The Edmonton Oilers in the 80s weren’t a joke. They’re widely acknowledged as one of the greatest teams in NHL history, and some would say that they peaked during the 1986-87 season.
Sure, it helped to have Wayne Gretzky, the best player in hockey history, but the team was filled with star players and future Hall of Famers.
Gretzky was the stand-out player, but you can’t forget about players like Jari Kurri, Esa Tikkanen, Mark Messier, Paul Coffey, and Glenn Anderson. And before this particular season, another artist had left his team in the NHL.
Swede Kent Nilsson had just left the Minnesota North Stars, and plenty of clubs were interested in signing him. His choice was the Edmonton Oilers, which would be great.
Kent Nilsson, nicknamed Mr. Magic, was one of the most skillful players in the NHL at that time. In fact, Wayne Gretzky has been quoted as saying Nilsson was the “most skilled hockey player ever.”
Injuries and inconsistency overshadowed his NHL career, but on his day, he was quite impossible to stop.
When Nilsson first moved to Edmonton and didn’t have a house ready, he lived with Wayne Gretzky. Nilsson’s time with the Oilers was a success, but he also remembers the high standards. It was a team packed with winners, and when someone wasn’t playing his best, he would surely hear it from his teammates.
In the Stanley Cup finals, when the Oilers were on their way to winning yet another Championship, star player Glenn Anderson got called on a stupid penalty.
”We had a 3-1 lead in Game 6 when Glenn took the penalty,” Nilsson told the Swedish outlet Expressen.
”The Flyers turned the game around and won in overtime and forced a Game 7. After that game, Mark Messier raged and screamed at Anderson in front of the whole team. My God, how Angry Messier was.”
When the legendary coach Glen Sather walked into to locker room, he had the same idea. He was going to go hard at Glenn Anderson. But he was stopped by Wayne Gretzky himself. He intervened and stopped Anderson with just three brilliant words.
”When Sather walked in and was on his way to Anderson, Gretzky just told him, ’It’s done.’ In Game 7, Glenn Anderson was the best player on our team, and we won the Stanley Cup.”