"It's always the Tonellis and the Sutters and guys like that who beat us," said Sather in resigned tribute to the New York muckers.
At the same time, Edmonton, for all its goal-scoring prowess and swirling Euro-hockey offensive style, remains a team with potential it has yet to live up to—and a reputation it must live down. Said Gretzky, "The Islanders have the feeling—and it grows and grows—that they can beat us. We have to take that feeling away from them, and we have to do it quickly. One Stanley Cup will silence our critics. Until then, it doesn't matter how well we play."
Late Sunday night, as winter closed in on Edmonton, the taste of last spring was bitter and the promise of next spring seemed very far away.