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. Johnston believes Pouliot’s ready for NHL

    Sep 1, 2014, 2:55 PM EDT

    Derrick Pouliot Getty Images

    The new Penguins bench boss previously coached the young defenseman.

  2. Hitchcock: Cole has opportunity to be top-six defenseman

    Sep 1, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    Ian Cole Getty Images

    The 25-year-old has been fighting for playing time since he broke into the NHL.

  3. Yeo to split Wild’s first three preseason games among three goalies

    Sep 1, 2014, 12:10 PM EDT

    Josh Harding, Niklas Backstrom Josh Harding, Niklas Backstrom

    He might pick an opening game starter after that, but the battle for the top spot is likely to extend into the season.

  4. Five interesting players still on UFA market

    Sep 1, 2014, 10:46 AM EDT

    Ilya Bryzgalov Getty Images

    Will they have contracts by the start of the season?

  5. Boudreau thinks Heatley’s a better fit with Perry/Getzlaf than Penner

    Sep 1, 2014, 9:25 AM EDT

    Edmonton Oilers v Minnesota Wild Getty Images

    Last season’s experiment ended with Penner being traded.

  6. Trotz will still cheer for Preds ‘like crazy’

    Aug 31, 2014, 11:01 PM EDT

    Barry Trotz AP

    He continued to follow their summer moves after he was fired.

  7. Lombardi brings Stanley Cup to Snoopy

    Aug 31, 2014, 9:44 PM EDT

    Dean Lombardi AP

    The late creator of Peanuts was a big hockey fan.

  8. Columnist: Schultz deal might complicate Avs’ talks with RFA Barrie

    Aug 31, 2014, 8:26 PM EDT

    Tyson Barrie Getty Images

    The Colorado defenseman is still a restricted free agent.

  9. Scioscia wants MLB to adopt NHL-inspired roster expansion rules

    Aug 31, 2014, 7:03 PM EDT

    Mike Scioscia AP

    “I think that would make it a little more equitable for match-ups.”

  10. Hextall: Advanced statistics small, but meaningful part of Kings’ success

    Aug 31, 2014, 4:22 PM EDT

    Ron Hextall Getty Images

    He served as an assistant general manager in Los Angeles before coming to Philadelphia.

  11. Gagner looking for fresh start in Arizona

    Aug 31, 2014, 3:02 PM EDT

    Sam Gagner AP

    After matching a career-low in goals during the 2013-14 season, he’s hoping for big things with the Coyotes.

  12. Report: Devils sign Kelly

    Aug 31, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    Image (1) NewJerseyDevils_logo-thumb-250x243-22093.gif for post 6122

    Add depth to blue line in Albany.

  13. Hayes sees opportunity with Rangers

    Aug 31, 2014, 12:03 PM EDT

    Kevin Hayes Getty Images

    Hopes to play in the NHL in 2014-15.

  14. Bieksa confident changes have Canucks headed in right direction

    Aug 31, 2014, 10:33 AM EDT

    Kevin Bieksa Getty Images

    After missing the playoffs for the first time since 2007-08, he believes they’ll be back in the postseason in 2014-15.

  15. Leafs’ Kadri aims for more goals in contract year

    Aug 31, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Toronto Maple Leafs v Ottawa Senators Getty Images

    He’s emphasized a quick shot release the most.

  16. Sharks explain moving Burns back to the blueline

    Aug 31, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game Seven Getty Images

    GM Doug Wilson points out that he was acquired to be a “stud defenseman.”

  17. Looking to make the leap: Reid Boucher

    Aug 30, 2014, 11:10 PM EDT

    Florida Panthers v New Jersey Devils Getty Images

    Stefan Matteau is in the conversation, too.

  18. Oilers’ Schultz admits it’s too early for Norris talk

    Aug 30, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT

    Edmonton Oilers v Anaheim Ducks Getty Images

    His new deal earned more than a few critics.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. B. Bishop (1952)
  2. D. Alfredsson (1881)
  3. M. Fleury (1860)
  4. C. Anderson (1758)
  5. J. Schultz (1462)
  1. J. Boychuk (1365)
  2. D. Krejci (1362)
  3. D. Setoguchi (1350)
  4. E. Staal (1314)
  5. J. Harding (1210)