1983 Stanley Cup Finals
The 1983 Stanley Cup Finals NHL championship series was contested by the Edmonton Oilers in their first-ever Finals appearance and the defending champion New York Islanders, in their fourth, and fourth consecutive, Finals appearance. The Islanders would win the best-of-seven series four games to none, to win their fourth-straight and fourth-overall Stanley Cup. It was also the fourth straight Finals of post-1967 expansion teams, and the first involving a former World Hockey Association (WHA) team. This is also the most recent time that a defending Stanley Cup champion has won the cup four years in a row, and also the first (and, to date, only) time a North American professional sports team has won four consecutive titles in any league competition with more than twenty teams. Since 1983, no professional sports team on the continent has managed to win four straight championships and no NHL team has won more than two consecutive championships (most recently the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998).
This would be the first of eight consecutive Finals contested by a team from Alberta (of which the Oilers played in six and the Calgary Flames in two). Although it was not the first Stanley Cup Finals to be contested by an Albertan team (the 1923 and 1924 Finals had been contested by teams from Edmonton and Calgary respectively), 1983 saw the first Finals games played in Alberta.
Paths to the Final
Edmonton defeated the Winnipeg Jets 3–0, the Calgary Flames 4–1, and the Chicago Black Hawks 4–0 to advance to the Finals. In eliminating Winnipeg, Calgary, and Chicago, the Oilers had won 11 of 12 games and had outscored their opponents 74–33, averaging over six goals a game and setting 16 scoring records in these three rounds. The 1983 Finals marked sixty years since an Edmonton team had last contested the Stanley Cup. The 1923 Edmonton Eskimos WCHL team played the NHL's Ottawa Senators in the 1923 Stanley Cup Finals, held in Vancouver. Ottawa won the two-game, total-goals series.
Billy Smith limited the Oilers to just six goals in the four games, and shut them out in seven out of twelve periods. Smith was also noted for his slashes and feigned injuries in that series, which made him unpopular with the Edmonton Journal, which named him "PUBLIC ENEMY NO. 1", "Mr. Obnoxious", "Samaurai [sic] Billy", "Jack the Ripper" and "a creep". After a slash on Glenn Anderson's knee prevented him from practicing the next day, Oilers manager and coach Glen Sather unsuccessfully complained to the NHL that Smith deserved an attempt-to-injure match penalty, and then took his case to the press, suggesting that the Oilers could take out Smith. Smith responded, "Let's face it. If Semenko runs at me and hurts me, anything could happen, and the victim could be Gretzky. If they want blood.…" Smith did, however, earn a five-minute penalty for slashing Wayne Gretzky. In game four, Smith's dive resulted in referee Andy Van Hellemond giving Anderson a five-minute penalty.
In his first appearance in the Finals, Gretzky assisted on four of the Oilers' six goals but failed to score himself. While no Islander was assigned to mark Gretzky, the Oilers superstar found himself checked as soon as he got the puck. The Islanders' tactics were described as a "rope-a-dope", using their experience and patience to hang on in the face of the Oilers' furious attack. The Islanders permitted Edmonton to take long shots from poor angles, but cleared the rebounds and kept the front of the net open so Smith could see. The Sutter brothers, Duane and Brent, led with seven and five points, respectively in the first three games. Duane played a particularly important role in the absence of Bossy in game one. Bossy netted his second Stanley Cup-winning goal.
After game four, the Oilers players walked past the Islanders' dressing room and noticed many of the Islanders players exhausted and covered in ice packs rather than wildly celebrating, with Mark Messier suggesting that this gave the Oilers inspiration that they needed in order to win next year.
|Tue, May 10||New York||2||Edmonton||0|
|Thu, May 12||New York||6||Edmonton||3|
|Sat, May 14||Edmonton||1||New York||5|
|Tue, May 17||Edmonton||2||New York||4|
New York Islanders 1983 Stanley Cup champions
- Coaching and administrative staff
Stanley Cup engraving
Note ^Steve Corais (Director of Public Relations) was included on all four New York Islanders team pictures 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983. Corais' name however, was not engraved on the Stanley Cup.
Members of New York Islanders 1980 to 1983 Dynasty
These players and personnel (22 in all) won four Stanley Cups as members of the Islanders, and would also be a part of the Islanders in the 1984 Stanley Cup Finals. The Islanders would amass an NHL record of 19 straight playoff series wins and again reach the Stanley Cup Finals, but lost the 1984 Finals to the Edmonton Oilers in a rematch of the 1983 series.
- Players: Mike Bossy, Bob Bourne, Clark Gillies, Butch Goring, Lorne Henning†, Anders Kallur, Gord Lane, Dave Langevin, Wayne Merrick, Ken Morrow, Bob Nystrom, Stefan Persson, Denis Potvin, Billy Smith, Duane Sutter, John Tonelli, Bryan Trottier
- Non-playing personnel: John Pickett (owner), Bill Torrey (general manager), Al Arbour (head coach), Gerry Ehman (Scout/later Assistant Manager), Jim Pickard, Ron Waske (Trainers) Lorne Henning†,
† – Henning was a player on the 1980 team, a player-assistant coach on the 1981 team, and an assistant coach on the 1982 and 1983 teams. Henning assisted on 1980 Stanley Cup winning goal in overtime.
- Swift, E.M. (May 23, 1983). "The Islanders Go Four It All". Sports Illustrated.
- Falla, Jack (May 28, 1984). "The Oilers Were The Spoilers". Sports Illustrated.
- Falla, Jack (October 10, 1983). "The Drive For Five". Sports Illustrated.
- "Hockey". Sports Illustrated. February 16, 1983.
- Rosen, Dan (May 28, 2009). "Messier relates to Penguins in their Cup rematch". NHL.com.
New York Islanders
|New York Islanders
Stanley Cup Champions