Re-live the Edmonton Oilers 2006 playoffs

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The Oilers’ 2006 playoff run began on Friday April 21st at 5:12 MST. The Oilers were in Detroit to face the President Trophy winning Red Wings. The Wings dominated the regular season. They finished with 124 points, the fifth highest total in NHL history (Habs had 132 in 1977, 129 in 1978, 127 in 1976 and  the Wings had 131 in 1996), and they were +95 in goals for/against.

The Oilers finished with 95 points and +7 in GF/GA. The Wings were heavily favoured and the Oilers had won only 9 of 20 games since Dwayne Roloson was acquired on March 8th.

Things did not start well for the Oilers.

They lost game one 3-2 in double overtime, but the score was incredibly flattering. The Wings outshot the Oilers 57-25, including 19-6 in OT and the overall Corsi was 113-49 in favour of Detroit. Roloson was outstanding and his competitiveness became very apparent for all to see.

Fans also saw how truly dominant Chris Pronger could be in meaningful games. He played 38 minutes, had two points and was a force every shift.

Game two:

It was Sunday afternoon when head coach Craig MacTavish made one lineup change, and it turned out to be an excellent move. Georges Laraque sat out and Brad Winchester drew in.

Smyth-Horcoff-Hemsky

Pisani-Peca-Torres

Dvorak-Stoll-Samsonov

Winchester-Murray-Harvey

Pronger-Spacek

Smith-Staios

Bergeron- Tarnstrom

Pronger opened the scoring, then the Wings scored twice before Fernando Pisani tallied his first of the playoffs, with 2:11 remaining in the second to tie the game. And then, 57 seconds later, Winchester scored the game winner and the Oilers left Detroit with the coveted “split”.

Game three:

They returned to Edmonton and to an insanely boisterous home crowd. I worked every home playoff game in 2006, and it was amazing how the crowd managed to get louder every game. I spoke to Pronger at this year’s draft and he told me the 2006 crowds were the craziest he’d ever experienced. He mentioned how the team could hear them in the dressing room 15 minutes before the game started.

MacTavish stayed with the same lineup for game three, but you likely forgot he played Winchester with Horcoff and Smyth early in the game and Winchester assisted on the Oilers first two goals. The game went to double OT, again, but his time the Oilers prevailed with Jarret Stoll scoring the winner. Pronger played 47:17 of the 88 minutes.

Game four:

We saw two more lineup changes. Ethan Moreau returned from injury in place of Todd Harvey, but he only played 5:37, while Matt Greene took Dick Tarnstrom’s spot and played 6:59. MacTavish was not shy to play three lines, but due to a total of 20 powerplays, it was a special teams’ battle more than ES. Wings won 4-2.

Game five:

The Wings dominated the first period, outshooting the Oilers 11-4, but Roloson was solid. The Oilers scored three goals in a span of 7:20 in the second period and took control of the game. The Wings made it close with a late goal, but the Oilers won 3-2. Pronger had three assists.

Game six:

It featured a monumental third period for the Oilers, one that is often forgotten when people recall the 2006 playoffs. The Wings led 2-0 and had outshot the Oilers 27-17 heading into the third period. But then the Oilers awoke. Pisani scored at 2:56 and again at 6:40, his fourth and fifth goals of the series, and Rexall was rocking. The Wings went ahead again midway through the third, before Ales Hemsky took over. He scored at 16:07 and again at 18:54. The Oilers scored four goals in the third and upset the league-leading Wings in six games.

It seems as the years pass people try to downplay how big of an upset this was by saying the Oilers were good. They were good, but the Wings were a dominant team. They outshot the Oilers every game and by 82 shots in total (238 to 156), had more puck possession and won more faceoffs, but there were two main reasons the Oilers won. Roloson was much better than Manny Legace between the pipes and Pronger had more of an impact than Nick Lidstrom. He played more minutes, 201:25 to 191:27, and scored 1-6-7 to Lidstrom’s 0-2-2.

It was a strange playoff year for the western conference, as the #5, 6, 7 and 8 seeds all won. Had the Calgary Flames not blown a 3-2 series lead to the Ducks, the Oilers would have faced Calgary in the second round, but the Flames choked and the Oilers headed to San Jose.

ROUND TWO

Game one:

The Oilers had five days off before game one vs. the Sharks, and they stormed out early in the first period, drew a penalty and scored a PP goal 2:33 in. They had four shots in the first 2:33, but only had 12 the rest of the game. The Sharks tied the game five minutes later and went ahead in the second period and won 2-1. They out shot the Oilers 30-16. Milan Michalek assisted on both Sharks goals.

Game two:

It was played the very next night, and I believe the Torres hit changed the series. It occurred five minutes into the second period. Michalek had assisted on the Sharks first goal of game two, and he had been their best player through the first four periods, registering three points. There was no penalty and no suspension. Under the rules of 2006 it was deemed clean. Even though the Oilers lost game two 2-1, I believe this hit had a big impact on the series because Michalek missed games three and four. He had eight shots in games one and two, but when he returned from injury for games five and six he only had two shots and no points. He was not the same player, but neither was Torres. The hit seemed to wake him up and he was outstanding two nights later.

Game three:

The Oilers returned to Edmonton down 2-0 and they hadn’t played very well. They were a step behind the Sharks in game two and they never looked comfortable. Game three was the pivotal.

A few memorable things from the game. The Oilers controlled the play, outshooting the Sharks 58-34. Vesa Toskala was great for the Sharks.

Torres was possessed. He had a goal and an assist and fired eight shots on net. The Oilers won in triple OT. Shawn Horcoff, who was excellent all playoffs, scored the winner and Ryan Smyth drew an assist.

If fans didn’t love and respect Smyth enough already, his status as fan-favourite grew even more in this game.

He took the puck in the mouth early in the second period, only missed a few shifts, returned later in the frame and played 34:43, the second most minutes among Oilers forwards.

This past February he told me a great behind-the-scenes story of what happened after he ate Pronger’s shot.

“As I’m walking back to the locker room there
are these doors in the tunnel, they’re closed and I’m really frustrated so I
push open the door. There is an usher lady right in behind the door, and I
end up hitting her and she goes down. I feel terrible, but the doctors are
saying come on let’s go, we’ve got to get you stitched up and I’m thinking,  ‘Oh my gosh, there’s something bad that
happened with that lady.’ And sure enough, she ends up breaking her arm.

“Then I get back
into the locker room and I’ve got three lips. My upper lip is split wide open,
and my teeth are gone and the dentist checks my teeth and there is no
nerve damage, thankfully. Then Doctor Reid is about to stitch up my lip right
and he says, ‘This is going to be a little bit sore.’ I’m thinking okay, sure and I said to JJ (Hebert, Oilers media relations guy), ‘Get over here,
I need to hold your hand.’ I squeezed the s*&* out of his hand as the
needle went into my top lip. It was so painful. It was awful. And then once
I was stitched up, I went back out there.

“To this day, I mean, I’ve broken so many bones, but that was the most painful
thing I’ve ever had. That needle right in my top lip. It hurts thinking about
it (laughs).”

Fans chant “Smitty, Smitty” as he gets up. Awesome.

Game four:

The Sharks scored twice in the first six minutes, but the Oilers showed their resiliency again. The teams exchanged goals over the next 24 minutes, but the Oilers dominated the final period and a half.

It was one of the few games Pronger wasn’t the best defender for the Oilers. Jason Smith scored a goal, added two assists and was named first star as the Oilers stormed back from a 3-1 deficit and won 6-3. Throughout the Cinderella run the Oilers had many players step up and have the best game of the series or their career. Smith’s was game four.

Game five:

It was a strange game. Despite each team having seven PPs each, they combined for only 46 shots on goal. The Sharks outshot the Oilers 24-18, but the Oilers’ special teams won them the game.

The Oilers led 2-1 heading into the third period, despite being outshot 15-7, but once again their offence erupted in the final frame.

Horcoff scored shorthanded 12 seconds into the period, but the Sharks scored twice in 1:46 and the game was tied with 17:30 to play. The Oilers didn’t panic and Pisani scored his second of the game a minute later to regain the lead, then Stoll at 13:40 and Smyth at 16:11 to seal the 6-3 win. The Oilers scored six goals on 18 shots, three on the PP and one SH.

Game six:

Penalty killing was a major factor again. The Sharks went 0-8 with almost 15 minutes of PP time. The Oilers won 2-0 and took the Sharks out in six games. Shawn Horcoff was outstanding in game six. He played 25:15, scored a goal and out performed Joe Thorton again. I’ve never understood why fans didn’t appreciate Horcoff. He was incredible in the first two rounds. He had 14 points in 12 games, seven points in each series, and he outscored Pavel Datsyuk 7-3  in round one and Thornton 7-5 in round two.

ROUND THREE

The Oilers didn’t get any rest. The Ducks had swept Colorado and hadn’t played since May 11th, so the Ducks and Oilers opened up the Western Conference finals on May 19th, two days after the Oilers defeated the Sharks.

When I sat down to write this feature, this series was the least memorable for me, except for game three. That was one of the craziest games I can remember. 

Game one:

Roloson was solid again, but he added a new wrinkle to his game: a sweet backhand pass that sprung Mike Peca for a shorthanded breakaway and gave the Oilers the 1-0 lead late in in the first period. The Ducks scored 28 seconds later on the same PP and went to intermission tied at one. It is amazing how many times the Oilers or their opponent scored less than a minute later during these playoffs. I didn’t remember that aspect until I looked at all the game sheets, but it is likely one of the reasons fans loved this run so much. It was a rollercoaster of emotions, which is why I always say the NHL needs offence. Lead changes or goals right after the opposition scores make the games more exciting.

The Oilers didn’t wilt after giving up a late goal and won 3-1. Todd Harvey scored his only goal of the playoffs into an empty net with 42 seconds remaining. Despite only playing 7:06, MacTavish wasn’t scared to put Harvey on the ice late in the game protecting a one goal lead.

Game two:

It was almost a carbon copy of game one. Oilers score first, Ducks reply, albeit not right away, but Edmonton scored late in the second period to take a 2-1 lead and added an empty netter for a 3-1 win. The Oilers were outshot 32-26 in game one and 34-25 in game two, but both games the Ducks created those margins in the third period while the Oilers were protecting a lead.

Game three:

Once again, Oilers fans welcomed their team with a rousing ovation, and for the third straight series the Oilers won game three by a goal. The fans were treated to another wild third period.

There were three fights in the game, one of them in the third period in a one goal game, and both teams combined for an incredible EIGHT goals in the final period.

Toby Petersen opened the scoring. He only played two games all playoffs. Todd Harvey, Georges Laraque, Radek Dvorak and Brad Winchester rotated in games as the fourth line wingers, but the flu bug was going around the room so MacTavish had to dress Petersen. He only played 12 minutes combined in his two games, but scored the opening goal in game three. Another crazy story line.

It was 1-0 at the start of the third. The Oilers scored three goals in a span of 2:21: Mike Peca at 2:19, Steve Staios at 3:35 and Pronger at 4:40. Then the Ducks stormed back with three goals in four minutes: Sean O’Donnell at 7:15, Teemu Selanne at 9:13 and Joffrey Lupul at 11:15. The tension mounted, but once again Pisani scored a pivotal goal to make it 5-3. The Ducks scored with 1:45 remaining to make the final minutes more intense, but the Oilers held on for a 5-4 win and a 3-0 series lead.

Game four:

The Ducks were desperate and jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period. Many Oilers played despite having the flu and it showed — they were outshot 25-3 in the first period. The Ducks dominated the game, outshot the Oilers 46-23, and won 6-3.

Game five:

The games in Anaheim were much more defensive and low scoring despite the endless parade of penalties. The Ducks were 1 for 11 (not a typo) with 19:23 of PP time in game five. They opened up the scoring in the first, but Moreau scored his first of the playoffs in the second, and Torres, who missed games two and three with the flu, scored the winner in the third. The Oilers always made the games exciting/nerve wracking for fans as Pronger shot the puck over the glass with 2:18 remaining, but the Oilers killed it off and won the series 4-1.

The Oilers had six or seven players battling the flu. IVs were necessary for a few of them. 

CUP FINALS…

Edmonton knocked out the Ducks on May 27th, but the Cup Final didn’t start until June 5th because Carolina needed seven games to defeat the Buffalo Sabres. The Oilers were rested and the flu bug was gone. The city was bursting with excitement.

During this run, I hosted my radio show live from The Elephant & Castle for road games and at Northlands for home games. I was scheduled to be on from 9 p.m. to midnight, but many nights we went later as Oilers fans wanted to keep discussing the playoffs. 

I showed up for game one at the E&C at five p.m. and it was already jam packed. Pretty much every fan in the place wore a jersey or Oilers T-shirt. At the start of the 2006 playoffs I started a tradition on my show. I would play the Brass Bonanza after every Hurricanes win. People loved it, because the song is great, and most Oilers fans didn’t think the Oilers would make the Cup finals and face Carolina. I kept up this tradition during the Cup finals, and to this date I’ve never received as much hate mail.

Game one:

The Oilers controlled the play for the first 36 minutes. Pisani scored in the first, and Pronger made it 2-0 on a penalty shot after Niklas Wallin put his hand on the puck in the crease. Moreau, Laraque and Rem Murray were the forwards on the ice, so MacTavish elected to go with Pronger. Smart decision. Moreau made it 3-0 at 16:23 of the second period, but this time the Oilers gave up a big lead.

Rod Brind’Amour scored late in the second, then Ray Whitney scored twice early in the third to tie it. Justin Williams scored shorthanded at 10:02 and the Canes had their first lead. The Oilers battled back again as Hemsky tied it three minutes later. Then this happened.

Many blamed Bergeron, but what was he supposed to do, just let Ladd go to the net? It was an unfortunate play, but nine years later many wonder if Roloson hadn’t got hurt if the Oilers would have won. We’ll never know.

Ty Conklin replaced Roloson, stopped his first two shots, but then this happened.

Steve Smith’s miscue in game seven in 1986 was tough, but I believe this game was the toughest loss in Oilers history. They lost their starting goalie for the remainder of the playoffs and they lost the game with 32 seconds remaining. When Smith banked one in off of Fuhr the Oilers still had 14:46 to tie the game.

Game two:

Jussi Markkanen got the start, but the Oilers lost 5-0. The shots were close, 26-25, but Edmonton looked deflated. Looking back at the stats sheets, I’m amazed by the amount of penalties. The Canes were 3-for-10 with 18 minutes of PP time, while the Oilers were 0-for-6 11:34. Over half the game was PP time.

Game three:

The fans weren’t deterred before the game either, despite being down 2-0. It was a Saturday game, and many of you were at the bar at noon to ensure you had a good seat, and many were outside Rexall at 3 p.m.

It was a close game. Horcoff opened the scoring only 2:31 in and the building went bananas. The Canes tied it midway through the third period, but Smyth scored the game winner with 2:15 to play. Markkanen was solid in goal and named first star.

Game four:

Another low-scoring, tight-checking game and the shots were only 21-20 in favour of Edmonton.
Samsonov opened up the scoring midway through the first period, but the Canes replied 29 seconds later. The momentum swings throughout the 2006 playoffs were amazing when you look back on it. Mark Recchi scored with four minutes left in the second and the Canes held on for a 2-1 win.

Game five:

I vividly remember doing my show on Tuesday evening before game five, and fans were still confident. If a caller called in saying it was over, the lines would light up, as would email, with other fans ripping him. Obviously, there has not been the same belief in the organization since, and rightfully so with nine losing seasons.

Pisani scored 16 seconds into the game and the E&C erupted. Carolina scored twice, but the Oilers responded with two more, including Peca’s goal with 18 seconds remaining in the first period, and it was 3-2 after 20 minutes. Another wild offensive period.

Eric Staal tied it in the second period, the third was scoreless and they went to OT.

Steve Staios took a tripping penalty three minutes in, and considering the Canes were 3-for-6 on the PP so far, many Oilers fans were nervous. Then this happened.

Pisani become a legend in 2006. I was at the E&C ready to do my show and Whyte Ave was packed within seconds of the goal. It was rare to see so many fans genuinely excited and just wanting to be apart of the atmosphere.

Game six:

Just like the anticipation for game three, the city had two days between games to let the excitement build. Another Saturday night game meant fans getting to bars at noon. The atmosphere in game six was the loudest I’ve ever experienced at Rexall. Fans were cheering wildly 40 minutes before the game started.

A scoreless first period just heightened the energy in the building. Pisani scored 1:45 into the second period and the building exploded. Torres made it 2-0 before the end of the frame, and Horcoff and Smyth added goals in the third.

The Oilers dominated the game and won 4-0. The Canes had three shots in the first period, four in the second and nine in the third. The Oilers fired 34 shots at Cam Ward and gave Markkanen a rare easy night.

Game seven:

For the second time in franchise history the Oilers played game seven in the Stanley Cup Final. Most fan bases never see their team in the Cup finals, never mind in game seven. I’m sure many of you remember exactly where you watched this tilt.

The Canes scored 1:26 into the game and controlled the first period. Markkanen kept them in the game making a few huge stops early in the middle frame. Frantisek Kaberle scored a PP goal four minutes into the second and the Canes led 2-0 heading to the third.

Pisani scored 1:03 into the third and Edmonton fans erupted again. Ward stoned Pisani with about three minutes remaining to preserve the lead before the Canes scored an empty netter. Just like in 1987, the final score in game seven was 3-1, but this time the Oilers lost.

Their playoff run ended at 8:55 p.m. on June 19th. It was a surprising 60-day run that ignited the passion of Oilers fans, and in many cases re-ignited a passion many hadn’t felt in years.

I played Brass Bonanza on my show that night, and while I was doing it live at the E&C I had two guys come up to me and threaten they would find my house and burn it. I understood their frustration, but if you start a tradition you need to finish it.

The spring of 2006 was a wonderful time for Oilers fans, despite the final result.

The emotion of the two-month ride is what being a fan is all about. Older fans who had experienced the 1980s got to re-kindle those feelings, and likely felt different about them because they were at a different time in their life, while others experienced it for the first time. I have no doubt the 2006 run is the reason Rexall Place was sold out during the past nine seasons. 

I also believe the 2006 run was a big reason Oilersnation came about. I know Wanye started the site in anger after the Ryan Smyth trade in March of 2007, but much of his frustration and disappointment came from being so emotionally invested in 2006.

THOUGHTS…

This site might not exist without the 2006 run, so I asked all the writers to share their memories and thoughts from 2006.

Strudwick:

As a player watching the playoffs after you have been
eliminated, or hadn’t made it, wasn’t something I really enjoyed doing. I imagine
it would be like seeing another guy dating the girl that just dumped you (you
would have to ask Gregor about that experience). That being said I
returned home after the season and it was easy to get caught up in the emotion
the city was experiencing with that exciting team. The one moment that stands
out was Pisani scoring the shorthanded goal. That one got me off the couch!

Brownlee:

I’ve
covered a lot of big events since grabbing a notepad and a pen for a living in
1983, but I’ll never forget the stunning silence and the looks on the faces of
the players when we filed into the Edmonton Oilers dressing room after Game 7
of the 2006 Stanley Cup final at the RBC Center in Carolina.

While
the Hurricanes were hooting and hollering and sipping from the Cup after a 3-1
win, Edmonton’s room was like a tomb as players sat in stunned silence, many of
them still in full gear. That the Oilers had gone further than anybody expected
they would in what was a wonderful two months, it didn’t matter at that moment.
Grim is the word that comes to mind.

“I
don’t even know if there are words to describe it,” Michael Peca told me
as he sat in his stall. “We’ve got a lot to be proud of, but.. We
knew we were defying the odds each and every time we won a game, every time we
won a series. We wanted to re-write history. We wanted to come back and finish
it off. We fell short.”

With
the finality of their unlikely Stanley Cup run still sinking in, the wounds fresh
and the emotions still raw, I went to captain Jason Smith for his take. “We
had to be a bit better,” said Smith, staring into space. “We had to be a
bit better.”

There
was nothing more to say.

Jeanshorts:

As I’m the master of impeccable timing I moved from
Edmonton to Vancouver in February of 2006, having no idea what I was about to
miss out on. Thankfully I had a friend in Baggedmilk who bragged heartily when
he got to attend almost every home playoff game that year, and I was able to
live vicariously through his drunken dispatches from Whyte Ave. It was really
wild being an Oilers fan living out of province at that time; EVERYONE seemed
to rally around the little team that could.

Classmates and teachers alike, who
spanned anywhere from Habs and Leaf fans, to Mexicans and Americans whom we
taught to love hockey got just as caught up in the excitement as
Oilers fans. I distinctly remember one teacher cutting his class 45 minutes
early so we could all rush down the street to Malones to catch game three of the
finals. I was pretty homesick during the first six months after I moved,
but being able to watch the playoff run made me feel really connected to home.
Now if you’ll excuse me a huge puddle of tears just randomly formed under my
desk. I should probably clean that up.

Baggedmilk:

The 2006 playoff run was one of the moments that
truly solidified my Oilers fandom for life. I remember being so excited
the Oilers made the playoffs in the first place, and I certainly never
could have expected them to go on the run they had. At the time I was working
as a sales rep for a promotions company and was lucky enough to get tickets to
every home game in the first three rounds – it was ridiculous.

I was beyond
lucky, and I knew it. Every second night we would jump in a cab, head down to
the rink, and pump ourselves full of Rexall beers until our our ATM receipts
put a stop to it. We would have a great time before the games even started.
The games were amazing and I know this is the understatement of
a lifetime: The vibe at Rexall Place, during that run, was something that I had
never seen before and haven’t seen since. You couldn’t hear yourself think in
there. When the Oilers would score it felt like the roof was set to blow off
the place. I remember walking through the concourse high-fiving and hugging
complete strangers like they were long lost friends.

From Rexall we would jump
in a cab down to Whyte Ave to keep the party
rolling. I remember high-fiving cops. I remember the chants (shirts off for
Horcoff anyone?). Most of all I remember having the time of my life with
thousands of friends I’d never met. This city is a better place to be when the
Oilers are in the playoffs and I cannot wait for the day that it happens again.
I. CAN’T. WAIT. My liver is ready and so am I. 

Lowetide:

For me, the strongest
memory from the 2006 spring and summer run was the cheer in the city. It was
incredible! There was SUCH an energy — everywhere I looked there was something
going on involving a positive vibe. I’m not one for hyperbole (this is a lie)
but for me Edmonton in 2006 was as good as it’s ever been. I loved it,
absolutely cherished every minute, in a way I could never feel about the 1980’s
(being young, I thought the Oilers would win again many times).

My kids got involved, my entire family gathered around the television for every
game and we even got to a game early in the playoffs. I can honestly say that
2006 team has a very special place in my heart, above even some of the Stanley
teams. Why? It was 16 years between trips, and a beautiful, shared experience
with my friends and family in the city.

Willis:

There is a lot I take away from the 2006 playoffs. One is
the way the goaltending can make such a difference, for good or for bad.
Edmonton was a top-five Fenwick percentage team that year, but got killed by
goaltending; of course, Detroit was one of the few teams that out-performed the
Oilers on the shot clock during the season and Dwayne Roloson made all the
difference there so they can’t complain much in hindsight. There are a hundred
other things – the importance of depth, Ales Hemsky’s clutch performance
against the Wings, the joys of a nasty third line, the problem with trusting
lightning in a bottle (Fernando Pisani) – but maybe the one most worth
mentioning here is that Kevin Lowe deserves a pile of credit for building that
team. He pulled the trigger on Chris Pronger and Mike Peca in the summer, he
added quality guys like Jaroslav Spacek on the cheap during the season, and he
trusted his team enough that he was willing to pay Minnesota’s price to land
Roloson. Lowe wasn’t a very good president of the Oilers, but he was a fairly
decent G.M. and in 2006 he was quite a bit more than that.  

Henderson:

I was still a student at the University of Alberta, and worked primarily in the kitchen of Don Cherry’s restaurant on 137 ave to supplement the lavish lifestyle one becomes accustomed to in post-secondary. As you can imagine, a hockey-themed sports bar & grill during the 2006 run was a little nutty. Game days were outrageously busy and none of the staff wanted to do anything except watch the games. I had a very good relationship with the owner and half jokingly told him during the first round if the Oilers made the Cup Finals, I wasn’t working any of the game days. 

Well, ownership got tired of seeing the staff taking turns not working so we could peep our heads through the windows to watch the games, so they propped up a beat up tiny TV in the kitchen. Most of my game memories involve me (barely) working while the games were on. When they made the finals I didn’t even have to say a word about our aforementioned agreement and I was never scheduled to work a game day. It’s one of my favourite work memories period because it isn’t very often that someone keeps his/her word when it clearly hurts them. 

As for the hockey, who can forget Roloson in double OT making that glove save on Cheechoo? I think that was the moment when I started to think, “Something special is happening with this team.” Also what I won’t forget, Todd Harvey breaking down when he was told he wouldn’t play the final game. I still feel for him. 

Wayne:


I remember the 2006 Cup Run like it was yesterday. I had somehow
convinced myself in the first round that my good luck superstition was that I
would get a 24 pack of Bud Light on game days – it came with a cool hat that
spring – and invite the same exact crew to my parent’s house to watch the game.
Weeks later, I had a collection of retro Bud Light hats that stacked to the
moon, moderate liver damage and memories that I wouldn’t trade for anything. It was the best.

WRAP UP

That team was a solid team. It was anchored by an elite, Hall of Fame D-man, but had many excellent contributors. They were solid down the middle. Horcoff was oustanding in both ends, while Peca chipped in and played gritty, and Stoll was a solid two-way player, who excelled on PK and in D-zone.

Moreau, Torres and Smyth were wingers with skill and grit. Pisani, who was always reliable defensively, was outstanding offensively, while Hemsky and Samsonov were the pure skilled wingers. The fourth line was a mixture of vets, big bodies and a reliable centre.

Spacek played the best hockey of his career. Smith and Staios were tough, mean and battled every shift, and the third pair changed depending on the opposition.

Roloson was fantastic, but Markkanen filled in very well at the most important time of year. MacTavish made great adjustments as a coach, and Kevin Lowe would have won GM of the year if the award was around then.

There is no guarantee the Oilers will ever make appearance in the Cup Final, but when they do, I’m sure many will recall the run of 2006. 

What do you remember? 

Recently by Jason Gregor:       

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    I also remember:

    Peca’s steal on Hannan just around the blue line and going in for a goal vs San Jose. Peca had some huge offensive games late in that series that pushed us through.

    Samsanov’s goal vs DET when Legacy bounced the puck off him and he ended up behind Legacy with the puck somehow…. I thought he was going to miss the empty net because the puck was bouncing so much and because he was an Oiler.

    Matlby’s OT goal that went through the side of the net.

    The multiple non calls on players holding laraque’s jersey to slow him down as he chased a defender to hit. Oiler should have a had a few more powerplays in the SJ, Ana, and Carolina series.

    Laraque nailing Cheechoo face first into the glass just after Torres nailed Michalek. I thought that hit was just as important as Torres because Cheechoo seemed to be more weary of his surroundings and looked be ineffective after that hit and Roloson’s glove save. I think his frustration level was compounding.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I was at one of the Detroit games in Rexall when Pronger hammered Cleary behind the net right in front of me! awesome game!

    Oilers should have won game 6 in Edmonton if Conklin hadn’t f%$cked up. He was the Steve Smith of that playoff run. He had to overplay the puck which caused the Canes to get a goal and win the first game.

    The cup should have been the Oilers that year.

  • chickenStew

    I remember Roli’s pass to Peca and he scores!

    That was so awesome. Six weeks of no sleep and it was so much fun. I loved the thrill of winning series after series and kept thinking, no way……we will never beat Detroit and after that it just got better and better.

    I hope I freaking live to see it happen a few more times.

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    So many amazing memories from that run but two things always stand out for me:

    Game six against Detroit. Walking towards Rexall from the parking lot a good 45 min before puck drop and you can hear and feel the place thumping. Our feet all of a sudden started running as if to say “get in there you idiots, you’re missing out”

    I also remember admitting to anyone who would listen how wrong I was about Horcoff and MacT.

    Good times.

  • Ssseth

    Great article Jason! I turned 27 a few weeks before that magical 2006 run. In my youth, I had just missed out on all the Stanley memories from the 80’s with only really recalling the 90 cup (and Ranford being my hero from that era).

    For the 06 run, I was lucky enough to get tickets to a few games and even luckier still we won them all.

    Round 1 – Game 6, I recall getting a beer spilled all over me when Hemsky scored the game winner late in the 3rd. I wasn’t even the least bit upset about it. In fact, I high fived and hugged the guy in celebration and didn’t wash the jersey for the rest of the playoffs… I aired it out… hey, it was my good luck charm! In fact, I still haven’t washed, nor wore it since the end of that run. It sits silently, biding its time for the next playoff run and its moment to shine once again.

    One thing that doesn’t come up often though, that was Yzerman’s last game. As a great Canadian born center I always respected Stevey Y, it was an interesting moment in history to be at his last game.

    Round 2 – Game 4, again with another horse shoe stuck up my rear end I had tickets to game 4 where we had already started our 2-0 series come back in game 3 to give us a sniff at 2-1 down in the series. The crowd was so fired up; my ears rang for the next couple of days.

    A strange memory but this one guy in my section would yell out “F*CK YOU CHEECHOO!!!” every time he was on the ice and everyone would laugh their arse off. Those heroin Rexall beers, what can I say.

    It was a real wild ride of a game and celebrating 6 goals in the playoffs with the Rexall faithful? Amazing.

    Round 3, Game 6… yes, that’s right game 6. I had tickets but the mighty Oil cleaned house too quickly and my tickets are still sitting in a box somewhere, unused. Oh well, the Oilers got to go hang out in New York for a bit waiting for either the Canes or the Sabers…

    STANLEY CUP FINALS! Game 4 – so amazing… I arrived super early while everyone was still partying outside. I just really remember sitting there in awe seeing the “Stanley Cup Finals” stamped into the ice, it was just shocking. After all those other “Cinderella” teams make it to the finals the previous years, the Flames, the Wild, the god damn Florida Panthers… I recall praying to the hockey gods during the 2005 lockout. Why couldn’t we just get a break for once? Well… it happened. We’ve paid for it since, but what an amazing run.

    An amazing atmosphere, a very tight game, and good ol “Score-coff” (remember that???) leading the charge 2 minutes in. Then, heart and soul Smyth winning it with 2 minutes to go. What more can be said.

    What a ride. I will remember forever and can’t wait for the next wild ride.

  • Ssseth

    As an Oilers fan who was born in the 80’s I never got to fully appreciate the exploits of Gretzky and the crew. By the time the fun was over I was just hitting that curve into not eating boogers and paste at school. So in my mid 20’s my team that came to every season in the lean 90’s years did some retooling and managed to grab the greatest defenseman of the era and suddenly took us on a ride we will never forget.

    Boom, Hemsky over to Samsonov and back over to Hemsky to put away the Wings!

    Boom, Torres flattens Michalek and Horcoff scores in triple overtime and the Oilers get by the Sharks.

    Boom, the Oilers steamroll the Ducks and go on to the Cup Finals…..

    Boom, the Oilers fall to the Canes but for one spring every Oiler fan stood taller and every new Oiler fan who was too young to remember the glory years got to sing loudly with Paul L and Joey!

    Boom, that was the best year of my life!

  • Ssseth

    Right after the 2006 run, I downloaded a bunch of the Oilers playoff “radio songs” (for lack of a better term) that were playing at the time since I didn’t want to forget and lose them to the echos of time. FERNANDO ABBA SONG = PERFECTION.

    If anyone is interested I took some time tonight and put them together in a package for download. PRE-WARNING, many of them are from late in the Finals and talk about hoisting the cup. Still worth a bit of pain for the memories. Enjoy some nostalgia waves.

    https://www.sendspace.com/file/ovq1uq

  • JackB

    What do I remember ??

    After each game we won, starting from game one of the first series, I would phone my best buddy in Kelowna and we would excitedly re-live the game (my buddy was born in Edmonton and we played hockey together here when we were kids)(actually, now as I remember, he would call, or I would call AFTER EVERY GOAL!). When we made it all the way to the Western final, I told my buddy that if we won the next series, I was going to send him an airlines ticket . . . HE WAS COMING TO EDMONTON TO SEE A GAME . . . ON ME! (he was retired and on a limited income)

    It was about 2 seconds after the 5th game against the Ducks series that my phone rang . . . “You’d better send that ticket ! ” . . . AND I DID !! I told him that if I couldn’t get us tickets, we at least could watch the game in an Edmonton bar.

    When I checked for seats on the Internet (WOW!!) . . . there was no way I could afford what was being asked !! My younger sister had shared season seats in a group of four since the Gretzky/Messier years, and had been to all five Stanley Cups in the GLORY YEARS . . . so I asked her . . . NOPE !! But she asked the leader of the group, who said “I HAVE NEVER SOLD MY SEATS! . . . NOT FOR A SINGLE FINALS GAME!” “But he’s my brother . . . and his best friend is flying here from Kelowna . . . AND HE’LL PAY YOU ENOUGH TO PAY FOR OVER 1/2 OF YOUR WHOLE NEXT YEAR’S TWO SEASON TICKETS . . . and you can still see game four . . . pleeeeeease!!”

    Well, I got two tickets (which cost me a lot !) . . . and me and my buddy got to see GAME THREE !!! . . . UNFREAKING BELEIVABLE !!! The Colliseum (that’s what it was called back then) WAS UNFREAKING UNBELIEVABLE !!! I have never heard such noise !!!

    When my buddy arrived, he didn’t have any Oilers gear . . . so I bought him an Oilers Jersey, Oilers cap, and a couple of Oilers flags . . . and we went real early . . . what a scene it was at the Colliseum . . . before, during and after the game !!! I will remember it forever !!!

    After the game we drove down Jasper (several times) with my sun roof open, horn blaring, rain pouring down, waiving our flags out the sunroof . . . SCREAMING . . . “NOT IN OUR BARN !!!!” . . . “NOT IN OUR BARN !!!!

    I will remember the 2006 Cup run forever. I asked my buddy a couple of years later if he still had his ticket . . . and he said “IT’S GOING IN MY COFFIN WITH ME WHEN I GO !!!

    The guy I bought the tickets from got to see game four, but we didn’t win that one . . . (I don’t feel bad though . . . not one bit !!!) The next year he told my sister that someone was dropping out of the group and would I like to join the group? . . . I’ve been a member since . . . and after 9 years of hoping . . . PLEASE Connor, Taylor, Nuge and Eb’s . . . take me to that high again !!!

    (so now that I’ve posted this, you guy’s will understand why I get a bit emotional on some of my posts . . . . . . . . OOPS ! . . . now you will also know how old I am . . . I’ll have to change my name and start posting under another name . . . . . . or some of the dink trolls on this site will start calling me “GreyBeard”)

    WAS A FANTASTIC RUN ! . . . (AND . . . . and one of the best memories of my life ! )

    • Canoe Ride 27.1

      He is a DIE HARD Oiler fan who has attended at least 80% of their home games since 1978. He LOVES the OILERS but has been frustrated with their struggles since 2006. He feels more TOUGHNESS is the only thing missing from the current high skill line up! He simply cannot wait for this year to start! Has anyone else noticed the resemblance between the WONGER and GEORGE CLOONEY? Finally, The WONGER is VERY GOOD LOOKING!

  • Naterator

    THE BLUE MILE-This cup run was responsible for a lot of us getting. “lucky” after every win. But on a serious side of it this was also the stop gap of the 80’s Dynasty to the lul of the 90’s to the 2000’s rebirth of old generation followers to the birth of new followers. Great things are happening and can’t wait for the season to start.

  • Admiral Ackbar

    Brownlee’s quote on Jason Smith choked me up a bit.

    That was a fun time. Like JeanShorts, I’d recently moved to Seattle but was as excited as anyone else. Customers at Rite Aid Pharmacy in Gig Harbor, WA likely won’t remember me screaming on the intercom with my Jersey beneath my white jacket. Still, I remember, every detail. Was able to download the torrent to 3 of the 4 series, all the games. I still can’t watch the last game.

    The moments that stuck out for me:

    Hemsky’s dangle that set up the Samsonov goal, game 6 vs. Wings.

    Oiler fans singing the Star Spangled Banner perfectly as retaliation to the classless Shark fans booking our anthem.

    Roloson’s OT glove save magic against Ceechoo. It would’ve been a 3-0 series lead for the Sharks.

    The first 5 minutes of game 3 of the SCF. Then, we knew it was going to be a series.

    After the game 4 SCF loss, the fans stayed and cheered their hearts out for the team even though they were down 3-1 in games.

    The last 5 minutes of Game 6 of the SCF. We all thought they would steamroll game 7 after that performance. That was my favourite Oiler game of all time. Better than any cup win, better than Marchant’s game 7 OT goal.

    That was one of the best springs of my life, until the last game. I was depressed for weeks afterward. Maybe from the loss, maybe from the end of the season. Maybe both.

  • yawto

    time of my life.got to go to three games and watched every other. What a team. Can’t decide if it would be better for the Oilers to make the playoffs this year and play one more set of post season games in Northlands Coliseum or if they should miss the playoffs so the last post season game ever played in that building was that epic game 6 Of the SCF. What a year. My daughter was born 8 months later on Smyttys birthday. Just saying.

    • Admiral Ackbar

      So, would you be able to confirm that your child was conceived out of Oiler playoff love?

      Eight months later, you said? Does that put her conception in the middle of the SJ series?

      Please say it is so! 🙂

  • Oiler fan in Dallas

    Living in Dallas before the NHL channel, before being able to purchase an NHL package for your iPad, before NBC took over hockey, before FOX southwest, before any of the media we are so used to today, finding a restaraunt or ANY kind of establishment that would show the games was tough. I drove miles to watch! But it was worth every second!!!!!!!

    I look forward to having hope once again.