GDB 32.0: FOND MEMORIES

The Oilers and Carolina Hurricanes don’t have much history, except for that outstanding seven-game series in the 2006 Cup finals. The ending wasn’t great for the Oilers and their fans, but the 24 games between April 21st and June 19th created some outstanding memories.

I’m guessing most Oiler remember where they were when Pisani scored shorthanded, in overtime no less, to send the series back to Edmonton for games six. Game six was the best atmosphere in an NHL arena that I’ve ever experienced. It was Saturday night, 6 p.m. start, but the building was packed by 4:30. The emotion and excitement inside Rexall Place was intense, heart pounding and euphoric, all before the game even started.

One of the coolest parts was when the fans showed great respect by singing the Star Spangled Banner prior to belting out Oh Canada. 

Or how about the goal at 4:00 of this video…I’d say it is the nicest goal of  Ryan Smyth’s career, and it came in game six of the Stanley Cup finals. 

It was a magical run. Shirts off for Horcoff was an actual thing. The Human Rake was a beast on the blueline. Fernando Pisani was a local here in Edmonton, especially in Little Italy. The Oilers had an outstanding combination of skill, experience, toughness, size, grit and a strong desire to win.

The Rake should have won the Conn Smyth despite losing. He did everything, including scoring on a penalty shot in game one of the Finals.

The forward group had skill in Horcoff, Hemsky, Samsonov, Pisani and Smyth. Grit and toughness with Peca, Torres, Stoll, Moreau and a 4th line that found ways to contribute with Murray, Winchester, Laraque, Dvorak, and Harvey.

Behind the Rake, he played 31 freaking minutes a game, Spacek played the best hockey of his career, while Smith and Staios were all heart and determination, and made the opposition battle for every inch on the ice. The 3rd pair was a mixture of Greene, a big, strong, young D-man who played 10 minutes a game, and Tarnstrom and Bergeron who played 13 minutes a night, mainly ES with 2 min of PP time.

Roloson was a journeyman goalie, who battled on every shot, and Jussi Markanen played very well considering the situation he inherited between games 2-7 of the Cup Final.

Overall, it was an epic journey, and even though the Oilers lost, I’d bet that for most of you reading this, it was the best time of their hockey fan life. Some of you are lucky enough to have been around for the five Cup runs, but the 2006 run was so unexpected that many fans have told me it was the best two months they’d ever experienced, despite the gut-wrenching game seven defeat.

Of course the ending sucked, but that shouldn’t overshadow how fun and exciting the previous two months were. That loss likely toughened you up enough that you’ve been able to sit through eight subsequent seasons of losing.

As you get set for a game 32 of an already frustrating season, take a moment to remember who freakin awesome the ’06 run was. For fun, do a quick comparison of those teams, and you will see how many changes the current Oilers need to made  if they ever want to reach the Stanley Cup Finals again.

LINEUP

Perron-RNH-Eberle
Hall-Gagner-Yakupov
Joensuu-Arcobello-Hemsky
Gazdic/Smyth-Lander-Jones

Craig MacTavish was the coach in 2006 and saw first hand the type of 12 forwards you need in order to win. This group’s natural maturation will help, but it is clear he’ll need to change over at least half of the aforementioned group before this team can win regularly.

Ference-Larsen
N.Schultz-J.Schultz
Belov/Marincin-Potter

We all know MacT’s biggest test will be re-shaping the blueline over the next few years. Marincin has looked decent, and I think he is on a solid developmental curve at this point. How far he can improve from here will determine if he can become a solid NHLer, or just a fringe D-man.

Dubnyk 

TUESDAY TIDBITS

  • Chris Kunitz had 25 and 21 goal seasons in Anaheim, (60 and 50 points) before being traded to the Penguins. In his first three seasons in Pittsburgh he scored 50-13-19-32, 66-23-25-48 and 82-26-35-61. If you combine last season and the first 32 games this year, Kunitz has tallied 80-39-44-83 and that is why he is in the mix for team Canada.

    His best 80 game stretch has come at the best possible time for him to be considered for the Olympic team. Playing with Crosby helps, for sure, but over the past 80 games only Ovechkin (54), Stamkos (43), Tavares (40) and P. Kane (39) have scored as much as Kunitz.

    I understand why he is in the conversation for the Olympic team, but he wouldn’t be my first choice. Seventeen of his 39 goals have come on the PP, only Ovechkin has more 25, and if he does make team Canada, is he going to be on the first PP unit? I doubt it. That is a factor.

    Kunitz and Crosby have chemistry and Kunitz;’ 83 points are 6th most over the past calendar year. He is producing, and often a player who is playing the best right now will make it over someone who played great two years ago. Kunitz deserves to be in the conversation, but he is a bubble guy at best.
     

  • Speaking of Crosby, he only plays :38/game on the PK, while Malkin, Kunitz and Neal don’t play PK. Craig Adams, Brandon Sutter and Pascal Dupuis are the three main guys, while Tanner Glass is 4th at 1:14/game. The Penguins don’t take many penalties; they’ve been on the PK for only 151 minutes this year, 7th best in the NHL.
     
  • The Oilers have been on the PK for 181 minutes, 23rd most in the NHL, but they’ve had 192 minutes of PP time, 2nd most in the NHL. The Oilers spend more time on special teams than every other team in the league. They have played 373:33, about an average of 12:04/game. The PP and PK are 13th and 15th respectively, and the only way the Oilers can win is if their PP sits top-five, because their 5-on-5 play is horrible.
     
  • The Oilers have given up 72 goals 5-on-5, but they’ve only scored 47. The organization needs to stop focusing so much on the PP, stop believing that the PP is the engine that drives the team, and realize that until they improve at ES they won’t win. It is painfully obvious.
     
  • The Oilers have scored 22 PP goals, and allowed 19 PK. Their special teams basically cancel each other out.
     
  •  Richard Bachman was re-assigned to OKC today. Jason LaBarbera will be sent down once Bryzgalov has another practice or two. Jeff Petry practiced, but won’t play. He is day-to-day.

TONIGHT….

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The ghosts of game-six past will appear and help the Oilers win 4-1.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Hurricanes are 0-3 when the second game of a back-to-back is on the road. The Canes have outshot teams in the first game of those sets, but they’ve been outshot 78-104 in the 2nd games. Oilers will outshoot the Canes 33-24.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Riley Nash, Oilers first round pick, 21st overall, in 2007 will be booed every time he touches the puck. If Ladislav Smid can be booed, there is no reason that a former draft pick you refused to sign in Edmonton can’t. When you don’t have much to cheer for, the fans need to find something that will entertain them throughout the game. Riley wears #20, in case you were wondering.

DAY EIGHT…MONTH OF GIVING…

Thank you to the Edmonton Rush for donating their VIP package yesterday and to Robert for bidding on it. Through seven days we have raised $22,450 for charities.

Today’s package is unique. There are two items up for grabs, and the winning bid can choose which one they want.

Supply and install one High Efficiency Furnace or a 13 Seer Air Conditioning System courtesy of
G & H Heating and Cooling Solutions.

This is what you get with the furnace:

  • One high efficiency furnace
  • All venting
  • All electrical connections
  • All drains
  • All sheet metal modifications to maximize performance of new equipment.
  • City permit and City inspection fees
  • Removal of old furnace

This is what you get with the Air Conditioning System:

  • One 13 Seer Central Air Conditioning System
  • All electrical connections with outdoor safety disconnect
  • Anti-vibration pad
  • One heat/cool thermostat
  • City permit and inspection fees

You will receive a site visit from one of their comfort advisors before installation to take measurements and determine proper size of Air Conditioning system/Furnace for the home and where it will be installed.

To bid you can call 780.444.1260 between 2-6 p.m. today. Thanks in advance for your bid. All proceeds will go to Operation Friendship Seniors Society.

 

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

 

  • A-Mc

    Perron-RNH-Eberle

    Hall-Gagner-Yakupov

    Joensuu-Arcobello-Hemsky

    Smyth-Lander-Jones

    it is clear he’ll need to change over at least half of the aforementioned group before this team can win regularly.

    my 6, eberle, gagner, joensue, smyth, lander, jones.

    I kept hemsky because he will be a good sign at 3mil.

  • A-Mc

    Favorite 2006 Playoff run Memory:

    Helping this guy slam a 15 pack of Kokanee in the alley just off whyte. The Fuzz were out in full force and this guy was trying to bail his 15er before he got arrested. My friend and I happily obliged.

    2nd favorite memory: A bunch of us were walking to the pub on Whyte and my friend kicked me in the ass. Po-Po saw it and took him down. haha what a goober. This is around the time where police were getting a little aggressive because of shenanigans gone-wrong from games prior.

  • Spydyr

    OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Jason Gregor continues his wonderful charity work.Wow, what a package today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your awesome work for those who need it most.

  • I got to say the ’06 playoff run has to be the most memorable experience in my life time as a hockey fan and proud Edmontonian. I grew up in Montreal I was 5 years old during the ’86 finals didn’t realize what it meant. I saw the ’93 habs miracle run and I can tell you it was magical… but there was still something special about that ’06 Oilers team. All the pundits wrote them off during the Detroit series boy did they ‘stick it’ them. And man who can forget Raffi Torres hitting Milan Michalek!! That hit changed the series around…I still choke up watching game 7. I wish the current Oilers would play at that level just bring it every night… maybe I’ll be fortunate enough to watch another final someday

  • geoilersgist

    Man living in Calgary during that run was awesome I can’t imagine what it was like living in Edmonton. I will never forget 2006 as I was just a little young to remember the last two cups.

    I would give almost anything to get a run like that again (hoping it happens every year after).

    • Oilers Coffey

      Living in Lethbridge was pretty cool too, the bars were always packed with the Southern Alberta die hard Oilers fans!
      I was just finished the last of my university degree. It was celebration city! I do remember and have been a part of all five cups!

      Forever an Oilers fan!!!

      • Spydyr

        For me the first Cup will always be the best one.It was the first that alone makes it special.

        Everyone was so happy on Jasper Avenue.It was so spontaneous the Cops did not expect anything like that.Not that the Cops were needed, there was absolutely no sign of trouble.

        What a night!

    • A-Mc

      You hit on a good point. It’s too bad the Alberta teams suck so bad. If even 1 of them is in the playoffs and does well, the entire province feels the good vibes.

      Damn it… we need to stop sucking!

      GDP: Gregor says 4-1, so i’ll say Oilers lose 1-4. Now we have all the bases covered.

      NSOGDP: HORDY scores from the 7th row. WTFOOOOK? Does that even count!?

  • OGP: the Oilers underestimate the hurricanes in the same way they underestimated the flames. Result? The very talented Mr. Skinner scores a natural hat trick and Cam Ward holds the oilers to a single goal, scored by… Obviously, David Perron.

    I hate being the pessimist, but the Oilers have left me in this sad state after a dreadful 8 years and counting.

    /wrists

  • ValleyviewSports

    That goal was scored on my 18th birthday. I guarantee it will be one of the highlights of my life, and I can only pray we win a cup within the next 5 years (or i’ll be in my 30’s)

  • ValleyviewSports

    I thought that Samwise was benched and banished to the pressbox………for resetting??

    If Sam can cough the puck up continuously and never be called out from the coach, exactly how is accountability being served?

    Exactly who is Riley Nash ? A nobody and playing like it……..who was the idiot that drafted him? I would have loved a fly on the wall when he was being interviewed. With scouts like that it’s no wonder we are where we are.

  • Justino

    The 2006 Stanley cup run was when i became an Oiler fan. I was 15 and the last time they won the cup i was a baby. I have alot of fond memories of that run and I cant wait to experience that again. 7 years and counting.

    I say the Oilers win 3-2 tonight

  • ValleyviewSports

    I gotta disagree with Gregor in saying that “of course the ending sucked. but that shouldn’t overshadow how fun and exciting the previous 2 months were.” It’s the other way around. We were in it to win and the heartbreak of the Justin Williams empty-netter and the realization that it wasn’t happening for us…that stinging feeling overshadows all the magic that lead up to it. As an 18 year old at the time, nothing stands out more in my high school graduation year than the collective dejectedness of all my friends in the 24 hours after the game. I want the Oilers to win this game more than any other game so far this year to say the very least.

    • Jason Gregor

      How could it happen the other way around, unless you actually thought they were a Cup contender before the playoffs started.

      The win over Detroit started it, and then it grew with wins over San Jose and Anaheim…If those don’t happen, you don’t feel the excitement of the Finals or the gut wrenching defeat…

      • pkam

        To be honest, I thought we were going to be swept by Detroit before the playoff started.

        Never did I think we could get to the 2nd round.

        And even after we beat Detroit, I still didn’t believe we can beat the Sharks and that trio.

        It was after the 2nd series I started to believe we really had a chance, I thought if we could beat the Wings and the Sharks, we could beat any team.

        • A-Mc

          I was the opposite to you!

          I figured we had a good shot vs Detroit. Somehow the Oilers seem to show up vs Detroit, despite Detroit easily being the better team. I had faith in the Oil and their ability to win those games!

          And we all know the Sharks tank every season, so i wasn’t too worried about those schlubs either. It’s everyone else that had me shaking in my panties….

      • ValleyviewSports

        I’m saying the suckage of the ending completely overshadows all the joy and elation leading up to it.
        Of course, it was an amazing run filled with incredible memories. The one memory that stands out above them all is the fact the we didn’t get it done in Game 7. That sucked.

  • ValleyviewSports

    Speaking of d-men, Weber and Suter aren’t putting up particulary great numbers this year.
    Weber has 13 points and is a -7.
    Suter has 0 goals in 32 games and is even.
    I know these guys are 2 of the best, but I figured their numbers would be much better than that.

    • Ducey

      Still early, but Minny is winning so I am sure they don’t care. And Nashville is competitive and are always in the mix.

      Take either guy outta their line-up and those teams really suck.

  • NsxZero

    Damn that Pisani goal brings a smile to my face. Not just the goal but the celebration after where everybody is going nuts and giving high fives all around. Damn I miss the playoffs.

  • One of my favourite memories from the cup run was watching games at my friend’s place downtown. As the games ended we’d turn down the volume and open his windows. When time expired you could hear all kinds of cheering and honking coming from the city. What a great time to be in this city. Hopefully my infant daughter gets to experience that at some point too…

  • Unfortunately all we have left are memories. I was in grade 8 during the 2006 run. I don’t know what we did to piss off the hockey gods after that season but holy crap have they ever gotten us back for having so much fun.

    As for tonight, this is an entirely game and we’ve been win one, lose one for the last little while. We need this win before the big bad Bruins bully us on Thursday. I’ll say 4-2 good guys.

  • Damn! I just got a garage/shop heater installed on Friday or I would be bidding on this package for sure! Good luck to all who are bidding and just think about how good you will feel if you win the auction and know the money goes to charity.

    Believe me I know how it feels as I jumped at the auction on the first day and was able to get a 1 year lease on a sweet 2014 GMC from the guys at Petersen Buick GMC in Sherwood Park. Through Jason’s hardwork and through the charity I have had the chance to meet the GM at Petersen and the Sales Manager and other great people and can definitely say they are great dealership and they are huge sports fans. Especially the GM over there!

    Good luck on the auction everyone, it feels good to give!

    Oh, and GO OILERS!

      • Double Barf on d corps tonight. Luckily Carolina is a soft bad team. What GM plays a line up with 4 defenders under 200, and 3 of them are under 190…yikes.

        Looks like the top 4 will be rolled out non stop if the game is tight. We gotta get a jump on Carolina before they realize how small the defence is. They should be licking their chops. I wish Klefbom would develop already…face palm.

        • BLAKPOO

          If you’d been watching Larsen play the last few games, you’d see that he uses his size very efficiently. He’s making contact, disrupting plays, and winning battles.

          Yeah, he’s not going to be smashing out the glass or breaking ribs with massive hits, but he’s where he needs to be most of the time. He’s also extremely quick, generates good speed through the neutral zone on breakouts, and can dish on the fly.

          He’s definitely playing J.Schultz out of his ice time right now.

          “Judge me by my size, do you?” – Yoda

    • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

      Four fairies,one over the hill club member (N.Schultz) and one leader and winner – real hockey player (Ference)! Where is Deryk Engelland, Weber, Coburn, Phaneuf, Nikitin, Kulikov, etc.

  • Hey Gregs, what are your thoughts about Nash? Why’d he not want to sign with Edmonton? It doesn’t seem like a bad thing, he hasn’t been overly successful at college level and Marincin seems like a better prospect. What went down?

  • That Game 6 of the Finals is also be the last time any of us would be fortunate enough to have Mr. Paul Lorieau sing the anthems.

    That’s too bad.

    Our next home playoff game won’t be the same without you, Paul.

    • O.C.

      Paul sang the following year.

      Was at game 6 and also Game 7. I have nothing but praise for 44 and his effort.

      He would make a great coach., or the next Don Cherry.

      The Oil have transitioned over the last 10 games from bottom feeders to average. Still too many uncovered trailers gliding between the dots.

      The better goaltender for this game will win. (Really out on a limb with that statement ).