Skip to main content

'He's had a phenomenal year': Fuhr, Oilers great and diehard fan, happy to see record fall to Skinner


It's been 32 years since Grant Fuhr played a game for the blue and orange but his name keeps coming up during Oilers broadcasts.

That's because a rookie netminder – also from the Edmonton area – is accomplishing things not done since Fuhr in 1982.

Last week, Stuart Skinner broke Fuhr's record for most wins by an Oilers rookie (29).

On Wednesday, he became the first rookie netminder to win a playoff game for the franchise since Fuhr, from Spruce Grove, did it 41 years ago.

"Stuart has been on a great run, I think that's the fun part. He's had a phenomenal year and he's an Edmonton kid, which makes it kind of a neat bonus too," Fuhr told CTV News Edmonton Friday.

He's now a colour commentator for the Seattle Kraken's AHL farm team, the Coachella Valley Firebirds.

Fuhr will be in the press box at Acrisure Arena in Palm Desert, Calif., for Game 2 between the Firebirds and Tucson Roadrunners Friday night.

At the same time, he'll be watching Skinner and the Oilers vs. Kings Game 3 on his phone.

"I'm still a diehard Oilers fan. So the better they do, the better [Skinner] does, the happier I am… I still follow the Oilers, born and raised just outside of Edmonton, so I'll always be an Oilers fan," Fuhr said with a big smile.

"The fact that they keep dragging me up [on the broadcasts] from beyond is not a bad thing. It means I must have accomplished something a long time ago."

Fuhr believes the Oilers have a great chance to have a long playoff run.

He said hockey teams often have lost in the playoffs before learning how to win, like the Oilers did last year to the eventual Stanley Cup champions Colorado Avalanche.

Fuhr's Oilers were eliminated by the L.A. Kings in his rookie season, and the New York Islanders the next year, before he and the team went on to win five Stanley Cups in seven years.

"I like the team now. I think [defenceman Mattias] Ekholm was a big addition. They can be a big, mean physical team when they want to be," Fuhr said.

"They can also be that skill team. So, I think they've got to a point now where they can win those close games, the 2-1, 3-2 games, or if they want they can win a 7-5 game."

Skinner is about five inches taller than Fuhr, and modern equipment makes him look even bigger.

But a similarity that Fuhr agrees with is what's going on behind the mask, a shared ability to stay cool under pressure.

Fuhr said Skinner, both in the way he holds steady on the ice and the way he answers questions from reporters, is "a very advanced young man."

"By the time you get to the NHL, everybody has skills. The good ones get separated by how they think the game and how they see the game and Stuart does a great job of that," Fuhr said.

"You can tell by the way the guys play in front of him. They have a sense of calm when he's playing."

The Oilers and Kings face off in California shortly after 8 p.m. MT. The best-of-seven series is tied 1-1. Top Stories

Stay Connected