Glenn Anderson & the tragedy of the Edmonton Oilers.
For hockey enthusiasts in Edmonton, 2008 through 2009 was a time of great celebration and commemoration. The old Hockey Night in Canada theme song was replaced by Edmonton’s Colin Oberst, with his bagpipe winner “Sticks On The Ice”, and, more notably, ex-Oiler Glenn Anderson was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Oilers aficionado’s should be throwing a festival of sorts, if they weren’t wallowing in their own shame at the pitiful efforts of the current Oilers team performances. Playing some of the worst games in recent memory, the Oilers suck fest might have a faint glimmer of hope in the trading of goalie Mathieu Garon for the two penguins Ryan Stone, forward, and Goalie Dany Sabourin in the hopes to “deal with their goaltending situation”, say Oilers GM Steve Tambellini. Glenn Anderson would likely be the last Oiler from the ’golden years’ to be inducted into the hall of fame, and the last Oiler for some time one could argue. A respected veteran, Glenn Anderson will have his number 9 jersey retired and raised to the roof at Rexall place, finally ensuring his last name isn’t interchangeable with “who”.
Anderson played ten complete seasons with the Oilers, from 1980, and his draft a year earlier, to 1991, winning 5 Stanley cups alongside other Oiler greats like Messier and Gretzky. He was then traded, with the soon to be announced “substance addict” Grant Fuhr, to the Toronto Maple Leafs where he surpassed 1000 points. The Leafs then traded Anderson to the Rangers (for Mike Gartner) just in time for their 1994 Stanley Cup win. A reluctant Anderson signed to the Oilers for the last time in ‘96, when GM Glen Sather thought that the new Oilers team needed some veteran encouragement to guide the young team. The Oilers have yet to win the Stanley cup since 1990. The rest is NHL history.
Glenn Anderson was the last great Oiler. After he traded to the Leafs, the great Oilers monopoly on the Stanley Cup ended abruptly. A incredible player for the Oilers, Anderson deserves the honour of his number being retired, and his induction into the NHL hall of fame. The Oilers of today can learn a lot from this man. Maybe defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky will man up and actually make some goals or maybe, just maybe, fellow defenseman Sheldon Souray could restrain from injuring himself for at least one game. Glenn Anderson could also teach Oilers coach, and fellow ex-Oiler, Craig MacTavish a thing or two about leadership as well. But alas, dreams are for dreamers. And I consider myself a logical rationalist. So, until changes in the management of the Oilers are made, our home team will continue to figure skate around the playoffs and continue to render the Oilers nostalgics uncomfortable and uneasy. Go team Go.