TOP 100 OILERS: MIKE GRIER (49)

There isn’t a single player on this list of Top 100 Oilers who was more of a longshot to play 1,000 games in the NHL than Mike Grier, and there hasn’t been anybody who did it with more professionalism and class during his time in Edmonton than the guy teammates called Rosey, the Big Train from Detroit, did.

Grier was essentially a throw-in from the St. Louis Blues as part of the trade that landed Edmonton goaltender Curtis Joseph — GM Glen Sather worried the 265-pound right winger, who came from a football family, might be too big to be a hockey player. Grier proved to be anything but a spare part, terrorizing opposing players with hellacious hits, killing penalties and playing an effective two-way game for 448 games with the Oilers.

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Mike Grier

Right Wing

Born January 5th, 1975 — Detroit, MI 

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Height 6.01 — Weight 224 [185 cm/102 kg]

Drafted by St. Louis Blues

Round 9 #219 overall 1993 NHL Entry Draft

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BY THE NUMBERS

Season

Age

Tm

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S

S%

TOI

ATOI

1996-97

22

EDM

79

15

17

32

7

45

89

16.9

1997-98

23

EDM

66

9

6

15

-3

73

90

10.0

1998-99

24

EDM

82

20

24

44

5

54

143

14.0

1308

15:57

1999-00

25

EDM

65

9

22

31

9

68

115

7.8

1024

15:45

2000-01

26

EDM

74

20

16

36

11

20

124

16.1

1239

16:44

2001-02

27

EDM

82

8

17

25

1

32

112

7.1

1232

15:01

2002-03

28

WSH

82

15

17

32

-14

36

133

11.3

1459

17:48

2003-04

29

TOT

82

9

20

29

-9

36

133

6.8

1430

17:26

2003-04

29

WSH

68

8

12

20

-19

32

115

7.0

1185

17:25

2003-04

29

BUF

14

1

8

9

10

4

18

5.6

245

17:29

2005-06

31

BUF

81

7

16

23

-7

28

109

6.4

1164

14:22

2006-07

32

SJS

81

16

17

33

-5

43

125

12.8

1332

16:26

2007-08

33

SJS

78

9

13

22

-8

24

132

6.8

1264

16:13

2008-09

34

SJS

62

10

13

23

8

25

108

9.3

930

15:00

2009-10

35

BUF

73

10

12

22

-4

14

123

8.1

1153

15:48

2010-11

36

BUF

73

5

11

16

0

12

107

4.7

1051

14:24

6 yrs

EDM

448

81

102

183

30

292

673

12.0

4802

15:51

4 yrs

BUF

241

23

47

70

-1

58

357

6.4

3612

14:59

3 yrs

SJS

221

35

43

78

-5

92

365

9.6

3526

15:57

2 yrs

WSH

150

23

29

52

-33

68

248

9.3

2644

17:38

Career

1060

162

221

383

-9

510

1643

9.9

14584

15:56

PLAYOFFS

Season

Age

Tm

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

S

S%

TOI

ATOI

1996-97

22

EDM

12

3

1

4

-2

4

21

14.3

1997-98

23

EDM

12

2

2

4

4

13

14

14.3

1998-99

24

EDM

4

1

1

2

3

6

9

11.1

94

23:26

2000-01

26

EDM

6

0

0

0

-2

8

6

0.0

128

21:23

2002-03

28

WSH

6

1

1

2

0

2

10

10.0

108

17:59

2005-06

31

BUF

18

3

5

8

3

2

32

9.4

293

16:17

2006-07

32

SJS

11

2

2

4

1

27

31

6.5

190

17:16

2007-08

33

SJS

13

0

1

1

-2

2

22

0.0

199

15:20

2008-09

34

SJS

6

0

0

0

-2

6

8

0.0

63

10:33

2009-10

35

BUF

6

2

0

2

0

2

19

10.5

111

18:34

2010-11

36

BUF

7

0

1

1

-3

0

5

0.0

66

9:29

Career

101

14

14

28

0

72

177

7.9

1253

16:17

NOTABLE

“The scouts all wanted Mike but Glen didn’t know much about him,” recalled former head of scouting Kevin Prendergast. “I remember Glen saying ‘he weighs 265 pounds, he’ll never fit into a pair of pants.” I don’t know if Grier ever actually weighed that much because when he got here he bent the beams at about 230 pounds – opponents can thank their lucky stars for that because Grier hit like a runaway freight.

While Grier wasn’t particularly fleet of foot in terms of having great lateral movement, he could get there in a straight line and if he caught somebody in the trolley tracks, he simply ran them over and kept going. I’m trying to think of a better pure hitter than Grier and I’m hard-pressed to come up with a name. Mercy, he wrecked guys – no elbows, no stick, all body, and there damn sure was plenty of that.

Grier paid a price to play that way. During the 2000-01 season, Grier’s shoulder made a habit of popping out of place – dislocating during games. More than once after the problems began, you’d hear Grier scream in pain and skate to the bench with his arm hanging loosely at his side. As many times as not, he’d get it popped back into place and return to the ice after missing just a shift or two. He was a tough SOB.

THE STORY

MikeGrier

As big as he was and as tough as he was, Grier, who was at his best during his time in Edmonton while playing on a checking line with Todd Marchant and Ethan Moreau, was a real sweetheart. He was soft-spoken, polite and professional win or lose – even when the riff-raff in the media poured into the room to ask questions. Grier was tough as hell, but never felt the need to play the role when the equipment came off. His teammates loved him.

Grier twice scored 20 goals in a season for the Oilers and the 44 points he amassed in 1998-99 was a career high. He was not without offensive ability. Grier’s calling card, though, was steaming up and down the right wing and making sure everybody knew he was there. I don’t recall another Oiler, save for maybe Bryan Marchment (who was a knee-shredder and the antithesis of Grier), drawing more shouts of “Heads up” from opposing benches.

Simply put, Grier was as honest a hockey player as I ever met in an NHL dressing room. He was a guy who showed up ready to go to work every day, played his role without question and put his teammates first on and off the ice. I know of former teammates who would rather see him higher on this list, and that says a lot about the player and the man. Big Train at No. 49.

This series will look at the top 100 Edmonton Oilers from the NHL era 1979-80 to 2014-15, starting with 100 and working up. 

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

PREVIOUSLY:

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

    Rosie was a gem who would stand up for his teammates without having to use his knuckles. He would just plaster you into the glass and that hit was usually enough to send a message.

    Heads Up indeed.

  • FISTO Siltanen

    I don’t think the Katz Oilers do enough to remember the guys who kept us alive during those lean years when we were a capital ‘S’ small market team.

    Maybe I’m making a mountain out of a mole hill but are any of these guys from the ’97-04 teams coming out for the Heritage Classic? Because guys like Rosie and Dougie and Guerin and others need to be remembered and honoured.

    Suffice to say I love Grier. Saw him first time at USA vs Ukraine at WJC in ’95.

  • tileguy

    Not sure how much flak you have received over the course of your series on player placement but my guess is you will hear a bit today for Rosie. He was an awesome teammate.

  • fisherprice

    As someone who was born in 1984 I don’t really have many memories of the Oilers dynasty years (vaguely remember everyone at my home getting really excited about the 1990 Cup, but that’s about it), so my favourite Oilers tend to be the rough and tumble guys from the mid-to-late 90s.

    Mike Grier was always one of my favourites. You always noticed the guy on the ice, throwing big checks, mucking in front of the net, and sacrificing his body for his teammates – I went pretty wild every time he potted a goal. One of the most likeable role players to ever play for the Oil.

  • FISTO Siltanen

    The Oilers got 2 1st round picks from the Blues for Corson but traded them back to the Blues for Joseph and Grier.

    By the end of ’97 season I would not trade Grier for Corson straight up.

  • Gordie Wayne

    Grier was awesome…didn’t matter if he was scoring or not, he did something positive every single shift. You could have him inside the top 25 Oilers and not too many people who knew him would question that.

    What is Grier up to these days? Is he working for another team in some capacity?

    • Mike was one of my favorite players because he was just such an honest, decent person who never said a bad word about anybody. Not sure about the top 25, but your point is taken.

      Mike is coaching back at the high school he attended in the Boston area.

  • Rob...

    This article is missing a GIF of Riggs from Lethal Weapon popping his shoulder back into place. I loved the heart Grier played with especially given that his bum shoulder. Grier was epic!

  • Druds

    As prove of what a clean player he was look at his PIM’s per year… In that era a third line player who hit would usually be near a 100 PIM at least.

    They should have him do a clinic for today’s players who seem to think that body checking includes your elbow and your stick

  • ubermiguel

    This series is just a reminder of how much I loved those 90s teams and the players on them. It’s rekindling my Oilers love that’s been damaged over the last decade.

    Rosie had hustle (if not speed) and grit that made up for a simple honest style of game. 1000 NHL games, only a few hundred guys have done that, that’s a testament to high toughness and hard work.

  • kelvjn

    Guy had the bum shoulder that would come out during fights but throws them when he needed to.

    Back in the days you can count on Grier getting 15+ goals every other year. He got robbed a good season by the lock out.