Teemu Selanne scoring on two penalty shots, Mark Messier ripping home a wrist shot, Esa Tikkanen chirping at the ref, a dramatic winning goal.
All part of the Heritage Classic alumni game Saturday afternoon at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg.
Many of the players were part of the Smythe Division battles between the two clubs in the 1980s.
“The Oilers set the bar pretty high, then Calgary followed, and Winnipeg was right there. Dale Hawerchuk came on board, and the surrounded them with a great team,” says Messier. “We had success against Winnipeg, but it didn’t come cheaply. We had to earn everything we got.”
The Oilers won all six playoff series against the Jets between 1983 and 1990. The final series was the most spirited. The Jets took a 3-1 lead before the Oilers rallied to win in seven games.
“None of those games came easy. It was always a battle,” recalls former Oilers winger Glenn Anderson.
“When you get a chance to play against players like that, that’s why you signed up to play this game,” says former Jets captain Dale Hawerchuk. “Play with the best against the best. They were definitely the best in that decade.”
The alumni game turned out to be entertaining, with Teemu Selanne scoring on a late penalty shot to give the Jets a 6-5 win. The Oilers had trailed 4-1 after the first period but rallied to lead 5-4 in the third. Messier had two goals for the Oilers alumni with Craig Simpson, B.J. MacDonald, and Craig MacTavish also scoring.
Any penalty call resulted in a penalty shot rather a power play, so Selanne was awarded a penalty shot in the final moments after being tripped by Simpson. Selanne also scored on a penalty shot early in the game.
The current editions of the Oilers and Jets will meet Sunday afternoon in the Heritage Classic. 630 CHED’s coverage starts at 11:30am. The game is at 1pm. (jrw)