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Better Oilers team. 83-84 or 87-88?

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01-18-2005, 11:08 PM
  #1
s7ark
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Better Oilers team. 83-84 or 87-88?

I know the prevailing thought is the 83-84 teams was the better one. But I just watched a special on the 88 Oilers cup run and wow. That was sheer dominance. They lost 2 games all playoffs and never trailed in a series by less then 2 games. It was a time when Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, Anderson, Simpson, Lowe and Fuhr were just peaking career-wise or coming a bit back down in the case of a few. They were more confident then the 84 team and were simply overpowering in every facet of the game, from offense, through defence, and into goaltending.

The 83/84 team was more driven and arguably more talented. With a peak high Gretzky, Kurri, and Coffey were a marvel to watch as they just tore through teams. It resembled a neverending aerial attack. But they weren't as multifaceted as the 88 team. They were a high-flying offense with no regard for team defense and entirely relied on Moog and Fuhr all year.

So which team was better. I think a strong argument could be made for the 87/88 team.

Thoughts?

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01-18-2005, 11:21 PM
  #2
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Well the Oilers team of 83-84 relied mostly on offense with guys like Gretzky, Kurri, Coffee, Messier, Anderson leading the way. Their goaltending was good too.

The Olilers team of 87-88 relied on offense as well, not to the degree they once did but still. Gretzky, Kurri, Messier, Anderson and Simpson lead the way. However they actually played some good defense as well to beat the Bruins in 4 straight.

So yeah I would choose the 87-88 Oilers over the 83-84 one although both teams were great.

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01-19-2005, 12:49 AM
  #3
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Just for kicks, here's what WhatifSports came up with as a result between the two teams in a 7 game series...

Fuhr starts for both teams. Games are played in Skyreach Centre.

Game 1:

The '87 Oilers open up the scoring at 5:23 of the first on a goal by Simpson, assisted by the Great One and Kurri. With 2:40 remaining, however, '83 Kurri scores unassisted to knot the game at 1-1.

The second frame is more of the same. Smith pops home a goal on a pass from Tik to pull the '87 Oilers ahead 2-1. Exactly 4 minutes later, the offensive magic of the '83 Oilers comes to life with 2 goals coming 2:07 apart. Kurri, assisted by Gretz and Lowe, and Coffey, assisted by Linseman and McClelland, give the '83 Oilers a 3-2 lead.

In eerie fashion, Anderson nets a goal for the '87 Oilers at 3:33 of the 3rd. Messier and Tik get the helpers.

At 8:10, Messier- this time for the '83 Oilers- nets one from Huddy and Lowe to regain the lead. The Fuhrs slam the floodgates closed, and neither team can manage another.

The buzzer goes off, and the '83 Oilers take it in a 4-3 squeaker.


Game 2:

The '87 Oilers get off to a good start in the 1st, as per the usual. Dave Hannan scores the opener at 9:09 with assists going to Courtnall and Beukeboom. It's a long time before another one comes, but with 59 seconds left in the period, Kurri nets a backbreaker for the '83 Oilers. Gretzky and Fogolin assist on the tying goal.

In the second, the '87 Oilers go back to their old ways, with Tik setting up Mess to make it 2-1. Before a change in momentum can bury the younger squad, Coffey scores from Linseman and Summanen to pull the '83 squad even.

Looking for a spark, Buchy tracks down '83 Oiler Jaroslav Pouzar and the fisticuffs ensue. With the momentum back in their court, Courtnall feeds Lowe to give the '87 Oilers the lead once more.

Again, the Fuhrs do what the Fuhrs do best: refuse to let in the next one. But one eventually cracks. Mark Messier's shot bounces out right to Anderson, and the '83 Oilers tie the score at 14:38.

With overtime looking inevitable, all eyes turn to the Great One on either side. On an oh-so-familiar play, Kurri slides the puck to Gretz with 1:51 remaining in regulation, giving the '83 squuad the go-ahead and game-winning goal. It's once again a 4-3 victory for the young team.


Game 3:

As if it couldn't happen any other way, the '87 Oilers pound home the first goal at 2:40 of the first on another Kurri-to-Gretz tally. However, the club barely gets to savour the lead when Dr. Randy Gregg gives the '87 team a taste of their own medicine 34 seconds later to tie it at 1.

In a salute to firewagon hockey, Simpson scores his second of the series for the '87 Oilers, and the '83 Oilers bag one 2:45 later after the Moose feeds Paul Coffey.

The next goal seemingly takes forever to come, but at 11:07 of the second, the Great One takes yet another pass from Kurri to put the '83 Oilers on top 3-2. 1:09 later, '87 Messier tallies his second assist on the night when a pass to Beukeboom beats Fuhr to tie it 3-3. The same Messier is sent to the box for a hook barely 2 minutes later. Smelling blood, '83 Oiler Glenn Anderson slams home a powerplay marker to make it 4-3.

The frantic action again subsides for the rest of the 2nd most of the 3rd, but Jari Kurri pads the '83 Oilers lead 5-3 on helpers from Gretz and Lowe.

Looking to run away with it late, '83 Gretzky notches his second goal of the night on a pass from Kurri to widen the margin by 3. Pouzar is again present on the gamesheet, but it'll be with the 2nd assist on the goal.

Not wanting to give up or give in, the '87 Oilers try to close the gap on a goal at 19:16 from Messier. Tik and Beaukeboom assist, but that will be the last time an '83 Oiler- or any Oiler for that fact- is marked down for a point in the game. The '83 Oilers walk away with a 6-4 win, giving them the 3-0 lead in the series.


Game 4:

Facing elimination, the '87 Oilers look to get off to a good start. However, as they'd proven in all three previous games, scoring first wasn't a guarantee of success.

3 seconds in, '83 Oiler Paul Coffey is sent to the box for high sticking. Good sign or not, Messier taps in a rebound at 1:54 of the powerplay to give the '87 Oilers the lead.

Coffey scores again- this time for the '87 team- to tie the game 1 all. Gretz and Kurri are credited with the helpers, the first time in the series that either player is involved on the same goal without scoring it.

The Fuhrs again settle into a goaltending duel, with the scoreless streak snapped at 8:47 of the second. Kurri's feed to Gretz gives the '83 Oilers the lead for the first time in the game. 5 seconds afterwards, Kurri again sets up a goal for the '83 side- this time one by Pouzar- widening the lead to 3-1.

The doors again slam shut for either team, but it'll be on yet another first goal of a period that the '87 Oilers move to within 1. Esa Tikkanen is the culprit, with helpers going to Anderson and Messier.

Before the '87 Oil can knot the contest up, an unfamiliar scorer in Don Jackson makes it 4-2. Linseman and Summanen again pick up points, this time as the first and second assists on the goal.

Desperately seeking a goal to get back into it, the trio of Simpson, Gretz and Kurri come out for the '87 team. The shift pays off, as a goal at 10:27 makes it 4-3.

5 minutes later, the deadliest trio of the '87 season comes out again. The line again hits gold, tying the contest at 4 apiece on another Kurri-to-Gretz play at 15:37.

Before the '87 team can blink, their hopes come crashing down all around them. The good doctor Gregg converts a pass from Messier to make it 5-4 '83 Oilers.

A high-sticking call to '87 Oiler Jeff Beaukeboom is a final nail in the coffin.

It's the '83-'84 Oilers in a sweep!

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01-19-2005, 08:43 AM
  #4
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The 87-88 Oilers didn't even win their division, and finished with less than 100 points.

Coffey was gone, Gretzky missed 16 games during the regular season.

The Oilers two best teams were 83-84 & 84-85.

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01-19-2005, 10:09 AM
  #5
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Saying they didn't even get 100 points sounds almost convincing if you don't know they had 99.

That '88 team only lost two games in the playoffs, swept the Flames (leagues top team that year in points), and won 16 of 18 games. I like the '84 team better, just pointing out that a case could be made for the '88 team as well.

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01-19-2005, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hootchie Cootchie
Saying they didn't even get 100 points sounds almost convincing if you don't know they had 99.

That '88 team only lost two games in the playoffs, swept the Flames (leagues top team that year in points), and won 16 of 18 games. I like the '84 team better, just pointing out that a case could be made for the '88 team as well.
99 is not bad but they were only +85 in goal differential, but in 84 they had 119 were +130 in goal differential, and in 85 they had 109 and were + 103.

IMO each Oilers Cup team got a bit worse than the one previous.

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01-19-2005, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Flyers Fan
99 is not bad but they were only +85 in goal differential, but in 84 they had 119 were +130 in goal differential, and in 85 they had 109 and were + 103.

IMO each Oilers Cup team got a bit worse than the one previous.

Good points. My thoughts are that by 87/88 the Oilers were pretty confident they could mostly coast in the playoffs and there they could take it to another level and just destroy the other teams. I think they were right. They learned to not burn themselves out during the regular season and leave some in the tank for the playoffs. They still played hard in the regular season, but the team that tore through the playoffs was something else. They swept the Flames and only lost 1 to the Bruins. Both were exceptional teams that year.

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01-19-2005, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s7ark
Good points. My thoughts are that by 87/88 the Oilers were pretty confident they could mostly coast in the playoffs and there they could take it to another level and just destroy the other teams. I think they were right. They learned to not burn themselves out during the regular season and leave some in the tank for the playoffs. They still played hard in the regular season, but the team that tore through the playoffs was something else. They swept the Flames and only lost 1 to the Bruins. Both were exceptional teams that year.
Calgary was excellent no noubt, but the Bruins weren't a great team.

The two Flyers teams they beat were better than the two Bruins teams. Isles were getting old, but were still very very good and had the aura a 4-time defending Champ has.

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01-23-2005, 07:48 AM
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s7ark
Good points. My thoughts are that by 87/88 the Oilers were pretty confident they could mostly coast in the playoffs and there they could take it to another level and just destroy the other teams. I think they were right. They learned to not burn themselves out during the regular season and leave some in the tank for the playoffs. They still played hard in the regular season, but the team that tore through the playoffs was something else. They swept the Flames and only lost 1 to the Bruins. Both were exceptional teams that year.
The 87-88 Oilers were indeed something else. Although, I have to correct you in the fact they swept the Bruins 4-0. They went 16-2 during that playoff run, only losing to the Winnipeg Jets (4-1) and Detroit Red WIngs (4-1). I remember them sweeping Calgary in 4 straight. That was suprising at the time.

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01-23-2005, 12:18 PM
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I think you could make an argument for the 1987 Oilers.

That team still had all the main ingredients if there early Cup teams, but then added:

Esa Tikkanen, Kent Nilsson and Reijo Ruotsalainen.

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01-23-2005, 01:56 PM
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If I were looking in impartially I guess probably the 88 team was greater. In the deepest part of my heart, however, the 84 team will always be my favorite. I will never forget that game 5, I was at my grandparents with my parents. Only my mother and I are alive these 21 years later, but I can close my eyes and be back in that room anytime and remember that feeling. I had the same feeling a couple of months later when Coffey breaks up the 2 on 1 versus the Soviets in the Canada Cup semi. I wish NHL hockey could still make me feel like it did in 1984.

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01-23-2005, 07:41 PM
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83-84

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01-23-2005, 10:43 PM
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at the time it probably didn't seem like a popular decision in Edmonton fans, with Simpson coming over and Coffey going to Pittsuburgh, but Muckler was tight with the buck and Coffey wasn't coming back... the 84 team was more exciting to watch, but in all, Simpson turned out to be a clutch playoff performer and that 88 squad had Tikkanen so i give that team the nod.

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01-24-2005, 12:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Higgins_and_Main
The 87-88 Oilers were indeed something else. Although, I have to correct you in the fact they swept the Bruins 4-0. They went 16-2 during that playoff run, only losing to the Winnipeg Jets (4-1) and Detroit Red WIngs (4-1). I remember them sweeping Calgary in 4 straight. That was suprising at the time.
Actually the Oilers swept the Bruins in 4 5/8 games, as Game 4 was tied when the lights went out in the third period of Game 4 at the Garden. Acc. to bylaws, Game 4 was to be replayed in its entirety only if necessary and at the end of the series. So Game 7 would have been in Boston.
The '88 (w/o Coffey) and '90 (w/o 99) winners were definitely more industrial and might stack up better in actual matchups vs. the all-time best. But I actually prefer the '87 Oilers, who eked it out in seven vs. Philly with its most matured version of the offensive juggernaut, then including Kent Nilsson and still with Coffey.
And speaking of John Flyers Fan who never hesitates to prop up the Bullies in hypothetical matchups vs. the Bruins (apparently hasn't gotten over '77 and '78), the real question is which Flyers team he prefers, the Lindberg Flyers of 84-85 (Poulin was hurt for the finals, right?) or the 86-87 Flyers of Hextall's Conn Smythe ...

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01-24-2005, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doc5hole
And speaking of John Flyers Fan who never hesitates to prop up the Bullies in hypothetical matchups vs. the Bruins (apparently hasn't gotten over '77 and '78), the real question is which Flyers team he prefers, the Lindberg Flyers of 84-85 (Poulin was hurt for the finals, right?) or the 86-87 Flyers of Hextall's Conn Smythe ...
I don't mind the Bruins at all -- I just think back to May 19, 1974 .... and thank the Bruins for Parent, MacLeish, Watson, Dornhoeffer, Leach etc ... all originally Bruins that contribute to Flyers cup wins.

As far as Flyers 84-85 vs. 86-87.

I'll take Lindbergh over Hextall without question. Problem was that Lindbergh got hurt during game 6 vs. Quebec in 1985. He was about 60% during the Stanley Cup Finals.

IMO the 1984-85 team was the better team. They were more banged up by the time they reached the Finals, and the Oilers in 1985, were probably playing better than the team in 1987.

In 1985 they swept the Rangers, beat the Isles in 5 and Nordiques in 6 games.

In 1987 thet took the Rangers in 6, Isles in &, and Habs in 6.

In 1985 Poulin missed 9 playoff games, Kerr was out for the Finals, Lindbergh at 60%, McCrimmon (our 2nd best defenseman) missed the Finals.

In 1987 Kerr missed the last 14 games of the playoffs, Poulin missed 9 games, Craven missed 14, Sinisalso missed 8, and Ron Sutter missed 10.



IMO when healthy the 1985 team was better, but the 1987 team was my favorite.

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02-09-2005, 07:45 PM
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best Oiler team is 1985 no questions asked. Just Unbeleivable

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