RE-LIVE THE EDMONTON OILERS 1983-84 SEASON

1983

When the Hockey News did a series titled the Greatest Teams of All-Time, they listed the 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers among them. That’s tough to argue after Glen Sather and his band of 20-something superstars finally delivered on the promise they’d shown in their four previous NHL seasons by winning the 1984 Stanley Cup.

Unceremoniously swept aside the previous spring as the powerhouse New York Islanders rolled over the Oilers to claim their fourth straight Stanley Cup, Sather, Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and the rest of the Boys on the Bus began a stretch that would see them win four Cups in five seasons.

In what would be the most dominant season in franchise history, the Oilers won their first seven games and 19 of their first 23 on the way to 57 wins and 119 points – team records that still stand – setting up a Cup final rematch with the Islanders that would be very, very different from the year before. A rematch that would have champagne corks popping on Jasper Avenue.

RECORD 57-18-5 119 Pts – 1st Overall

GD 446-314 plus-132 SH% 17.1 SV% .883

NOTABLE TRANSACTIONS

1984-03-06

John Blum traded to Boston for Larry Melnyk.

1984-03-06

Risto Jalo traded by Washington for 4th round pick in 1985 (Larry Shaw).

1984-01-20

Rick Chartraw traded by NY Rangers for 9th round pick in 1984 (Heinz Ehlers).

1983-12-05

Kevin McClelland traded by Pittsburgh with 6th round pick in 1984 (Emanuel Viveiros) for Tom Roulston.

1983-12-01

Kari Jalonen signed as free agent (formerly with Calgary).

1983-11-09

Reg Kerr signed as free agent (formerly with Chicago).

1983-11-01

Tom Gorence signed as free agent (formerly with Philadelphia).

1983-10-04

Pat Conacher signed as free agent (formerly with NY Rangers).

1983-10-04

Mike Zanier signed as free agent.

1983-10-03

Don Nachbaur claimed on waivers by Los Angeles.

1983-06-08

Jeff Beukeboom drafted 19th overall.

1983-06-08

John Miner drafted 229th overall.

1983-06-08

Esa Tikkanen drafted 82nd overall.

LEADING SCORERS

Player

Age

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S

S%

Wayne Gretzky

23

74

87

118

205

76

39

324

26.9

Paul Coffey

22

80

40

86

126

52

104

258

15.5

Jari Kurri

23

64

52

61

113

38

14

194

26.8

Mark Messier

23

73

37

64

101

40

165

219

16.9

Glenn Anderson

23

80

54

45

99

41

65

277

19.5

Ken Linseman

25

72

18

49

67

30

119

105

17.1

Pat Hughes

28

77

27

28

55

18

61

164

16.5

Dave Hunter

26

80

22

26

48

25

90

117

18.8

Kevin Lowe

24

80

4

42

46

37

59

81

4.9

Charlie Huddy

24

75

8

34

42

50

43

161

5.0

Goalie Stats

Player

Age 

GP 

W

L

T/O 

GA

SA

SV

SV% 

GAA 

SO 

MIN

Grant Fuhr

21

45

30

10

4

171

1463

1292

.883

3.91

1

2625

Andy Moog

23

38

27

8

1

139

1179

1040

.882

3.77

1

2212

Team Total

80

57 

18 

5

310 

2642 

2332 

.883

3.85

2

4837 

SEASON RECAP

Oilers

Still stinging from the 4-0 spanking they took from the Islanders in the 1983 Cup final, the Oilers pretty much made like a runaway rig rocket during the regular season, save for a five-game losing streak in February that included a stunning 11-0 loss to the Hartford Whalers.

The Oilers put that in the rear-view mirror in a big way, winning 18 of their final 22 games to hit the playoffs on a roll. They’d dispatch the Winnipeg Jets in three straight games, the Calgary Flames in seven games — a series that would define the Battle of Alberta — and the Minnesota North Stars in a 4-0 sweep before getting another crack at the Islanders. It was no contest as the Oilers hoisted their first Cup after taking the final 4-1.

“We were just obsessed with one thing, there was one goal, one destination,” goaltender Andy Moog said of building toward another playoff date with the Islanders. “We lived in the moment as far as the season was concerned, but nobody doubted for a moment what our objective was.”

The teams split in Uniondale, the Oilers winning 1-0 on a goal by Kevin McClelland, before the Islanders responded with the 6-1 decision. That win would be the last hurrah for the champs as the Oilers pumped ‘em the rest of the way, outscoring the Islanders 19-6 in 7-2, 7-2 and 5-2 wins to get the party started in Oil Country.

THE DYNASTY BEGINS

Cup

With the Oilers up 3-1 in the series, Gretzky and Messier, who’d win the Conn Smythe Trophy with 26 points in 19 playoff games, weren’t leaving anything to chance with the reigning champs on the ropes, but still standing.

“Wayne stood up in the dressing room before the (final) game and said all the individual awards he’s won could never compare to winning the Stanley Cup,” Messier recalled about the eve of Game 5. “That got everyone going and made us all realize how much it means to win the Stanley Cup.”

“The Islanders were very much responsible in making the Oilers a better team because they kind of showed them the way,” play-by-play man Rod Phillips told The Hockey News. “I know, talking to a lot of players as time went on, they said they looked over at the Islanders after the last game when they got swept and the Oilers players said to themselves, ‘We looked at those guys and they’re all battered and bleeding and they’re dead tired.’ That was the one lesson they learned prior to winning the Stanley Cup.”

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

Recently by Robin Brownlee  

Grant Logo

Find out more information at www.canada.ca

  • '68 Fire Chicken

    It doesn’t get much better in terms of hockey. Growing up in Edmonton at this time it made total sense the Oilers won just about every game. That’s just the way it was. I had just been adopted by my aunt and uncle and the Oilers gave a sense of pride and community that was felt city wide.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Messier 4th in team scoring with 101 points. What I wouldn’t give to have been able to witness this season.

    I wasn’t even a twinkle in my dad’s eye at that point.

    • Canoe Ride 27.1

      I give post dynasty fans like you all the credit in the world. You have dealt with far more pain than joy yet you remain positive and loyal to the death.

      Cheers to you, you’re the heart of what keeps the dream alive.

      • Doug Weight undressing two flames D-men as he skated backwards across the blueline (still one of the best goals I have ever seen), is literally my first oiler memory. I saw it on the highlights as but a young lad, and was an Oiler fan ever since. Pretty much caught every game since then. That was 1997(?). Its been a difficult stretch to say the least, although the “we are playing Dallas again” years were fun, and thank goodness for 2006.

  • I miss the days when teams would run two goaltenders equally, and they’d put up almost-identical stats. Tandems seem like a thing of the past and that’s too bad, IMO.

    446 goals in a season is just ludicrous.

  • hagar

    Reliving when the oilers were awesome…. it just doesn’t ring right after all these years of stink..

    Are you going to dig up pics of all my smoking hot ex girlfriends next?

    • Devolution

      As great as that team was, and it was, I still think the 1988 team, Gretzky’s last with the Oilers, is the best all round hockey team I have ever seen, at least during their playoff run. In the playoffs that year they went 16-2.

      Sorry, didn’t mean for this to be pointed at anyone in particular hagar. Although I can provide a private email address for those ex-girlfriend pictures.

      • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

        I still to this day believe that God turned the lights out in Boston because he knew there would be a dark day a coming and the Loyal fans needed to see the last game Gretzky played in an Oiler sweater.

  • Leef O'Golin

    I had a soccer game in Sherwood Park on the night of one of those games in the final. I remember my dad (God bless him) driving me home and just cooking so we could catch as much as possible. We had Rod on the radio and I think we saw about 3 other cars along the whole stretch of the Whitemud. It was like the movie Omega Man.

  • For Pete's Sake!

    Um.. not that it makes a hell of a lot difference, but that picture with the guys lifting the Cup isn’t from 1984? If my eyes don’t deceive me that’s Esa Tikkanen second from left and he didn’t join the Oilers until the 1985 finals.

  • paul wodehouse

    …no ‘A’ used for that team picture

    …just the ‘C’ for you-know-who

    whatateam!!! BTW RB…corks popping and all yes but the mini riots on Jasper Ave were also kept hush hush …fifth to sixth on Jasper was Fort Apache til sun up … it wasn’t the place to be for the media who took cover there as ‘incoming’ beer bottles were the weapon of choice that early morning…THAT Cup win gave Etown the swagger that surely will return in the not so distant future…it was also the year that Kenny Linsemen left the team in an off season trade to the Bruins for a cleaner living Mike Krushelnyski…also giving Mess a chance to grow up as well…”the Rat” WAS a rat…great to have on the ice but poison in the locker room and in the bar…

    …gotta write that book

    • For Pete's Sake!

      That’s because the average goalie now is as tall as Ken Dryden was and he was a giant in his time.

      Also the goalie equiptment is about three times bigger than it used to be.

      If we ever want to see the kind of exciting hockey we saw back then again, the NHL is going to have to increase the size of the nets to compensate for the current goalie’s advantage.

      Let the most talented stars be stars again instead of seeing them suffocated by collapse to the net suffocating, boring defensive games of today, backstopped by monster netminders.

      Goalies will have to be a little less controlled and more athletic like Grant Fuhr was.

      It’ll be so much more fun to watch for the fans. I know, I was priviledged to watch that team win the cup as well. It can’t get any better!

    • paul wodehouse

      …ya crazy eh? truly the run and gun offensive team of the decade … heard a FEW times …”sure lettem’ score 5 we’ll score 7 or 8″

      …thing of it was…? the teams of the dynasty had UNREAL 3rd and 4th lines that played wondrous rolls in the way games actually were handled …Slats was a frickin’ genius at line mastering …hardly EVER used a blender because he knew what each guy could do to each guy he matched up against …pretty to watch …injuries were low low because of Semenko and McClelland on patrol…everyone stayed healthy cuz there was no BS going on on the ice with ‘intent to injure’…the slightest inkling of that Gretz would just turn to either on the bench and say a jersey number and it was taken care of …simple business…