Why is Gretzky known as the best?
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10-20-2004, 08:29 PM
Join Date: Oct 2002
Originally Posted by
you have made this claim a few times and it is simply not true
Calgary's first year in Calgary they made it to the semi-finals, BUT they were still playing in their 'old' division(NYI,PHI,NYR-who they beat by 18 points, and WSH-who they beat by 22 points). The playoffs that year had them play teams from the East (ie Philadelphia who they beat) and teams from the West (ie Minnesota who they ultimately lost to)
Calgary became a cup contender because they became really good in a decade where they drafted Vernon, MacInnis, Suter, Fleury,Nieuwendyk,Roberts,Loob,Hull,Makarov...trad ed for the likes of Lanny,Gilmour and Mullen and signed college FAs like Otto, Patterson and Macoun. That team would have done just fine in the Eastern Conference in the mid-late 80s...in fact I wager they would have been in the finals more than twice if THEY didn't have to go through Edmonton not just because they moved to the Western Conference, I'm sorry
and yes Edmonton lost to Calgary during the Gretzky era...ONCE. a damn good team, and they beat Edmonton once. give the Oilers some credit man, it doesn't diminish the Islanders to do so
Not about giving crediting or diminishing anything. This was the competitive landscape of the league in that era. I do think the late 80's Flames could have won a cup out of the East, but prior to that absolutely not. In 1981 the league played a balanced schedule so Calgary listed in the Patrick Division played everyone the same four times. Aside from defeating Philadelphia in one playoff series in 1981 (and losing to Minnesota) for five years in the seventies Calgary did not get out of the opening round one time.
When expansion came in 1967 the Blues made three finals in a row and the final was such a mismatch the league had to go back to non-conference playoffs until 1981. During that time only one team from the West (Chicago) even played in a final.
Whether you care to admit it or not there was a huge disaprity.
When the playoff format changed to conference playoffs Calgary finally started winning some playoff series. But the bottom line was teams like Vancouver were marginal at best in that era and never would have had success playing as Eastern Conference seeds.
You want to give the Oilers credit that's fine, they were good enough to win a cup in either conference, but the road and quality of opponents to the finals after the conference playoffs were reinstated were far different for East and West. Would the Islanders in 84 or Philadelphia in 85 had enough to defeat Edmonton if they had Winnipeg, Vancouver and Calgary in the early rounds as opposed to Boston, Rangers, Montreal.
I think so. I have no doubt Edmonton would have had to go thru a harder grind to get into a final. No way they would have won five cups.
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