Twenty years ago this week, Wayne Gretzky was traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings. The trade caused a noticeable seismic shift in the focal point of the League’s attention from our brothers and sisters in the Great White North and the more traditional hockey markets in the Northern United States and ushered in the NHL’s “Sun Belt” expansion.
Whether you choose to agree or disagree that the NHL’s expansion to the South has been good or bad for the overall health of the sport, and there are compelling arguments for both sides, one has to admit that the move to non-traditional markets has been a source of some of the League’s current problems (which I will not get into here – I’ll leave that to the experts – and for a look back at media reactions at the time of the trade, check out this article on sportsnet).
Beginning tonight and running through Saturday, the NHL Network, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to pay tribute to the Trade That Ruined The NHL with a four-night extravaganza which they have so wittingly named “20th Anniversary of the Greatest Deal”. Get it? The Great One, the Greatest Deal…yeah. I would have gone with, uhhhhhh, “20th Anniversary of The Great One’s Steal”? Actually, that totally sucks, but I never said I was any good at coming up with titles.
What I am good at (I think) is pointing out the folly of the decisions of people far more intelligent and successful than me. So let’s take a look at some other “great” moments in NHL history that the NHL Network should cover next.
“Like A Beautiful Comet Blazing Across The Night Sky: A Look Back At The Glow Puck”
“The Day Eric Lindros Was Drafted: Rebel With A Cause Or Harbinger Of All That Is Right And Good In The Modern Day Athlete?”
The 1994-95 or 2004-05 NHL Lockout: Which One Ruled More?
And finally, in a deferential nod to the Discovery Channel…