GDB 56.0: MOONLIGHT MILE

The Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks have some famous history together, going back to the first NHL game in Oilers history. Since then, the two teams have met many times in big games, and may do so again in the near future. Both appear playoff bound, and that opens up all kinds of storylines—storylines we have not had the opportunity to explore in many years.

MEMORIES

It is certain you and I could fill thousands of pages in shared memories of the Edmonton Oilers over the years, and for me, many of them involve the Chicago Blackhawks. Watching Paul Coffey wheel past an entire set of Blackhawks to ruin poor Murray Bannerman’s goals-against average might be the sweetest, but it is far from the only one.

There was a time when this rivalry was bitter, and the Oilers were on the winning end. Consider Game 4, 1990, possibly Mark Messier’s finest game in an Edmonton uniform.

  • Chicago coach Mike Keenan, May 9, 1990: “He could have been called for 16 stick penalties. He’s getting away with too much use of the stick. He had (referee) Bill McCreary intimidated.”
  • Source
  • Boxscore

Had the Oilers lost that game, it would have been 3-1 Chicago, and they were a fine team. These are the kinds of stories, good lord willing, we will see in our city in the coming springs. I cannot wait to breathe air in a playoff city again. Music!

LINEUPS

Oilers

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Blackhawks

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Lineups (subject to change) are courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

NOTES

  • Connor McDavid remains No. 1 in scoring, but has company in Sidney Crosby. This is going to be a great race between the two best hockey players on planet earth.
  • Peter Chiarelli was in attendance at the Tampa Bay Lightning—Minnesota Wild game last night. Among the players he might have been observing were centre Brian Boyle and centre Tyler Johnson. The Lightning are facing a cap crunch, and may be open to new ideas.
  • Ethan Bear scored his 20th goal last night for the Seattle Thunderbirds. A big shot from the point, from a righty, is a major item on the Oilers wish list. Miles to go, and we should expect Bear to spend a year or two in Bakersfield, but nice to see a draft pick develop and turn pro with a skill set that matches a need.
  • Matt Benning may be a game-time decision, it sounded like Todd McLellan was encouraged, but that might have been me parsing his words.
  • Ryan Rishaug sent out a photo of Darnell Nurse skating at Rogers yesterday. He hung around for part of practice, all eyes said he looked good.
  • Patrick Maroon will be on HNIC After Hours tonight after the game. Scott Oake is looking for questions online, check him out on twitter.
  • Andrew Hammond is on waivers today, the Oilers may be making a deal at some point to shore up the position for the playoffs. Hammond has struggled badly in the NHL this year (six starts) and has played only 2 AHL games (.907SP). If the idea is an upgrade on Laurent Brossoit, the numbers suggest Hammond is not the player to bring in. We will see.

    WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

    • Keith Schultz, Blackhawkup.com: Hawks have one more game tonight before they get their week long vacation.  They travel to Edmonton and play in a city that traditionally hasn’t favored them very well, but as of late they have won their fair share of games. It will be nice to go out on their hiatus with one more win, but sometimes in the past this is the trap game on their schedule.
    • Source

    TONIGHT

    GDB

    (Photoshop: @TomKostiuk)

    GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers begin the game with skate guards on and rust aplenty, and it does not go well. The Blackhawks score a power play and shorthanded goal, leading 2-0 after one.

    OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION:  The Oilers wake up in the second period, peppering Scott Darling with shots. Late in the second, Edmonton finally scores, as Benoit Pouliot scores a rare marker. 

    NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION:

    Edmonton takes over the game in the third period, scoring once (McDavid, assists to McDavid-McDavid) to tie it and counting two disallowed goals. The second tally that doesn’t count occurs at the 20 minute mark, as McDavid and Kassian jam the puck into the net at the same exact time. Overtime solves nothing, Talbot stones Chicago in the shootout and it is 3-2 Oilers by 11pm. Everyone is home and dry by 4:30am.

    ALBERTA POND HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIPS

    Pond 

    The Alberta Pond Hockey Championships are here for another year and we couldn’t think of a better group of people to join us other than you fine citizens.

    We can all remember suiting up with three pairs of pants, two oversized hoodies, and as many socks as your skate would allow to get on the outdoor rink when we were kids just to be able to play on the ODR. Were we crazy? Who in their right mind would want to leave the house when it’s -20 degrees outside to go skate on a frozen pond? I’ll tell you who, WE WOULD! And yes, we are crazy.

    That’s why the Alberta Pond Hockey Association is holding another fun tournament at Lac Cardinal, Alberta where we can all be kids again and lose ourselves in the outdoor sport we all grew up playing. The championship is taking place on March 10, 11, & 12 and offers divisions for ALL skill levels.

    Find all the info you need including registration at their website (www.albertapondhockey.com) and be sure to check out their Facebook page (@AlbertaPondHockeyAssociation) too.

    See you on the pond!