Most sports fans appreciate greatness. I sure do.
The Golden State Warriors have a chance to become arguably the best team ever (one season).
The Warriors are the first team in the four major North American sports to begin the playoffs 15-0. The 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins won 14 consecutive post-season games.
— Golden State Warrior (@GSWarriorsclub) June 8, 2017
The 1972 Miami Dolphins claim they are the best NFL team of all-time because they went 14-0 in the regular season and 3-0 in the playoffs. The numbers speak for themselves although it was a different era with fewer games.
If Golden State completes the sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers I’m not sure how anybody could dispute its perfection of 16-0 as being the best of the best all-time.
The average margin of victory for the Warriors this postseason is 16 ½ points.
Even if they lose game four but win game five, going 16-1 would be better than any other playoff team has accomplished.
This brings me to a news item from Monday when the NHL announced that the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers were picked as the Greatest NHL team of all time.
The Greatest NHL Teams were voted by fans over a period of six weeks during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
— NHL (@NHL) June 5, 2017
Before continuing I want to give full disclosure that my favorite team for more than half a century is the Montreal Canadiens.
Having stated that, here’s my opinion which is strongly backed up by facts.
While the 84-85 Oilers were offensively gifted, led by the Great Gretzky in his prime, they do not match what I consider to be the best NHL team to play in a season, and that is the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens.
I recognize that more than 3.6 million votes were cast, which is a large sample size, but I remain baffled how the 76-77 Habs were not number one.
The final results are as follows.
1. 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers
2. 1991-92 Pittsburgh Penguins
3. 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens
4. 1987-88 Edmonton Oilers
5. 1986-87 Edmonton Oilers
6. 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings
7. 1982-83 New York Islanders
8. 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens
9. 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers
10. 2001-02 Detroit Red Wings
Now let’s compare my winner (76-77 Canadiens) to the poll winner (84-85 Oilers).
The regular season has to play a part in the discussion although the playoffs are a much bigger part of the equation.
Both teams played 80 regular season games.
The Canadiens lost eight (60-8-12) games or one of every 10. (The 12 represents ties. Remember them?)
The Oilers lost 20 (49-20-11) or one in every four.
The Canadiens, in their 68th season, won their 20th Stanley Cup setting an NHL record for most points in a season by a team with 132.
They were a whopping 20 points ahead of 2nd place Philadelphia in the overall standings.
The Oilers were second in the overall standings, four points behind Philadelphia.
The Canadiens scored 387 goals while allowing just 171. In other words, they outscored opponents by 216 goals for an average of 2.7 goals a game.
The Oilers scored 14 more goals than the Habs (401) but they gave up 127 more (298) which means they outscored their opposition by 103.
A goal differential of 216 to 103 is more than double last time I checked.
Now let’s go to the playoffs.
The 1976-77 Canadiens went 12-2 in the postseason, including a four game sweep of the Boston Bruins in the Final.
The 1984-85 Oilers finished 15-3 in the playoffs, but they failed to sweep Philadelphia in the Final, as they knocked off the Flyers four games to one.
Sure the Oilers had the best forward of all-time in Wayne Gretzky who set NHL records for assists (30) and points (47) in a single postseason.
In addition, his line-mate was Jari Kurri who scored 19 goals in 18 games to tie the league record for goals in a single postseason.
There was also Paul Coffey (12 goals, 25 assists for 37 points) to shatter the NHL records for goals, assists and points by a defenseman in one postseason.
Yes, we can’t forget about Mark Messier, Grant Fuhr and a host of others but the question was; who was the greatest team, not who had the best collection of stars or the most exciting team?
Here’s a link to both teams rosters and stats:
I guess we can all agree on this.
The 76-77 Canadiens or the 84-85 Oilers would destroy either the 2016-17 Pittsburgh Penguins or the 2016-17 Nashville Predators.
FROM THE QUOTE RACK:
Roberto De Vicenzo, the first Argentine to win a major with the 1967 British Open and who also lost the 1968 Masters after signing an incorrect scorecard has died at age 94. Although after a recheck, it turns out he was actually 93.
Comedy writer Jim Barach of WCHS-TV in Charleston, W.Va., http://jokesbyjim.blogspot.com/
Michael Buttacavoli, a pro-golfer trying to qualify for the U.S. Open, had to withdraw because American Airlines lost his golf clubs. United Airlines is no doubt chuckling a bit – “What a drag.”
Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com
In the Blackburn-Burney UK soccer match, a rooster ran onto the pitch. The Blackburn coach called the incident ‘a real wake-up call’ for his team.
Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Contestants from around the U.S. recently put their stinkiest foot forward in New York for the 42nd National Rotten Sneaker Contest. Or as it’s also known — Sole Survivor.
Comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com
Hartley Miller is the sports director and morning news anchor for 94.3 the Goat.
He also is the 94.3 radio color commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to firstname.lastname@example.org
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