OLD MAN POWER: PEPPER CHECKS IN

If age and treachery is a match for youth and exuberance, the Quickcard Cancer Crushers have a fighting chance when the action begins at Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer Saturday. We’re counting on it. Then again, we might just end up beaten, sore and old, which we are.

Lyle Best, captain of our intrepid entry in the all-day tournament to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society, put the finishing touches on our Old Man Power theme Thursday afternoon when he took former Calgary Flame Jim Peplinski with the second overall pick in the celebrity draft – the order was decided on donations raised, and we finished second with $21,200.

We took Peplinski, 51, ahead of relative youngsters like Georges Laraque, who went third, Chris Joseph and Sean Brown, which is fitting considering that Pepper isn’t close to being the oldest player with our collection of crusty geezers. Grant Fuhr, by the way, went first overall.

There is zero chance, absolutely none, there’s a team older than the Cancer Crushers entered in this event – my guess is collectively we have more knee surgeries than teeth — and we’re playing, like, five games on Saturday. Keep the Rub A-535 and the paddles handy, OK, Bub?

MOVE ASIDE, KID

Best, a big-hearted businessman and member of the old Edmonton Copper Jackets in the days of the EIG, among many other things, is our captain and goaltender. He’s 59. Former Belvedere Golf and Country Club head pro and noted Oiler backer Garry Meyer is 56.

Craig Topolnisky, who played 10 games with the WHA Oilers, is 55. Kerry Goulet, who played a lot of pro in Europe, is 54. I’m also 54 (my knees are 64 and never got near the pro game in any country).

Pepper checks in at 51. Ping (10 Thumbs) Kam, our ringer, is 50-something. We saved three slots for fuzzy-cheeked kids – Dana Shook is 40 or so, Shawn Stals is pushing 40 and the baby of the outfit is Lyle’s son Aaron, who is 29.

I’m not sure what the record for hooking, holding and obstruction penalties is in an event like this, but we might take a run at it, given our only chance is to slow our games down to a dead-stall with the days of run-and-gun long behind us, especially in a three-on-three format. You’ve got to be kidding.

GRUMPY OLD MEN

As for our selection of Peplinski ahead of Laraque, I love it. If there was a Flame who gave the Oilers more hell than Peplinski during the heydays of the Battle of Alberta, when it really was a battle, I can’t think of who it is. I’ll take that kind of grit and gamesmanship any day.

My guess, after a few days of our team members huffing and puffing through practice in Best’s driveway this week, is we’re going to surprise some of the relative pups we come up against on Saturday – at least until we fall down and can’t get up or nap time comes.

If you’ve got time Saturday, make your way out to the parking lot around the convention centre near the Agri-Com, take in some games and cheer on the old guys (we’ll be the ones doubled over and clutching our chests). Or, just come out and heckle Peplinski.

No matter who you cheer for, come out if you can and support the cause in this battle against a disease that has claimed far too many family, friends and loved ones in our lifetime, as our collection of geezers knows too well.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Boourns99

    Great article RB. Still remember watching Pepper and Beukaboom (sp?) fight three feet away from me (through glass, thank goodness). Greatest display of ferocity, viciousness and honor I’ve seen.

    Game was different then. Miss those days.

  • Wanyes bastard child

    I’d love to come out but I’m going to be busy roofing for the old man.

    I’d love though, if every time you guys score you all yell in unison “GET OFF MY LAWN!” đŸ˜›

  • Chaz

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Peplinski the Flame who Mark Messier fed the upper cuts to in the classic movie Boys on the Bus? It was my favorite scene in that movie, part of a montage done to that cheezy song…(“This Moment in Time”??) It was the greatest scene of cinematic history because Messier’s uppercuts are in perfect time with the piano in the song.

    Thanks for being the rag doll in my most cherised memories Peplinski. Guy could take a punch….or several that is.

    Good luck this weekend Boys. Give the kids Hell!

  • RexLibris

    I second the GET OFF MY LAWN goal cry. Brilliant.

    Too bad I’m working this weekend. I’d love to come down cheer for Team OMP to beat some rug rats.

    Good luck Brownlee, and try to catch someone coming across the middle with their head down!

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Watch those elbows, Brownlee. If you get a chance, maybe give Laraque a little shot to let him know you’re out there. Or to let him know if he’s about to back over you, is he still 6’14”, 700 lbs?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Dangit Brownlee, we were holding down second place all day till you guys pulled ahead at the last minute to submarine us!

    See you at the tournament. Great work on the fundraising.

  • Wanyes bastard child

    Pepper showed up for an awful lot of fights with various Oiler players and lost pretty much all of them. What I admired about him was that it never had any effect on his play. He was the same solid, hard-nosed two-way pest after every licking.

    In fact I have fond memories of most of the Flames players from that era. Hockey was a lot more fun when the Battle of Alberta was over the Stanley Cup instead of the first overall pick in the draft. Hell, I was even happy to see Lanny carry the Cup in 1989, although not as happy as watching the Flames only managing to win a playoff series in one year, 2004, since.

    I admired Loob, Macinnis, Lanny, Reinhart, Macoun, Pepper, Otto, Hunter, and many many more. Especially Badger Bob. They pushed us to be great and the Oilers responded. Of course, the real skunkers, like Paul Baxter, Neil Sheehy, and Doug Riseborough are not forgiven their sins.

    • Wanyes bastard child

      Well put,I concur in every way.That is exactly how I remember those glory days.

      Wasnt Sheehy the guy who crosschecked Gretzky in the back and started all Waynes serious back issues??I am pretty sure I remember Sheehy crosschecking Wayne in the back visciously somewhere around the right face-off circle when Wayne was facing the net–I still want to jump through the TV set and retaliate.Am I right on that play all these years later??Anyone remember?

    • SCHEDULE UPDATE: Lyle just phoned me with our schedule and it’s pretty much a cakewalk for the first three games.

      8:30 — TEAM 1260. God help these slugs.

      11:15 — THE BEAR. Half their crew is at Edmonton’s smallest penis contest at a ripper bar tonight.

      12:15 — GREGOR’S TEAM. Yessssssssssssssssss.It’ll be an ass-kicking of biblical proportions.

      Three walkovers and then games at 2:30 and 3:30.

  • Wanyes bastard child

    Great cause RB. Unfortunately lost my father to cancer when he was 47. Still remember.

    Sad that this is where Oilers’ fans find ourselves today, rather than blogging about the uplifting thoughts of the future and the Oilers’ young stars on OilersNation.com, instead contemplating the possible loss of the season and, even worse, Katz’s troubling insinuations about the future of the Oilers in Edmonton over the downtown arena debacle! Pocklington redux? Can we fire the owner and his expensive stable of weasel lawyers?

    This is infinitely worse than coming off the inepitude and embarrassment of missing the playoffs for seven NHL seasons and the last three of being 30th, 30th and 29th in standings. At least there was a silver lining in the ineptitude.

  • Wanyes bastard child

    I always remember how Peplinski seemed to be the one Flame who matched Messier’s size, toughness and leadership. I hated him but at the same time desperately wanted him on our team. Good choice.

    • Wanyes bastard child

      Harlie – it was Peplinski (and Badger Bobs) Dream to be able to match Messiers size, leadership and toughness. The fact was he wasnt as big, was a punching bag and didnt have the leadership. And everyone knew it thats why Joel Otto always had the matchup.

      I chuckle to this day seeing the Flames captains holding up the Stanley Cup at center ice — and two of them in workout gear because they were scratches!!!!

      ~ Now thats leadership!!!

    • Quicksilver ballet

      Thank you ,you are correct.It was Gary Suter.

      I just finished watching some old games from the late 80s early 90s trying to find the hit on video and I cant believe how emotionless hockey has become,the instigator rule that was used to tone down NHL hockey for the American media appetite ,inadvertantly sapped the emotion and excitement and drama from the game.
      The Instigator rule removed the “code”from NHL violence on the ice.I believe we need the “code”back to revitalise the NHL game,we are missing the most critical element of NHL hockey,the biggest selling point,with todays mass media coverage globally we dont need to tone down our game to still access a tremendous audience and to promote the game globally –we can get retro and allow hockey to be the rollercoaster of emotions it is supposed to be for 60 mins.
      I just finished watching retro HOCKEY games and now realise that today we are really watching MOCKey games,60 mins of emotionless play–the excitement and flow removed as if by lobotomy—seriously looks like the instigator rule must go soon.

      Just sayin.