On this day 25 years ago, the Oilers beats the Boston Bruins by a score of 4-1 in Game 5 of the 1990 Stanley Cup Final. That win ended the series and gave the Oilers their fifth Stanley Cup win during a remarkable seven year stretch. In those seven years the Oilers won an amazing 87 playoff games; in the 25 years since they've won just 47 playoff games and, as I'm sure you are well aware, haven't won another Stanley Cup.
By the 1990 Stanley Cup win Wayne Gretzky was already gone, having been sold the the Kings two seasons earlier, and after the win he'd be followed out the door, rapidly, by many more from those Stanley Cup winning teams. Four years later when the puck was dropped on the 1993/94 season the only regulars from the 1990 championship team still playing in an Oilers uniform were Craig MacTavish (he'd be traded before the end of the year to the Rangers where he'd win his fourth Stanley Cup that spring), Bill Ranford and Kelly Buchberger. Yes, the 1990 Stanley Cup champions were dismantled quite quickly.
In the two years that followed the championship, the Oilers were basically a .500 hockey team but managed to reach the Conference Finals in each season, after that though the wheels came off in a hurry. From 1992/93 through 1995/96 the Oilers averaged a mere 63 points over 82 games (sound familiar?) and obviously failed to make the playoffs even once. When the Oilers finally returned to the playoffs in 1997 Todd Marchant (he was acquired in the trade that sent MacTavish to the Rangers) was the hero for the Oilers now. Marchant had been 16 years old when the Oilers won the Stanley Cup in 1990.
Compared to me though, Marchant was basically an old man in 1990. I was only 11 when Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, and Kevin Lowe lifted the Stanley Cup in celebration that year, so I have no real memories of any of the games. I know I was asleep before Petr Klima ended the first game of the series in triple overtime, but aside from that there isn't a single thing that I remember. I was old enough to know that winning the Stanley Cup was good but that was about it for me. I've seen the highlights and I've read some stories but I was still a few years away from really being able to understand any of it.
The 1990 Stanley Cup victory marked the end of the Oilers dynasty and I had missed the entire thing. My parents though had been lucky enough to have split season tickets with friends in the early 80s and had gotten the chance to see one of the greatest teams off all time in person on many occasions; I've been a season ticket holder for the last nine seasons, somehow I think the experience might be slightly different. Maybe someday I'll get to experience something close to what Edmonton got to enjoy for those seven years. Until then I guess I'll watch those highlights another couple times or maybe I'll pull out the Oilers 10 Greatest Games box set and watch Game 1 one more time. Maybe I'll be able to stay up for the whole game this time.