If you missed tonight’s game you’ll be kicking yourself for a long time. For all the struggles, losses, bad signings, injuries and long nights Oiler fans have had to endure for the past six years, a night like tonight makes it pretty damn exciting to be an Oiler fan, I would think.
EIGHT FREAKING POINTS.
If you weren’t old enough to watch the Oilers in the 1980s, tonight gave you a sense of what it felt like numerous times every season. The game was freewheeling, end-to-end action and damn exciting. The building was electric and every Oiler player was happy to be a part of history.
In case you missed it, Sam Gagner had a game that Oiler fans haven’t witnessed since March 14th 1986, when Paul Coffey tallied two goals and eight points in a 12-3 romp over the Red Wings. Wayne Gretzky had eight points twice. He tallied four goals and eight points on January 4th, 1984 in a 12-8 win v. Minnesota and he had three goals and eight points on November 19th, 1983 in a 13-4 win over New Jersey.
EIGHT FOR EIGHT
Gagner was in on all 8 Oiler goals. That will never happen again. Going 8 for 8 is seriously unbelievable. IT has only ever happened once before.
For one night, Tom Renney should be applauded for maybe the most genius in-game line juggling ever. He put Gagner, Hall and Eberle together to start the 2nd period.
Gagner had no points in the first period, three in the 2nd and he tied another Oiler record with Jari Kurri for most points in a period with 5 in the 3rd. Gagner, Taylor Hall and Jordon Eberle scored on five consecutive shifts in the third period they said. Think about that for a moment. You can’t score on five straight shifts in men’s league, nevermind the best league in the world.
Everyone of Gagner’s teammates was absolutely loving it.
I haven’t seen a dressing room that excited since the 2006 playoffs, and this was a different type of excitement. They knew they had just witnessed something they will never see again.
I’m sure you will witness some incredible things from Hall, Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the future, but you will never see another 8 points on all 8 goals again. It won’t happen.
"I won’t be in the same breath as Gretzky or Coffey, if it is anything but this," said a humble Gagner. "Even before this you never expect to do something like this. It is a great lesson to never set limits. The great players that have played here before never did that, and I was never thinking about that tonight. I was just looking at continuing to play and we just kept scoring. It was crazy."
I asked Gagner what was the most memorable about tonight, and his response says a lot about the young man.
"The Gagner, Gagner chants from the fans were crazy. I’ve been through a lot in Edmonton. The last few years have been really hard, especially the losing, but the chants from the fans and the excitement from my teammates gave me chills."
Gagner was very sincere and heartfelt when he uttered those words. You could tell he was truly humbled by their reaction, and to be mentioned in the same breath as Gretzky.
His teammates were just as excited. Taylor Hall set a career-high with four points, but on this night it was all about the one you call Samwise.
"I feel like a bit of a pigeon with only four points tonight," laughed Hall. "It was a crazy night, and every time we got the puck we were in the offensive zone tonight, especially in the third period. The puck always seemed to be on Sam’s stick and every time he made a great play with it. It was fun to see and I’m really happy I was able to be on the ice with him for all the goals. It’s a real cool moment."
"I think Crosby had six points, maybe seven, yet we had eight or nine goals, but I’ve never seen eight for eight," said Ryan Whitney. Gagner was in on all of them, it was unbelievable. I’ll never see that again, and I’m sure none of us will. It is just crazy," continued a shocked and excited Whitney.
What were the guys thinking on the bench?
Whitney —- "I looked up when we got our fifth and it said two and three (goals and assists for Gagner.) I didn’t know that, I thought he had four. Then he got the sixth point, and then we just started laughing in amazement. I was out with him for a few of them, and as he kept putting up more we just kept smiling and laughing. He didn’t even know what to say, you could tell by his face that he didn’t believe it. It was awesome."
Ryan Smyth —- "There was talk on the bench that they scored on five straight shifts, so we were saying get back out there. Late in the game our line was up, but I looked at Sam and said ‘you go.’ I wanted to see him give it every effort to break Gretz’ record. It’s not very often anyone has a chance to beat one of his records. It was a very special night."
JUST ENJOY IT
Tonight and tomorrow is not the time to wonder if Gagner can be a consistent 2nd line centre, instead you should just enjoy what you witnessed tonight. If you missed it TSN 2 will be replaying the game at 11:30 p.m. I’m sure many of you will want to watch it again and just sit back in disbelief and awe.
It’s not very often you get to say "I was there," for record breaking moments. If you were lucky enough to be in the building or watching at home smilling from ear-to-ear, just enjoy the moment.
Too often in life, and in sports, we don’t fully ingest the wonder of something truly special.
Tonight was one of those games.
It was a night Sam Gagner will never forget, and I’m happy to say I got to watch it, as well as the reaction from the fans, Gagner and his teammates.
Nights like these are what make sports great. How many of us dreamt of having a night like this when we were kids? I’d bet most of you did, and to watch it happen for someone is very rare and special.
It turns out Gagner is only the 2nd player in NHL history to score eight points in a game where his team only scored eight goals. Mario Lemieux was the other.
Only 12 players in NHL history have ever scored 8 points in a game, and it has only happened 15 times in league history.
Lemieux did it three times, Gretzky twice and Maurice Richard 1944, Bert Olmstead 1954, Darryl Sittler 1976 (10 points), Tom Bladon (D-man) 1977, Bryan Trottier 1978, Peter Stastny 1981, Paul Coffey 1986, Patrik Sundstrom 1988 and Bernie Nicholls 1988 did it once.
Lemieux tallied all three of his 8-point games in one sizzling season, and prior to Gagner he was the last player to accomplish the feat on April 25th, 1989. (playoff game)
The Oilers franchise is the first one to have three different players register 8-point games. The Canadiens had two in Richard and Olmstead.