Friday, March 12, 2010
When the Edmonton Oilers, and the other three World Hockey Association teams, joined the NHL in 1979 they were allowed to protect only two skaters and two goaltenders.
The Oliers protected goalies Dave Dryden and Eddie Mio, who had played in 63 and 22 games respectively in the Oilers previous season.
The 13 players to remain on the team from their final WHA season were skaters Wayne Gretzky, Blair MacDonald, Stan Weir, Brett Callighen, Dave Hunter, Ron Chipperfield, Risto Siltanen, Al Hamilton, Dave Semenko, Bill Flett, Peter Driscoll and goalies Mio and Dryden.
The Oilers first NHL game saw them go down to defeat against the Chicago Black Hawks on the road, but they earned points in their next five games with two pairs of ties sandwiching a win versus their WHA cousins the Quebec Nordiques, their first win in the NHL.
Two wins and 11 losses in their next 13 games showed the Oilers that life in the NHL was not going to be easy, but they responded with four wins, three ties and two losses in their next nine. Two wins and five losses closed out the 1979 calendar year, leaving the Oilers at 9-19-7 for 25 points.
January saw the Oilers go 6-6-3 and they closed out a 5-7-2 month of February with a loss, which began a skid of six straight losses. The streak was broken on this date in 1980 with the arrival of goaltender Ron Low, who arrived from the Nordiques in exchange for Ron Chipperfield on March 11th.
Low's debut on this date in 1980 was a 6-3 victory over the Nordiques in Quebec and made the Oilers only the second team in NHL history to use six different goaltenders in one season. Low, in fact, was the fifth Oilers goalie in the span of five games!
#1 Don Cutts, six NHL games, #1 Jim Corsi, 26 NHL games, and #33 Bob Dupuis, in his only NHL start, all began and ended their NHL careers with Edmonton that season, and #28 Dryden, #31 Mio and #30 Low all took turns in the Oilers goal that season.
The arrival of Low sparked the Oilers, as they would finish the season 8-2-1 to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs in their first NHL campaign with Low starting all 11 games to close out the season.
Today's featured jersey is a SandowSK 1980-81 Edmonton Oilers Ron Low jersey as worn in the second half of the season, replacing the knit jerseys with these new mesh ones.
This set of jerseys was known for the very thin letters used for the names on the back.
Not a lot of Ron Low highlights on youtube, but we did find this bit of mayhem from Low's time with the New Jersey Devils.
Fortunately we weren't looking for Don Cutts...
We did, however find these next two videos, the first of which is Bob Dupuis playing goal for Canada at the 1980 Olympics. That's him you see for a half second at the 15 second mark of the video followed by the empty net as he is pulled for an extra attacker in easily the lamest excuse for posting a video ever on Third String Goalie!
This second video is from Italy, with Jim Corsi as one of the commentators, breaking our previous record for the lamest excuse ever for posting a video. We assume it's the same Jim Corsi, who does happen to have duel Italian citizenship. There can't be that many guys in Italy named "Jim" who also happen to be involved in ice hockey in Italy, can there?