The Perfect Storm
Early MVB favourites:
The Acid Queen strikes pre-emptively, and mudcrutch retorts, "My slide rule says Oil in 5!"
My earliest clear memory of Hockey Night in Canada is from the Spring of 1984, counting down the final seconds of the last game of the Stanley Cup finals. Our substantial extended family was gathered at my grandparents' house. The Finals featured the old, battle-worn New York Islanders and the new and exciting Edmonton Oilers.
The older folks universally backed the Isles in their drive for five. I'm not sure why this was; perhaps there was still some residual derision for the WHA. According to the 'ol fogies, Edmonton was just a 'one-man team.' That Gretzky kid was widely castigated as a puck-hog, while the Long Island squad had 'guts.'
Of course, the young 'uns favoured the Oilers. When we saw that #99 sweater, tucked in on one side, we saw something bold and thrilling. The adults saw an impudent hot-dogger. We preferred the flashy white&red (or red&white) Titans over Dad's bland, unfinished Sher-Wood. At the impressionable age of 10, I loved those Oilers.
We all know how that series - and the next several seasons - turned out. Gretzky & co. eventually won over the hearts of many (although my old man still carries a grudge. He blames the 2-3-2 format). In the following years, I was gradually turned by the constant broadcasts of Montreal Canadiens games on Saturday nights (oh, what I would give to have that again). But, I must admit, I still harbour some warm & fuzzy feelings toward the Western Conference's entry in this year's Stanley Cup Final.
Nostalgia aside, I'm picking Carolina if we see a New NHL final and Edmonton if we have an Old NHL final. Yes, you're damned right that's a cop-out.