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NHL Royalty: Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux Hold Court In Los Angeles

NHL royalty—Wayne Gretzky (left), Bobby Orr (center) and Mario Lemieux (right) spoke with the media prior to
the NHL 100 gala on January 27, 2017, in Los Angeles, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — In a packed conference room at the JW Marriot at L.A. Live in Downtown Los Angeles, National Hockey League royalty held court.

Indeed, three of the NHL’s aristocracy, Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr and Mario Lemieux, sat together at a dais to meet the media covering the NHL 100 gala, held at the Microsoft Theatre, also located at L.A. Live.

Yes, you read that right. Hockey’s three greatest players were together, and not just in the same vicinity. They were in the same room, seated next to each other.

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Things Are Looking Up Again For LA Kings F Prospect Adrian Kempe

LA Kings forward prospect Adrian Kempe (right), shown here during a game against the Charlotte Checkers at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California on December 3, 2016.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

ONTARIO, CA — When Frozen Royalty last looked in on Los Angeles Kings forward prospect Adrian Kempe almost two months ago, he was struggling mightily with the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League.

Indeed, the 20-year-old, 6-2, 202-pound native of Kramfors, Sweden had scored just three goals with two assists for five points in 16 games.

But now, with 36 games under his belt, Kempe has picked things up of late, scoring ten goals and contributing seven assists for 17 points, with a -4 plus/minus rating with 34 penalty minutes.

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LA Kings D Prospect Paul LaDue Is Still Turning Heads With AHL Ontario Reign

LA Kings Defenseman prospect Paul LaDue (left), shown here during a
game against the Charlotte Checkers at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California on December 3, 2016.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

ONTARIO, CA — When Frozen Royalty last checked in with Los Angeles Kings defenseman prospect Paul LaDue, he was busy turning a lot of heads at their training camp last October. In fact, he made such a strong impression that there was a little talk about him making the Kings opening night roster straight out of the University of North Dakota.

But this time, where there was smoke, there was no fire. The Kings assigned LaDue to the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League to start the 2016-17 season, and so far, the 24-year-old, 6-1, 186-pound native of Grand Forks, North Dakota has played in 32 games, scoring four goals and adding twelve assists for 16 points, with a even plus/minus rating and 18 penalty minutes.

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Former Oilers and LA Kings Legend Jari Kurri: One of the Best of All-Time

Former Los Angeles Kings great Jari Kurri
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Denis Brodeur via Getty Images and Los Angeles Kings

LOS ANGELES — Before arriving at Staples Center in Los Angeles on January 14, former Los Angeles Kings superstar and Hall of Famer Jari Kurri wondered if Kings fans would remember him.

Although the applause when he was introduced at center ice prior to the game against the Winnipeg Jets wasn’t exactly thunderous, it was apparent that he hasn’t been forgotten here in Los Angeles.

“I wasn’t sure that could happen because it was twenty years ago—the last time I was here,” he said. “It was a very nice, warm welcome.”

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Tomas Sandstrom: Arguably The Most Underrated Player In LA Kings History

Former LA Kings left wing Tomas Sandstrom
(click above to view larger image)
Photo courtesy Los Angeles Kings

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Kings held their annual Tip-A-King fundraiser on January 7, and former Kings winger Tomas Sandstrom, who the team honored prior to their game against the Minnesota Wild hours earlier, had a booth to himself where he could greet fans. But he spent most of the evening with his wife, Helena, and that’s about it.

Kings broadcasters Bob Miller and Nick Nickson visited with him, as did the few Kings alumni who were present. But fans visiting his booth for autographs and photos were very, very few and even farther between.

“It’s been too long,” I said to him. “Almost 24 years since the 1993 Stanley Cup run.”

“Yeah, time flies,” he said.

“Not enough older Kings fans are here,” I replied. “The majority of the current ones apparently have no idea who you are.”  Read more of this post