WHERE WERE YOU?

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.

UPDATE

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.

  • Gerald R. Ford

    On January 13th, Sammy stood up, took a beating, and restored some honour to the beloved oil drop. Last night, he restored some of the long-lost magic. Good things happen, collectively, when people care, and good things happen, individually, to people WHO care. Maybe that’s sappy, maybe it’s simplistic. To that, I say, “Perhaps.” In the same breath, I would also say, “Scoreboard, bitchez.”

  • vetinari

    I caught the back half of the game when the game got tied at 3, and once the Gagner line got rolling in the third, they looked unstoppable. I felt like it was an ’80s version of a Oilers v. Hawks tilt.

    I’m happy for Gagner (who needed to receive a break), I’m happy for the Oilers (who needed the morale boost) and I’m happy for the fans (who needed some light in an otherwise dark season).

    Maybe now people will spell his name correctly?

  • book¡e

    What a game….I’m not trying to be a buzzkill or anything, I think the 8pts is awesome!!! but on the Whitney goal…didn’t Bolland try to clear the puck (aka touched it) but accidently cleared it to whitney…thus making it no assist for gagner? again, I’m not trying to kill the buzz, I’m just curious. What a game though, hope this ups his value for a good Dman trade or boost his confidence so he can continue to play like this (obviously not many more 8pt games) but would be cool if he became a point per game player

    • Gerald R. Ford

      I noticed that too. The NHL is generally very loose with giving out assists (like rebounds and what not). Unless the Hawks had ‘clear possession’, than an assist could be recorded. I would agree that assist was borderline, but could go either way.

      • Simpsonite

        I think, and I only think on this one, I think that because Chicago never actually controlled the puck it is still an assist…like when you bank it off the goalies pad or a defenseman’s face to your teammate…same deal applies…Gags tried to take the puck through and his dealiyo caused Bolland to swing and bat it to Whitney who bagged it. Now had Bolland gone for a skate and then gave it to Whitney, well then we might be up to something…but no control therefore…8 points!

        That’s good enough hey? HEY GUYS???

    • BigE91

      That sir, is what is called an NHL assist, similar to when there is a goal mouth scrum and the defending team attempts to clear the puck and it ends up in the back of the net courtesy some lucky offensive player, might seem like it is unassisted but one or two guys started the play.

  • DoubleJ

    Our basketball team is in the playoffs after the first period we watched the rest of the game from the bar with no sound. Still amazing even with no sound. I have it PVR’d can’t wait to watch it tonight after work.

  • Milli

    That was amazing! I had forgotten about the beatdown Sam took!!! Crazy when you think he is only 22. If he is traded, I would say the return needs to be good or it is a mistake. The kid is still a kid, he will develop alot more than he has and we will regret it!

  • aeiouY

    I’m old enough to remember the Glory Years of the Oilers heyday and, watching last night brought back memories – not necessarily of the eight-point nights that Gretzky and Coffey had, specifically (I didn’t have cable so I never saw those games)- but of an entirely different era of the NHL.

    The long-lost-feeling I had was the realization that, for one night in February, the lights of the hockey world – indeed the (North American) sporting world – were on Edmonton.

    Oh sure, we had that trip to the final in 2006 – plenty of the hockey world would have been watching then. But last night was different – a non-descript February night in Edmonton illuminated by a remarkable individual performance.

    That hasn’t happened in a long time, friends. Long, long time.

    It used to happen all the time.

    Last night, young Oiler fans, was like stepping into a time machine. You just got to live what it was like to be an Oiler fan back in the 1980s. Back then, it wasn’t just the Cups and playoffs – it was the February nights at Northlands when magical things happened.

  • DoubleJ

    On top of the Gagner performance, the team is also playing significantly better! Collected 7 of 8 points in their last 4 games against some really good competition including Chicago, Vancouver, and San Jose. I think this team has the potential to get between 75-80 points (around .500 for the remainder of the season). I know there are those on here that would like us to tank to get a higher pick, but I would personally love to see improvement and winning! It is much more fun to watch this team than the one over the previous 2-3 months.

  • Pretty good for the Oiler’s 4th best young forward. If memory serves, 22 years was when Guy Lafleur really started to hit his stride. He is only 22 guys!

    Compare him with Backlund from the Flames. Same draft year although not quite the same pedigree.

    Sam’s dollars and production are just fine thank you very much. Hopefully they don’t throw away this kid for magic beans.

  • 1manwolfpack

    I think Sammy should sport the mystical leather 8 ball jacket for the rest of the season.

    “Check this out! 8 ball! You got a question, you ask the 8 ball.”

  • Ben Dover

    I watched a bit of the first then retired to the bedroom for some nookie. I AM A COMPLETE IDIOT!!!

    I wake up and hear about the 8 pointer on the radio this morning. Damn me and my small head!

  • BigE91

    Peter & Anton Stastny recorded 8 points each on February 22, 1981 in an away game against the Washington Capitals. I believe they share three single game records: the most points scored in a single game by brothers; the most points scored in an away game; and the most points scored by first year players.

  • aeiouY

    can we please get to the REAL story behind last night’s game? I think we all know what I’m talking about.

    Whitney finally got that monkey off his back! I hope all the press doesn’t bother him too much.

  • Crash

    Was there first hand to witness history. What a great night for the many of us that have repeatedly defended Sam in here….I”ve said it before and will say it again, if the Oilers trade away Sam they will end up regretting it.

    It’s been pointed out numerous times that many, and I mean many of today’s top end nhlers didn’t really do anything in the NHL until age 23 and older. There’s a reason that other NHL GM’s keep inquiring about Sam.

    I think we’ve just witnessed the beginning of what will undoubtedly be more successful nights ahead for Sam in this league. Especially if the Oilers coaching staff can finally figure out that Sam should be playing top 6 with other top 6 players.

    Jason….heard your interview with Hemmer and listened to what you had to say afterwards…..I couldn’t agree more about your thoughts on Hemsky and to the idea of getting Hemsky under contract for the next 3 or 4 yrs….

    Coming off 2 straight seasons of serious shoulder injuries I can see how this year would be a difficult year and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Hemmer returns to form at the back end of this year and continue it on into next year.

    Whoever ends up with him is going to reap the benefits…I hope it’s here…based on your interview it seems as though he truly likes it here, has many friends here, can see what is coming here and would like to be a part of it. He even said he was fond of the fans despite of the haters in here.

  • 24% body fat

    considering era, (excluding how good goalies are these days compared to the 80s) even though Gagner did not score one bad goal out of the four. This COULD BE the single greatest performance in an NHL game buy a skater.

  • Crash

    Gagner, Taylor Hall and Jordon Eberle scored on five consecutive shifts in the third period they said.

    Not to take anything away from their historic night, but they didn’t score on five consecutive shifts. According to the TOI charts for the game Gagner scored on 3 consecutive shifts, Ebs and Hall 4 (if you include their last shift of the second period). They scored on 5 out of their first 7 shifts in the 3rd period (still ridiculous).

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    I was on my computer with bated breath hanging on every word Rod Phi oh I mean Jack Michaels spoke as he brought the whole thing to life in my minds eye.

    PS Best fun I have had in a long time! Since #94 tied #99 for the fastest 3 goals against the Sharks.