Wednesday, November 08, 2006
The Oilers of Yore
Everyone's going Penguin-crazy these days. Sure, they're a great story this year -- a franchise that's performed poorly the past decade seemingly has turned it around and may make the playoffs this year. I even saw a letter in Buccigross's column this week that compared this years' Pens squad to the 1981 Oilers. Let's just hold on one minute and examine this comparison:
Let's go on the ridiculous assumption that Crosby fills the Gretzky role here. Sid's a very good player and makes funny commercials. Gretzky was just the greatest player ever, but seldom made humorous commercials. I'll call this one even.
Next is Malkin. Is he Jari Kurri? They're both goal scorers, slick skaters and dreadfully ugly, so I'll let this through as well.
What to do on defense? While Ryan Whitney is no Paul Coffey, if you throw in Jordan Staal and add a dash of Gonchar you might come close. (Yes, I know Staal isn't a defenseman, but humor me here)
Is Fleury Grant Fuhr? That what this comes down to. I've already made some crazy assumptions to this point, but I've gone as far as I'm going to go with this stupid comparison exercise. Grant was the soul of the Oilers' dynasty and Fleury has showed little promise. Unless Marc-Andre starts making asinine saves while standing on his head, I just cannot accept this exercise.
While they're not the Oilers of Yore, I'd listen to arguments that they closely resemble the 1984 North Stars. Malkin reminds me a young Dennis Maruk.