Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

All-Time LA Kings Hockey Team, '91-Present

Here's an idea we had kicked around a few months ago that I'm just getting to now. Hey, you get what you pay for. Anyway, we here at Battle of California thought it'd be fun to comprise a all-time all-star team for your enjoyment and also because we're bored. Obviously it'd be unfair if I were allowed to choose from the entire history of the Kings, so it was decided that I would only select from the creation of the San Jose Sharks franchise in 1991. What you'll see is an eclectic mix of Hall of Famers, flashes in the pan, and guys that are inexplicably etched in my memory. If you don't agree with my list then, you know, fuck off.

(Thanks to Hockey-Reference.com, which I'm seriously thinking about making my home page.)


Offense

1st Line:

Luc Robitaille-Wayne Gretzky-Jari Kurri

Luc Robitaille is the greatest King in the history of the team and obviously belongs on the 1st line. Wayne is 4th all-time in Kings' points and has the highest points per game total in team history (1.70). Jari Kurri was only on the team for a little while and wasn't as great as he was in Edmonton, but he played a great two-way game and was a leader on the ice. He was my 2nd favorite forward from those early '90s Kings teams, behind someone else that'll make an appearance later.

2nd Line:

Ziggy Palffy-Jason Allison- Adam Deadmarsh

The LAPD line was only really together for one season, in 2001-2002. Though they were never healthy together for a long period of time, they managed to tally 195 points as a line and were 1-2-3 in scoring on that team.* It's crazy to think that those three comprised one of the best lines in hockey in 2002 and by 2004 they were pretty much done as NHLers. When people declare Dave Taylor's tenure as Kings GM a failure they usually neglect to reference that point.

*4th? Jaroslav Modry. Hockey is weird.

3rd Line:

Alexander Frolov-Anze Kopitar-Tony Granato

It's weird to think about, but Alexander Frolov has been on the team for 5 seasons now. He's the last link the Kings have to the playoffs, and for that he earns a spot on this list. Kopitar is there mostly because the Kings haven't had good luck with centers in the past 2 decades. (Seriously, who was I supposed to put here, Josef Stumpel?) I imagine he'll actually earn his way onto this list before too long. Tony Granato was my favorite forward growing up, mostly because he was a huge asshole and had a nice shot. I know, he sticked that one guy in the head, but I thought that was hilarious so it's okay. Plus, he's related to Ray Ferraro and I don't think Ray would allow that if he didn't think Granato was cool.

4th Line:

Ian Laperriere-Dave Taylor-Gary Shuchuk

If hockey goons were The Brothers Karamazov, Ian Laperriere would Alyosha. That doesn't make sense, but it makes me sound smart, doesn't it? Dave Taylor wasn't a great player by the early '90s, but he's still Dave Taylor and he would provide invaluable leadership to my imaginary team. I've always had a strange affinity for Gary Shuchuk that I can't explain and I'd appreciate it if you respected my right to privacy.

Defense

Rob Blake-Matty Norstrom

Rob Blake may be a horrible bastard that enjoys kicking sand in children's faces but he's still the best defenseman during this time period and he would've gotten more recognition in the late-90s if he hadn't been on those horrible, horrible Kings teams. Matty Norstrom embodies what you'd want your kid to play like when he or she were out on the ice. Hell, he's how I want to be when I grow up.

Marty McSorley-Lubomir Visnovsky

Marty probably doesn't belong here because he probably caused more harm than good, but I'll be damned if he didn't scare the shit out of people when he was on the ice. Lubo was a solid NHLer that blossomed into an elite player in the New NHL. Hopefully he can recover his game in Edmonton and make their All-Time team.

Alexei Zhitnik-Mark Hardy

Zhitnik was special for 2 reasons: he was the 2nd best defenseman in a core of young players that the Kings had during the early to mid-90s, and he was the subject of the one of the worst trades in Kings history. Zhitnik was traded with Robb Stauber and Charlie Huddy for Grant Fuhr, Denis Tsygurov and Philippe Boucher. Fuhr would play 14 games for the Kings, accumulating a 4.04 GAA and a Cloutier-esque .876 save percentage, while Zhitnik would go on to be a key contributor to a Sabres team that went to the NHL Finals. Mark Hardy did this:




Goaltending

Kelly Hrudey
Felix Potvin

Fuck what other people say, the fact is that Kelly Hrudey had the longest tenure of any goaltender on the Kings and wasn't that bad. Felix Potvin had the best peak of any Kings' goaltender, posting a team-best 2.35 GAA and a .906 save percentage. I had a Felix the Cat shirt during the Kings' run in 2001 and wore it to school throughout that period. I was beaten mercilessly.

So there you go. I'm throwing down the gauntlet to Sleek, O'Brien and the San Jose Clan: come up with your own all-time team that can beat mine. I can't wait to hear how Paul Kariya and Owen Nolan are somehow good.

11 comments:

Earl Sleek said...

Nice going, Rudy. I'll have to get on my list, I suppose.

Can I have one Pahlsson for every year he's been on the Ducks roster? :)

The only other King I would have considered, btw: Tomas Sandstrom was my first favorite NHL player, thanks to his exploits in NHL 94. A beauty of a digitized one-timer.

RudyKelly said...

He had one good season with the Kings. Besides, Don Cherry hated him.

Earl Sleek said...

Also I was kind of hoping you'd find a 4th-line spot for Kimbo Slice.

jamestobrien said...

Don't forget Snoop Dogg, Sleek.

Joe said...

HO HO HOLY SHIT THATS A GOOD HIT!!!

Earl Sleek said...

Good timing, Rudy.

ESPN's E.J. Hradek put out a list today of the best all-time forward, defenseman, and goaltender for the five Pacific Division teams.

Certainly not as in-depth, but not a terrible list. Well, except for Rathje.

RudyKelly said...

That damn EJ Hradek, always stealing my ideas.

-RQ Kelly

Ksy92003 said...

I'm sorry, but I find it remarkable that Rogie Vachon isn't on that list. Hrudey led us to the finals, and Potvin was a great goaltender until injuries ruined him (like that great LAPD line). Hard to go wrong with those two guys, but Rogie does have his #30 retired by the team, which I have to think counts (granted Marcel Dionne's not on this all-time team either).

Earl Sleek said...

but Rogie does have his #30 retired by the team, which I have to think counts (granted Marcel Dionne's not on this all-time team either).

Rogie and Marcel can probably be found on a different list, one that has a wider scope than "'91 to present".

Rudy, you maybe should have stressed that restriction a bit more. Putting the consideration range in the post title and the post body might help (oh wait).

RudyKelly said...

Yeah, Rogie would be backing up Hrudey on my all-time team.

Anonymous said...

Tony Granato was my favorite forward growing up,

At this point I thought "what the fuck! Granato's a huge asshole!". Then:

mostly because he was a huge asshole

Oh. Right. Somehow that doesn't surprise me too much.