Thursday, July 13, 2006

 

Off The Hook?

You never hear a word from him. And no one says a word about him, unless it is in rage. But he was once a king in Edmonton, the man who gave us Gretzky, Sather, and Stanley Cups. He was friends with Presidents and Prime Ministers. He even ran for Canada's top political job in 1983. Yet he is nowhere to be found. And I am struggling even now to type in his name, for fear of bad luck and hard feelings. Does he even still live in Edmonton? Or has he scrambled into the wilderness, a Desert Father fleeing persecution from the Oilers Nation? Pe..Pet...Peter...I can't do it. I can't do it without getting angry and scared. And I know I'm not the only one. You try and say it, Oilers fan. Go ahead. Say it right now. If you succeed, note what next pops into your mind. Or if you're at work, in Edmonton, go up to a colleague and say his name. See if the face scrunches up, see if steam exits the ears. Keep an eye out for a sudden left hook.

Tyler and I often talk about the similarities between the Boston Red Sox and the Oilers. It's not an exact comparison, but there are things. Early franchise dominance. The trading of the greatest player to ever play the game, and consequent national icon, for peanuts. The relative lack of championship success after the trade. But the similarities don't just end with the team and its activities. They spread into the attitude that fans have about the franchise. With Oilers fans, as with Red Sox fans, there is a persistent and pervasive belief in Murphy's law. Whatever bad that can happen, will happen. In Boston, this fatalistic, pessimistic attitude is, in essence, natural. You'd expect it of an Irish diaspora. But in Edmonton, it's an attitude that has been developed. And that development has its roots in that guy I was talking about.

Throughout the 1980's, the City of Edmonton had its way with winning. The Edmonton Eskimos won five Grey Cups from 1978-1982, a feat that has never been matched. They also won the Grey Cup in 1987. The Drillers won the NASL indoor championship in 1981. In 1984, the Edmonton Trappers became the first Canadian team to win the Pacific Coast League Championship. The Oilers, of course, were re-writing the NHL record books in the 80's, with perhaps the greatest ensemble of hockey players the game has ever known. Gretzky, Messier, Coffey, Kurri, Fuhr, Anderson, Lowe, Moog. Five Stanley Cup appearances in six years. Four Cups in five years. All for a team that began as an NHL franchise in 1979.

The Trade started the downward slide. On August 9, 1988, Wayne Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, and three 1st round draft picks, which yielded Corey Foster, Martin Rucinsky, and Nick Stajduhar. Oh, and a transfer of $15 million dollars was involved. Fans were livid, blaming Gretzky and his wife Janet Jones. But mostly, they blamed the owner. It got so bad in Canada that one Member of Parliament, Nelson Riis, tabled a motion in the House of Commons to block the trade. What's-His-Name was burned in effigy, and Edmontonians learned the hard way that nothing is sacred, that no one, not even the greatest player to ever lace up the skates, is untouchable.

After that, things went from bad to worse. Well, not really. The Oilers won one more Stanley Cup, with what is in hindsight a pretty fantastic roster. But at the time it seemed like they were coasting on fumes, that the sheer will of Messier and Lowe was allowing them to advance. Soon after that fifth Stanley Cup in 1990, the rest of the Oilers core skipped town. Moog and Coffey had been shipped out before Gretzky. Messier, Fuhr, Anderson, Kurri, Lowe, Huddy, Tikkanen, and MacTavish left after The Great One, usually ending up in Los Angeles or New York. Those teams went to the Finals. The Rangers even won the Stanley Cup in 1994. The old Oilers would drop into town for a game every once in a while, big smiles on their faces. The Oilers? Missed the playoffs. Again. And again. And again. The fans? Depressed beyond belief. Every day they would open the paper, to find that something new and horrible had happened. A beloved player was demanding a trade, or had just been traded. The owner was complaining about not being able to run the team. And so on. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named threatened Edmontonians, constantly. HE almost sold the Oilers, twice, to men who were planning on moving the team. Edmontonians lost their minds. Oilers fans became embittered, stopped going to games, and Peter Pocklington's name became mud.

Peter Pocklington.

There. I said it. That's his name. Peter Pocklington. Peter Puck. Fuckhead. Asshole. Traitor. Judas. Whore. Sleazeball.

Ahhh. That feels better. Okay, one more. YOU FUCKING-DOUCHEBAG-SON-OF-A-FUCKING-BITCH-COCKSUCKER.

Whew. I feel great. I think. Wait. Do I? No, not really. But why? Isn't that cockfuck the root of all our hockey anxiety? I guess so. But if I think about, that was a long time ago. And a lot has happened since then. New owners, who give all for the city, the region, and the team, and make nothing off of it. Glenn Sather is long gone. So too are his cronies, like Barry Fraser. Old players have come back to the city, and the organization. Lowe, MacTavish, Huddy and Simpson. Four members of the Oilers dynasty have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and each one has returned to claim, like an ex-lover, that we were their favorite all along. The Heritage Classic. A Game 7 upset of the Dallas Stars. Coming back from being down 3-1 to defeat the Colorado Avalanche. Olympic Gold in 2002, with Smyth and Brewer on the Canadian team, and Gretz and Lowe managing it. The Stanley Cup Finals in 2006. All good things. And yet there have been many bad things in that time. Year after year of overtime playoff losses to the Dallas Stars. More players who have left, never to return. Joseph, Weight, Guerin. A lockout, with no Stanley Cup being awarded. Mike Comrie. Torino. A Game 7 loss in the Stanley Cup Finals. Chris Pronger. Georges Laraque.

Pocklington has had nothing to do with any of it. Oilers fans have suffered through new highs, and new lows, and it has all occurred since he sold the team. So why do we still hate the man? Is he a boogeyman that we cling to as a reminder of what can be, a superstitious loathing we still adhere to without any connection to reality? Probably both, and more. I do know that he continues to haunt us, all these years later. The euphoria over winning a second round series against the San Jose Sharks tells me this, as does the hair-pulling and eye-gouging over Chris Pronger's trade request. I had hoped that getting to the Stanley Cup Finals would help us, help me, exorcise the man, but the Game 7 loss, Lauren Pronger and a depleted defensive core has sent us three steps back. Our ups are still too up, and our downs are still way, way, too down.

We have to let go of this man. We have to let go of him for our sake, and for his. It'll probably take a Championship. No one talks about Babe Ruth and the Red Sox anymore. One of the best things I have ever read is a story written by Bill Simmons, after the Red Sox won Game Three of the World Series in 2004. The story is called, "The Next Win Is For Everyone." At the time, the Sox were one win away from ending almost a century of suffering. The whole article is filled with stories from Sox fans, talking about how they could finally get on with their lives if the Red Sox won the World Series. The article still makes me weep, even today. It sounds insane, unless you are a sports fanatic. Then you know. Simmons goes on to give a list of "who to win it fors," which I hope to someday crib. I'd do it after the fact, of course, because I'm an Eagles fan, Red Sox fan, and an Oilers fan. Plus I'm Irish, and knowledgeable on Greek Tragedy. But the story begins with the Sports Gal asking Simmons a very simple question: "How will your life change if the Red Sox win the World Series?" His answer?

"That's easy," I told her. "Everything would get wiped away. No more baggage. No more Babe Ruth pictures, Buckner highlights, fans walking around with Curse signs, 1918 chants, announcers hinting at doom around every corner. Everyone would just leave us alone. We'd be just another baseball team."

I like that answer. I like that answer alot. I look forward to the day when the Edmonton Oilers can become just another hockey team. And I look forward to the day when Peter Pocklington can become just another man, rather than what he is now, a breathing metaphor of one city's pain.

Comments:

So you do understand how I feel.

When the Hurricanes won the Cup, it pretty much put the Whale to bed for good and allowed the people in Hartford that hadn't completely gotten over the move finally come to terms with everything and get on with their lives. It let people like me who had been suffering through years of mediocrity with the team finally find some peace in our sporting lives.

The noobs in the Caniac Nation don't understand--I don't think they ever will understand, and I don't expect them to...but that's okay by me.

Seriously.
 


Good post AQ, and great article that inspired it.

If we're looking for connections, can we add Callighen-Tony Conigliaro? Not close?

I don't know if I can completely agree on similarity. I've been an Oilers fan since 1972 and NOTHING in my experience compares to the heartbreak of this Cup loss.

Red Sox routinely got close to the WS or lost it for insane reasons like Ted Williams kept trying to hit into the shift.

BoSox long period without championships were sometimes about the other guy, but often about stupidity at Fenway.
 


Plus I'm Irish, and knowledgeable on Greek Tragedy.

How are those connected? Is this some sort of Oedipus thing going on?
 


Another similarity between the Red Sox and the Oilers: Bill Buckner's error at first base that cost them the series is eerily similair to watching Conklin's error in game 1 of the Cup finals.
 


Woa, Nelson Riis mention in a hockey discussion. (You forgot to mention whose MP he was. He was mine. Kamloops tried to save Gretzky, it's true.)
 


Good post AQ, and great article that inspired it.

I'm AG, not AQ. But thanx.
 


I think he was refering to the acid queen (AQ)...
 


Fuck, I hate the Red Sox and their trumped up melodrama. It's just phony neuroticism. It really doesn't help that Boston cranks out douchebag sportswriters like East German academies cranked out Olympic she-male weightlifters in the 80's.(Shaughnessy anyone? Even Simmons is a jackass.)

BTW, didn't the Oilers get the rights to Vlad Ruzicka in the Gretzky deal?

As for Pocklington... I'm long over that guy. If you're an Oiler fan, you know to let go of the players, coaches, management, etc when they leave. You'd better, or you'll go freaking crazy.
 


With all due respect, it's hard to feel sorry for a fanbase that got to enjoy five Cups in the last 25 years.

I mean, really, cry me a river.
 


With all due respect, it's hard to feel sorry for a fanbase that got to enjoy five Cups in the last 25 years.

But we should have had 10!!!!

It's the difference from falling from the first floor, and falling from the 100th.
 


It's the difference from falling from the first floor, and falling from the 100th.

Oh, to fall from that elusive 100th floor.

Seriously, I'm with McMurtry, the sadder stories involve less cup victories. Next we'll be hearing about the gloomy post-championship existence of Tiger Woods.

I like the post generally, but would Red Sox fans put up with your 17-year drought as some sort of comparable "curse"?

Not to mention those sensitive ancient Greeks...
 


I strongly disagree with the notion of linking Oiler fans and Red Sox fans. Leaving aside some of the obvious differences (such as how Babe Ruth was sold while he was just entering his prime, while Gretz was traded for 5 players/picks, and cash) and such facts as how the Oilers have only gone 16 years between championships (in a 30 team league, that shouldn't set off alarm bells), it comes down to this, in my opinion. And I say this as someone who grew up in Edmonton. People in their 20s and 30s grew up at a time, as Andy mentioned, when Edmonton teams were in the midst of dynasties in both hockey and football. It seems like this generation of Edmontonians (or Edmonton fans) came to think of it as natural that their team would, or should always win.

The Oilers? Cursed? They were cursed with only two things:

1. Being stuck in a small-market, which was made worse because the canadian dollar was floundering at the time.
2. Poor scouting and front office management that squandered most of the draft picks from about 1985-2000.

As for the overtime losses to Dallas, if you ask me, the Oilers did well to make the games that close? They were the 7th or 8th seed going up against one of the 2 or 3 best teams in the league. Who do you think is going to win most of the time?

I'll try to write more if I have time tonight, but in the meantime, remember that the Oilers are already just another hockey team.
 


The better comparison is not with the Red Sox, but with the Celtics. Embarrassingly blessed with talent that produces transcendant seasons and performances that last longer than the usual good runs and into dynasty territory. The ending of the run is sudden and sharp, and the subsequent mediocrity/haplessness is made all the more poignant compared to the past successes. As the non Oiler/Celtic fan the present struggles of such a team were/are way too long in coming and frankly can't last long enough for the karma payback.
 


Being in my mid-20s, I wasn't really around for the championship years, it's hard to appreciate them when a)you're 7 or 8 and b) you live in the middle of south america and get the miami herald once a week with hockey scores.


When I returned to Canada, the Oilers should have still been a dynasty. You know how they say that the golden age of any sport is when you were 13? I was 13 in 1994, and when I played road hockey with my brother and cousins and we picked our favourite player to be from our favourite team, and they were all Doug Gilmour and Dave Andrychuck and whatnot..... I was Kevin Todd. Peter Pocklington reduced me to being Kevin Todd.

Thank god the Blue Jays were still kicking ass around then.

But yeah, the point is, Pocklington should be a patron saint of the Calgary Flames. 5-1 is an asskicking, but it still sounds better than 9-1.
 


Christ, only an Oilers fan or a baboon would compare their franchise to the Red Sox.

A 16 year dry spell does not compare to decades of futility and heartache.
 


The Oilers? Cursed?

I quote the one line only, but did any of you actually read the article? Did I ever say the Oilers were cursed? Did I ever say that it was the exact same thing? No. In fact, I listed the only similarities: early franchise dominance, trading of superstar player, relative lack of franchise dominance afterwards, and fan belief in Murphy's law. I'm not surprised that Abboud read what he wanted to read--he generally likes to repeat what has already been said, say he will write more later and then thankfully not follow up, as well as beat his own drum regardless of what has actually been mentioned-- but I am surprised at the rest of you. The article is NOT about the Red Sox and the Oilers. The article is about Peter Pocklington. The article is about how much he is still disliked in this city, despite the fact he hasn't been involved with the team for over ten years. All it was was a admittedly loose comparison intended to sell a greater point, which is that this city has an insecurity complex the size of Pocklington's body. I'd say I was sorry I brought it up, but I'm pretty positive I gave very tight paramenters for the comparison.

Then again, I am a baboon.
 


I'm not surprised that Abboud read what he wanted to read--he generally likes to repeat what has already been said, say he will write more later and then thankfully not follow up, as well as beat his own drum regardless of what has actually been mentioned-- but I am surprised at the rest of you.

I should know better than take this bait, but it seems that responding to personal digs is the only way I can have a dialogue with you Andy, since it seems to have become your modus operandi for whenever we get into a disagreement. It's too bad, really, but you work with what you can.

I'll let the pot call the kettle black on the 'beating one's own drum' issue (even though I don't really see it), and try to keep this post on topic. As a final aside, it's a shame that you never joined the debate club in university. With your ability to craft arguments out of thin air, twist points that have been previously made and take them out of context, and hammer home the same idea over and over again, you would have been unstoppable at the collegiate level.

Anyway, given that you began and ended your post with comparisons to the Red Sox, I can see how people would get the idea that you were, in fact, comparing the Oilers and the Red Sox.

Most of my points were going to be about the faulty Red Sox/Oilers analogy, but I will put them aside for now, lest you throw another hissy fit.

As for Pocklington, I wonder why people blame him only for the Gretzky trade, and subsequent fire sales. He also presided over a period about a decade and a half where his front office did a poor job of drafting talent, and arguably on getting return for some of their star players. That's just as much a reason why the team dropped out of contention and spent much of the 90s wallowed in mediocrity as the Gretzky trade is.
 


No no, go ahead and talk about the Red Sox and the Oilers comparison. It's not like the giant picture of Peter Pocklington was a giveaway on the actual subject matter. Or that you have your own blog where you can talk about things unrelated to the topic at hand. Plus, it proves my point, which I like. Maybe you could even talk about the Celtics here for awhile?
 


The article is NOT about the Red Sox and the Oilers. The article is about Peter Pocklington.

I thought it was really about Oil fans and their insecurities as related to once being a mammoth franchise.

Still, comment-wrath is to be expected even with a loose comparison, unless of course you were referring to the BoSox fans of the mid-1930s.
 


Still, comment-wrath is to be expected even with a loose comparison, unless of course you were referring to the BoSox fans of the mid-1930s.

Why? I never ever said we had suffered because we hadn't won in 80 years. I don't think I made a single ridiculous claim. It's all very measured. I can understand people in other cities not feeling sympathy for a team that has at least won a few Cups over the past few years, but I never ever made the claim that our plight was exactly the same as the Red Sox. It never even occured to me, as it had nothing to do with the point of the story. The point was simply: can we finally let Pocklington off the hook, and stop freaking out every time something bad happens?
 


Okay, so this story is a vent about Pocklington. You ask if people can finally let go of him.

Do Edmonton fans really sit around today, linking modern-day misfortune to his influence on the team? I've read all the Pronger articles I can find since it was announced he wanted a trade, read blogs, watched the news - I didn't see any passing reference to Peter Puck.

Chime in here, Edmonton fans - is this how you feel? That you can't let him go? I find that hard to believe.

Andy, about your comparison between Edmonton and the Sox - sorry, it's a major stretch to indentify any similarities there. I mean, I feel your pain, it's been a lousy few weeks, but no. No, Edmonton can't be even vaguely compared to Boston's situation pre-2004.

People were born and died without ever seeing the Sox win the Series. Most people still have very fresh memories of the incredible Edmonton dynasty of the 80's. Boston spent decades as the butt of jokes, and experienced every spirit-sucking, soul-crushing post-season loss you can experience; the Oilers losing a game 7 Cup final and a few overtime losses to Dallas isn't even close to that level of stomach-punch pain an entire fanbase felt so long:

"Relax. We've been playing these guys for 80 years. They're never gonna beat us."

-Yogi Berra to Bernie Williams during the 1999 ALCS

That quote says it all. Has anyone EVER looked at the banners that festoon Rexall place, walked past the Gretzky statue out front, and thought of the Oilers in this dissmissive fashion?

The Sox were losers. They EXPECTED to lose. They EXPECTED the wheels to fall of the wagon, because that's what ALWAYS happened. You said that Oiler fans believe in the Murphy's law thing - really?

I'm not saying you don't feel terrible. I'm certain that you do. But are you sure that your perspective isn't influence right now by a painful Cup loss, in addition to the Chris Pronger drama? I know it has to be, at least somewhat.

Fast forward sixty years, and if people are still talking about the last Cup win in 1990, and after having blown the final in dramatic and humiliating fashion a bunch of times, (and let's add that these Oiler failures came at the hands of Calgary), then maybe your argument can hold some water.

Until then, teams that have suffered more, for a lot longer than the Oilers. Ottawa Senator fans might even debate their city has experienced more misery; they have been expected to WIN for six years or so now, and they've lost every time, 4 times against their hated provincial rival.

Wardo
 


Do Edmonton fans really sit around today, linking modern-day misfortune to his influence on the team? I've read all the Pronger articles I can find since it was announced he wanted a trade, read blogs, watched the news - I didn't see any passing reference to Peter Puck.

There were lots of references to Gretzky, Janet Jones, and the like. My entire point was that he still looms over our shoulders, like a spectre. I'd be willing to bet my son's life that of the first five thoughts Edmontonians had after Pronger made the trade request, one of them was "not again." What situation do you think they were thinking of, exactly?


Andy, about your comparison between Edmonton and the Sox - sorry, it's a major stretch to indentify any similarities there. I mean, I feel your pain, it's been a lousy few weeks, but no. No, Edmonton can't be even vaguely compared to Boston's situation pre-2004.

Um, am I on some sort of crazy pills here? The similarities I mentioned, the only ones I mentioned, are all in fact there. Early franchise dominance? Check. Trading of best player to ever play the game?Check. Relative--and I repeat the word relative for all who have skipped over it when they read the post--lack of playoff success after that player was traded? Check. Constant fear that whatever bad thing can happen, will happen? Check. If you want to counter those, feel free. Let me here it. I've been a Oilers fan my entire life, and a Red Sox one ever since I got into baseball, so I can go all day on this. Don't tell me that I said things I never said.

I'm not saying you don't feel terrible. I'm certain that you do. But are you sure that your perspective isn't influence right now by a painful Cup loss, in addition to the Chris Pronger drama? I know it has to be, at least somewhat.

As for my pain, again, if you actually bothered to read the post, it isn't there. Did you not read the part where I said the ups are too up, and the downs are too down? I wasn't talking about me. I'm not upset at all. It's not like I'm a Sens fans. Even with good teams those guys can't win.
 


I'm not going to comment on this anymore, because it's obvious to me that people are commenting on the comments, not on the actual post itself. I stand by the post, and everything in it. I made very few claims about similarities between the Red Sox and Oilers, and noted that, like the Red Sox, only a Championship would eliminate any vestiges of ill will towards Pocklington, and insecurity about our city as a hockey destination. That is all. Somehow people have tried to construe that I thought the Oilers were cursed, or that every single incident in Oilers and Red Sox history was exactly the same. That is not the case. Apparently, despite what the actual post says, and what I have repeatedly said in the comments, this is not enough for people. So carry on making up things to talk about, if that is your desire. I'm just not going to comment on things I never actually said.
 


If I had to take a stab at it, I would guess that most people harbor ill-will towards Pocklington for selling off Gretzky, and they always will. The bigger culprit was the economic system that made it difficult for Edmonton to compete year-in-year-out in the 1990s and early 2000s (though if you blame the Gretzky sale/trade for causing that, then maybe Puck does deserve your continued malice. We could also talk about poor drafting and player development by Edmonton as well, but that's another story).

To address Andy's point that the Oilers should have had 10 Cups, my guess is that Gretzky would have had to be moved at some point to another market, due to escalating salaries at the like. If not, I don't think he would have been worth more than another 1-2 championships at most. Given the dearth of young players coming in, and the way that guys like Anderson and Kurri dropped off in the early 90s, it's not safe to say he would have been worth another 3-5 titles. It's just as likely that the Oilers would have been stopped by Mario and the Pens, stonewalled by Patrick Roy and the Habs, or trapped into submission by the New Jersey Devils. Had that happened, the Oilers probably would have dropped off dramatically as they aged, not unlike the New York Rangers (with an aging core of former Oilers) did in the late 90s.

Also, no one has pointed out the irony that Pocklington acquired Gretzky in the first place because his previous owner, Nelson Skalbania, needed the money to keep his franchise afloat. How many Cups would they have won without this move? Does his initial acquisition of Gretzky mitigate in any way the eventual sale?
 


To clarify my first point, my guess is that most people blame the economic system of the NHL for the past decade and a half (prior to the lockout) for the Oilers conditions, rather than Pocklington himself. If you want to argue for a cause and effect between the latter and the former, go ahead.

Also, I don't think that Oiler fans reacted any more negatively than many other fan bases would have had their franchise player asked for a trade on the heels of a Stanley Cup run. Imagine if Jarmoe had asked for a trade in June of 2004?
 


I thought it was a great article. For me, the worst moment came the day they dealt Messier (there's a hole in the wall at 12915-135A Avenue to prove it, I covered it over but you can still see it in the master bedroom just above the light switch. Sorry whoever owns it now) because that's just giving up.

The 99 trade imo was a combination of things, some business (the NHL needed something to happen before another Oakland Seals outbreak) and some personal (I'm not one of those people who blames Yoko Ono for the breakup of four boys who had become men but there were some good things for Wayne and his wife and there's nothing at all wrong with that) but a lot of whatv we saw I believe was spin.

The Gretzky trade would not have happened if he had told Sather he didn't want to go, as late as the day they did it. Believe me or not, but when Sather found out about that deal he re-worked it getting better players in return believe it or not and I'm comfortable enough in the person who told me to believe that Slats basically said "say the word and this ends now" and it didn't come.

It's romantic to say Yoko Ono broke up the Beatles (or maybe there's a better word than romantic. petty?) but fact is these kids had become men and wanted to be individuals and she was convenient as a scapegoat.

I don't blame Janet, or Wayne, or Peter Puck. You have to take the good with the bad, and the same Pocklington who aggresssively pursued everything got the 99 deal done with Gretzky in mid-air and Eddie Mio's credit card paying for the aviator fuel.

So he screwed over people. Welcome to Alberta do you want fries with that.

It's all good. 5 Stanleys good.
 


I was joking about the ten Cups, but boy would it have been sweet.
 


Also, I don't think that Oiler fans reacted any more negatively than many other fan bases would have had their franchise player asked for a trade on the heels of a Stanley Cup run. Imagine if Jarmoe had asked for a trade in June of 2004?

Or if Paul Kariya ditched the Ducks in July of 2003 for a paltry $1.2 M and a 'chance to win the Cup'?

Sometimes things just hurt.
 


I'm comfortable enough in the person who told me to believe that Slats basically said "say the word and this ends now" and it didn't come.

I seem to recall Gretzky himself saying it in a TSN interview at the Hall of Fame a couple of years back.

The story of Gretzky's flight into Edmonton is classic WHA lore. I still smile and shake my head when I think of what must've been running through poor Eddie Mio's head.
 


This apple is like this orange. It is roundish. Check. It came from a tree. Check. It has seeds and an outer layer. Check.

What do they say about comparing apples and oranges?

I think the differences out-weigh the similarities in both your analogy and mine, hence invalidating the comparision all together. (Not to mention de-railing the post.)

Sure Oiler fans are smarting right now, and for good reason. If you want blame Pocklington, go ahead. Looking in from the outside though, I would much rather have had the stacked team (that Pocklington at least helped to assemble) and ONLY 4 Stanley Cups to cheer for than the years of mediocrity and disappointment that my Canucks have brought me.

I've at least been able to watch the last two game 7's with a bit of smile.

(Great site though.)
 


From LT:

__The Gretzky trade would not have happened if he had told Sather he didn't want to go, as late as the day they did it. Believe me or not, but when Sather found out about that deal he re-worked it getting better players in return believe it or not and I'm comfortable enough in the person who told me to believe that Slats basically said "say the word and this ends now" and it didn't come___

Damn right...I keep telling people that Wayne could've stopped it but he choose not to. I think he wanted to move on to bigger and better things...OUTSIDE of the rink. And I think that will always be the case for some players.

And Andy maybe this was an omission to make the piece palatable but I can't believe you didn't know that Pocklington lives in Palm Springs. The Sun always looks him up when things have never been darker for the Oil.

Oh and the Messier trade killed me too. It was bad enough to see Jayne leave but then when they started punting everyone else I just had to quit. I gave up on them after the '03 season and I started back on the bandwagon when they finally signed CuJo in Jan of '96.

And I don't know about anyone else but the Pronger trade request was a black day for me and the trade day wasn't a gem either/
 


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