The humiliation is over. The Edmonton Oilers won Tuesday night to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2005-06. In doing so, they’ll remain tied with the Florida Panthers (2001-2011) for the longest post-season drought in NHL history, but the Oilers successfully staved off taking over first place alone at 11 years.
A lot has changed in the world since an Oilers team led by Chris Pronger and out-of-nowhere playoff hero Fernando Pisani fell to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup final.
The last time the Oilers reached the playoffs…
1. Connor McDavid was nine years old.
He tore up the Ontario Minor Hockey Associations’ minor atom age group, leading the York Simcoe Express to the championship. His teammates included Sam Bennett and Travis Dermott.
2. The NHL had 27 active players from the 1990 draft class, including Jaromir Jagr.
Jagr, 45, is obviously the lone guy from that group still going strong. He remains a first-liner with the Florida Panthers. Wow.
3. The iPhone did not exist.
The smartphone phenomenon’s first generation launched in June 2007.
4. Jonathan Cheechoo was the NHL’s top goal scorer.
He sniped 56 goals on the San Jose Sharks’ dynamite line with some guy named Joe Thornton, acquired from the Boston Bruins in a mid-season trade. Cheechoo, 36, is in his fourth KHL season now.
5. George W. Bush was President of the United States.
Barack Obama had not yet broken the Oval Office’s color barrier.
6. The Sopranos was still running.
Its legendary tenure on HBO was a year away from completion. Viewers were a year away from thinking their cable had blacked out on finale night.
7. Anaheim’s hockey team was called The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
They switched to the Anaheim Ducks the next year and won the Stanley Cup. Coincidence?
8. Canada’s national team was a massive disappointment.
The Canuck men had flopped that winter at the Olympics in Torino, finishing seventh. It’s tough to picture the nation struggling now, in the heyday of Sidney Crosby, Carey Price and Mike Babcock.
9. Miley Cyrus was still Hannah Montana.
In fact, Hannah Montana was in its debut season. We were years away from twerking.
10. The Pittsburgh Penguins were a basement dweller.
They struggled to a 22-46-14 record in Crosby’s rookie season. That was the last time they missed the post-season. They just clinched an 11th straight berth and hold the longest active streak, with Detroit’s run officially done at 25 years as of Tuesday night.
11. Twitter was two months old.
Yep, it was a mere newborn, founded in March 2006. Now, it’s arguably hockey’s No. 1 news medium.
12. The NHL averaged 6.16 goals per game.
That was the highest mark since 1995-96. The rebound was sparked by the crackdown on obstruction, which created power plays galore. Scoring has since sunk to 5.54 goals per game.
13. Seven players recorded 100-point seasons.
Barring a wild final surge from McDavid, we’ll have seen four 100-point scorers in the past seven seasons combined.
14. Crocs were considered a fashionable shoe.
Just ask Mike Commodore.
15. Two current NHL general managers were still playing.
Steve Yzerman had just completed his final season, to be exact. Joe Sakic still had another 100-point campaign left in him.