In the summer of 2017, the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers were voted by fans as the greatest NHL team ever as a part of the NHL’s centennial celebrations.
It was a huge surprise, as the Oilers team that won their second consecutive Stanley Cup championship, with a team packed with future Hall of Famers.
The Oilers were the team to beat after winning their first-ever Stanley Cup in 1984.
But they started the season on a 15-game unbeaten streak, going 12-0-3. Wayne Gretzky went on to break the 200-point mark for the third time, earning 208 points. The Great One won his fifth straight Art Ross and his sixth consecutive Hart Trophy. But it wasn’t just Gretzky who had a record-breaking season.
Jari Kurri scored a career-high 71 goals, a record for goals by a right wing. Paul Coffey continued to put up numbers that the league hadn’t seen by a defenseman since Bobby Orr.
He finished the season with 84 assists and 121 points and won his first of three Norris Trophies.
The Edmonton Oilers swept past the LA Kings and Winnipeg Jets in the playoffs but had some trouble with the Chicago Blackhawks in the Conference Finals.
The teams split the first four games, but the Oilers won the next two and advanced to their third straight Stanley Cup Finals. There, they lost Game 1 but went on to win four straight to win back-to-back Stanley Cups.
Wayne Gretzky—big surprise—won the Conn Smythe for the first time in his career after putting up a breathtaking 17 goals and 47 points in the playoffs.
But it was more than one thing that made the Oilers great. They were a team with great chemistry and a unique pre-game routine.
One time, then-Oilers coach Glen Sather revealed what the team did before every game, and it’s absolutely hilarious.
“I always had a very short pre-game speech with these guys,” Sather said.
“I would come in, and what we would do is I would read the visiting team’s lineup, and then one of the players, it was generally Tikkanen or Kevin Lowe, would bang on the back of the door, and we would boo the player that was on the starting lineup for the other team, and we go out and kick the hell out of ’em.”
When Sather revealed the routine, Mike Keenan was there as well. And he confirmed the whole thing.
“Yeah, I’ve heard those boos before, from the opposing locker room. I think you had things piped in to us.”
Here Sather talk about the pre-game routine here, at the 07.50 mark: