Glen Sather was head coach and general manager of the Oilers for ten seasons between 1979-1989 and won four Stanley Cups. He left coaching after the 1988-1989 season to become the GM full-time and won his fifth Cup in 1990. He did return to the bench for 60 games during the 1993/1994 season after he fired Ted Green.
In 842 games as head coach Sather compiled a record of 464-268-110. He was more than just a coach and GM, he was a father figure to Wayne Gretzky and company, and the perfect coach for the high-flying Oilers. He encouraged them to change the way the game was played, making them the most dominant offensive team the NHL has ever seen.
Tonight they honour the man who built and nurtured a great group of players. He is deserving of the honour (banner raising), and tonight’s ceremony will be the final celebration of that great team.
Some believe the Oilers need to move on from the past, and I believe they have with Peter Chiarelli, Bob Nicholson and Todd McLellan in place, but Sather was a major part of the Oilers’ glorious past and it is fitting the final banner from those teams is for the man who was with the organization from the start.
Sather was humbled by the honuor and quite surprised at his press conference yesterday.
“I was stunned,” he said of a phone call from Daryl Katz last summer asking his
permission for this week’s celebration. “I didn’t have any
idea that any of this was going to happen. Putting the players’ names in
the rafters, I can understand that. But to have mine there? It’s pretty
Shocking to the man who loves cigars, but not to those who followed the team. Speaking of cigars, Sather admits he rarely smokes them now, “Because my wife yells at me, or my kids yell at me and there are very few places you can smoke a cigar nowadays,” Sather said laughingly.
Sather was also reflective on what tonight’s honour will mean to him and his family.
“I suppose as they look at those names up in the rafters of the next
building it will pass the heritage down, just like the (Montreal) Forum
and (Madison Square) Garden. But for my name to be there, it’s kind of
unusual. Al Arbour and Bill Torrey are the only other two guys
(builders) I know about. It’s unusual. I’m very honoured.”
The previous eight honourees will be in attendance tonight, along with many of Sather’s close family and friends and many of his former players. The ceremony begins at 6:20 p.m. (you can watch live on TV), so if you are going to the game, be sure to get there early.
The players will then warm up after the ceremony, have a flood and the game will begin around 7:40 p.m.
The Oilers are looking for their first five-game winning streak since 2013. The Oilers haven’t won five consecutive home games on the same homestand since March 6th to March 17th, 1987. The Oilers won all six games in that homestand defeating LA, MTL, DET, BUFF, HFD and NJ.
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- McLellan sticks with the same lineup tonight, but we can expect Cam Talbot to start either next Monday in Boston or Tuesday in New York.
- Anton Lander is 11th in faceoff % at 56.3% among players who have taken at least 200 faceoffs. Lander has won 200 of his 355 draws, and he’s been much better the past month in the dot. His footspeed is still an issue, but his faceoffs and play on the PK are keeping him in the lineup. Boyd Gordon is 54% on draws in Arizona in case you are wondering.
- The additions of Draisaitl, Nurse, Khaira, Korpikoski, Gryba and Davidson have made the Oilers a much heavier team. They don’t lose nearly as many battles, and the entire team is much better at puck retrievals. Gryba has limitations to his game, no doubt, but the Oilers are not as soft as they have been in the past.
A veteran player told me earlier this week, “They lean on you much more than in the past. When we played them last week we had to work much harder than in other years, and they have a few guys who can hurt you physically. Their forecheck system is more aggressive, but they are also much stronger on the puck.”
That is great news for the Oilers, and in the past few weeks I’ve seen pretty much every player engage in battles much more willingly and often than in previous years.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
All-Time: 28-29-9-2 (12-16-6-1 at home; 16-13-3-1 on the road) 2015-16: Tonight’s game is the first of two meetings between the Rangers and Oilers, and the only meeting between the two teams in Edmonton. Tonight’s contest is also the Rangers’ final regular season game at Rexall Place. The Rangers and Oilers will play against each other Dec. 15 (at MSG). 2014-15: The Rangers posted a 1-1-0 record (0-1-0 at home; 1-0-0 on the road) against Edmonton. The Blueshirts allowed three goals over the two games. Henrik Lundqvist posted a 1-1-0 record, along with a 1.01 GAA, a .958 SV%, and 1 SO in two appearances. New York has earned at least one point in seven of its last 10 games against the Oilers, dating back to Jan. 12, 2006 (5-3-2). The Rangers have earned at least one point in 14 of their last 18 games in Edmonton, dating back to Jan. 23, 1989 (11-4-2-1).
GAME DAY PREDICTION: Sweep a five-game homestand for the first time since 1987, why not. With all the past Oilers greats in the house, the Oilers win 4-2.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: It will be a great trip down memory lane during Sather’s ceremony. A few Nation readers will shed a tear, but won’t admit it.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: RNH delivers a sneaky, vicious elbow to the chin of a Rangers forward in the first period that goes undetected by the officials. Mark Messier has a huge grin on his face when he sees it, and then quickly grabs his phone and texts Connor McDavid, “Did you see that.”
Day 9: MONTH OF GIVING
Thank you to Eddie and Mike for their bids and to Eagle Rock and Dinette and Patio Showcase for donating the packages.
Dinner for four and the manager’s wine and beverages selection with Taylor Hall, Jason Strudwick and a special guest at Ruth’s Chris.
Thanks in advance. All proceeds go towards Christmas Bureau.
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