By Rob Ficiur
This article will be printed in the Halloween edition of the Commentator. On the last day of October we expect to see young people dressing up in various costumes. When they come around trick or treating it is amazing the different types of costumes they will dress up.
Long before we reached Halloween, there have been players and teams that have been acting like (maybe even dressing like) former players or teams.
1. Vegas Golden Knights – look like the Montreal Canadiens of the 1970’s. The NHL’s newest team currently ranks fourth overall in NHL standings. They have an expansion team record eight wins in their first nine games. These Golden Knights wear the uniforms of the Vegas team but they are playing like the Montreal Canadiens of the 1970’s. Those Canadiens were the dominant team of the decade, winning five championships. The Habs of those days had the elite players of that time including: Guy Lafleur, Ken Dryden and Larry Robinson. The Golden Knights are winning with elite production of James Neal and a bunch of third liners. Eight of Vegas’ first ten games have been at home. This week they start their first ever eastern road trip. A month from now Vegas may look like the 1974 expansion Washington Capitals who won only eight games all season. In October, they were the best expansion team ever.
2. Carey Price – looks like Patrick Roy. This week the 30th ranked Montreal Canadiens lost again (and again). During a 4-0 home loss, the fans began to jeer goalie Carey Price. Longtime fans will remember Patrick Roy, the best goalie of his era, being jeered by faithful Canadiens fans. Fans pay the ticket prices so they can cheer or jeer as they chose. Maybe fans should jeer the offense, which ranks second last in the NHL. Patrick Roy left Montreal to win two Stanley Cups in Colorado. Carey Price just signed the most lucrative contract ever for an NHL goalie. His is contractually obliged to play in Montreal until 2026. Roy was gone within a week after demanding a trade. Teams can’t afford to lose elite goalies. Note to fans: even if Carey Price had stopped half of those goals your team still has to score to win. Maybe boo the forwards for not scoring.
3. Bo Levi’s Calgary Stampeders look like Doug Flutie’s Calgary Stampeders- For the fifth year in a row the Calgary Stampeders have the best regular season record in the Canadian Football League. It reminds fans of the Doug Flutie years. During Flutie’s four years in Calgary, the team was head and shoulders better than the rest. Flutie won only one Grey Cup in those four years of domination. Flutie went on to win two championships in his two years in Toronto. The Bo Levi Mitchel’s era Stamps have one championship in five years of domination. If they don’t win this year, it will feel like another wasted era of dominance for the Stampeders.
4. Connor McDavid’s Oilers looks like the Edmonton Oilers from the last decade- Before the season started some of the “experts” were predicting the Oilers, after their great season last year, would win the Stanley Cup. A month into the season Conner McDavid’s Oilers look like the hapless Oilers of the last decade. Both Oilers eras have great talent on paper. In the win loss column, McDavid’s Oilers are 29th in NHL standings.
5. Austin Mathews Maple Leafs look like Dave Keon’s 1967 Maple Leafs – This year’s Toronto Maple Leafs look like the 1967 Dave Keon Leafs. Those Leafs were the last Toronto team to compete in an NHL final. Those Leafs had won four of the last six Stanley Cup trophies. One month into the new NHL season we are far from planning a Stanley Cup parade in Toronto. However, this team is playing like they could win something sometime in the next few years.
6. Arizona (Phoenix) Coyotes – look like Phoenix Roadrunners – The Phoenix Roadrunners were a professional hockey team that playing in Arizona from 1967-1997. During this era, they played in five different professional leagues. The Road Runners were always one league (or more) below the NHL caliber teams. This year the last place Arizona Coyotes look more like a minor league team than an NHL team. It would seem that the Phoenix Roadrunners of the minor league past could defeat the current Arizona Coyotes.
The dismal Arizona Coyotes have ten losses and one overtime loss in eleven games. At this rate, they on course for 7 (or maybe 8) points this year. In the cartoons, the Roadrunner always got the better of the Coyote. Good thing for the NHL Coyotes that the Roadrunners are out of the city.
7. LA Kings captain Anze Kopitar – looks like former Kings Captain Wayne Gretzky. With the Kings leading the NHL in points, off to their best start in franchise history, their current captain looks like Wayne Gretzky. At his current rate of production, Kopitar will score 96 points, so Wayne Gretzky’s record of 212 NHL points seems safe. This weekend, Captain Kopitar did his best #99 impression. With 0.8 seconds left in overtime he won a faceoff leading to an instant one timer goal from Tyler Toffoli. We all knew that with less than a second left there is not enough time to win a face off and shoot the puck in the net. Even though we all knew it could not happen, it did. Kopitar looked like he was wearing #99 not #11 on that play doing what no one thought could be done.