RE-LIVE THE EDMONTON OILERS 1982-83 SEASON

82-83EdmOil

Having had the smirk slapped right off their faces in mid-strut by the Los Angeles Kings – to the delight of many – in the opening round of the 1982 playoffs, the Edmonton Oilers had all the motivation they could possibly need heading into the 1982-83 season.

Glen Sather’s record-setting Oilers had the best player in the game, Wayne Gretzky, and a group of budding stars around him unmatched in terms of individual talent. What the Oilers, still stinging from blowing a 5-0 lead in a stunning 6-5 overtime loss to the underdog Kings in what became known as the Miracle on Manchester, didn’t have was anything to show for it.

While that didn’t translate to a particularly good start (9-7-4 in their first 20 games), the Oilers won the Smythe Division in a walk, finishing 28 points ahead of the Calgary Flames on the way to finishing second overall in NHL standings. More important, the Oilers were at their breath-taking best down the stretch, heading for the post-season like a runaway freight train on the rails to redemption after losing just twice in their final 16 games.

RECORD 47-21-12 106 pts. .663

GD 424-315 plus-109 SH% 15.9 SV% —

NOTABLE TRANSACTIONS

1983-03-07

Laurie Boschman traded to Winnipeg for Willy Lindstrom.

1983-02-19

Ron Low traded to New Jersey with Jim McTaggart for Lindsay Middlebrook and Paul Miller.

1982-10-18

Randy Gregg signed as free agent.

1982-10-01

Curt Brackenbury signed as free agent by St. Louis.

1982-09-25

Roy Sommer signed as free agent by New Jersey.

1982-08-19

Ken Linseman traded by Hartford with Don Nachbaur for Brent Loney and Risto Siltanen.

1982-06-09

Dean Clark drafted 167th overall.

1982-06-09

Steve Graves drafted 41st overall.

1982-06-09

Jim Playfair drafted 20th overall.

1982-06-09

Jaroslav Pouzar drafted 83rd overall.

1982-06-09

Raimo Summanen drafted 125th overall.

LEADING SCORERS

Scoring

Player

Pos

Age

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S

S%

Wayne Gretzky

C

22

80

71

125

196

60

59

348

20.4

Mark Messier

LW

22

77

48

58

106

19

72

237

20.3

Glenn Anderson

RW

22

72

48

56

104

41

70

243

19.8

Jari Kurri

RW

22

80

45

59

104

47

22

218

20.6

Paul Coffey

D

21

80

29

67

96

52

87

259

11.2

Ken Linseman

C

24

72

33

42

75

16

181

141

23.4

Charlie Huddy

D

23

76

20

37

57

62

58

151

13.2

Pat Hughes

RW

27

80

25

20

45

0

85

144

17.4

Tom Roulston

C

25

67

19

21

40

29

24

107

17.8

Kevin Lowe

D

23

80

6

34

40

39

43

92

6.5

SEASON RECAP

Fogelin

Simply put, the Oilers were an almost unstoppable offensive juggernaut for the second straight season. They scored 424 goals, eclipsing the record 417 they notched the previous season. The Oilers had four players with 100 points – Gretzky (196), Mark Messier (106), Glenn Anderson (104) and Jari Kurri (104). In an 80-game season, they were almost a goal-a-game better than the Montreal Canadiens, second in the NHL with 350 goals.

With Andy Moog taking over from Grant Fuhr as Sather’s first option in the net – Moog made 50 appearances to Fuhr’s 32 – and an attack-first mentality with all the firepower they could unleash, keeping the puck out of their own net was an afterthought. The Oilers allowed 315 goals, 11th in a 21-team league. A 5-4 win, after all, was still a win.

The Oilers rolled through the first three rounds of the playoffs with an 11-1 record – they dispatched the Winnipeg Jets 3-0 in the first round, the Calgary Flames 4-1 in the second round and the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0 in the third round. Sather’s Boys on the Bus had their much-anticipated showdown with the New York Islanders, winners of three straight Stanley Cups.

RETHINKING THE SEASON

Gretzky

The Oilers had finished 10 points ahead of the Islanders during the regular season and with the way they’d waltzed through the first three rounds, a lot fans in Edmonton thought the Cup final might be a mismatch. It was. The Islanders, backed by a Conn Smythe Trophy performance by Billy Smith, dominated the Oilers in every way you’d care to measure it in a 4-0 sweep.

The workmanlike Islanders did what few people thought possible as they almost completely shut down Gretzky and Edmonton’s high-powered attack, completing the sweep by scores of 2-0, 6-3, 5-1 and 4-2. Al Arbour’s Islanders held Gretzky to four assists in the series as Smith stopped pucks and hacked and whacked at anybody who came near him. It was the lesser lights, like Duane Sutter and Bob Bourne, who led the way as the Islanders made it four straight Cups.

In a story Kevin Lowe has told more than once, the Islanders would provide the Oilers another lesson about what it takes to win after Game 4. As the Oilers filed by the home dressing room in Nassau Coliseum, they couldn’t help but notice how muted the celebration was. Sure, champagne flowed, but for every popping cork there was an Islander quietly icing the wounds that come with four rounds of playoffs.

“Pay the price,” said Lowe, recalling the lesson learned in the moment. “If we wanted to win the Stanley Cup, we needed to have more ice bags on bodies in our own locker room.”

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