Monday, March 31, 2014

Mud, Muck and Dead Things

 So here we are.

 Imagine the Edmonton Oilers not being a good team again until Taylor Hall was retired. Imagine if they were not even halfway through the really bad years, that after that they had eight years where they were just mediocre and then another six before they won a Cup. Bam! Stanley Cup! right?

 On other words you are twenty five now and would be pushing fifty when it finally came together. And that's with having already lived through the past eight years of garbage hockey from a garbage franchise.

 In other words for you Oiler fans or Falmes fans or Canuck fans who are crying about two bad months(!!), I guess the phrase would be stop your crying you crying crybabies. Your teams may be the worst team in hockey for the last eight years or a team that waited too long to rebuild or a team whose window has closed but you've nor right to say a damn thing about losing until you suffer the way Wings fans suffered from 1967 to 1983 and beyond.

 The worst of the worst.

Detroit Red Wings 1967 to 1983

Length - 17 seasons

Losing Seasons - 14 (including 12 of 13 after 1970)

Bottom Five - 9 of 13 after 1970

Last Overall  - 2

Worst Season - 1976/77, 16 wins for 41 points, outscored 309 to 183 (!!!!!)

Playoff Appearances - 2

Playoff Wins - 3

Weirdness - oh boy. OK well first of all the Wings only missed the playoffs four times in the thirty five years before this streak began and have only missed twice since it ended. They were the best American franchise in hockey before expansion and have been the premier franchise in hockey since 1991. But for nearly twenty years they were a disaster.

 In 1986 the team actually finished dead last one more time, with forty points!

 From 1968 to 1982 they had fourteen coaches (hello Oilers!)

 From 1970 to 1973 the team was run by Ned Harkness, this time period was known as 'Darkness Under Harkness'. Harkness is best remembered (by Wikipedia at least) as instituting rules regarding drinking, smoking, haircuts and phone calls. In the 1970s. Lol.

 The Good - In 1971 they drafted Marcel Dionne with the second pick overall. In 1983 they drafted Steve Yzerman with the fourth pick overall.

The Bad - they traded Dionne to the Kings where he would go on to become one of the most prolific scorers of all time

The Bad - Between these two home runs (and before Dionne) their top ten picks were *deep breath* Jim Rutherford (10th), Bill Lochead (9th), Rick Lapointe (5th), Fred Williams (4th), Dale McCourt (1st overall!), Willie Huber (9th), and Mike Foligno (3rd). Good job good effort scouts!

The Bad - Two of the years in this stretch they didn't even have a first round pick!

The End Game - As noted in the introduction the team wasn't all that great for the eight years after the Yzerman draft but because they were in the Norris they began to make the playoffs regularly. They were bad enough though to draft in the top ten five times in those eight years, including 1st overall in 1986 and 3rd overall in 1990. Plus 11th overall two more times. So yeah they were still pretty junky until 1992 when they started a twenty year run where they were basically a contender every year. They won four Cups and would have won a fifth if not for injuries to Lidstrom, Datsyuk and Hossa in 2009 ( I feel pretty comfortable in saying this) plus they made the Finals one more time for six in under fifteen seasons if my math is right. And their roster included a literal who's who of hockey greats during this time.

But if you were middle aged when the run began in 1967 you were either dead or pretty old when they finally won something. That's the definition of sorrow right there.

Why They Aren't Ranked Higher - they're number one! Though what would have been hilarious is if the end game was more or less being the Leafs and not winning anything. The hockey gods aren't that cruel though.

What We Learned - if you are a fan of the Oilers, which I am, or the Blue Jackets or Islanders or Thrashers/Jets the reality is that you have not seen anything yet. Things could get worse and you might be dead before anything good happens for your favourite team. Best to go out and enjoy a beer and a cigarette patio now that spring is here. (looks at weather forecast, shoots self in gut to ensure slow painful death)


Jiminho said...

So, the Oilers ARE in fact working on the Detroit model. huh.

I'm glad you made it to the end here, Mr. McLean. It has been a really good read (as usual, and thanks!), but dreadful in the biblical sense and I began to worry about your state of mind. The rage and acid is beginning to leak out from behind your clenched teeth. From behind mine as well…

Black Dog said...

Best comment ever.

Mr DeBakey said...

It weren't for nothing they were called the Dead Things.

January 1971
A Saturday night, Hockey Night from Coast to Coast
[And all the Ships at Sea]
I was still a Leaves fan

The Leaves snuck by the Red Wings 13 - 0 that night.
I loved it!

Black Dog said...

13-0 lol. Seventies hockey forever!