Sticking with wrestling. I remember when The 1-2-3 Kid burst onto the scene in 1993 after upsetting Razor Ramon on Monday Night RAW. I recall being fairly unconvinced of his heroism at the time. I mean he looked like every other jobber the industry used to march out against the veterans back when pro wrestling events were mostly exhibitions. He was skinny, sported a mullet-pompadour combo (I think), had no signature maneuvers, and his one-zee looked like something the mouse from Chuck-E-Cheeze would wear. It was a flat gimmick. But he got a big push that season from the writers and, surprisingly, put together a lengthy and lucrative career in pro wrestling. Some kid.
The Oilers have a set of 1-2-3 Kids getting a big push of their own. Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, since being put together for the Canucks game on Saturday, have proven to be a scoring threat every shift. Like The 1-2-3 Kid they are small, fast, and unaffected by the pro talent they have been thrown up against. Unlike The 1-2-3 Kid though, they are supremely entertaining to watch and easy to believe in.
How long has it been since the Oilers boasted a line to be feared. And I don’t mean like the Kyle Brodziak, Zack Stortini, Curtis Glencross line from 2008 where the opposition had a hard time handling that line’s crash-and-bang style; rather, I’m thinking of a line that gives the opposition’s defense anxiety every time they gain possession of the puck in the offensive zone. I’m thinking of the kind-of excitement that’s generated from a line that has a chance to score every time they are out there. How far back do we have to go?
I think some would like to look back at the Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Robert Nilsson line from 2009 as perhaps being an intimidating line but, in all fairness, none of those three struck fear in the hearts of defensemen around the league. Perhaps the Joe Murphy, Adam Graves, Martin Gelinas “Kid line” from the 1990 Stanley Cup run is a closer analog for the new trio of Oiler youth. Shall we even talk about some of the names from the ’80s? Maybe not. This talented line will be given every opportunity to carve out their own legacy. But I think they need a new name. What do you think?
Reading Robin Brownlee’s post at Oilers Nation today he noted that tonight’s game against the Calgary Flames is an important marker for each club’s fans, that with a convincing win by the Oilers we might start to think the boys have turned the corner and that the Flames crumble is already in progress. I don’t think this game will be an indication of the future but it sure will be fun to see the Oilers start to give a few shots back after so many years in the basement.
Whitney’s back too! Woo. Earning back some respect starts tonight!