GAME SEVEN: NOTHING BETTER

On April 29th, 1997 Todd Marchant blew past a stumbling Grant Ledyard and into the hearts of Oiler fans forever, when he ripped a snapshot past Andy Moog in overtime of game seven v. the Dallas Stars. Curtis Joseph made a stunning save on Joe Nieuwendyk earlier in OT, but Marchant’s goal sent Oiler fans into a frenzy fourteen years ago, and anytime you mention his goal a true diehard Oiler fan can tell you exactly where they were when he scored.

There is nothing more exciting, nerve-wracking, gut-wrenching or better than GAME SEVEN; unless your team loses, then it sucks worse than walking in on your parents bumping uglys.

The Oilers are 6-3 in game sevens — they lost the 5th and deciding game to the Kings in 1982 when they were five-game series– and they are 1-1 in game seven of the Stanley Cup finals.

  • 2nd round, 1984. The Oilers beat the Flames 7-4 with Ken Linseman getting the game-winner, but the Oilers dominated this game.
     
  • 2nd round, 1986. The only time Calgary defeated Edmonton in a playoff series happened when Steve Smith scored on his own net. Perry Berezan got credit for the goal, and despite having 13 minutes remaining in the game the Oilers couldn`t notch the equalizer, and they lost 3-2. The Oilers are 4-1 v. the Flames in the playoffs.
     
  • Stanley Cup final, 1987. Jari Kurri notched the game winner, but most people remember Glenn Anderson`s insurance goal that gave the Oilers a 3-1 lead over the Flyers. The score held and the Oil won their 3rd Cup in four years.
     
  • First round, 1989. After taking a 3-1 series lead, the Oilers fell apart and the Kings won three straight including a 6-3 victory in game seven. The Kings pretty much controlled this game from start to finish, and many felt that was the beginning of the end of the Oiler dynasty. They were a bit premature with that prediction we would find out in 1990.
     
  • First round, 1990. After blowing a 3-1 series lead the previous year, the Oilers returned the favour battling back from a 3-1 series deficit and winning game seven, 4-1, over the Jets. Many remember Jari Kurri`s game-winner in game six more than what happened in game seven, but Mark Lamb became a cult hero in 1990 scoring two-game winners, including the winner in game seven.
     
  • First round, 1991. For the 3rd straight season, the Oilers went to game seven in the first round, and once again a team had a 3-1 series lead. The Oilers lost game five, then they lost game six at home in OT when Theo Fleury did his infamous knee-slide celebration, before Esa Tikkanen scored a hat-trick, including the OT winner in a come-from-behind 5-4 win.
     
  • First round, 1997. After missing the playoffs for four straight years, the Oilers were back in a game seven in the first round. I watched the game from my Calgary hotel room, and I remember being stunned when Marchant actually scored on a breakaway, that prompted one of the best post-game celebrations involving head coach Ron Low and Curtis Joseph. Low`s reaction when he came on the ice to embrace Joseph was pure, unbridled raw emotion that makes the playoffs so exciting. 
     
  • First round, 1998. Another opening round seven-game series, and once again the Oilers came away victorious. For the 2nd time in franchise history they overcame a 3-1 series deficit and fought back to beat the Avalanche 4-0 in game seven. The Oilers outscored the Avs 9-1 in the final three games including back-to-back shutouts in game six and seven.
     
  • Stanley Cup final, 2006. Five years later this game still haunts Oilersnation. After Fernando Pisani scored shorthanded in OT in game five, the Oilers spanked the Hurricanes 4-0 in game six, only to lose 3-1 in game seven. Pisani tied Jari Kurri for most game winners in one playoff year with five, and despite never coming close to matching his offensive heroics of the spring of 2006, Pisani is still beloved by many in Edmonton.

    Quick trivia question. Do you know which two Oilers are tied for 2nd with four game-winners in one playoff season?

     

A FEELING YOU MISS

Losing game seven is devastating for the team, management and their families and it is just as hard for some fans. But as much as it hurt Oiler fans in 2006 and Flames fans in 2004 I guarantee all of you would rather be a Canuck fans this morning. You`d wake up stoked for the game. Sure in Vancouver most fans are probably convincing themselves they have a shot, after gassing three straight games, but the best part about being a fan is riding the emotional rollercoaster of a series.

Unless you are the ultimate pessimist you enter game seven believing, hoping or even praying your team can win. Your boss might as well give you the day off, because all of your focus is on where you`ll be watching the game and who you`ll be watching it with. You browse the web every five minutes, looking for a new tidbit of info or some obscure stat that will give you reason to believe there is no way your team can lose.

You can bet that fans of the Hawks, Canucks, Flyers and Sabres can`t wait until the puck drops tonight. Hell, if you are a fan of hockey you are looking forward to tonight. I can`t recall a seven-game series that has grabbed the attention of hockey fans across Canada as much as the Hawks and Canucks has. I don`t remember a series that has fans in Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto cheering so hard for a team to lose as much as they want  to watch the Canucks complete their choke job.

Some say Canuck fans are arrogant, spoiled or whiny, but whatever it is many of you will be watching to see what unfolds. The Canucks played well enough to win game six, and while Mike Gillis looked like a whiny, insecure toddler yesterday when he complained about the officials, I`ll pick the Canucks 4-2. I’ll also take the Flyers to win.

QUICK HITS

  1. After watching so many small, skilled forwards score big goals in the playoffs are Oiler fans still concerned that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is too small?
     
  2. The Canucks were 21-2-1 in the regular season when Ryan Kesler scored, however, 33 of his 41 goals came against non-playoff teams. I know he plays a different role against top teams, but he needs to step up his offensive game if the Canucks are going to get out of the first round and go deep in the playoffs.
     
  3. Some have asked if Colin McDonald’s AHL-leading 42-goal season will give him a shot to make the Oilers next year. I’d say he has earned himself a two-way NHL deal, something he didn’t have last year, but I’m hesitant to think he will be an NHLer now. Lots of guys can produce in the AHL, but never get to the NHL. Since the lockout the only guys to finish in the top-ten in AHL scoring and become regular NHLers are Artem Anisimov, Troy Brouwer, Teddy Purcell, Cal O’Reilly and PA Parenteau. It was a breakout season for McDonald, but he’ll never get those opportunities in the NHL. He’d need to produce and contribute in 4th line minutes.
     
  4. With Martin Marincin signing yesterday it looks like the Oilers could have Marincin, Curtis Hamilton, Tyler Pitlick and even Ryan Martindale all in OKC next season. Toss in Cameron Abney and Olivier Roy, who both recently signed, and the Oilers could have eight picks from the past two seasons playing somewhere in their pro system. If Anton Lander elects to come over he’d be the 9th pick. If only three of those guys pan out, along with Hall and Paajarvi those two draft years would be deemed successful.
     
  5. If the Canucks get past Chicago, they will have an even tougher test against Nashville. If the Sedins thought it was hard to score playing against Keith and Seabrook, they will even more frustrated when they have to face Shea Weber and Ryan Suter every shift. 
     
  6. To illustrate my point about how winning changes how an organization is perceived just look at this year’s playoffs. If the Canucks lose they will be deemed chokers AGAIN and will be deemed underachievers and failures. Meanwhile in the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs went 61-21 in the regular season, but they trail the 8th seeded Memphis Grizzlies 3-1. Only eight NBA teams have come back from a 3-1 series deficit, and I don’t see the Spurs becoming the 9th. The Spurs have won four titles since 1999, and even if they lose, they won’t feel even 20% of the venom, doubt and anger that the Canucks will. 

***Trivia answer. Paul Coffey had four game winners in 1985 and Ken Linseman had four in 1984.*** 

  • oilnik

    Game sevens are painful for me as an Oil fan to this day. I remember my cousin and I talking the night before game seven in 2006 and he said that the next evening (game seven showdown) would either be one of the best or worst days of our lives…so true. We were invested, we had been to the early 2000’s Dallas series before, and in 06 we had gone to game 6 first and second round ( both clinchers, and steve y’s last game)…couldn’t afford the third and Stanley rounds, instead we went to Boston pizza for a two month long epic party that ended on a game seven. ….so tough. To this day I’ve never seen the cup celebration of 06′

  • hoil

    Jason suggests in his afternoon show that it is better to see a rival lose in Game 7 of the SCF than in the first round. That makes sense, if your goal is to heighten their level of disappointment.

    However in this case, the ‘Nuck fandom already considers a SCF appearance equivalent to a Dynasty, so they need to be brought back to earth early in the process. That 3-0 lead gave them just enough rope for them to jump with.

    Speaking of which, is there any truth to the rumour that Vancouver has a plan in place to block off the Lions Gate Bridge when the game is over?

      • hoil

        Yeah, but the Lions Gate has the cool art deco design. If you are going to go, do it in style!

        ***disclaimer***

        If you are a Canuck fan considering taking your own life, please make use of one of the six yellow phone boxes on the bridge; they can connect you to a crisis hotline.

    • Last year the Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks had 6 players who were 190lbs or lighter on their playoff roster.

      This year the Oilers had 7 players suit up for them at 190 or lower all year. Of those 7 two were Reddox and Vande Velde. So only were 5 regulars, if you count Omark as a regular.

      I dont know if that’s what you were getting at.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    “After watching so many small, skilled forwards score big goals in the playoffs are Oiler fans still concerned that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is too small?”

    I uttered those very same words this weekend, BPA regardless of size. Parise anyone???

  • a lg dubl dubl

    …i am still surprised to this day that Todd “StoneHands” Marchant actually scored that goal …i was at the bar ( i drank in those days ) watching it and all i could hear was myself yelling Noooooooooo!!!! not Stone Hands!!!!!

    i just looked away !!!

    …and the little crap never scored another more important goal…

    • Quicksilver ballet

      The Oilers had more than their share of those Mr. Automatic types, Ethan Moreau and Mike Grier were famous for that, it was a struggled to get a shot on net, even on a breakaway.

  • Zed

    I can probably trace that series to the beginning of my Oiler fandom. I was about 12 at the time and I clearly remember where I was and how I felt when a team that I was cheering for won a big game.

    In my own personal bubble my views of the Oilers was that they weren’t very good, Wayne Gretzky was on that Pro stars cartoon and Peter Pockington was a big jerk.

        • Peterborough

          Peter Puck is more than a jerk, he’s a criminal that #$%^ed up the best team that ever existed just out of sheer greed and ego. He also badly damaged the economy of Alberta. There should be a national holiday where we burn him in effigy.

  • It’s funny. At the beginning of the playoffs I remember saying to myself, “This has to be Vancouver’s year… sure would be nice to see a canadian team win the cup.” I live in Victoria so I am constantly inundated with Vancouver crud all around me all the time. Still, my thinking was my team is out so might as well cheer for the local canadian team. Then when I was watching the games I found myself suddenly standing in the bar fist pumping and shouting “YESSSSS!” when Chicago scored, then quickly realizing where I was and that I don’t even care about Chicago and sitting down.

    I guess my subconscious knows the deal, no matter what I think LOL. Poor Luongo, but choke beeches chooohhhhhhke!

  • 24% body fat

    I will say it again. I dont think anyone is concerned with RNH lack of size. I think they are concerned with the oilers lack of size and want to address that. Maybe RNH is better but how often can you find a big skilled center like this that is ranked by some scouts at #1 and others #2 #3 #4 etc. If Gagner or Eberle were three inches bigger with 20 more pounds we would most likely all agree to pick up RNH.

    Couterier kills a few birds with one stone, size, skill, two way, center. RNH may be better at some of these but does not have the size couterier does.

    That is my beleif why people want couterier instead of RNH.

  • Zed

    I guess small guys can score in the playoffs: Danny Briere, Nathan Gerbe, and thats about all. How about a 6’4″ Centre with the most skill and pedigree in the draft?
    Any takers? Joe Thornton ain’t bad either.

  • Wax Man Riley

    Double post… so instead I will say why I want Vancouver to lose:

    In 2007 they had the crowd sing the Anthem. Original.

    A ceremony in February celebrating 40 years without a cup

    Awards ceremony in April for winning nothing

    Being named the Canucks when there already are teams called The Canadiens and The Maple Leafs. Original.

    Fans that think they won the cup before the playoffs even started

    I happen to actually like the green men by the box. I’ll give them that one.

    Not able to act like they have been there before. Which they haven’t, I understand. I will also give them a lot of leeway on this since Edmonton fans set fires in the streets in 2006.

    Also, because I love the city and wish I lived there. Until then, I can at least one-up them on their hockey team.

  • BigE91

    I don’t believe that I could handle an entire playoffs of Jim Hughsons first name announcing of the Canucks. What are we watching Bob Cole and the Leafs? what a homer.

  • book¡e

    I have shifted to Canucks Army – That poor site needs some help. Maybe some Canucks fan will see it and think that he has found another Canucks fan online to chat with.

  • Peterborough

    Noooo! damn there goes us down to the habs making it to the conference finals to get the 18th pick.

    Was so looking forward to laughing at the nucks but now get to watch the Preds kill ’em.

    GO Mr. Underwood! Go music city!

    PS props to Gregor for clearing that up. . . and liked your interview on NR . . . but I’m still not convinced that taking a D-man in the top five is at all a risk, 2006 aside.

  • Shaun Doe

    Damn, just when it was getting so enjoyable.
    i wonder what other conspiracy theories Gillis will cook up.
    And by the way, how can a GM claim that the entire integrity of the league is in question, that the officials are actually cheating!!!, and not get fined at least 6 figures?

    • Shaun Doe

      You are talking about a team that celebrates a history of complaining about officiating. They just erected a statue outside their arena of the coach waving the white towel. They have a kid stand at centre ice during the skate out waving the white towel. Brian Burke went to the media and let the world know that “Sedin is not Swedish for hit me in the back or cross check me in the head”… they revel in the myth that they exist under the shadow of big brother Toronto and give forth a little brother syndrom vibe. Its infuriating.

    • Shaun Doe

      a fine was levied doug …dunno if that’s already been on here but i heard it on Team 1260 …

      thankyou for your comments throughout this run …as a loooongtime Hawks fan(since Bill’Red’Hay was the Calder Trophy winner 1960?)i enjoyed them immensely but i’ve heard something lately that our friends who are friends of the nucks actually are calling their team ‘the interim champions” because they defeated the champions … wow!

      it’s all i got

  • Shaun Doe

    Great now I get to painfully always have someone in my ear talking about how the Canucks are gaurenteed the cup. News Flash to all the Canucks fans, you barely beat a very VERY slim Chicago team and now they will have to answer to Shea Weber, Ryan Suter and Cody Franson.

    I am very upset cause my second favorite team is Chicago and I didnt just jump on the band wagon last year, I was ever since they drafted Toews. During the game I was so tangled and watching the game through my fingers. I’m barely a chicago fan altogether and my true passion is bleeding true Oil blood, so I cant even imagine what kind of mess Im going to be in when the Oil make the playoffs next time. During the 06 cup final I broke my leg and was high on morphene etc… for well after the series so I was able to watch stress free.

    I am also very upset and need to vent because I hate the canucks more than any team, anyone or anything in this world.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Well as much as I hate the Canucks(same hate level as Calgary) at least we’ll get to see Carrie Underwood( she can b under my wood anytime) ALOT more on CBC 😀

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Great game to watch , and milking the officials paid dividends as it usually does . Nice to see two teams at the top of their games go at it , and have officials let the teams decide who wins the game ! I don’t believe Nashville will fair very well against the Canucks , but the Conference final could be a stellar matchup . Go Canadian teams !

    Any idea what year might the Oilers decide to go with an NHL lineup ? Has Katz put them up for sale , yet ? If he can’t build a team , why should city build him an arena ?

    • D-Man

      You must really be a Canuck or Hab fan in disguise… Patience is a virtue, madjam… The only reason we didn’t have an NHL lineup last year was with key injuries… Next year will be better; granted – we’ll still have a top 5 pick in the draft; but the basement dwelling will be no longer…

  • D-Man

    Too bad the Hawks lost, but are Toews and Keith big game players, or what? Watching those two will their team to a goal yesterday was amazing to watch.
    Full credit to Vancouver, who actually managed to be less arrogant and “intense eyes” (come on Bieksa, there’s lots of tough guys in the league, and you aren’t the toughest) than usual (thank god), and deserved the win, but who on that team matches Toews? Sour-face Kesler? Nah. Who matches Keith?…crickets…Two players don’t make a whole team, but I’d feel really good if the Oilers have two players that are 75% the players that those two are.