In August of 1988 the Edmonton Oilers served as the unwitting midwife of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
They traded Wayne Gretzky to Los Angeles. People who didn’t know icing from a cake began wearing silver and black and sitting by the glass at The Forum.
Kids began skating, their parents became fans, Anaheim built an arena and Michael Eisner made a movie. It added up to the Mighty Ducks, who dropped the puck in 1993.
Had the Oilers shipped Gretzky to Toronto, who knows?
Certainly they had no way of knowing their indirect offspring would grow up so cantankerous.
Edmonton and Anaheim have had an oil-and-feathers relationship ever since. They and the Ducks eventually will value the fact that they’re walking through this Western Conference semifinal together. If this goes 7, their hands will be forever joined, if not by handshakes.
Right now, let’s make sure they use different entrances.
You have only heard the first of the complaints about the Pond-emonium in Game 5 Friday night, the Ducks’ unprecedented playoff comeback win, 4-3 in double OT.
“If someone knows what goaltender interference is anymore, call me and tell me,” said the Oilers’ Milan Lucic after Rickard Rakell’s backhander bounced off Ryan Kesler’s stick and tied it 3-3 with 15 seconds left.
Kesler was face down in the crease. He was sent there by Edmonton’s Darnell Nurse. He also was at least touching, if not grabbing, the pad of goaltender Cam Talbot, who said he was basically immobilized as the shot came through.
The good-goal call was not overturned, because the NHL said Nurse was responsible for Kesler’s prone position. Which, the Oilers said, shouldn’t have entitled Kesler to affirmatively grab Talbot’s pad.
It also shouldn’t absolve Edmonton from kicking away leads of 2-0 and 3-0 the past two games, or failing to clear the very few pucks it would have taken to nail down Game 5.
Now a new development and an old story take over.
The Oilers’ defense was stripped…