Wednesday, March 12, 2014

1980-81 Edmonton Oilers Ron Low Jersey

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.

Dave Dryden Oilers photo DaveDrydenOilers.jpg
Dave Dryden

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 the goaltending duo of 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, the Oilers 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 which began with a 4-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Leap Day, February 29th with Mio in goal at home.

They fell to the visiting Vancouver Canucks 5-2 the next day, March 1st, with Jim Corsi getting the start.

The Oilers then began a difficult five game east coast road trip with that season's eventual Stanley Cup champions, the New York Islanders, who defeated Edmonton 6-4 with Mio getting the start before being replaced by Corsi after giving up his third goal four minutes into the second period.

Eddie Mio Oilers photo EddieMioOilers.jpg
Eddie Mio

Corsi then took the loss in Montreal two days later followed by Don Cutts starting against the Pittsburgh Penguins only to give way to Corsi after allowing four goals through two periods in an eventual 5-4 loss that extended the losing streak to five games.

Bob Dupuis was called in to stop the bleeding in his NHL debut on hostile ice in Philadelphia. The Oilers gave him a 3-1 lead after two periods only to have the Flyers come storming back with four third period goals to win 5-3, which extended the losing streak to six.

Bob Dupuis Oilers photo BobDupuisOilers.jpg
A rare shot of Dupuis in the Oilers goal

The streak was broken on this date in 1980 with the arrival of goaltender Ron Low, who was obtained from the Nordiques in exchange for Ron Chipperfield on March 11th.

Low Oilers photo LowOilers2.jpg
Ron Low

Low's Oilers debut on this date in 1980 was a 6-3 victory over the Nordiques in Quebec. Intent on winning, the Oilers got three first period goals, one from Hamilton
 early and two late ones 50 seconds apart from Hunter.

The Nordiques would not go away so easily though, and scored two in the first half of the second period, but Dave Lumley put the lead back to two just 35 seconds later. Marc Tardif made it a one goal game after two with his goal for the Nordiques at 14:38.

Gretzky took matters into his own hands during the third period with a pair of unassisted goals, the first at 6:24, his 40th of the season, and an empty netter in the final 30 seconds to end the losing streak. Low's 42 saves in his Edmonton debut set a team record which would stand for 33 years.

Low's debut made the Oilers only the second team in NHL history to use six different goaltenders in one season. Low, in fact, was the fifth different Oilers goaltender in the span of five games! Corsi, Mio, Cutts, Dupuis and finally Low all saw time in goal for Edmonton over the previous 300 minutes of play.

#1 Cutts, six NHL games, #1 Corsi, 26 NHL games, and #33 Dupuis, in what would prove to be 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.

1979-80 Edmonton Oilers team photo 1979-80EdmontonOilersteam.jpg
Not every one of the Oilers six goaltenders
were on hand for that season's team photo!

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, obviously giving Edmonton some very much needed stability in goal.

Low Oilers photo LowOilers.jpg
Low in action

Today's featured jersey is a 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.

photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Not a lot of Ron Low highlights on youtube, but we did Low discussing goaltending and coaching.

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?

1 comment:

  1. I am Italian, and I can confirm that it's the same Jim Corsi. He took Italian citizenship and played goalie for the Italian national team. He also won four Italian League titles. And upon his retirement he became a commentator.


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