History’s Lessons. May 2012 Finish What 2001 and 1993 Could Not.

I love history. As an American History geek, I could talk to you about the 100 year period of 1770 to 1870 for hours. I am amazed how little Americans have learned from our own history and how often we repeat the mistakes of our past. When it comes to Kings history, there isn’t much to learn but far more to lament. The highlights have been few and far between. That is why you keep seeing highlights of the “Miracle on Manchester” which is now over 30 years old and the few playoff series that we have won. Our history doesn’t speak to greatness as much as it reads like a cautionary tale.

In our history of the past two decades, we have had two meaningful years – 1993 and 2001. 2001 was the year we eliminated the Detroit Red Wings in 6 games and then lost to Colorado in 7. Will you ever forget the egg we laid in game 7 against the Avalanche? Me neither. Will you ever forget Rob Blake lifting the Stanley Cup as an Avalanche? Yup, I know. It still angers me. But there was some success there and, at the time, it was a proud moment. The moment passed as did the short-lived success with which it came.

1993 was special. That series against Toronto that sent us to the Finals is forever burned into my mind. I can still take you through it game by game and, game 7, nearly shift by shift. Ah, fuck it, let’s re-live a little.

1993 was my greatest moment in L.A. Kings history, specifically, that series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. We came in as underdogs. We played like Kings and the greatest hockey player to ever play the game played like that title was beyond dispute. Watch and listen to the last 40 seconds of that video. Listen to Bob Miller’s voice. Does it choke you up a little? Me too.

Fast forward to 2012. A 3-1 lead against the heavily favored Vancouver Canucks, a team that most predicted would finish us in 6 and some claimed would be 5. 5…that is not respect. Now, it is game 5, except the pundits find themselves scratching their head and wondering what happened. I have told some of them what happened. Boys played like men, men played like Kings and overcame on the ice what cannot be calculated on paper. We have done in this series what we did in 2001 and in 1993. We over came the odds. But what have we really won? As of this minute? Nothing. If we eliminate Vancouver in game 5? A little but only in the sense we upset a favored team which, when history is written, will have little meaning compared to the rest of these playoffs and especially the Cup winner.

If our players have a sense of pride, not just in their own game, but that of the franchise for which they play and they want to be part of something that the L.A. Kings have not been able to call their own for over 40 years, they will play on Sunday and every game thereafter like they carry the pen to history’s pages and are able to give to a large and growing fan base something that no one else before them has – not even the greatest hockey player to ever play the game – immortality and a defining moment we will relish until the day we die.

Categories: L.A. Kings News

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21 replies

  1. Man, I miss Pat Conacher. Great video. Bob Miller’s voice cracking on Dave Taylor’s goal. Mike Connelly’s celebration on the go ahead goal in game 7. I can’t be objective about that series, it exists as a dream from my childhood. It is my favorite memory that I shared with my dad.

    I know it may be blind pride, or wishful thinking, but I get the same feeling about this team that I did about that one. This is a team that will carry themselves as giants. It’s going to happen.

    Go Kings!

  2. (sigh)…..we actually scored powerplay goals back then…

  3. Thanks for the 1993 footage! The 2012 Kings team should watch that video before they hit the ice on Sunday! Get the winning close out a series feeling going! GKG!

  4. Great video…….what a year…..boy Felix Potvin stayed well hydrated that series……

  5. I’m truly hoping we make new memories …………..

  6. Man that footage was awesome. I think what I love most about Gretzky is that he never looked surprised when he scored. He literally expected it so much that he didn’t need to celebrate.

    • I hope we score first Sunday and that we do not celebrate but race to line up for the next face off, that would TRULY strike fear into the nucks, Score and race to line up. No yays, no high fives, but a quick lineup.

  7. This brings back very fond memories of some of the best of times in Kings history where I had great times at the Forum watching a lot of that stuff.

    Back in those days, we fans could go to the Forum and have a true and solid expectation of winning against any opponent. We just knew with Gretzky, and the rest, they were so formidable and strong that the team could beat anybody at any given time. That is, there was a great amount of confidence in those days.

    As an aside, Blake in his early career sustained a major knee injury that put him out of action for a long time. I seem to remember he was out for about a year, and it took some time for him to regain his game. One downside to the Kings in that era was average to maybe above average goaltending. I always thought that was the missing piece to a really great team. For so many years, the Kings just could not get a reliable top of class goalie and it cost them.

    Following the Gretzky era, the simple fact came about that the league had so many great players and teams, the Kings were essentially mediocre. That was in general the year by year problem, namely, too many great players out there with great teams. The King teams being assembled year by year were just not stacking up with enough powerful and dominant talent, i.e. top of class “marquee” players.

    Now, the King team has much better talent to offer up, but, even so, there are just so many great players in this league that it is so tough to become and stay an elite team.

    I once spent some time a number of years ago to do an analysis of outstanding star players that the Kings passed in the years of drafting. It was amazing that in so many cases the Kings picked somebody that was mediocre or never made the team, while they passed on players that eventually were All Stars elsewhere. This was just not a few cases, but, I put together a list that was close to 20-30 players that the Kings passed on in the draft and they became big time effective players elsewhere. There was no question that the drafting for many years was sub standard and had a huge negative impact on the final product put out on the ice.

    Besides that problem, the Kings also gave away so many players that excelled elsewhere and went deep into the playoffs and in some cases won the cup.

    But now the present is much more positive for the team, but, still, the franchise is short a few high quality prospects in the minors. That has been a long term problem, where the franchise runs short of the future big time prospects for one reason or another. The usual reason has been poor drafting choices or giving away the prospects for a free agent or trade.

    Anyway, thanks for bringing back these memories, and with any good luck the current team can win and go deep into the playoffs where they give us a whole new set of memories and thrills.

    Go Kings Go!!

  8. I was only 5 at the Miracle on Manchester, I remeber it well though.
    Damn I miss the old forum.
    I grew up on games there, was there for the final game there too.

    My pops was a bouncer when I was born, Feb 24th 77, a 2-2 tie against Vancouver. I hold a deep hatered for them.

    But my pops counted my fingers and toes, then raced back to the forum, not for work, but to nab a Marcel Dionne Jersey signed, game stick and puck too. All proudly hanging on my wall to this day.

    My pops would take my mom to gave and she would sit with the players wives and girlfirends, and I would sway in her belly back and forth with the game.

    Now that I am grown, have kids of my own, I take my kids to as many games as possible. They have been staying up and sometime falling asleep to the games. They thrive on it.

    I cannot remember the last time I was this excited in the past decade going into a series. I am hoping and exprcting them to come out sticks a swinging, hits being finished and ending this set so they can rest and practice for the next.

    I am more optomistic and ore hopeful than I have been in a looooong time.

  9. i started watching hockey when i was 8 years old during the 1989-1990 season. Got free tickets from one of my moms co workers. First time to ever watch a game was live at the Forum against Calgary. Been a die hard ever since. Dave Taylor was my favorite player when i was a kid, and that goal he scored from the wing has been burned in my brain since the day he scored it. Seeing it in that video brought a little tear to my eye. Thanks Boys! Go Kings Go!

  10. Please win on Sunday. When the Kings lost on Wednesday, I literally was depressed for the rest of the night. A little too invested? Fuck yeah! Go Kings!

  11. I’ve been supporting the Kings since BEFORE the Miracle on Manchester — I was at that game. I was also at the Meltdown on Manchester against the Blues.

    Yes . . . o hockey gods! Let us become immortal! But if this series against the Canucks somehow goes south on us, then we’ll have an immortality of a different sort.

    Let’s first whup Vancouver. Then we can start talking about all the great memories to come.

  12. That just made me so pumped. All of it. Such a great feeling.

  13. Dialing back 20 years ago shows the major changes in the game. Look at all of the rule, ice configuration, equipment, and playing technique changes that have evolved. That was the era of “aggitation/instigation/goon” hockey. Five minute majors were common. Ejections from games were a badge of honor. There was one referee. The list goes on and on.

    Now, in this era, we see the up tiempo, concussions, speed, agility, shoot outs, 4 by 4 OT, etc., etc.

    The trend now is youth and systems and technique, where the new generation of players have to be super skilled with contemporary hockey style and rules. One has to wonder what will this sport look like in ten years, given all of the changes seen in the last 20 years.

    As for the Kings, this is their moment to put all of these new present day elements together to go deep into the playoffs. They have to keep finding a way to balance and juggle enough offense and then shut down defense and goal tending. I am so much more concerned if they can generate that sufficient offense, which they can in fact turn on to come back from behind in games, as well in playoff OT. The elite teams today really have those traits, of reversing scores, come backs, multiple ways to score and tenacious shut down defense.
    Since the trade deadline, they have proven that they can reach that elite status, but, it has to be in fact accomplished now on the ice. No more talk and other nonsense. Play, put up or shut up hockey is on the table now.


    • Yeah, it’s been well documented by me here that I have a major issue w DL’s obsession with hard nosed players who often lack either speed – skill or both. Particularly in OTs and all. That absolutely needs to change. He gave up a ton for Carter who has been accused of going missing in the playoffs. That had best not be the case this year or DL’S won’t look so shiny brite (or is it bright)?

  14. This is hard on my iPad. Takes some getting used to.

  15. Is brad Richardson tho generations mike donnelly ? All that speed and no finish

  16. All I have to say is with the way the season went did anyone ever imagine the position we would be in? If we can knock of the nucks, I like our chances against st. Louis.

    • It is okay being a die hard King fan, and a realist too on what can they really accomplish and achieve out on the ice. This season looked very bleak last fall and winter for all of the lousy reasons we know about. Yeah, that turn around where the team finally jelled and got some offensive life was amazing. That is why I am encouraged that they can beat anybody in single games, but, a whole series win is the bigger issue right now.
      That is what we are waiting to see, if they have the right stuff for series wins.
      The key is not to fall back into old patterns and tactics, but to keep alive all the effort and smarts that got them to this point.
      I just want them not to re-bottle that genie that was opened out of the bottle.

      • Great post Jocop. Agree about the difference between beating anyone on a given night and a
        Winning series as it isn’t the same thing. As Scribe pointed out; the stars have indisputably been all from Dave Taylor’s regime. This will really show whether or not Lombardi’s contribution has substance or if he’s riding on the coat tails of DT which I would have heretofore thought was impossible, but so far it’s the case. Penned and Carter teamed up on one big goal… And that’s great, but so far in four games that’s it.


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