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From The Point: And 'they' said it couldn't be done

Actions speak louder than words, they say, and if you don't believe it, take a midnight stroll along Edmonton's now notorious Whyte Ave. after any Oilers playoff game. (A bit of advice: leave your Red Wings hat, Sharks jersey and Mighty Ducks jacket at home.)

They also say history repeats itself, and surely that's the fervent hope in Edmonton these days, where the beloved Oilers have advanced to the Stanley Cup final for the first time since 1990, when the Mark Messier-led crew took home the Cup for the fifth time in seven seasons.

But you know what they didn't say? (At least, in every village, town and city not named Edmonton.) That the Oilers would advance to the 2006 Stanley Cup final. Yet, there they are, with an eight-day wait while the Eastern champion is decided. The Oilers certainly could use the break – they beat out the Ducks while also battling a flu epidemic that forced players out of the lineup, and forced others (like captain Jason Smith) to play when they would have rather had some chicken soup and serious sleep.

So, the lesson is, they sometimes don't know what they're talking about. Sometimes, you have to go to the source. And here's what Edmonton players and fans have been saying during the team's highly unlikely – and highly entertaining – run to the final:

“Keep giving ‘er!” – Sharon Miller, 59, who lost her courageous battle to cancer May 21, just 10 days after she was made an honorary member of the Oil's Get Electric cheer crew

“The one thing we've maintained throughout the playoffs is that we don't want any regrets.” – Oilers coach Craig MacTavish

“I have seen how it affected a few of the teams. Colorado…even Anaheim. I think the layoff hurt them.” – MacTavish, on the team's eight-day layoff between the end of Round 3 and the start of the Stanley Cup final

“It's mind over matter. I don't feel the pain during the game.” – Ryan Smyth, who lost three teeth after being hit in the mouth on an errant clearing attempt by teammate Chris Pronger

“When you're hurt, you don't want to be away too long. That's hockey. You want to be on the ice. You want to be part of the action.” – Smyth, who was hit in the mouth late in the second period in a game against San Jose in Round 2, but was back at the start of the third period

“It's really quite disgusting to see someone not being able to control themselves. It's a hockey game, it's not life or death.” – Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel, on the actions of some Oilers fans along Edmonton's Whyte Ave.

“We want the Cup!” – Oilers fans

“You'd have to say goaltending if you want to point out one area where we dominated. He was terrific. He bent when he could bend and didn't when he couldn't. Those are pretty valuable traits.” - MacTavish, on Oilers goalie Dwayne Roloson

“It takes 23 guys to win a hockey game. I'm just doing my job and everybody else is doing their job. It's one of those things, everybody's working together. Sorry for the cliché, but we're all pulling on that same rope.” – Roloson

“You don't get to the finals if you don't have good penalty-killing and a lot of the time that's a function of your goaltending…The guys are willing to sacrifice. Penalty killing is about blocking shots and sacrifice and work ethic and we have lots of those guys who are willing to do that and great goaltending.” – MacTavish

“He was the last piece of the puzzle.” Chris Pronger, on Roloson

“It's just night after night he gives us that great goaltending. All we need is a chance, and he gives it to us.” – Ethan Moreau, on Roloson

“When I got traded to Edmonton I was elated. I know the team's work ethic and everything else. We knew we had a chance to do something special as long as I played half-decent and gave them a chance to win and things have been working well for us as a team and it's been great.” – Roloson

“We had a good team in 1990 that wasn't very good until we got into the playoffs and this team reminds me a lot of that team. The expectation of us winning the Stanley (Cup) wasn't there going into the playoffs, but we quickly got ourselves to a level where everybody was confident in their belief and their ability to win it. I see a lot of parallels here.” – MacTavish

“We didn't want to jinx ourselves. We've got one more Cup to win here, so the last thing we want to do is that. We need four more wins to be satisfied.” – Raffi Torres, on why not a single Oilers player touched the Clarence Campbell Bowl (after winning the Western Conference)

“I don't dream about raising that trophy, I dream about raising the next one.” – Smyth

“With everything we've been through this year, we might be the only ones who really believed we could win the Cup. We weren't just saying it. With the players we have, it's been our goal right from the beginning. We've been the underdogs in every series but it doesn't matter. We know that we can win. We know it.” – Georges Laraque

“I don't think anyone in our room is feeling like we've accomplished anything yet. Anything less than winning would be an incomplete season.” – Pronger, after eliminating Anaheim and advancing to the final

“I think teamwork is the answer. And I wouldn't say we had big names, but I think you're going to see a number of players on our team become big names. The (Shawn) Horcoffs, the (Jarret) Stolls of our team are going to be stars in this league.” – Pronger

“The Edmonton Oilers were a littler bigger, a little stronger and a little more physical.” – San Jose's Ville Nieminen, after Edmonton eliminated the Sharks in six games in Round 2

“They've been playing with enthusiasm. They've been playing with gusto. The goaltender (Dwayne Roloson) has been superb. And then you have that big No. 44 (defenseman Chris Pronger) controlling the game.” – former Oilers coach and GM Glen Sather (now the New York Rangers GM)

“Ryan Smyth…I go back with him to the time when he was a kid attending a hockey school in Banff. I knew the whole family…his father ran the service station there. There was no quit in Ryan then, and there's no quit in him now. He plays through everything.” – Sather

“This is the best building, the best city to play in. The fans have always been there for us, and they deserve all the excitement that's coming with this playoff run that we're on. I've never quite seen anything like what happened with singing the national anthem. It was pretty amazing, something I'll never forget.” – Oilers defenseman Steve Staios

“The fans bring an energy to this building that is indescribable really. The hairs on your neck tend to stand up a little bit.” – Todd Harvey

“It was one of those great moments in sports, certainly in my personal experience.” – Oilers GM Kevin Lowe, after Oilers fans sang the final verses of ‘O Canada' as singer Paul Lorieau simply held the microphone up and let the crowd take over

“No one wanted to go back for Game 7 in San Jose. To come back and win four straight against that team shows a lot about our character.” – Oilers center Shawn Horcoff

“You can see the fire in Shawn's eyes. He's one of the many young guys on our team who desperately wants to win. You can see that in the way he plays every shift.” – MacTavish, on Horcoff

“He played as close to a perfect game as you can play.” – MacTavish, on center Mike Peca's performance in series-clinching Game 6 vs. San Jose

“He's handling it the way he did as a player, keeping it all in perspective. And I think that he has more weapons to work with than ever before.” – Lowe, on MacTavish

“With each win I think everybody gets confident, gets a sense of belief in the locker room. Once you have that, it's something you can't describe. It's just an awesome feeling.” – Smyth

“The pressure is on them, but at the same time, we want to close it out and win at home. We have to have a killer instinct.” – Pronger, before Game 6 vs. Detroit in Round 1

“A wild, wild game…and now we move on.” – MacTavish, after eliminating Detroit in Game 6

“I haven't seen anything like that. The place erupted. It was unbelievable.” – Roloson, on a Game 6 third period goal scored by Fernando Pisani against Detroit

“I literally thought the roof was going to blow off Rexall (Place). My head is still ringing.” – MacTavish, after Ales Hemsky's goal late in the third period of Game 6 vs. Detroit

“I just told myself to stay with it. It's amazing. A great feeling.” – Hemsky, on his Game 6 goal against Detroit, which occurred as he battled with Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom and was pushed into the net

“That's the way it is with this team. We never gave up and we believe in one another.” –Staios, after eliminating No. 1 seed Detroit

Sam McCaig's From The Point appears Tuesdays only on thehockeynews.com. Have a point to make with Sam McCaig? You can reach him at smccaig@thehockeynews.com.

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