In the 1982-1983 season the Edmonton Oilers, led by Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier, made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. They went up against the New York Islanders, the three-time defending champions, who swept the Oilers in a no-contest series.
The Oilers were over-matched, out-played, and shut-down by the All-Star squad that boasted a lineup including Brian Trottier, Clark Gillies, Denis Potvin, Mike Bossy, and Billy Smith. The young Oiler team could not compete with the grizzled veteran team, who had already been apart of Championship teams.
The next season (1983-1984), the Oilers and Islanders once again met up in the Stanley Cup Finals. Again, Gretzky and Messier going up against the playoff-proven Islanders.
The outcome was expected to be the same, with the veterans once again out-classing the youngsters.
But the dynamic duo of Gretzky and Messier would not let it happen again.
The Oilers took the series, and the Stanley Cup in five games.
Gretzky and Messier combined for 51 points in those playoffs; a mere 19 games.
That began the dynasty that was the Edmonton Oilers in the '80s, as the dynamic duo led their team to four Stanley Cups in the next five years.
There is something eerily similar happening in the playoffs this year to that of the Edmonton Oilers of old.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, led by another dynamic duo of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, lost to the championship-caliber Detroit Red Wings last season in the Finals. This year they find themselves on a collision course with those same Red Wings to once again battle it out for all the glory.
In the 16 games that the Penguins have played in this year's playoffs, Crosby and Malkin have a combined 54 points.
You heard me; 54 points in 16 games.
The two have their eyes dead-set on the Stanley Cup, and know exactly who they're going to have to go through to get it.
Those veteran, experienced Detroit Red Wings riddled with Stanley Cup rings stand in front of "Sid" and "Gino" and the Cup they so badly desire.
When Gretzky and Messier were given a second chance at beating the team that took their chance at the Cup away from them the year previous, they jumped at it and completely took control of the situation.
Nobody could even touch them.
As Crosby and Malkin fill the net at a ridiculous pace this playoff season, the comparison has got to made between the two teams, the situations that they found themselves in, and the two All-Stars who stepped up and blew away the competition.
If the two Penguin's stars continue to play at the unbelievable level that they currently are, and find themselves matched up against Detroit in the Finals for the second year in a row, you have got to think that there is no way they'll let the older, wiser Detroit players take the Cup from their grasp again.
I can't rightfully sit here and say that if the Penguins and Red Wings meet up again, and Pittsburgh prevails, that it is destined to be the beginning of Oiler-like dynasty, while simultaneously ending the reign of the Red Wings.
Or can I?
Only time will tell how things turn out for the two Penguins and their team, and if the similarities between those Oilers continue to pile up, but it has been clear so far that no one is capable of shutting them down this year.
Dubbing them as a dynasty even before they have won once is a tad premature, I know. Just keep it in mind that the beginning of the 'Great One' and 'The Greatest Leader of All Time' started with a loss in the Finals to a veteran team, and a chance at redemption the next year.
As the memory of last year's loss fades, and the chance of a championship grows by the minute, these two young stars have found out, just as Gretzky and Messier did, the one major thing you learn after losing in the Finals.
You never want to lose again.
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