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Kelly Hrudey Says Time With Los Angeles Kings Was His “Best Eight Years of Hockey”

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Includes exclusive video of an interview with former Los Angeles Kings goaltender Kelly Hrudey on March 8, 2013.


Kelly Hrudey
Photo courtesy CBC

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The blue bandana that so many remember him by is long gone, but fans of the Los Angeles Kings who go back to the time that Wayne Gretzky wore the team’s black, white and silver jersey with the “chevron” logo will remember goaltender Kelly Hrudey, who will be honored by the team during pre-game ceremonies tonight, when they host the Calgary Flames (7:00 PM PST, Staples Center).

Hrudey, now 52, expressed some embarrassment about tonight’s festivities.

“[It’s] kind of embarrassing,” he said. “Nobody thinks that when you see all the great players that have played in this organization that somehow they’re going to choose you, that you’re going to be honored. So I’m very, very excited, very humbled. It’s hard to put into words.”

“Kings President/Business Operations Luc [Robitaille, who was a teammate of Hrudey’s with the Kings] told me last year in the playoffs that they’re going to do something for me this year, and I thought, ‘that’s really cool,’” he added. “Then, when he called me in the summer and told me the date, if there was not going to be a lockout, then it really started to sink in that this is really cool.”

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Open Letter To The Hockey Hall of Fame: Address The Injustice and Induct Rogie Vachon

Rogie Vachon
Photo courtesy: Los Angeles Kings

LOS ANGELES — Over the last handful of years, I have written a few times about former Los Angeles Kings goaltender Rogie Vachon, who became the team’s first superstar after coming to the Kings from the storied Montreal Canadiens, where he won three Stanley Cup Championships.

In a word, Vachon was brilliant. Based on his record alone, he should have been a shoo-in to be inducted into the hallowed halls of the Hockey Hall of Fame (HHOF).

Despite that, Vachon remains on the outside looking in, primarily because those outside of the Los Angeles area rarely got to see him play—he never got the exposure in Canada or in Eastern Time Zone cities that he needed.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Vachon, or would like to know more, the following stories detail his accomplishments, and include comments from the man himself, based on exclusive interviews.

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Los Angeles Kings’ 2011 Late-Round Draft Picks Working To Beat Long Odds

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The National Hockey League Entry Draft is one huge crapshoot in terms of teams landing prospects who will make it to the NHL level to stay, let alone big stars, even for those who are lucky enough to be first round picks.

Left wing prospect Joel Lowry spoke to the media
during the Los Angeles Kings 2011 Development Camp
at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California,
July 11-12, 2011.
Photo: Gann Matsuda

For those who end up being selected in later rounds, the odds of making it to the NHL are much, much longer. Nevertheless, every so often, they not only make it to the NHL, but they thrive there.

The most notable cases in point among Kings draft picks (not including active NHL players) would be:

  • Butch Goring, Center (fifth round, 51st overall, 1969)
  • Billy Smith, Goaltender (fifth round, 59th overall, 1970)
  • Dave Taylor, Right Wing (15th round, 210th overall, 1975)
  • Mark Hardy, Defenseman (second round, 30th overall, 1979)
  • Bernie Nicholls, Center (fourth round, 73rd overall, 1980)
  • Kevin Stevens, Left Wing (sixth round, 108th overall, 1983)
  • Luc Robitaille, Left Wing (ninth round, 171st overall, 1984)
  • Rob Blake, Defenseman (fourth round, 70th overall, 1987)
  • Alexei Zhitnik, Defenseman (fourth round, 81st overall, 1991) Read more of this post

Lombardi’s Rebuilding Plan Making Unexpected Progress

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW – PART 3: Frozen Royalty is back with Part 3 from an exclusive interview with Los Angeles Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi. In this, the third and final installment, Lombardi discusses the Kings’ player development and evaluation infrastructure and the progress made in his rebuilding plan. And in case you missed parts one and two, you can read them here. Part 1: Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi Excited About Defense and Part 2: Lombardi Talks About Goaltending, Top Defenseman Prospects.


LOS ANGELES — For long-time fans of the Los Angeles Kings, the wait has been interminable.

Aside from one run to the Stanley Cup Finals led by Wayne Gretzky in 1992-93, the Kings have been a big disappointment, qualifying for the playoffs just twenty-two times in their forty-plus seasons in the National Hockey League but advancing past the second round just once.

To be sure, that is a rather dismal record filled with mediocrity.

A big reason for that long history of mostly lousy hockey has been their propensity for trading away first round draft picks for way-over-the-hill NHL stars who gave the Kings next to nothing. Meanwhile, the traded away draft picks were used to select future NHL stars such as defenseman Raymond Bourque, to name just one out of way too many who went on to lead their teams to great success, including a number of Stanley Cup championships. Read more of this post

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