If the Mike Krushelnyski in this photo could find that DeLorean Michael J. Fox used in Back to the Future it would make life much easier for the Edmonton Oilers.
This is Krushelnyski as a member of the Springfield Indians in 1980. He was a 6th round pick of the Boston Bruins in 1979, and when he turned pro in 1980 it took him most of two seasons to make the NHL grade. The Bruins at that time were a veteran team with a strong record going back over a decade. However, they were a veteran bunch and the LW’s were old and getting older by the minute. Men like Wayne Cashman (37 in 82-83) and Don Marcotte (34 in 81-82, his final year) were on their way out and the Bruins had a long list of prospects to step in. To quote the Hockey News from October 13, 1983:
- The left wing situation is crowded with Mike Krushelnyski, Craig MacTavish, Brad Palmer, Mike Gillis, Luc Dufour and rookies Nevin Markwart, Geoff Courtnall and Dave Reid all in the race. Krushelnyski, a reformed center, was the only one assured of a job at left wing. MacTavish (10 goals), Mike Gillis (goalless in 5 games), Dufour (14 goals) and and Palmer (6 goals) fighting for their jobs. "When you score 10 goals, as I did last year, you’re expendable," said MacTavish. "I did a lot of skating in the summer. When your job is on the line, you have to come to camp in good shape. You can’t afford to get yourself in good shape once you get here." "The only reason they got me in the first place was for my scoring," said Palmer. "But last year it got to the point where I couldn’t even score in practice. Hopefully they still believe I can do it." One left winger who showed up at camp by surprise was Stan Jonathan, 28. He provided the Bruins with a certain toughness and fisticuffs during six years in Boston. Markwart, who was drafted by the Bruins in the first round, 21st overall, in the 1983 draft. "My major strength is I play really aggressive. I’m not afraid to use my body. I’d like to be bigger, but I’m not."
It’s interesting to look back and see what happened after fall 1983:
- Mike Krushelnyski became a pretty famous player. Among his 801 NHL games from fall 1983 to the end of his career were a ton with Gretzky, in Edmonton and then Los Angeles. He was a very good hockey player into the 90s, and scored 25 goals in 83-84.
- Craig MacTavish had a very fine NHL career, playing in 946 NHL games from fall 1983 onward. He popped 20 goals in 83-84 which was his final year with the Bruins.
- Brad Palmer’s NHL career was over. He spent 83-84 in the AHL and then to Finland and Austria, and was done by summer 1990.
- Mike Gillis played the 83-84 season with the Bruins as an extra man, scoring only 6 goals. He would be heard from again by the NHL, but not as a player.
- Luc Dufour split the 83-84 season between the AHL and the NHL. He would be dealt the following October to Quebec but didn’t play much there either.
- Nevin Markwart did make the NHL at age 19, but it probably hurt his long term development. He had 30 points in 83-84 as a rookie, but that was his career high.
- Geoff Courtnall played 5 games with the big club at the end of the 83-84 season, but wouldn’t make the grade for real until 84-85 (at 22). He had a fine NHL career, but not in Boston (which is pretty much a theme here).
- Dave Reid played 8 games for the Bruins and then made the NHL midway through the following season. He had a long career as an effective role player and was on the 1999 Dallas team.
Krushelnyski entered the coaching profession after his long career ended and as with many former NHLers is giving back through charity work. He’ll be part of the Scotiabank Pro-Am in support of the Gordie and Colleen Howe Fund for Alzheimer’s at the end of this month in Leduc. There are still openings if you and your friends would like to play with some legendary former NHL players like Krushelnyski.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Happy St. Paddy’s day. I think Ms Bardot’s bikini is green, but who cares?
- When: today at noon Edmonton time.
- Where: Team 1260 (hit the listen live).
- Archive: Oilers Nation, it’s up same day lately.
- Scheduled to appear: former Oiler Mike Krushelnyski; Cult of Hockey’s Bruce McCurdy; Thomas Drance of Canucks Army; OKC pbp man Jim Byers; Kent Wilson of Flames Nation.
The best questions are always yours, feel free to post them in the comments or email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’m addicted to twitter so @lowetide_ is a good way to get things through.