Tuesday, August 7

Forgettable Oilers, Unforgettable Moments


Brad Winchester

The big winger out of the University of Wisconsin was Edmonton's 2nd round pick (35th overall) in 2000, but wasn't offered a contract following a disappointing '06-07 season. Winchester was a source of great frustration for both the coaching staff and Oiler fans alike. At 6'5", 230 lbs, he had great size, could skate, handle the puck and owned a wicked wrist shot. Despite all his physical tools, Winchester never found the commitment and consistency to make an impact on a nightly basis. But during the run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006, Winchester would write himself a small chapter in Oiler lore in the first round series against the Detroit Red Wings.

With the Oilers down 1-0 in the series, Winchester was inserted into the lineup for Game 2 (his playoff debut) and promptly scored the game winning goal in a 3-2 victory. After splitting the next two games, the series returned to Detroit tied 2-2. It would be here that Brad Winchester would cement his Oiler legacy...during the national anthem. Following the American anthem, Red Wings fans, as is the long standing tradition, lobbed an Octopus onto the ice in the Oilers zone, but 'Winny' was ready for it. Instead of waiting for the Joe Louis attendants to clean it off the ice (and incite the crowd by whirling it over their head), Winchester, with a plastic bag on his hand under his glove, picked up the greasy cephalopod and took it to the Oiler bench, where his teammates erupted. It was all at once a symbol of defiance and self-confidence in the face of a supposedly superior team, and a moment that loosened the bench and sent them on their way. The Oilers went on to win the game and the series two nights later. An indelible image...

Mike Bishai

The Edmonton-born Bishai was a Fernando Pisani-esque "feel good" story - save for the playoff heroics, citywide admiration and multi-million dollar contract. The un-drafted forward worked his way through the U.S. college ranks, earned himself a contract with the Oilers AHL affiliate, and got a 14 game taste of the NHL during the 2003-04 season. While he never made much of an impact on the scoresheet, he was involved in one of the most bizarre on-ice brawls in Oiler history:

(WARNING: Ty Conklin is in this video)

Petr Klima

This is likely to be the first of many posts about Petr Klima on this blog. He's something of a cult figure here at HS,HS. How could he not be? Look at him here..battling the forces of inertia as that helmet drags his head ice-ward; that stick blade taped in his legendary barbershop pole design.

Klima was a flashy, hard drinkin' Czech, who teased you with his skill and showed future generations of Czech hockey players how to rock the Eastern European metal hair. Despite a 40-goal season in '90-91, Klima's Oiler days mirrored his career as a whole. His lazy, selfish play and off-ice problems eventually earned him a ticket to the next stop.

But Klima's contribution to Oiler history is anything but forgettable. Game 1, 1990 Stanley Cup Finals. Triple OT. After being benched for nearly the entire game, Coach John Muckler throws the dog a bone...woof!

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