak to Wanye about making a props button for articles.

  • Can anyone confirm that Penner was at 42 pts at the precise moment he was traded?
    Eery.
    Offer sheet Weber? 6.1M per over 8 years. 1st, 2nd, 3rd.
    But then we can’t finish last next year, or we look dumb.
    The Penner RFA went well, not sure if its time to redeploy.
    We need to sign UFA’s.
    Upshall, Hannan, Konopka.