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Retro Video: Booing the Oilers at the 1985 Calgary All-Star Game

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Bet he could still captain the Wales.
Bet he could still captain the Wales.

Kevin Schultz's wayback post of Bossy to Trottier in OT at the 1986 All-Star Game reminded me of how often Oilers and Islanders met in that mid-season classic (as well as in the playoffs...as well as in the Canada Cup).

Specifically, that OT winner went off Trottier's skate, and you can see then-still-Oilers defenseman Paul Coffey complain to the refs. (For extra sting, the goalie was Oiler Andy Moog, the casual backchecker was Mark Messier.)

Immediately following, the handshake line is cordial, befitting a mid-season exhibition game. But Trotts' exchanges with Oilers Kevin Lowe, Moog and particularly Coffey last just a little bit longer. Chatter over the disputed winner? Trash talk about seeing you again in the spring? Who knows.

Anyway, if the Oilers had regular rivals out East (Wales Conference) in the Islanders and, later, the Philadelphia Flyers, their bloody rival within the Campbell Conference was the Calgary Flames. Which reminds me of the 1985 All-Star game, hosted in Calgary in the brand new Olympic Saddledome (built for the 1988 Winter Olympics, Sean Burke's coming out party).


This was the 21-team era, so more players per team could appear than what you see today (outside of Habs-stuffing Komisarek fan votes, of course). So the home Flames fans got a special treat that year: No fewer than eight Oilers skaters in the lineup.

The parade of Oilers starts at 19:05 in the video above with Lowe (though if you watch the entire intro, you can see the wonderfully awkward sight gag of each All-Star trying to decide what to do with the cowboy hat them rustlin' Calgarians had to make sure each All-Star held as he entered the ice. Cheers to Randy Carlyle (18:36) and Paul MacLean for actually keeping it on their heads.)

That parade continues with Glenn Anderson, Mike Krushelnyski, Grant Fuhr (the backup), Andy Moog (the starter), Paul Coffey Jari Kurri, and of course Wayne Gretzky.

The booing finally stops with some hometown cheer: Al MacInnis is announced and the crowd erupts (20:50 mark), almost relieved that there isn't another Oiler coming through that door (except for coach Glen Sather, just a few announcements later).

The MacInnis welcome is cool, but these days it's those moments of jeering the rivals that stick out in my memory from that blue-and-orange-clad decade.

Coda Lineup Notables

The Islanders had their own parade in the intros that year: Al Arbour coached the Wales side (the Oilers and Islanders had met for the final time in the 1984 finals), Mike Bossy captained the squad, and Bryan Trottier, Brent Sutter (a local) and John Tonelli (who would be traded to the Flames the following season) were also in the lineup. As was some rookie, Kirk Muller. The Wales Conference (that's the East, for you young folk) won 6-4, with Mario Lemieux winning his first All-Star Game.

On a sad note, Pelle Lindbergh was in the lineup too. Nine months later, the star Flyers goalie would die in a car crash.

Also sad: The play-by-play man in this game is the legendary Dan Kelly, who was every bit the Blues' version of Jiggs McDonald. Kelly was a classic voice, a legend in the industry, but he died in 1989 at age 52.

So yeah, as the two sides again look to ice this sport in another money squabble, remember to enjoy the good times as they come.