The greatest team in NHL history is … the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers captained by the legendary Wayne Gretzky.The Oilers emerged from more than 3.6 million votes through interactive digital and mobile programs from April 13 to May 25 as the greatest team of all time.Led by Gretzky, the Oilers won their second consecutive championship that season, defeating the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup Final in five games. Gretzky matched a modern record achieved by Jean Beliveau in 1956 and Mike Bossy in 1982 with seven goals in five games.Gretzky also established playoff records for assists (30) and points (47) as the Penguins rolled to sweeps over the Los Angeles Kings and the Winnipeg Jets before dispatching the Chicago Blackhawks in six games in the 1985 conference finals.Others record-breaking performances were Jari Kurri’s 19 goals in 18 games to tie an NHL mark for playoff goals in one season, and Paul Coffey’s 12 goals and 25 assists to become the highest scoring defenseman in one playoff season.”We had a love for the game,” Gretzky said. “All of us loved being at the rink. We loved playing and we loved practicing. I think from (Mark) Messier to (Glenn) Anderson to (Coffey) to Kevin Lowe to Kurri, we showed up for practice. We practiced hard.”During a media interview at the announcement before Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final in Nashville, NBA broadcaster and former player Charles Barkley snuck in a question for Gretzky at the podium.”Wayne, I just always wondered, who is your favorite black athlete of all time?” the basketball Hall of Famer asked.Gretzky immediately answered, “Grant Fuhr,” his former Oilers teammate.Barkley, a big hockey fan, respects the game.”There is nothing more nerve-wracking than Stanley Cup overtime hockey,” Charles Barkley said. “It’s the craziest thing you’re ever going to see.”Gretzky called Barkley the biggest hockey fan in North American.”Literally,” Barkley said jokingly. “But I’m going on a diet.”Other top 10 teams in the voting were the 1991-92 Pittsburgh Penguins, 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens, 1987-88 Oilers, 1986-87 Oilers, 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings, 1982-83 New York Islanders, 1977-78 Canadiens, 1983-84 Oilers and 2001-02 Red Wings.
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