Preview Professor: Marcel Madness!

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Forget the hoops. Forget the hardwood. The Royal Half has got you covered this month with Marcel Madness. While all eyes will be on the NCAA tournament, we are devoting our attention to Kings Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne. During his time with Los Angeles, from 1975 to 1987, he reached a number of important milestones in his career at various points in March.

In fact, Dionne has had so many momentous March moments that we felt it would be prudent to devise our own Marcel Madness bracket.

Marcel Madness

Some of these include reaching the 100-point mark in single seasons in 1979 and 1982.

Others were more significant, such as when he became the first player to score 400 goals in a Kings uniform on 19 March 1983 or when he registered his 1,000th point as a King in a 4-3 win over the Black Hawks on 11 March 1984.

What about when he suited up for his 1,000th career game on 24 March 1984, capping the evening celebrations with a goal and an assist?

Or better yet, when the Kings starched the Penguins 6-0 on 5 March 1985, Dionne’s offensive contributions made him the first player in NHL history to reach the centennial mark in a single season eight times.

1,500 points anyone? He reached that benchmark in a game against Calgary on 27 March 1985. At the time, he was just the third player in league history to notch that many career points.

March also conjures up memories of when Dionne’s time with the Kings came to an end. On 10 March 1987, he was traded to the New York Rangers along with Jeff Crossman in exchange for Tom Laidlaw and Bobby Carpenter.

Los Angeles Kings at Dallas Stars, 5:30PM

2015-16 Season Records: LAK 41-22-5 (1st in the Pacific); DAL 41-20-9 (1st in the Central)

Leading Scorers: Anze Kopitar (21G, 39A); Jamie Benn (34G, 43A)

With all the fuss about the Kings and Ducks facing the Capitals as a prospective Stanley Cup Final, I think we are overlooking one of the more intriguing playoff matchups. Granted, the Kings versus the Stars would only get us as far as the Western Conference Final, but how great would it be to see Dallas’ high-flying offense go up against Los Angeles’ grinding system. According to Hockey Analysis, the Stars are currently second in Goals For Per 60 (5 v 5) with 2.49 and the Kings lead in Goals Against Per 60, limiting opponents to 1.74. That combination would be…

Perfect Storm

the perfect storm.

The two franchises have met just once in the postseason, nearly fifty years ago in the 1968 playoffs, with the Minnesota North Stars edging the Kings in a seven-game series.

Prediction: Kings by 1

Boston Bruins at San Jose Sharks, 7:30PM

2015-16 Season Records: BOS 39-23-8 (1st in the Atlantic); SJS 38-24-6 (3rd in the Pacific)

Leading Scorers: Patrice Bergeron (28G, 33A); Joe Pavelski (32G, 34A)

Speaking of playoff previews. Here’s a preview of two playoff teams who will likely be eliminated in the first round of the postseason. There’s even less history to be had with this oceanic divisional matchup. The two clubs have only faced each other thirty-three times and the Sharks are a mediocre 6-8-2 at home when the Bruins come to town. Somehow making this game even less enticing is that, besides a 7-4 game in San Jose in the 2014-15 season, the previous four matchups have included scores of 1-0; 2-1; 2-1 (SO); 2-1.

Prediction: Sharks by 1

Last Minute of Play

Dionne is the Kings all-time leading scorer with 550 goals and 575 assists. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992 and sits sixth in league scoring with 1,771 points.

What’s your favorite Marcel Madness moment?

* History courtesy of “Today in Kings’ History”

Professor Prediction Record: 33-22

Professor Mike hails from Sudbury, Ontario (4 hours north of Toronto) a place that has more Kings connections than you’d think. The city’s northern boundary reaches as far as the community of Levack, hometown of Kings great Dave Taylor. As a child, Mike once met Taylor in a gravel pit, as you can imagine, he was thoroughly impressed. He has also spent more than a few bleary-eyed nights at the Beef n Bird, a tavern founded by Justin Williams’ great uncle Jerry Toppazzini. Mike’s only wish is that one day people will call him “the Professor” with the same adoration bestowed upon Ben Scrivens. You can follow Mike Commito on Twitter @MikeCommito.