Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Remembering A Legend
Yesterday, the Edmonton Oilers faced the Phoenix Coyotes at Rexall Place. The game began a 4 game home stand for the Oilers, and they had some inspiration for their 1st game.
Legendary player and leader Mark Messier had his NO.11 raised to the rafters in Edmonton last night. This was the 2nd time Messier's number has been retired as the NY Rangers retired the number 11 last year. Phoenix Head Coach Wayne Gretzky was caught being very emotional during the ceremony as he was a teammate and friend to Messier.
Messier played 12 years in Edmonton racking up 5 Stanley Cups (he captained 1 of them), 392 goals, 642 assists and 1034 points overall during the time he played for the Oilers. He is now the 6th Oiler to have his number retired(Al Hamilton, Jari Kurri, Grant Fuhr and Paul Coffey).
"I want to thank the Oiler organization for putting this date on the calendar when Phoenix was going to be in town because the night wouldn't have been the same without Wayne being here," Messier said. "Wayne was our leader. He was our inspiration. He was a guy that we leaned on and he never let us down and he never put himself above anybody. I certainly learned a lot from Wayne.Nobody could stand here in a team sport, nobody could do it by themselves, it's good to be back home. Coming back after a long time, one of things I'm most proud of is that the Edmonton Oilers organization remains today so intact as it was when we left," Messier said.
The celebrations were short lived as the Oilers lost again after they traded away Ryan Smyth yesterday. The Oilers seemed flat-footed all night, which led to a 3-0 Phoenix lead by the start of the 3rd. The Oilers are all but out of the playoff picture.