Luc Robitaille: The King Of Kings – Part One

The following is an updated story written for the Online Kingdom back on April 14, 2006, a few days after Los Angeles Kings left wing Luc Robitaille announced his retirement as a player. It is being re-published in honor of Robitaille’s induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame on November 9, 2009. To read part two, click on Luc Robitaille: The King Of Kings – Part Two.


EL SEGUNDO, CA — Back on April 3, 1995, the night that all-time Los Angeles Kings great Dave Taylor had his jersey number 18 retired by the club, this reporter wrote that he was the King of Kings, earning that right above other all-time Kings’ greats such as Marcel Dionne, Rogie Vachon and Wayne Gretzky.

“No Kings’ player had ever measured up to Taylor when it came to heart, the desire to excel and win and the ability and willingness to go into the corners and sacrifice his body for his team,” I wrote. “No other Kings’ player has ever come close to Taylor as far as leadership—on the ice and off—is concerned, [and] no Kings’ player has ever matched his relentless work ethic, his dedication to his team, the game of hockey and his community.”

To be sure, Taylor had earned the right to wear the crown as the King of Kings, and was a great standard bearer for the organization, both on and off the ice. But on Tuesday, April 11, 2006, the day that Kings all-time great left wing Luc Robitaille announced at a press conference that he would retire at the conclusion of the 2005-06 season, Taylor immediately abdicated the crown because his reign is over. Robitaille now wears the crown as new Kings of Kings. Read more of this post

Time To Right A Wrong: Hockey Hall of Fame Must Induct Rogie Vachon

COMMENTARY: On October 26, Montreal Gazette writer Dave Stubbs wrote a story on former Los Angeles Kings goaltender Rogie Vachon, “Honour Overdue For Ex-Habs Goalie Vachon.” To provide more of a Los Angeles Kings angle to the Vachon story, I decided to spruce up, update and re-publish a story I wrote way back in March, 1998 about Vachon, who should have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame years ago, but remains on the outside looking in.


RogieVachon03

Rogie Vachon
Photo: LA Kings

LOS ANGELES — Compared to many of today’s goalies who are six feet tall or more, former Los Angeles Kings’ superstar goalie Rogie Vachon is small by comparison, probably around 5-7 (I’m 5-9 and I am taller than Vachon). But despite his relatively small physical stature, Vachon’s place among National Hockey League goalies, past and present, looms large. Based on his performance throughout his sixteen-year NHL career, Vachon is clearly among the elite.

So why, then, has he not been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame (HHOF)?

When you look closely at the numbers, Vachon certainly deserves to be enshrined among his peers. No one can deny that he was one of the great goalies to ever play the game. Consider that:

In 1998, Vachon was fifth all-time in career wins with 355. Only Glenn Hall (407), Tony Esposito (423), Jacques Plante (434) and former Kings’ goalie Terry Sawchuk (447) had more (all are honored members of the HHOF). Twelve HHOF goalies had Read more of this post

Jeremy Roenick: One Black Mark On An Otherwise Stellar Career

COMMENTARY: Forward Jeremy Roenick announced his retirement from the National Hockey League on August 6, 2009, ending a stellar NHL career that spanned twenty years and will earn him induction into the hallowed halls of the Hockey Hall of Fame as soon as he is eligible. But there is one nagging little thing that, especially to the chagrin of Los Angeles hockey fans, no one is talking about…


LOS ANGELES — At a press conference on August 6, San Jose Sharks forward Jeremy Roenick announced his retirement from the National Hockey League, ending a glorious NHL career that saw him don the jerseys of the Chicago Blackhawks, Phoenix Coyotes, Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings and the Sharks.

In that twenty-year span, Roenick scored 513 goals and contributed 703 assists for 1,216 points with 1,463 penalty minutes in 1,363 regular-season games. The only American-born players who have scored more goals are Mike Modano and Keith Tkachuk.

In the playoffs, Roenick scored 53 goals and tallied 69 assists for 122 points with 115 penalty minutes in 154 games, although the Stanley Cup would elude him.

In international play, Roenick represented the United States at the 1998 and 2002 Olympic Games (won the silver medal in 2002). He also played in the 1992 Canada Cup, World Championships (1991, runner-up) and World Junior Championships (1988 and 1989).

Roenick, easily one of the greatest US-born players to ever play the game and who will undoubtedly be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, should be proud of what he accomplished in his twenty years in the NHL. Read more of this post

LA Kings Luc Robitaille Officially Becomes One Of The All-Time Greats

TORONTO — On June 23, former Los Angeles Kings left wing Luc Robitaille was named to the 2009 class that will be inducted into the Hockey Hall Of Fame on November 9, 2009, in Toronto.

Along with Robitaille, Brett Hull, Brian Leetch and Steve Yzerman were named in the players category, while New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello was named in the builders category.

Robitaille, the highest scoring left wing in National Hockey League history and the all-time Kings leader in goals, played in 1,431 career regular season games with the Kings, Detroit Red Wings (where he won a Stanley Cup in 2002), New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins. “Lucky” scored 668 goals and added 726 assists for 1,394 points over his 19-year NHL career.

In 159 playoff games, Robitaille scored 58 with 69 assists for 127 points. Read more of this post

Indulge Me For A Few Moments

LOS ANGELES — I hope you will indulge me for a few minutes as I get a bit personal here.

Way back in the late 1980’s, well before the Internet was known as the Internet, I wrote my first recap of a Los Angeles Kings game.

That was a little over twenty years ago and it was nothing close to a solid piece of journalism. The “story” was written and posted on the long-defunct GEnie online service, once owned and operated by General Electric, back in the days of electronic bulletin boards and 2400 baud dial-up modems (thankfully, I never had to use a 300 baud modem).

Back then, just for fun, I was writing up my observations of each game along with detailed descriptions of each scoring play. My game reports had a fairly decent following and eventually found their way onto the National VideoTex Network online service (also defunct long ago).

About the same time, Kings fan Stan Willis, who was in Long Beach, California at the time, was running an e-mail list (often, but inaccurately, referred to as a “listserve”) devoted to the Kings and in between all the messages from subscribers discussing the team, just as you would find today on message boards on the World Wide Web, Willis posted detailed statistics that were hard to find in those days.

I joined up and started posting my game reports to the list and they were a pretty big hit. Eventually, the list grew and moved to another server at Stanford University, courtesy of then-Stanford undergraduate Nelson Lu. After he graduated, Chuq Von Rospach gave the list a home on his servers at plaidworks.com.

It was during this period that I began to polish up my act, so to speak, working to view the Kings as objectively as possible and reflect that in my writing, trying to adhere to the same standards that any journalist would and my writing benefitted from it. Read more of this post

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 147 other followers