SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers-Stars was a real snoozefest

JOHN SHORT

, Last Updated: 7:29 AM ET

One word came to mind on a regular basis as the Oilers beat Dallas on Friday: B-O-R-I-N-G.

Once upon a time, Edmonton and the North Stars could be counted on for hard-hitting, end-to-end competition. Those teams didn't like each other, and it showed.

Granted, both teams were missing some big talent in the recent sleepathon - Eric Lindros, Mike Modano, Ryan Smith, Alex Hemsky and friends - but if that no-contact display was an indication of the new and improved NHL, let's go back to the bad old days.

From Edmonton's standpoint, a 2-0 sleeper on the road is a good win. No coach or GM ever admitted to a bad victory, but if this one had been on pay-per-view, a lot of stay-at-home fans would have been entitled to beg for their money back.

BLAME IT ON THE ASSISTANTS

What a relief!

At last we know the whole problem with the '06 Eskimos. Ron Lancaster Jr. and Dennis Winston are bad coaches.

As soon as the decision became public that their contracts were not renewed, it was obvious that poor personnel was not to blame for the Eskimos' lousy season. Injuries, age and faulty decisions at the top were not to blame, either. The entire blame falls on these two guys.

Winston was an exceptional NFL player and had an impressive coaching pedigree long before Edmonton discovered him. He'll latch on somewhere.

Lancaster's situation may be different. He would be a terrific coach at any of the developmental levels, but there aren't many university jobs around - not even bad ones.

ANDERSON'S THE FORGOTTEN MAN

Almost no mention last week of the guy who, more than any other former player, deserves to be front and centre when Mark Messier's jersey is hoisted to the rafters at Rexall Place in February.

Media and fans are quick to mention Paul Coffey, Wayne Gretzky and other Hall-of-Fame certainties when thinking about the Oilers' dynasty. Here, as elsewhere, Glenn Anderson is overlooked too often.

Mess and Andy were linemates almost from the day they met, soon after the Oilers entered the NHL in 1979. At first, they played beside, and learned from, Matti Hagman. Later, they became the teachers of youngsters on the way up.

Early in their on-ice partnership, it was common for fans to debate which was the better player.

Out here, everybody knows Anderson belongs in the hockey Hall of Fame, where Messier is certain to wind up as a unanimous first-year choice. Only some Eastern Canada and U.S. voters fail to realize it.

To them, bah and humbug!


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