May 24, 2012, 11:21 AM EST
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.
Nov 23, 2014, 2:30 AM EST
L.A. has won only once away from Staples Center this season.
Nov 23, 2014, 1:34 AM EST
Edmonton lost 7-1 on home ice. Six straight losses.
Nov 23, 2014, 1:01 AM EST
Nov 23, 2014, 12:28 AM EST
Washington lost out on a chance for three straight wins.
Nov 23, 2014, 12:01 AM EST
These teams play against Dec. 27.
Nov 22, 2014, 11:23 PM EST
Struggling is an understatement.
Nov 22, 2014, 10:56 PM EST
Meanwhile, Edmonton at risk of losing six straight.
Nov 22, 2014, 10:26 PM EST
Nov 22, 2014, 9:56 PM EST
New York takes both games of home-and-home set with Pittsburgh.
Nov 22, 2014, 9:23 PM EST
Difficult news for Washington.
Nov 22, 2014, 9:13 PM EST
Nov 22, 2014, 8:53 PM EST
Dealt with injury last season.
Nov 22, 2014, 8:32 PM EST
Fight didn’t last long.
Nov 22, 2014, 8:17 PM EST
“This is the biggest thing I’ve ever seen in my life with Toronto.”
Nov 22, 2014, 7:38 PM EST
Dallas has moved a trio of blue liners recently.
Nov 22, 2014, 7:09 PM EST
“Let the referees do their job, we’ll do our job.”
Nov 22, 2014, 6:31 PM EST
The St. Louis defender had an assist on the eventual winner.
Nov 22, 2014, 5:55 PM EST
Conflicting ideas on whether it was a fight or not.
Nov 22, 2014, 5:27 PM EST
In the rain, too, apparently.
Nov 22, 2014, 4:55 PM EST
“They embarrassed us pretty good in their building.”
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