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JONES: Deck stacked against Vegas when it comes to Ex-Oiler Factor

New York Rangers Mark Messier celebrates scoring the winning goal against the Edmonton Oilers at the Edmonton Coliseum in this file photo from Jan. 23, 1992.
New York Rangers Mark Messier celebrates scoring the winning goal against the Edmonton Oilers at the Edmonton Coliseum in this file photo from Jan. 23, 1992.

With one virus already to deal with, it’s a good thing hockey doesn’t also have another one here this year like the one baseball had to contend with for decades.

I speak of the Ex-Cub Factor.

However, there is an Ex-Oiler Factor.

There’s clearly no Ex-Cub Factor at play in the Stanley Cup playoffs that began with the final four in Edmonton on the Labour Day weekend.

It was Chicago’s celebrated newspaper columnist Mike Royko who wrote that “Cubness” was a “virus” where having ex-Cubs could infect an entire team with the will to lose when they got to the World Series. At the time, the Chicago Cubs had not won a World Series since 1908 and it was documented that “Cubness attacks all who’ve played for the Cubs, even for a single day.”

For the Ex-Cub Factor “there’s no inoculation, no cure … when traded to another team, ex-Cubs become carriers of a debilitating disease.”

I take a swerve here in our coverage of this behind-closed-doors event to mention all of this because I believe the opposite is true in hockey. And because the entire remainder of the Stanley Cup playoffs is here, I believe you should be made aware of it.

It’s the  Ex-Oiler Factor.

It appears to work just the opposite.

With the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders having just joined the Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights in immersing themselves in the Edmonton bubble, it seems like the appropriate time to introduce the Ex-Oiler Factor and alert one and all that the Golden Knights are in a tad of trouble here.

The Ex-Cub Factor was a curse. The Ex-Oiler Factor is a key. Instead of not wanting one, you need one. And the Vegas Golden Knights don’t have one.

Consider the history.

The Oilers won the last of their five Stanley Cups in 1990.

he very next year, an ex-Oiler, Paul Coffey, won the Cup with Pittsburgh. In 1993, after only a single season with the Oilers, Vincent Damphousse joined the Montreal Canadiens and won the most recent Stanley Cup won by a Canadian franchise.

In 1994 there was a major outbreak of the Ex-Oiler Factor condition when Mark Messier, Kevin Lowe, Glenn Anderson, Craig MacTavish, Esa Tikkanen, Adam Graves, Jeff Beukeboom and Mike Hudson combined to help win the New York Rangers their first Stanley Cup in 42 years.

Two years later, Dave Hannan hoisted the Cup with the Colorado Avalanche. Brent Gilchrist won it with Detroit in 1998 and Tony Hrkac the following year with Dallas.

Then in 2000, there was a three-year outbreak with Jason Arnott, Ken Sutton and Steve Kelly winning it with New Jersey in 2000, Shjon Podein, Bryan Muir and Greg de Vries with Colorado in 2001 and Jiri Slegr, Fredrik Olausson and Boyd Devereaux in 2002 with Detroit.

Kirk Maltby became the ultimate champion of the Ex-Oiler Factor in that Red Wing era. He won Stanley Cup rings with Detroit in 1997, ’98, 2002 and ’08, which isn’t bad for a guy who never had a 20-goal or 40-point season.

The Ex-Oiler Factor got quirky in 2006, when the Oilers made it to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final only to watch former teammates Doug Weight and Ray Whitney carry the Cup. And the Ex-Oiler Factor kicked in again the following year, when Chris Pronger split and joined the Anaheim Ducks, where previous Edmonton playoff hero Todd Marchant was also employed, and won it all.

In 2009, the Pittsburgh Penguins were loaded with Ex-Oilers Bill Guerin, Petr Sykora, Miroslav Satan and Mathieu Garon and won the Cup and the Los Angeles Kings followed in 2012 with Jarret Stoll, Matt Greene, Colin Fraser, and Dustin Penner and again in 2014, with Stoll and Greene. Justin Schultz won back-to-back Cups with Pittsburgh in 2016 and ’17. And last year, David Perron triumphed with the St. Louis Blues.

That’s the evidence.

Now, here we are in 2020 with the remaining games of the Stanley Cup playoffs being played on Edmonton ice.

The Dallas Stars have been here for the past 45 days with Andrej Sekera and Andrew Cogliano in the line-up.

The New York Islanders with Jordan Eberle, who promptly scored his first-ever playoff goal in Edmonton Monday.

And the Tampa Bay Lightning shipped in from Toronto with Patrick Maroon.

So they’re covered.

But Vegas?

Nobody.

Maroon could secure special ‘Ex-Oiler Factor’ status as he attempts to win Stanley Cups with two different teams in consecutive seasons.

Only four players have done it since Lionel Conacher in the 1930s.

Claude Lemieux is the most recent with New Jersey in 1995 and then Colorado.

Ab McDonald did it with Montreal and Chicago in 1960 and 1961, and Eddie Litzenberger and Al Arbour turned the trick together in Chicago in 1961 and Toronto in 1962.

None of them were ex-Oilers. But Arbour was a former Edmonton Flyer.

E-mail: tjones@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @byterryjones

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

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