Days Until The First Oilers Game: 17 – Jari Kurri
Career Oilers Stats:
Jari Kurri was a fourth round pick. Liam Reddox was also a fourth round pick. Their careers took slightly different paths.
This is also the first Oiler we’ve covered who had a higher plus/minus than penalty minutes.
Why We Liked Him:
Many of our readers will not remember Kurri’s time with the Oilers. By the time I was born, Kurri was already playing for the Kings. Here’s what I know about him: he’s second all time in Oilers points and goals, third all time in assists, 20th all time in NHL career points, he’s the second highest scoring Finnish born player in NHL history, was Wayne Gretzky’s right-hand man, scored 71 goals one season, won all five Stanley Cups with the boys and set up Petr Klima’s triple overtime winner in what’s one of the most famous goals in Oilers history:
You could make the argument that those are the reasons why his number is up there with Rod Phillips.
Why We Didn’t Like Him:
Jari Kurri’s time in Edmonton ended like a bad breakup. His contract expired after the 1990 Stanley Cup, and Kurri decided to sign in Italy as opposed to resigning in Edmonton. He did this so that he could be eligible to play for team Finland in the 1991 World Hockey Championship. After the 1991 season ended, Kurri announced he would return to the NHL, but expressed his desire to play once again with now LA King, Wayne Gretzky. This normally would be a decision I would chastise, but not in this case. Not with the atomic septic tank Peter Pocklington was running in this city.
Where Is He Now?
Jari’s definitely put on a couple lbs since his retirement in 1998:
I know for a fact the Jungle is not that hot. You don’t sweat standing up unless it’s a cardio workout to breathe.
But when Jari’s not making triumphant returns to the CJ for reunions and retirements, he serves as the GM of the KHL’s only Finnish team, Jokerit. They actually employ two former Oilerz greats: Jesse Joensuu, and the Sultan of Turnovers – Phil Larsen.