Oilers Coach Shades Panthers Ahead of Stanley Cup Final By Dropping NFL Reference

Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch coaches on the bench during a game against the Vancouver Canucks in May.
Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch coaches on the bench during a game against the Vancouver Canucks in May. / Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

The Edmonton Oilers punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2006. Awaiting them on the NHL's biggest stage is the Florida Panthers, who also represented the Eastern Conference last year.

Does the Panthers' Stanley Cup Final experience give them an edge over the Oilers? Edmonton coach Kris Knoblauch doesn't believe it does.

"Experience is good. I don't know how much experience is beneficial," Knoblauch said. "You'd have to ask the Buffalo Bills how important Super Bowl experience is."

Knoblauch is referencing the Bills' infamous run in the early 1990s. Buffalo made four straight Super Bowls from 1991 to '94 but lost all of them. Although the Bills went 49–15 in the regular season over that span, every campaign ended in the same fashion—a loss in the big game to an NFC East team in the New York Giants, Washington and the Dallas Cowboys (twice).

The Panthers have made five straight playoff appearances and advanced to the 2023 Stanley Cup Final, only to fall in five games to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Florida will be chasing its first Stanley Cup in franchise history this summer while the Oilers attempt to end Canada's 31-year drought without a title.

"I think the biggest thing is just having confidence to play," Knoblauch said. "When our guys are playing our best, they should have a lot of confidence."

The puck is scheduled to drop in Game 1 of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.

Tom Dierberger


Tom Dierberger is a writer and editor for the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Tom joined SI in 2023 after stints at FOX Sports, Bally Sports, and NBC Sports. In his spare time, Tom can be seen throwing out his arm while playing fetch with his dog, Walter B. Boy.