May 24, 2012, 11:21 AM EDT
Over at the L.A. Times, longtime NHL scribe Helene Elliott caught up with the catalyst of the last Kings team to make the Stanley Cup finals: Wayne Gretzky.
No. 99, who currently resides in L.A., said he’s thoroughly enjoyed the Kings’ postseason and plans on attending the their first home game on June 4 — the first time a Stanley Cup finals game will be played in L.A. in 19 years.
“It’s been unreal what they’ve done and what they’ve accomplished so far,” he said. “It’s been fun to watch. It’s been spectacular. They’ve been without question the best team in the Western Conference in the first three rounds of the playoffs and they deserve the accolades they’re getting. It’s no fluke.”
Some other nuggets from the Great One:
– He heaped huge praise on Darryl Sutter and loves the way Sutter tweaked Terry Murray’s defensive gameplan with more aggressive forechecking and puck pursuit (which, if you’ve watched the Kings at all these playoffs, looks like a bunch of starved dogs going after a bone.)
– While he doesn’t want to mess with tradition, Gretzky thinks the NHL could revise the Jack Adams process. “You look at changing the coach of the year award and picking it after the Stanley Cup playoffs and not before the playoffs start, I think [Sutter] would win in a landslide.”
– Gretzky thinks the current Kings are a “much better team than we were in ’93.” He has a point, especially when it comes to opponents. That Kings team finished 39-35-10 — 88 points, and caught some lucky breaks along the way: Chicago, the West’s top seed, lost in Round 1 to St. Louis. Same went for the No. 2 seed, Detroit, who lost to Toronto.
A far cry from the 2011-12 Kings, who knocked off the No. 1 (Vancouver), No. 2 (St. Louis) and No. 3 (Phoenix) seeds by themselves en route to the Cup final.
May 24, 2013, 12:59 PM EDT
The postgame comment that just won’t go away.
May 24, 2013, 12:40 PM EDT
The Red Wings’ star may go back to Russia after next season.
May 24, 2013, 11:48 AM EDT
Back in Vegas next year.
May 24, 2013, 11:15 AM EDT
Rare criticism for the Blackhawks’ captain.
May 24, 2013, 10:36 AM EDT
SKA Saint Petersburg would be the club.
May 24, 2013, 9:52 AM EDT
“(He’s) a hell of a hockey player.”
May 24, 2013, 9:02 AM EDT
He’s excited about the Avalanche’s future, but he also has other considerations.
May 24, 2013, 8:06 AM EDT
The match will start at 7:30 p.m. ET.
May 24, 2013, 7:16 AM EDT
Friday’s collection of links.
May 24, 2013, 3:04 AM EDT
Typically, this is called.
May 24, 2013, 2:46 AM EDT
On the brink of elimination.
May 24, 2013, 2:28 AM EDT
Remember when he took the blame for first two losses against St. Louis?
May 24, 2013, 2:01 AM EDT
Second goal in 27 games.
May 24, 2013, 1:24 AM EDT
Home team has won every game in this series.
May 24, 2013, 12:28 AM EDT
“Something’s got to give,” Jonathan Toews said.
May 24, 2013, 12:25 AM EDT
Officially sidelined since Feb. 14 due to what GM Mike Gillis cited as safety concerns.
May 23, 2013, 11:44 PM EDT
Something you don’t see every game.
May 23, 2013, 11:23 PM EDT
‘We’ve had streaks before,” he said.
May 23, 2013, 11:10 PM EDT
Three straight penalties, still zero goals in the playoffs.
May 23, 2013, 11:01 PM EDT
Detroit wins again.
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- Discuss: Red Wings take 3-1 series lead 56
- Discuss: Rangers stay alive with OT win 80
- What they’re saying about the Avs hiring Patrick Roy 6
- It’s official: Colorado names Roy sixth head coach in franchise history 52
- Couture accuses Kings captain Brown of diving 38
- Three reasons why the Rangers might buy out Richards 26
- Richards made a healthy scratch for Game 4 35
- Report: NHLPA director Fehr wants to address issue of fighting (113)
- Question for commenters: What, if anything, needs to be done about the officiating? (101)
- Discuss: Bruins rally in third, take 3-0 series lead (99)
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- Video: Crosby scores hat trick, hits playoff milestone against Senators (91)
- Live Extra: Watch coverage of Carb Day at Indy
- PHT: Senators fight for playoff lives in Game 5
- Struggling Blackhawks on brink of elimination
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- PHT: Kings defend home ice, up 3-2 | Highlights
- PBT: Hibbert says Battier's knee to groin intentional