Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, July 31, 2021

arms race cold war
Time to combine two of my favorite leisure topics: Sports and alternate/counterfactual history.

In response to Greg Wyshynski’s look back at Tom Glavine’s aborted hockey career — in which my old post on the subject was cited — I contributed a fanciful comment over center-iceman Glavine’s subsequent National Hockey League career. And I was so pleased by my jotting that I’ve decided to record it here:

Who knows how Glavine’s hockey career would have turned out, and if he would have played for the Kings or some other club. But, as long as we’re playing what-if, how’s this one:

In August 1988, as the Edmonton Oilers were dickering with Los Angeles over a trade package, they get a read on a Kings prospect playing college hockey in Massachusetts. They ask, the Kings oblige, and Tom Glavine gets shipped to Edmonton, along with a bundle of players and picks, in exchange for Wayne Gretzky (with Mike Krushelnyski and Marty McSorley as throw-ins).

Gretzky does his Hollywood thing, while Glavine breaks into the NHL with the Oilers. He blossoms, becomes part of a 1-2 punch down the middle with Mark Messier, and is part of second Cup-winning dynasty for the Oilers through the end of the 1990s.

Hey, might as well maximize the potential!

Yep, the time period fits in just perfectly. Had Glavine committed to hockey, he would have been part of the blockbuster Gretzky-to-LA trade. And would have paid off for the Oilers, unlike practically every other part of the package they got from the Kings in reality.

Of course, this conveniently disregards the financial realities that, Glavine or no, still would have forced the Oil to dump quality players by the early ’90s. Despite my disdain for improbable alternate reality scenarios, I’ll turn a blind eye, just this once.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 07/31/2007 10:32:39 PM
Category: Hockey, Baseball | Permalink |

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