There might not be any actual sports to talk about, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get into the spirit of March Madness. It’s Brack Season, baby. Nothing can take that away from us!
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been putting out head-to-head match-ups for our followers on Twitter and Instagram to determine Oilersnation’s all-time favourite Oiler, bracket style.
We’re now through the Round of 64 and, for the most part, it’s been fairly predictable. The 80s, 2000s, and 2010s Regions didn’t see any upsets, while the 90s Region featured a couple of surprises. There have been a lot of tight matches so far and it’s about to get even more interesting as we move into the Round of 32.
In the 80s Region, we have…
- No. 1 Wayne Gretzky vs No. 8 Esa Tikkanen. The Great One and the pesky one. I’m not sure anybody will be able to take down Gretzky until we get to the Final Four.
- No. 4 Jari Kurri vs No. 5 Grant Fuhr. Two Hall of Famers. A legendary forward and a legendary goalie. This is a coin-flip.
- No. 3 Paul Coffey vs No. 6 Dave Semenko. The best defenceman in franchise history and one of the most feared fighters ever to play the game. Semenko was a real fan favourite around here, so we might be looking at an upset.
- No. 2 Mark Messier vs No. 7 Glenn Anderson. Another couple of Hall of Famers. Will we get to a Gretzky vs Messier showdown in the Elite Eight?
In the 90s Region, we have…
- No. 1 Doug Weight vs No. 9 Bill Guerin. Two of the key cogs from those gritty, lovable 90s underdog squads. Weight is one of the best Oilers from the post-dynasty days, but there are a couple of goalies who might take him down later on.
- No. 4 Kelly Buchberger vs No. 5 Todd Marchant. A youngster at the tail end of the 80s dynasty, Buchberger brought veteran leadership to the club through the 90s. He’ll go up against Marchant, who scored one of the most memorable goals in franchise history.
- No. 3 Bill Ranford vs No. 10 Jason Arnott. One of the best goaltenders in franchise history, Ranford’s excellent play helped the Oilers to their only Stanley Cup without Gretzky. Can the big, skilled, charismatic Arnott pull off another upset here?
- No. 2 Curtis Joseph vs No. 10 Mike Grier. Two players acquired by the Oilers in the same trade from the Blues meet in the Round of 32. CuJo was unbelievable in net, especially during some playoff upsets, but the gritty Grier was also a fan favourite.
In the 2000s Region, we have…
- No. 1 Ryan Smyth vs No. 9 Ethan Moreau. I was surprised to see Moreau edge past Steady Steve Staios in the first round, but I don’t think I see him beating out Smytty here. I’m not sure anybody in the 2000s Region can touch The Mullet.
- No. 4 Shawn Horcoff vs No. 5 Jason Smith. A couple of former captains. The rugged, stay-at-home Gator and Horcoff, the kid who played a key role in 2006 and was in charge of leading H.O.P.E years later.
- No. 3 Dwayne Roloson vs No. 6 Georges Laraque. Another tough second-round match. There’s Roloson, who sparked Edmonton’s 200 run, and Laraque, one of the most lovable personalities to ever wear the Oilers’ uniform.
- No. 2 Ales Hemsky vs No. 7 Fernando Pisani. Local boy Pisani will always be loved around these parts for his incredible play in 2006, but will it be enough to take down Hemsky, one of the most underrated studs in Oilers history?
In the 2010s Region, we have…
- No. 1 Connor McDavid vs No. 8 Darnell Nurse. I have a hard time seeing anybody challenge McDavid before the Final, but the No. 2 seed in his Region might give him a run.
- No. 4 Jordan Eberle vs No. 5 Oscar Klefbom. Oscar and his sexy abs against Eberle the man who makes people SQUEEEE. This is a coin-flip.
- No. 3 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins vs No. 6 Sam Gagner. Another couple of fan favourites. Gagner went from the face of Oil Change 1.0 to a veteran mentor years later during his second tour of Edmonton, but Nugent-Hopkins has been a steadying presence for a decade now.
- No. 2 Leon Draisaitl vs No. 7 Taylor Hall. Hall won the one-for-one battle against Adam Larsson in the first round, but taking down this season’s MVP is a huge task.
Who do you have winning each match up and moving on to the Round of 16? Let us know in the comments! Also, remember to keep an eye out on Twitter and Instagram to vote!
Here are my guesses… Gretzky, Fuhr, Semenko, Messier, Weight, Buchberger, Ranford, Joseph, Smyth, Smith, Laraque, Pisani, McDavid, Klefbom, Nuge, and Draisaitl.