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Trade At 25: The story of Jimmy Carson - Edmonton's return

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TSN.ca Staff
8/7/2013 8:26:01 PM
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"Now I'm the other man. No one's rooting for me." - Chris Murphy

Under any circumstances, it would have been difficult to justify trading Wayne Gretzky in hockey terms.

On Wednesday, SportsCentre looked at the man tasked with being the centrepiece of Edmonton's return for trading its greatest asset.

"The Kid In The Shadow: The Story of Jimmy Carson" aired on SportsCentre as part of the continuing look at the 25th anniversary of the trade that sent Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings.

"You're renegotiating a contract. You just bought a house," remembered Carson of that fateful day. "You outfitted it and, oh, by the way, you were just involved in the biggest trade in the history of sports. Now what?"

Carson came to Edmonton with great pedigree as one of the five pieces the Oilers obtained in the trade. Arriving hot on the heels of a 55-goal season, Carson - just 20 years old - was supposed to be a building block to keep the on-ice juggernaut that had already won four Stanley Cups rolling. In fact, he still holds the NHL record to this day for most career goals scored before the age of 20 with a total of 92.

"He was a phenom," said then Kings owner Bruce McNall. "He had the respect of everybody because he could score."

Carson, however, would not last long in Edmonton.

"I think his personality was much different than Wayne's, so I don't think he was [as] accepted as a person," said Oilers stalwart Kevin Lowe.

His numbers were excellent - posting 49 goals for the Oilers in 1988-89 - but the young American was unable to withstand the pressure of replacing Gretzky. He would be dealt by the Oilers just four games into the 1989-90 season for a package that included soon-to-be Stanley Cup Final hero Petr Klima.

"He called me up and said that he was going home," recalled then Oilers coach John Muckler of the morning Carson requested a trade. "He said 'I just can't walk back into that dressing room again.'"

TSN Drive host Dave Naylor looked at Carson's struggles, triumphs, and how he learned to chart his own course while being part of someone else's history.

TSN.ca also features a host of exclusive content all week long at www.tsn.ca/tradeat25.

Visit the site now for videos from 1988, including Gretzky's famous farewell news conference as well as vintage SportsCentre clips from the day the trade broke, as well as clips from the previous "Trade at 25" features that have aired on SportsCentre earlier this week.

TSN.ca will also be posting photo galleries all week long examining how "The Trade" has had a ripple effect through the NHL that is still being felt today.

Interact with TSN on various social media platforms as well - including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram - for vintage Gretzky photos, trivia questions and links to exclusive TSN.ca content all week long.




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