(This month, Puck Daddy asked bloggers for every NHL team to tell us The Essentials for their franchises — everything from the defining player and trade, to the indispensable fan traditions. Here's The Royal Half, giving us the boastful post-Stanley Cup champions Essentials for the Los Angeles Kings.)
By The Royal Half
Let's be honest... before Wayne Gretzky was bought by Bruce McNall, no one below St. Louis really cared about the sport of ice hockey... including Southern California. Gretzky's arrival in Los Angeles gave the franchise credibility and created a whole new advertising market for the greatest player in the game that allowed him to pose in ads like this.
Wayne Gretzky never won the Stanley Cup in Los Angeles… but Jonathan Quick did (against the New Jersey Devils). So for that reason alone, Jon Quick is the greatest LA King of all time.
Well, let's see. There was 1990-91 when Head Coach Tom Webster led the LA Kings to 102 points, winning the Smythe Division and placing 3rd overall in the Campbell Conference. And then there was 1974-75 when on the strength of Bob Nevin's 31 goals the LA Kings finished 2nd in the Norris Division with 105 points. But I'm going to have to go out on limb here and say it's 2011-2012 when the Los Angeles Kings WON THE STANLEY CUP (against the New Jersey Devils) FOR THE 1st TIME IN THIS FRANCHISE'S SAD AND PATHETIC 44 SEASON HISTORY.
You want to know what it's like to be a fan of the Los Angeles Kings? For the majority of people, the most memorable game in franchise history was a Game 3 victory in a 1st round playoff series… better known as the Miracle on Manchester. Thankfully, for fans new and old, the greatest game in the history of the Los Angeles Kings is now June 11th, 2012… the day the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup (against the New Jersey Devils).
There have been countless important goals scored during the history of the Los Angeles Kings. Daryl Evans' OT game winner in the Miracle on Manchester. Wayne Gretzky's 802nd career goal in 1994. Adam Deadmarsh firing the puck past Chris Osgood in OT of Game 6, sending the LA Kings into the 2nd Round after being down 2-0 in the series. Luc Robitaille scoring a hat trick in 2006 as he surpassed Marcel Dionne to become the all-time leading goal scorer for the franchise.
But none of those trivial goals compare to Trevor Lewis' empty netter with 3:45 left in Game 6 that solidified the fact that the Los Angeles Kings had won the Stanley Cup (against the New Jersey Devils) for the 1st time in the franchise's history.
Not only was Wayne Gretzky's trade to the Los Angeles Kings the biggest trade in franchise history, but it was also the most substantial trade the NHL had ever experienced. But Wayne Gretzky never won a Stanley Cup in Los Angeles… and Jeff Carter did. So Jack Johnson and a #1 pick for Jeff Carter is the greatest trade in LA Kings history… since it directly led to the Kings winning the Stanley Cup (against the New Jersey Devils).
Over 17 seasons, 4 of which he was Captain, Dave Taylor scored 431 goals and 1069 points. He holds the LA Kings record for games played with 1111 and is 2nd all-time with 1589 penalty minutes. He is the lowest-drafted player (210th overall, 15th round) in NHL history to score over 1000 career points. Taylor could score goals, throw elbows in the corners and was a natural born leader.
But Matt Greene is really funny and he actually won the LA Kings award for "Unsung Hero" in the same season that he won the Stanley Cup as a member of the Los Angeles Kings (against the New Jersey Devils). Something Dave Taylor never did.
My buddy Jesse Cohen at All The Kings Men Podcast will tell you that the biggest villain in LA Kings franchise history is Rob Blake. I'm one of the few Kings fans who has never been able to boo Rob Blake. Instead, I submit for Franchise Villain the same man who could be considered Franchise Savior… Bruce McNall.
Bruce McNall single-handedly rescued this franchise from obscurity and in the span of 5 years he had put the team in such financial strain that it filed for bankruptcy in 1995. And even worse than that… as chairman of the NHL Board of Governors, McNall pushed for the election of Gary Bettman as league commissioner. But without Bruce McNall's downward spiral into financial ruin Phil Anschutz wouldn't have been able to purchase the LA Kings for pennies on the dollar in 1995… eventually leading to the team's 1st Stanley Cup victory in 2012 (against the New Jersey Devils).
Besides the lack of it from the New Jersey Devils in Game 6 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final… the greatest fight in LA Kings history is Barry Potomski vs. Joey Kocur on March 25, 1996… otherwise known as the very 1st NHL 3rd Jersey on 3rd Jersey hate crime.
The LA Kings have employed 24 Head Coaches during the 44 seasons the team has been in existence. Andy Murray is the all-time winningest coach for the Kings with 215 victories in 480 games over 6 seasons. But most importantly, Andy Murray was able to turn around a franchise that had made the playoffs once in 6 seasons prior... leading them to 3 consecutive post-season appearances.
But Darryl Sutter needed a week to get his family dairy farm in order before joining the Los Angeles Kings as their Head Coach in December of 2011. And even if Darryl Sutter hadn't been the Head Coach for the LA Kings Stanley Cup Championship team (against the New Jersey Devils)… that alone would be a reason for him to be the best Kings coach of all-time.
Bob Miller. You know… the NHL Hall of Famer who has been the voice of the Los Angeles Kings for 39 years and wasn't allowed to do a live broadcast when the team won the Stanley Cup (against the New Jersey Devils).
For years the LA Kings have been over-using the "ooooooooooo" gimmick for any player with that syllable in his name, i.e. Luc Robitaille or Drew Doughty. But the really annoying trend the Los Angeles Kings started this season was winning the Stanley Cup (against the New Jersey Devils).
In a city that is known for its lack of eating carbs, the bacon-wrapped hot dogs that are sold outside Staples Center on illegal food carts are truly the most unique food for LA Kings fans. But nothing tasted sweeter than the Thai Chicken Pizza I had at the Yardhouse at LA Live right after the LA Kings won the Stanley Cup (against the New Jersey Devils).
For some reason, the players on this current Kings roster have an unhealthy obsession with Toronto Blue Jays hats. But there is no better piece of LA Kings memorabilia than the classic gangster hat just like Eazy E used to wear.
Oh right... I can think of one that is a little bit better.