(Ed. Note: Welcome to the Puck Daddy 2013 summer project, the National Hockey League of Nations. We’ve recruited 30 writers/blogs to identify the best player in their favorite team’s history for each major nationality that creates the fabric of our beloved NHL: Canada, USA, Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden, Finland and The Rest of The World. It’s their criteria, as long as they can justify it. Read, debate and enjoy! If you want to do so on Twitter, it's #NHLoN.)
When it comes to the long history of winning Stanley Cups, the Los Angeles Kings don't rate up there with the best of them. (Unless you are in St. Louis, Buffalo, D.C. or San Jose, of course.)
But when it comes to looking at players from different nationalites that have skated for the LA Kings... well, unlike your favorite NBC sitcom... the Kings are as diverse as you get.
At first glance, selecting the best Canadian of all-time to play for the Los Angeles Kings seems like a no-brainer, right?
I mean, Wayne Douglas Gretzky has done it all as a professional Canadian hockey player. He's won Stanley Cups, he's influenced NHL expansion, he's fathered gorgeous and talented children and in true Canadian fashion... he's whined his way to an Olympic Gold Medal. To most people, Wayne Gretzky is a first-ballot Most Canadian Player on the LA Kings.
But not so fast. You see, as he's gotten older... Wayne Gretzky has become less Canadian and more "fancy."
So that's why our nominee for Most Canadian LA King of All-Time is a player that knows exactly what it means to be a true, loyal Canadian. A player that has won multiple Stanley Cups. A player that spends his summers on Sylvan Lake in Alberta instead of hop-nobbing with the rich and famous at Westlake Village in Los Angeles. A player that loves Nickleback and isn't afraid to admit it.
And that player is...
Now that's a Canadian!
The LA Kings have had their fair share of Fins play for the franchise over the years... and it always hasn't been easy for the LA Kings Hall of Fame Broadcaster, Bob Miller.
This one is pretty easy though as one of the all-time greatest Finnish high-scoring 1st Line Right Wingers spent 5 seasons as a defensive-minded 2nd Line Center for the Los Angeles Kings. Because that's just how the LA Kings rolled in the 1990s.
This is also how the LA Kings rolled in the 1990s.
Jari Kurri scored 1398 points in 1251 NHL games and was the all-time leading Finnish scorer until some young pentu named Teemu passed him last year. Much like Gretzky, Jari Kurri wasn't able to win the Cup again after leaving the Edmonton Oilers... but unlike a lot of players from the high-scoring 1980s, Kurri was able to adapt and become a great defensive player on the back half of his career.
And I think we'll all remember this lasting image of Jari Kurri's time in the NHL.
Americans are known throughout the world for being loud, obnoxious, idiotic and showing up for work unprepared while delivering an inferior product.
Short of Mark Parrish, there isn't one other American that has played for the LA Kings who is as loathed as Jeremy Roenick. Roenick's time as a King can only be described as the most American thing ever... fat, clueless and awful with money.
It's a shame that Puck Daddy is running this article in August instead of after the 2014 Winter Olympics... where it will be made clear to the world just exactly who the most amazing American to ever play for the LA Kings is.
Jon MF'ing Quick.
Mattias Norstrom was the Swedish Captain of the Los Angeles Kings for five seasons. He was cold, calculated, hairless and powerful. Sometimes these things just write themselves.
FYI, this is Mattias Norstrom smiling.
Now even though Tomas Sandstrom had more points as a Swede for the LA Kings... Sandstrom never got his own rally towel night...
...and we all know that's what it means to be a true Swede.
Alexander Frolov is the all-time leading Russian scorer for the Los Angeles Kings. He was an incredibly talented, lazy, and enigmatic forward. Sometimes these things just write themselves.
Now this is a tough one. You see, the last time there was a Winter Olympics, the Slovakian Hockey Team had more LA Kings Alumni than the LA Kings Fantasy Camp.
Ziggy Palffy, Pavol Demitra, Michal Handzus, Jozef Stumpel and Lubomir Visnovsky at one time or another have all been extremely beloved members of the LA Kings. But when Ziggy Palffy was traded to the LA Kings in 1999, it gave LA their first shot at a legitimate superstar player since Wayne Gretzky had left town a few years earlier.
I mean, seriously... is there anything more Slovakian than this:
Okay, maybe a plate of Halušky is the only thing
more Slovakian than Palffy from Visnovksy.
I don't think people realize the kind of numbers that Ziggy Palffy put up during the "dead-puck era."
And in true LA Kings fashion... Palffy was injured most of his time in LA and we never got a chance to see the player he could have been.
The closest Ziggy Palffy ever came to replacing Wayne Gretzky in LA.
I think we all know about the rich history of players from the Czech Republic that have skated for the Los Angeles Kings.
The only thing less impressive is this leaflet featuring Jewish Sports Legends.
Sure, Jaroslav Modry might be the all-time leading Czech scorer for the LA Kings... but you have to look at some anonymous internet comments from 2007 when he re-signed in LA to know just exactly how the fans felt about Modry.
Mid-2000s LA Kings fans, everybody!
Mid-2000s LA Kings players, everybody!
I think what sums up most accurately why Jaroslav Modry was the best player from the Czech Republic to play for the LA Kings is that he was also the worst player from the Czech Republic to play for the LA Kings.
Okay... maybe except for Roman Vopat.
REST OF THE WORLD CATEGORY
Again, an incredibly easy choice as the LA Kings are lucky enough to have the one player from the most fringe of hockey nations skating for their team.
I'm sorry... were you expecting someone else?
Since Detroit ran the only other NHL Slovenian player out of town, Anze Kopitar has once again regained his throne as the best Slovenian hockey player in the NHL, in North America, in Russia, and in... well Slovenia.
Anze Kopitar's impact on the nation of Slovenia is most apparent when you take a deeper look at the country's national hockey team roster:
@theroyalhalf Sneak Peek at Slovenia's roster: A. Kopitar G. Kopitar J. Kopitar S. Kopitar L. Kopitar ...and so on
— Jack Wilson (@JACKaWILSON) July 22, 2013
So there you have it... Anze Kopitar is the King of Slovenia. No actually... I'm pretty sure he is literally now the King of Slovenia.