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My third favourite Oiler

Okay. I'm probably kind of insane here. I mean, Wayne Gretzky, only third on my all time list?

But that was how I saw it as a kid. 

I loved the Oilers. Growing up as an Oiler fan during those times, you didn't need to read comic books so much. Your heroes were real life dudes, and you could actually see them from time to time, as they went about their business. 

Like this guy. My grandfather has his place right across the street from him. Near Jasper Avenue. Needless to say I was never going to turn down a chance to see grandad at his place, which was convenient for my parents who could dump me off on a Friday night and until Saturday or Sunday.  Sometimes I would see him going to practice in the morning.  

As a player, it was weird. he wasn't like any other player. He wasn't big and tough, he never fought, but he was a genius. 

There are better things written about him than I'll ever be able to write about, so I won't bother analysing his style. What I will say, is the day he got traded I was in shock. I was eleven by then, and didn't want to cry. In a way, I'm still in shock from that day. I still wonder how many more cups he would have won as an Oiler, even as I gloat that he never even got to another final series. He never seemed quite as good after the Oilers. I'll always be quick to mention mean stuff like that, because the way he left town helped betray my childhood worldview. It made me turn bitter towards him, especially after watching him razzing the Oilers bench as his new team came back from being down 3-1 to take the 1989 playoff series. 

Of course he was still a genius, but his heart and soul were left behind in Edmonton. From then on in, everyone still raved and I suppose it's cooler to have John Candy coming to see you instead of me, but he would never experience the level of affection that he was and deep down will  forever be held in the hearts of the Oilers fans who were fans, back when he was ours.

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