Where were you the day Wayne Gretzky was dealt?

August 9, 1988 was a day that changed the face of sports forever…because it was the day Wayne Gretzky was dealt from the larger-than-life Edmonton Oilers to the meaningless Los Angeles Kings. That Tuesday morning, I arrived at my CBC Network Sports office in Toronto a little late (just like every day) and plunked myself down with my feet on my desk. Many who worked on the fifth floor of that building on the east side of Yonge Street, just north of Gerrard, were in Seoul, South Korea. There to produce CBC’s coverage of the XXIV Olympic Summer Games. You know, the “Ben Johnson Games.” I stayed in Toronto to produce our CFL on CBC coverage, which continued during those months. With so many gone, our offices were a lot like a ghost town. Then my phone rang.

Gretzky cries at trade presser

On the morning of August 9, 1988, Wayne Gretzky is overcome with emotion as he discusses his move to Los Angeles (Photo Brian Gavriloff)

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Mark Messier, the meanest ever, turns 50

On Tuesday, January 18, 2011, Mark Messier turns 50 years old.

Mark Messier

Mark Messier turns 50 this week. His playing career was a testimony to skill and toughness.

I can think of a lot of tough athletes I’ve ever seen strap ’em up. Pete Rose. Mike Singletary. Jack Lambert. Bob Probert. And probably 50 other guys I’m forgetting right now. But, without a doubt, Mark Messier is the out-and-out meanest hombre I have ever watched play professional sports. (more…)

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Hey, NHL fans, Sidney Crosby ain’t no Wayne Gretzky

These days, it’s fun for you youthful hockey fans to believe Sidney Crosby is the greatest player in NHL history – mere games from becoming the on-ice equal of Number 99.

Sidney Crosby

With two goals v. Toronto on Wednesday, Sidney Crosby extended his point streak to 17 games, and reached 50 points on the season

You will excuse me for a moment, won’t you, while I lose my lunch. The only way “Crosby” and “Gretzky” should be used in the same sentence is if you follow “Crosby” with “is not even close to both the skill and leadership level of.” We’re not going to dissect the stats to death (because Gretzky wins that battle hands-down against, well, everyone). It’s about the players and how they work on the ice. (more…)

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Coffey, Oilers split marked beginning of the end

If you are an Edmonton Oilers fan – and I’ll admit I am – today’s 23rd anniversary of the day Glen ‘Slats’ Sather sent Paul Coffey to the Pittsburgh Penguins brings back a very strong flood of memories.

Paul Coffey

Not since Bobby Orr had the NHL seen such an offensively explosive defenceman as Paul Coffey

Memories of what a magnificent player Coffey was. Memories of a day that revealed the first crack in the Oilers’ dynasty. And memories of what was, arguably, the greatest hockey team in the history of the NHL. (more…)

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There are six Canadian teams in the NHL, but only two will be worth watching this season – the Edmonton Oilers and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Taylor Hall

Watching rookie Taylor Hall play this season might make Edmonton fans forget the last four, long years AP Photo/Reed Saxon

You can throw a sack over the other four and, maybe, check on them next year. That doesn’t mean that the Oilers and Maple Leafs will light the world on fire, make the Stanley Cup Playoffs and still be playing in June. It means that, of Canada’s six, Edmonton and Toronto will be the most entertaining – on and off the ice. (more…)

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