The Puck Stops Here (May 23, 1983)
It was the fourth Stanley Cup victory in a row for the Isles, shutting down the young, high-flying Edmonton Oilers. Led by Wayne Gretzky, the Oilers dominated the competition to this point in the playoffs, as they came up against the three-time defending champions.
A team loaded with offensive talent like Bossy, Trottier, and Potvin, goaltender Billy Smith was the talking point for the Oilers. As we all know, Smith was one of the most physical goaltenders of all time, using his goalie stick as a weapon from his crease.
After a Game 1 victory by the Isles, Oilers head coach Glen Sather made Smith's antics a talking point. According to author E.M. Smith, Sather demanded a meeting with John McCauley, the league's assistant director of officiating, to discuss Smith's slash on forward Glenn Anderson. Sather, getting nowhere with McCauley, took his issues to the press instead.
"Smith plays like a maniac," said Staher. "He swings that stick around like a hatchet, and if the referees don't stop it, hopefully, we'll have someone on our club who will eliminate the problem."
Smith was unhappy with Sather's choice of words and responded with some of his own and Gretzky as the subject.
"Let's face it. If [Dave] Semenko runs at me and hurts me, anything could happen, and the victim could be Gretzky. If they want blood..."
Words that would surely go punished in today's NHL became part of the story line in 1983, as a matchup between the leagues top two teams became a war.
The Isles of course swept the Oilers to win their fourth and final ring, sending the Oilers a message of how they'd need to play if they hoped to become the league's next dynasty.