Streaking Through Time

Saturday afternoon I headed to Staples Center with Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy, Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy Father-In-Law and our friend Jesse. HSTHB Father-In-Law is a big Kings fan, but for the last 2 seasons, he hasn’t bought a ticket package. HSTHB bought the ticket for his Father-In-Law as a birthday present, but when he purchased the ticket, we had no idea that the 4 of us would have the possibility of being part of Los Angeles Kings history, as the Kings could set a franchise record with a 9th straight win. And when the Detroit Red Wings took a 3-0 lead in the first period… we were pretty sure we weren’t going to witness Kings history. But you see, in November of 2007, HSTHB Father-In-Law went to a Kings-Dallas Stars game with his lovely wife. When the Kings were down 4-0 after 2 periods, they decided to head home. The Kings would storm back to a 6-5 overtime victory which has earned the nickname “The Royal Rebound” amongst Kings fans. If anyone had the hope that the Kings would win this game against the Red Wings, it was HSTHB Father-In-Law… because he sure wasn’t leaving early this time.

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I want Michal Handzus to play for the Kings forever.

Kings 4, Red Wings 3, Kings History, Made

So the Los Angeles Kings win their 9th game in a row and beat the franchise record set by the Wayne Gretzky led 1991-1992 team. (Yes, I know the 1972-1973 team also won 8 in a row, but we are talking modern Kings era here!) It was great that Kings came back to win after being down 3-0… and even better that it was against the hated Detroit Red Wings. The Red Wings really have been the Kings nemesis over the past 10 years, but at least this fan has found a great way to love both teams.

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I was kinda hoping she’d have split the Kings and Penguins.

With the 9 game winning streak taking its place in the Hall of Records for the 2009-2010 Los Angeles Kings, I thought it would be a good idea to look back at the 1991-1992 Kings team and see just how much had changed. Check it out after the jump.

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“Marty! We’ve got to back in time!
You see, Wayne Gretzky… he becomes an owner in the Phoenix Coyotes. It’s horrible!”

“Doc! Doc! There’s no hockey in Arizona, what are talking about?!”

“Just get in the damn DeLorean, Marty. I just don’t understand…
…I built a time machine for christsakes, you think you could trust me for once
and not push back so much!”

The 1991-1992 Los Angeles Kings were 24-24-13 on February 23rd, 1992 when they began their franchise tying 8 game winning streak. When the streak ended against the Hartford Whalers on March 11th, 1992, the Kings were 32-24-13 and this winning streak enabled them to finish in 2nd place in the Smythe Division, 2 points ahead of the Edmonton Oilers.

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Oh Clarence Campbell, how I miss you so.

Now, the 91-92 Kings is a team that I was very familiar with as I was 16 years old and at the height of my Kings fanaticism. Don’t believe me? Well, I think this photo with Bernie Nichols would beg to differ!

me and bernie copy

If you look closely, I’m wearing a Kings pin and a Calgary Flames pin with a black bar over it.
The Kings were playing the Flames in the playoffs when this photo was taken.
I have no idea why Bernie wasn’t in New York playing for the Rangers at the time.

I thought it would be a fun time to look at the 1991-1992 Kings team and the current 2009-2010 Kings team and find players who mirrored each other from both squads.

FORWARDS

1992: Wayne Gretzky

74 GMS 31 G 90 A 121 PTS

Love him or hate him… (although if you do hate him you are an idiot) Wayne Gretzky was hockey in Los Angeles during his 8 seasons in LA. Believe it or not, Gretzky’s 121 points in 91-92 were his lowest non-injury point totals during his Kings tenure.

2010 COUNTERPART: Anze Kopitar

58 GMS 26 G 35 A 61 PTS

While Kopitar will never be the prolific scorer that Wayne Gretzky was (not sure if anyone will actually) Kopitar is by far the offensive leader on this current Kings club. And with his 7 year, 6.8 million per contract kicking in this season, Kopitar will be hanging around in Los Angeles much longer than Gretzky did. Unless GM Dean Lombardi trades Anze for Craig Johnson, Roman Vopat, Patrice Tardiff and a 5th round pick in 1996 (which was either Jesse Black or Peter Hogan, McSwarley would probably know the answer to this, but in either case neither of them made the NHL) and a 1st round pick in 1997 (Matt Zultek, who never signed with the Kings and then was re-drafted in 99 by the Boston Bruins… and still never made the NHL). I don’t see Dean Lombardi making that trade any day soon.

1992: Luc Robitaille

80 GMS 44 G 63 A 107 PTS

Currently the Kings’ President of Business Operations, Robitaille is better known for appearing in awful Carl’s Jr. commercials. Oh and for the 557 goals he scored as a Los Angeles King after being a 9th round draft pick that people though would never make it in the NHL.

2010 COUNTERPART: Brad Richardson

57 GMS 7 G 13 A 20 PTS

Now, I’m in no way making the connection that Brad Richardson is anywhere near the offensive talent that Robitaille was… but much like Luc… Richardson was an afterthought. Drafted in the 5th round by the Colorado Avalanche, Richardson came to the Kings in 2008 for a 2nd round draft pick because there was something in this guy that GM Dean Lombardi saw. I absolutely HATED Richardson during his first season with the Kings… but now he’s playing on the first line with confidence and his game is a complete 180 degrees from where it once was. And I love him. In a really uncomfortable way.

1992: Tony Granato

80 GMS 39 G 29 A 68 PTS

Gritty, dirty and American. And perhaps the wearer of one of the NHL’s biggest helmets.

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2010 COUNTERPART: Dustin Brown

58 GMS 14 G 26 A 40 PTS

Gritty, dirty and American. And perhaps the owner of one of the NHL’s biggest helmets.

(WARNING: DEFINITELY NSFW. Mom and Dad… this means DON’T click on the link!)

1992: Jari Kurri

73 GMS 23 G 37 A 60 PTS

A player that came to the Kings on the back-half of his career. Of course he was Gretzky’s buddy, but Kurri was also a proven winner who was brought to the Kings to help get them to the Stanley Cup.

2010 COUNTERPART: Ryan Smyth

43 GMS 18 G 18 A 36 PTS

A player that came to the Kings on the back-half of his career, but due to his amazing mullet, it’s quite a back-half. Smyth has done everything the Kings have asked of him this season… be a mentor to the young Kings… elevate Anze Kopitar’s game… and look great during warmups with his hair flowing in the wind. There is no coincidence that the Kings recent winning ways started around the same time Smyth returned from his rib injury.

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Flow, hair. Flow.

1992: Mike Donnelly

80 GMS 29 G 16 A 45 PTS

Mike Donnelly was an unsung hero. He could chip in on offense but was relied upon more for his penalty killing and defensive play.

2010 COUNTERPART: Michal Handzus

58 GMS 15 G 18 A 33 PTS

Now a good 3 years removed from his knee injury, Handzus is back to being the player he once was. A solid defensive player with a great offensive flair for the dramatic. During this winning streak, Handzus has been on fire with 8 points over the 9 wins, including back to back 3 point games. King fans are now officially in love with this guy, and the chants of “Zeeeuuuussss” fill up the Staples Center more and more each game.

1992: Bob Kudelski

80 GMS 22 G 21 A 43 PTS

Kudelski burst onto the Kings scene with 3 consecutive seasons of 20+ goals, including 21 goals in the 91-92 season. But Kudelski was an enigmatic player who seemed to float a lot and was then traded the next season.

2010 COUNTERPART: Alexander Frolov

57 GMS 13 G 23 A 36 PTS

SEE: KUDELSKI, BOB

1992: Tomas Sandstrom

49 GMS 17 G 22 A 39 PTS

Sandstrom was an incredibly talented power forward who was known for his great goal scoring (45 goals in 90-91!) but also for his injuries. Sandstrom never played a full NHL season and for most of his career averaged around 50 games per season.

2010 COUNTERPART: Justin Williams

33 GMS 8 G 16 A 24 PTS

Justin Williams has played 2 full NHL season during his 11 year career. And he scored 30 goals in both those seasons. Since then, he’s been a delicate flower… showing incredible promise this season on the Kings first line… only to suffer yet another horrific leg injury.

1992: Corey Millen

46 GMS 20 G 21 A 41 PTS

Generously listed at 5’7″, Corey Millen was the definition of “spark plug” both in energy and physical stature.

2010 COUNTERPART: Oscar Moller

30 GMS 2 G 2A 4 PTS

Generously listed at 5’10″ (there is no f’ing way Oscar Moller is 5’10″… maybe while on skates and standing on top of Teddy Purcell) this punchy young Swede has won the hearts of Kings fan for taking a beating nightly while trying to play with the grown-ups.

1992: Dave Taylor

77 GMS 10 G 19 A 29 PTS

2010 COUNTERPART: Jarret Stoll

49 GMS 12 G 23 A 35 PTS

I don’t really have any comparison for Dave Taylor and Jarret Stoll… I was just out of forwards to match up. Maybe they are both good at faceoffs and have both banged supermodels? (EDITOR NOTE: It has not been proved that Dave Taylor ever banged a supermodel.)

1992: Jay Miller

67 GMS 4 G 7 A 11 PTS

Jay Miller was much better protection for Wayne Gretzky than Marty McSorley. Miller could actually fight.

2010 COUNTERPART: Raitis Ivanans

51 GMS 0 G 0 A 0 PTS

Ivanans isn’t paid to score goals. He’s paid to do this:

Not much has changed in 18 years, huh?

1992: Jim Thomson

45 GMS 1 G 2A 3 PTS

Jim Thomson was a big bruising winger who once had 360 penalty minutes during a minor league season. (Jeez, how many fighters did this 91-92 Kings team need?)

2010 COUNTERPART: Brandon Segal

24 GMS 1 G 1A 2 PTS

Brandon Segal is a big bruising winger who once had 124 penalty minutes during a minor league season. (What a wuss!)

1992: Scott Bjugstad

22 GMS 2 G 4 A 6 PTS

Scott’s first name is Scott.

2010 COUNTERPART: Scott Parse

46 GMS 8 G 13 A 21 PTS

Scott’s first name is Scott.

1992: Ilkka Sinisalo

3 GMS 0 G 1 A 1 PT

A two-time 30 goal scorer for the Flyers who then came to the Kings and was a complete bust.

2010 COUNTERPART: Teddy Purcell

41 GMS 3 G 3 A 6 PTS

A complete bust for the Kings who will be traded to the Islanders and become a 30 goal scorer.

DEFENSE

1992: Rob Blake

57 GMS 7 G 13 A 20 PTS

Although Rob Blake was injured for most of 91-92, it was just the 2nd season of his soon to be Hall of Fame career. It took Blake 8 seasons to win a Norris Trophy as best defenseman in the NHL.

2010 COUNTERPART: Drew Doughty

58 GMS 11 G 31 A 42 PTS

Drew is currently playing in the 2nd season of his soon to be Hall of Fame career. Doughty will be winning his first Norris Trophy at the conclusion of the current NHL season. And then continue to win them for 8 seasons.

1992: Larry Robinson

56 GMS 3 G 10 A 13 PTS

Robinson was brought from Montreal to Los Angeles to be a steady mentor to the bumper crop of young defensemen that the Kings had (Rob Blake, Darryl Sydor, Peter Ahola, Brent Thompson). 91-92 was this NHL Hall of Famer’s last in the NHL and he went on to coach the Kings for 4 season in 1995.

2010 COUNTERPART: Sean O’Donnell

54 GMS 2 G 9 A 11 PTS

O’Donnell was brought from Anaheim to Los Angeles to be a steady mentor to the bumper crop of young defensemen that the Kings have (Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson, Davis Drewiske). This will probably be (and let’s face it, should be) the last season of O’Donnell’s NHL career and when Mark Hardy gets hired away to coach an NHL team, my bet is O’Donnell will step into his place.

1992: Marty McSorley

71 GMS 7 G 22 A 29 PTS

More style than any substance, McSorley was a below-average defenseman,  an average fighter and an above-average hit with the ladies during his time in Los Angeles.

2010 COUNTERPART: Jack Johnson

56 GMS 6 G 18 A 24 PTS

Hailed as the 2nd coming of NHL defensemen since he was drafted #3 overall in 2005, it might be time to start admitting that even though JJ is quite good (good enough to make Team USA) he may never be the NHL stud he was thought to once be. I’m sure Dean Lombardi has a few things to say about it.

1992: Charlie Huddy

56 GMS 4 G 19 A 23 PTS

Steady, not flashy defenseman that came to the Kings from Edmonton. Loves Hall and Oates.

2010 COUNTERPART: Matt Greene

54 GMS 2 G 6 A 8 PTS

Steady, not flashy defenseman that came to the Kings from Edmonton. Also loves Hall and Oates.

1992: Tim Watters

37 GMS 0 G 7 A 7 PTS

Tim Watters was a traditional stay-at-home defenseman who got the job done when needed. Rumored to currently be wearing a hair piece.

2010 COUNTERPART: Rob Scuderi

49 GMS 0 G 7 A 7 PTS

Rob Scuderi is a well-paid, traditional stay-at-home defenseman who gets the job done when needed. He currently is the piece.

1992: Paul Coffey

10 GMS 1 G 4 A 5 PTS

Coffey was traded to Los Angeles late in the 91-92 season and only played 10 games for the Kings. (Was there a trading deadline back then?) He was then flipped to Detroit the following season after 50 games. Sure, he’s an NHL Hall of Famer… but let’s be honest… all he’s pretty much known for is his offensive. To say Coffey was a defensive liability was putting it lightly.

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Only 60 games in a Kings jersey didn’t stop this dude from buying one.

2010 COUNTERPART: Randy Jones

27 GMS 5 G 9 A 14 TPS

To say that Randy Jones isn’t known for anything more than his offensive potential is the probably most accurate statement you can make. This guy should be dressed just for Power Plays.

1992: Darryl Sydor

18 GMS 1 G 5 A 6 PTS

Darryl Sydor played 18 games as a 19 year old for the Kings in 91-92 (don’t you feel old now!) and was part of the young crop of defensemen that would play for the Kings over the next few years. Sydor went on to have a long career as a decent NHL defenseman and even won 2 Stanley Cups. Apparently he is still playing in the NHL for the Blues at age 37. (Crap, I feel old now.)

2010 COUNTERPART: Davis Drewiske

38 GMS 1 G 7 A 8 PTS

Although he’s 25, Drewiske is one of the more inexperienced of the Kings young defensemen. His play is pretty unremarkable and so this entry about him.

1992: Peter Ahola

71 GMS 7 G 12 A 19 PTS

Peter Ahola had a solid rookie season for the Kings, then next season he was traded to Pittsburgh and then Pittsburgh traded him to the Tampa Bay Lighting who then traded him to Calgary. Ahola then packed his bags, said “fuck this” and went home to Finland. What’s that? Don’t believe Peter Ahola ever played for the Kings?

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The Internet FTW!!

2010 COUNTERPART: Peter Harrold

35 GMS 1 G 2 A 3 PTS

Peter Harrold will probably play with at least 7 different NHL teams before his career ends. And then he’ll say “fuck this” and go home to Ohio.

GOALIES

1992: Kelly Hrudey

60 GMS 26-17-13

Hrudey was on duty every night as he gave the Kings the consistent goaltender they’d been looking for since the days of Rogie Vachon. (Which, let’s be honest Kings fans… he wasn’t all that great. Most wins in a season with the Kings was 27 and the year the Kings went to the Cup finals, he was 18-21. But I still loved the guy!)

2010 COUNTERPART Jonathan Quick

53 GMS 34-16-3

Quick has given the Kings the consistent goaltender they’ve been looking for since the days of Rogie Vachon.

1992: Daniel Berthiaume

19 GMS 7-10-1

The dude that backed up Kelly Hrudey. And was eventually replaced by Robb Stauber.

2010 COUNTERPART: Erik Ersberg

7 GMS 2-3-0

The dude that backs up Jon Quick. And will eventually be replaced by Jonathan Bernier.

So there you have it. One player from the 1991-1992 Los Angeles Kings squad that tied a franchise record with 8 straight wins and their counterpart from the current 2009-2010 Kings team that just won it’s 9th in a row. Wait… did I forget someone?

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UNCOMPARABLE: Wayne Simmonds

54 GMS 14 G 21 A 35 PTS

Soon to be the best Wayne to ever play for the LA Kings and unable to be compared to any that might have come before him. Check out Rudy Kelly’s awesome post that breaks down some amazing stats about everyone’s favorite bad-ass King, Wayne Simmonds.

Oh and if this Kings Splash Page doesn’t get you excited… what does?

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Of course, I’m talking about the Kings $28,000 donation to the Red Cross.

The Royal Half has been a Los Angeles Kings fan since 1988 and a Half-Season Ticket Holder since 2002. He has seen the following goaltenders play in person for the Los Angeles Kings… Kelly Hrudey, Grant Fuhr, Byron Dafoe, Jamie Storr, Stephane Fiset, Felix Potvin, Cristobal Huet, Roman Cechmanek, Mathieu Garon, Adam Hauser, Jason LaBarbera, Barry Brust, Sean Burke, Dan Cloutier, Yutaka Fukufuji, Jean-Sebastien Aubin, Erik Ersberg, Jonathan Bernier, Jonathan Quick, Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones.You can follow The Royal Half on Twitter @TheRoyalHalf.