Skip to content

Gretzky impressed by Kings: “They’re a much better team than we were in ’93”

May 24, 2012, 11:21 AM EDT

Wayne Gretzky AP

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Where to next? Arcobello poised to test UFA market

    Jun 29, 2015, 10:55 PM EDT

    Anaheim Ducks v Arizona Coyotes Anaheim Ducks v Arizona Coyotes

    He played with four different NHL teams last season.

  2. B’s GM Sweeney a lightning rod for criticism

    Jun 29, 2015, 10:31 PM EDT

    Don Sweeney AP

    It’s not all about the Zac Rinaldo trade, although that certainly didn’t help.

  3. VandeVelde signs two-year extension with Flyers

    Jun 29, 2015, 9:29 PM EDT

    Chris VandeVelde Getty Images

    He establish himself with the team after years of work primarily in the AHL.

  4. Sharks agree to five-year deal with Brenden Dillon

    Jun 29, 2015, 8:26 PM EDT

    Brenden Dillon Getty Images

    San Jose still has an opening on its blueline.

  5. Canucks hand Markstrom two-year, $3.1 mil deal

    Jun 29, 2015, 8:00 PM EDT

    Jacob Markstrom Getty Images

    He’ll start the season as Vancouver’s backup goaltender.

  6. Riley Nash, Yannick Weber among those without qualifying offers

    Jun 29, 2015, 7:40 PM EDT

    Yannick Weber Getty Images

    They are now set to become unrestricted free agents.

  7. Vancouver signs Linden Vey to one-year extension

    Jun 29, 2015, 6:43 PM EDT

    Linden Vey Getty Images

    He’ll reportedly earn $1 million next season.

  8. Agent: Franson has spoken with ‘half a dozen’ teams (Updated)

    Jun 29, 2015, 6:40 PM EDT

    Vancouver Canucks v Nashville Predators Vancouver Canucks v Nashville Predators

    Toronto, Calgary and Pittsburgh are amongst the teams, which have reached out.

  9. Your 2015 HHOF Class: Fedorov, Housley, Lidstrom, Pronger, Ruggiero

    Jun 29, 2015, 5:13 PM EDT

    Detroit Red Wings v Philadelphia Flyers Getty Images

    Bill Hay and Peter Karmanos Jr. are also going in as builders.

  10. NHLPA reviewing Richards situation, determining course of action

    Jun 29, 2015, 4:27 PM EDT

    Mike Richards Getty Images

    Also inside is information about the potential cap recapture situation the Kings might be stuck with.

  11. What’s next for Mike Richards and the Kings?

    Jun 29, 2015, 3:25 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers Getty Images

    Processing Monday’s surprising termination.

  12. Sens’ Chiasson headed for arbitration

    Jun 29, 2015, 2:05 PM EDT

    Ottawa Senators v Philadelphia Flyers Getty Images

    The 24-year-old’s three-year, $2.7 million deal is set to expire on Wednesday.

  13. Pricey Platoon? Stars reportedly sign Niemi for three years, $13.5M

    Jun 29, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    Antti Niemi, AP

    If accurate, that’s $10.4M between Niemi and Kari Lehtonen.

  14. Report: Blackhawks sign Rundblad to a two-year, $2 million extension

    Jun 29, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT

    2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game One Getty Images

    The 24-year-old was a pending restricted free agent.

  15. Report: Oduya is already pondering offers, won’t wait for Chicago

    Jun 29, 2015, 1:08 PM EDT

    Johnny Oduya AP

    He should draw plenty of free agent interest.

  16. Hodgson, Stalberg placed on unconditional waivers

    Jun 29, 2015, 12:40 PM EDT

    Cody Hodgson Buffalo

    Both players can be bought out on Tuesday, if they clear.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. D. Hamilton (1960)
  2. R. O'Reilly (1877)
  3. C. Talbot (1818)
  4. R. Lehner (1561)
  5. S. Gagner (1561)
  1. M. Lucic (1465)
  2. E. Etem (1421)
  3. K. Letang (1338)
  4. C. McDavid (1321)
  5. M. Richards (1299)