Los Angeles Kings History

From: System16 Nov 2015 12:41
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From:  Razz (RAZZMAN)  
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The Los Angeles Kings came into existence when the NHL expanded in 1967. The Kings didn't become a household phrase in Hollywood until the Great One, Wayne Gretzky was traded to LA and instantly turned the city upside down with his fame and glory. The Great One had that Midas touch and turned everything into gold for the Kings organization. Unfortunately, when he left, the a lot of the sparkle faded from the Kings crowns. But still they have a proud history and hope to someday make to the Stanley Cup finals where they hope to bring home Lord Stanley's Silver to Tinsel Land.

The following is the history of the Kings from 1967-98.

From the book TOTAL HOCKEY (The Official Encyclopedia of the NHL)

The Los Angeles Kings

By Stan Fischler

LONG before Canadian-born entrepreneur Jack Kent Cooke determined that the City of Angels deserved major-league hockey, Los Angeles had been eyed as a potential NHL market. The optimism was based on minor-league hockey successes in Southern California both before and after World War IL as well as the natural growth of the state.

At one time, the thriving Pacific Coast Hockey League (later the Western Hockey League) embraced teams in Los Angeles as well as nearby Hollywood. During the immediate postwar years, the PCHL's Hollywood Wolves were linked with the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs. The Wolves' most significant contribution as a farm team was defenseman Bill Barilko, who would in time score the 1951 Stanley Cup-winning goal for Toronto against the Montreal Canadiens.

Despite the rapid growth of Southern California in the 1940s and 1950s, the NHL ignored the area for several reasons, not the least of which was the absence of a major-league arena in which to hold games. But by the early 1 960s, Cooke recognized the potential for major-league hockey in the Los Angeles area and paid $2 million for an expansion franchise for the 1967-68 season when the NHL doubled in size from six to 12 teams. Asked where he proposed to play home games, Cooke replied, "I'm going to build the most beautiful arena in the world, and it will be ready sometime in the opening season." True to his word, Cooke supervised construction of his "Fabulous Forum" in suburban Inglewood, and when the $20 million project was completed, reviews were more than positive.

"It must be seen to be believed," commented Eric Hutton in Canada's Maclean's magazine, "and maybe not even then. It is the gaudiest sports palace this side of the heyday of the Colosseum of Ancient Rome, of which the Forum is, in fact, a modernized copy."

For his first coach, Cooke hired Leonard "Red" Kelly, the former Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs star. He also purchased the Springfield Indians of the American Hockey League in order to develop minor-leaguers for his organization. From the Expansion Draft of 1967, the newly named Los Angeles Kings came away with Terry Sawchuk, who at one time was regarded as the premier goaltender in the world. Now in his twilight years, Sawchuk was, at best, a question mark. There was no question about Cooke's direction. In addition to Kelly he surrounded himself with top personnel including Larry Regan, a former Leafs center, as general manager. Los Angeles finished its first season in the expansion West Division only one point out of first place, and Cooke was voted executive of the year by The Hockey News.

The Kings were fourth in the West during their sophomore year but managed to make it to the semifinals before folding. By this time the best-laid plans of Cooke had become damaged by fate and mismanagement. The Kings next missed the playoffs for four years straight as Cooke proved more a problem than a blessing. Because of his brash style, he angered key members of the NHL Board of Governors, none of whom would do him any favors in the draft, or anywhere else. In 1969, Kelly quit the club to coach in Pittsburgh, and in 1971-72 Regan was replaced by Fred Glover, who had been fired recently by the California Seals.

The result was the Kings' worst finish ever, a mere 49 points, 11 less than the sickly Seals. There were major changes the next year. Veteran center Bob Pulford retired to go behind the bench while the defense was boosted by ex-Canadien Terry Harper and former Black Hawk Gilles Marotte. Los Angeles returned to playoff competition in 1973-74, but lacked a marquee superstar to tantalize the demanding California fans. A dispute a couple of thousand miles away turned out to be the solution to the Kings' quest for a big-name player.

Marcel Dionne had been the captain and foremost scorer on the Detroit Red Wings. In 1974-75 he had his finest season as a Red Wing, amassing 47 goals and 74 assists for 121 points, placing him behind only Phil Esposito and Bobby On in the NHL scoring race.

Despite his productive campaign, Dionne still felt under-appreciated in Detroit so once the season ended, Marcel's agent Alan Eagleson informed the Red Wings that Dionne would be taking his services elsewhere. And so the big question: who would sign Marcel for 1975-76?

Six teams were in the early running-the Kings, the Canadiens, the Blues, the Sabres, the Maple Leafs and the Edmonton Oilers (of the World Hockey Association). Dionne's demands were high, as were the Red Wings', who were entitled to compensation from the team that signed him. Ultimately, the Kings, whose owner Jack Kent Cooke had just acquired Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for his basketball Lakers, offered the most money.

The Kings won the bidding war, and surrendered veteran defenseman Terry Harper and rugged forward Dan Maloney to Detroit. Cooke signed Marcel to a five-year, $1.5 million pact. Although Dionne and Cooke were pleased, Kings' coach Bob Pulford unhappily muttered that the deal was not in the best interests of his club.

Under Pulford's disciplined defensive style, the Kings previously had enjoyed an extremely successful season. Los Angeles had the fourth best won-lost record in the league, and only the Stanley Cup champion Philadelphia Flyers allowed fewer goals. Terry Harper had been the captain of the squad and the leader on defense. Maloney, a muscular winger, could score some goals and tend to checking. In Dionne, the Kings were adding a free-wheeling player whose style appeared conspicuously out of place in the Kings system. Coach Bob Pulford worried that Dionne's style of play might disrupt his previously sound club, both on and off the ice.

Pulford explained the situation: "I told Marcel that he couldn't float around center ice here the way he had in Detroit. He should retreat into the defensive end and work with the defenseman to get the puck out. That type of discipline was new to him, and I knew it would take time for him to learn our system."

But Pulford added hopefully: "Dionne may have been the best power forward in the NHL at that time. There was no doubt he was a valuable addition to our club."

"The Little Beaver" was up to the new challenge in California. "Everything I did there in L.A. was important," he said. "The little things meant more-holding your man, just standing in front of him-things that the average person just doesn't notice. They never mattered in Detroit.

"There was so much more enthusiasm there and a much bigger challenge. I felt like I wanted to play every game.

"I wouldn't be doing just one job-scoring. I'd play more conservatively. Don't misunderstand me, I wouldn't change my style too much. I just wouldn't get caught up ice."

To make sure Dionne had the legs and wind to not get caught up ice, Pulford immediately assigned him to the "fat squad," thinking that his ever-present paunch was a bit bigger than usual. ("I've always had a big stomach for a little guy. I like to eat. I was a big hamburger man.") Pulford put Dionne through rigorous stop-and-go skating drills following practice each day.

After a brief period of adjustment with his new team, Marcel settled down and scored 40 goals and 54 assists for 94 points. However, the Kings no longer were the stingy defensive team they had been the year before. They gave up more goals, and instead of battling Montreal for first place in the NHL's Norris Division, the club found itself far back of the leader.

Perhaps the toughest night of the entire 1975-76 season for Dionne occurred on his return to Detroit. The Dionne-less Red Wings had been having trouble selling tickets, but 14,500 fans turned out to "greet" the man who, as a Red Wing, had scored more points than any other player in the first four years of his career. (This mark would soon be eclipsed, first by Mike Bossy and then by Wayne Gretzky.) Dionne's "greeting" was a disheartening distillation of boos and taunts. Frustrated by the jeers and by the persistent checking of the Red Wings' pesky Denis Polonich, the usually mild-mannered Dionne took a swipe at Polonich with his stick. At another point, he took a stiff check that knocked him down and sprained his arm. But he remained in the game.

"Marcel showed a lot of guts," observed teammate Mike Corrigan. "He withstood a lot of abuse. He pushed himself on and showed us he wanted to win."

It was a tough adjustment for Dionne to adapt to the Kings' style, but he made the necessary changes and was ready for the 1976-77 season, playing both at center and right wing.

Dionne became a new man, scoring goals and setting up teammates unselfishly, while diligently attending to the less glamorous job on defense. He was the only player to stay close to the Canadiens' Guy Lafleur in the scoring race. Marcel finished the 1976-77 season with 53 goals and 69 assists, and, for a pleasant change, earned rave reviews for his positive attitude.

"He was the complete opposite of everything the Detroit people said he was," said former Kings general manager lake Milford. "In our games in Los Angeles he never wanted to be picked a star of the game and I don't even think he ever worried about the scoring race. He had become that much of a team player."

Scotty Bowman, who was the Montreal Canadiens coach at the time, was equally enthusiastic about Dionne. "If anything. he was too unselfish," said Bowman. "It's not as if he was just a shooter. He could make plays and sometimes I thought he even preferred to make plays."

Milford believed that the move to right wing helped Marcel improve his defensive game. "He checked better on the wing," Milford explained, "because it was easier for him to pick up his winger. Marcel was also able to shoot more from the wing."

Unfortunately, Dionne's improvement failed to help the Kings cope with the powerful Canadiens in the 1977 Norris Division race. In the playoffs, the Kings again failed to get past the quarterfinal round, although they hung tough against the feisty Boston Bruins after losing the first three games, finally bowing out in six.

Dionne won the Lady Byng Trophy and was named to the First All-Star Team in 1976-77. He was a Second Team All-Star in 1978-79 and went on to his best season on 1979-80, leading the NHL in scoring with 53 goals and 84 assists for a career-high 137 points. He also was named a First Team All-Star and won the Lester Pearson Award as the NHL player of the year as selected by his fellow players.

A prime reason for Dionne's point surplus was the quality of his linemates. Until the 1979-80 season, left winger Charlie Simmer bounced between the minors and the NHL, making no significant impact. But in 1979-80 Simmer became Dionne's regular linemate and tallied a league-leading 56 goals in only 64 games.

Filling out the Triple Crown Line was big right winger Dave Taylor who had been drafted by the Kings in June 1975. Taylor was the 14th King chosen in the 15th round, 210th overall. Taylor's grit and artistry produced 37 goals and 53 assists over 61 games in 1979-80 and set the stage for his great leap forward. In 72 games a season later he produced 47 goals and 65 assists for 112 points.

Taylor, who would become general manager of the Kings after the 1996-97 season, emerged as one of the NHL's most appealing athletes. When he was in his early years in California, Dave battled and eventually licked a stuttering problem. Beloved by his teammates, he was recognized by the NHL in 1991 when he became the only player to win the King Clancy Trophy for outstanding community service and the Masterton Trophy for dedication to hockey in the same season. He also reached 1,000-point milestone in 1990-91.

In addition to the members of the Triple Crown Line, another King with extraordinary appeal was goalie Rogatien (Rogie) Vachon. He came to Los Angeles in 1971-72 after winning Stanley Cup championships with Montreal in 1968, 1969 and 1971. Almost minuscule between the pipes, Vachon emerged as a heroic figure to the audience at Inglewood and would become one of California's most popular athletes. "When you're my size," said Vachon, "you've got to be a stand-up kind of person. I take my bruises but I won't back down. Never."

Unquestionably, Vachon ranks as the most competent goaltender in Kings history and was especially effective in the 1976 playoffs. The Kings eliminated Atlanta two games to none and then faced a powerful Boston Bruins team. Despite a 4-0 drubbing in the opening match at Boston Garden, Los Angeles rebounded with a 3-2 overtime win on the road and extended the favorites to a seventh game before succumbing.

He remained with Los Angeles through the 1977-78 season, during which time the Kings earned regular berths in playoffs but never developed significant headway. Vachon was traded to Detroit for the 1978-79 campaign without being adequately replaced. In 1979-80, the Kings employed a goaltending triumvirate of Mario Lessard, Ron Grahame and Doug Keans and finished second before being wiped out in the first round by the eventual Stanley Cup champion New York Islanders. The highlight of the year was Dionne winning the NHL scoring title. He also led the league in shots on goal with 348.

Dionne notwithstanding, the Kings remained a club mired in mediocrity during the early 1980s. They missed the playoffs in 1982-83 and 1983-84 as well as 1985-86. But better days and nights were on the horizon when Bruce McNall became co-owner of the Kings during the 1986-87 season and was named club president in September 1987. With gifted youngsters such as Luc Robitaille and Steve Duchesne, the Kings were positioned for a leap forward if they could obtain a major scorer and leader. That would happen on August 9, 1988 when Wayne Gretzky was acquired by Los Angeles along with Marty McSorley and Mike Krushelnyski for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, three first-round draft picks over the next five years and $15 million.

The Gretzky era in Los Angeles produced unprecedented attention for the NHL as well as a few successful years for the Kings. The Great One still possessed enormous scoring skills and in 1992-93 actually orchestrated a march to the Stanley Cup finals, a first in Los Angeles hockey history. After defeating Montreal in game one, the Kings led the Canadiens late in game two when McSorley was penalized for carrying an illegal stick. The Habs capitalized on the power-play, sending the game into overtime. Montreal scored the winner and went on to capture the Cup. That launched the downfall of Gretzky in California and the Kings as a contender. They missed the playoffs in the next four seasons, during which Gretzky moved on to St. Louis and eventually New York, while McNall was imprisoned for fraud.


Although it wasn't readily apparent at the time, another turning point in the Kings history took place on July 25, 1989. On that date the team signed Hall of Fame defenseman Larry Robinson as a free agent. He anchored the Kings defense in 1989-90 and spent three seasons on the blue line for Los Angeles. He was the second-highest scoring defenseman on the Kings in 1989-90 with 39 points (seven goals and 32 assists) and helped the team to a first-place finish in the Smythe Division in 1990-91.

During these three years Robinson not only made an indelible imprint because of his playing ability but also because of his character. After his retirement, he was named assistant coach of the New Jersey Devils beginning in 1993-94. Working with coach Jacques Lemaire, Robinson helped turn the Devils into a contender and, in 1995, into a Stanley Cup champion. It was evident that he was head coaching material and on July 26, 1995 the Kings gave him the opportunity to prove himself.

Assuming command of a foundering ship, Robinson patiently put it on an even keel and by 1997-98 had turned the Kings into a playoff contender once more. Under his guidance, Los Angeles finished with a plus- .500 record for the first time since 1992-93 and earned a playoff berth.

Nothing underlined the value of Robinson's coaching ability more than the improvement he brought about in defenseman Rob Blake who had been named team captain prior to the 1996-97 campaign.

If Robinson was symbolic of one aspect of the franchises rebound, Blake was part of another. A fourth round pick in the 1988 Entry Draft, Blake joined the Kings at the end of the 1989-90 season and had one goal and three assists for four points in eight playoff games. In his first full-season as a King, Blake was named to the NHL's All-Rookie Team as he led all rookie defenseman in scoring with 12 goals and 34 assists for 46 points. He has paced Kings defenseman in scoring on three separate occasions (1992-93, 1993-94 and 1997-98).

Blake played in his first NHL All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden in 1994 and he picked up an assist in the game. He posted career highs in goals (20), assists (48) and points (68) in 1993-94. Blake would play only 30 games over the next two seasons with a host of injuries from a nagging groin to a torn ligament in his left knee kept him out of action. His spirited comeback was slow but in the end it was well worth the wait.

The addition of Robinson, Blake's childhood idol, pushed Rob to the next level as he as named the winner of the Norris Trophy after the 1997-98 season. Blake had finally arrived.

"It's just awesome for Rob to win it," said Robinson after Blake beat out Niklas Lidstrom of Detroit and Chris Pronger of St. Louis for the award. "I think it lifts a huge, huge load off his shoulders. ... He had been so close [to winning before] but then he was always hurt, so he never won it. Now he has and he's worked hard to get there. It's a great building block for him and for us as a team."

"It was really tough [dealing with the pressure of] being tagged as a potential winner so early in my career ... but [that] helps make it so exciting, to finally win it and to be considered at that level. It's somewhere I want to get back to each year now."

Blake and Robinson were not the only elements in the renaissance. New GM Dave Taylor worked closely with Robinson, bringing in younger talent. Three 1997 deals had a major impact on the franchise, starting with a March 18, 1997, trade that brought Glen Murray to Los Angeles for Ed Olczyk. Taylor and Robinson looked to rebuild around character and youth. Subsequent trades were made for Jozef Stumpel, Sandy Moger and Luc Robitaille (on his second tour of duty with the Kings). Each played a role in the Kings' resurgence in 1997-98.

Murray, who had been Boston's first-round choice in the 1991 Entry Draft, had his best season to date. The hulking winger scored 29 goals and 31 assists for 60 points and tied for the team lead in game-winning goals with seven.

Stumpel and Moger came over in a deal that worked for both sides. The Kings got a front-line center they needed as well as a tough winger while the Bruins got a starting goaltender in Byron Dafoe and a productive winger in Dimitri Khristich.

Stumpel led the Kings in scoring during the 1997-98 season with 21 goals and 58 assists for 79 points while managing a plus-minus of +17 to lead the team during the regular season.

Robitaille had a successful return to Los Angeles as he brought in his leadership and scoring touch. He was a force early in the season but an injury hampered the rest of his return. He still produced as evidenced by his 16 goals and 24 assists for 40 points in 57 games during the 1997-98 season.

An even earlier trade paid benefits this past season as Mattias Norstrom became a dependable everyday defenseman. He was third on the team with a plus-minus of +14, proving that he is ready to be a blueliner in L.A. for years to come.

Aside from trades, some of the Kings home grown talent started to show their worth as well. Vladimir Tsyplakov, the Kings third round daft pick in the 1995 Entry Draft had his best season yet. He set career-highs in goals (1 8), assists (34) and points (52). Tsyplakov was second on the team with a plus-minus rating of + 15.

Off the ice another epoch of redevelopment began in October 1995 when Philip Anschutz and Edward Roski Jr. assumed ownership of the team. Apart from putting a winning product on the ice, the new ownership began thinking long-range - well into the 21st century. The cornerstone of their planning would be a new, state-of-the-art arena, not in the suburbs but rather located in downtown Los Angeles. Plans for the new arena were unveiled late in the 1997-98 season, thus ushering in a truly new era of major-league hockey.

Meanwhile, Taylor continued to reconstruct the team. In the 1998 Entry Draft he selected 66" defenseman Mathieu Biron from Shawinigan of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Biron was ranked seventh by the Central Scouting Service among skaters but dropped into the Kings' lap when he was available with the 21st overall.

"We ranked him as one of the top 12 and we feel fortunate to get him," Taylor said. "We began a rebuilding process when Wayne Gretzky left. We finally have some youth, size and strength in our organization."

From: System16 Nov 2015 12:41
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From:  Razz (RAZZMAN)  
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Since their inception, the LA Kings had never won a Stanley Cup. That came to an end during the magical playoff year of 2012 for the Kings. They were dominant throughout the playoffs, being anchored in goal by Jonathan Quick and they beat the New Jersey Devils in 6 games in the Stanley Cup finals. Here's another source of their history...


LA Kings Historical Moments:

1967/68: Things had all come together at once for Jack Kent Cooke the eccentric owner of the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers, with a spectacular arena in the Great Western Forum about to open and the NHL about to expand. Cooke who was Canadian Born and missed hockey had long dreamed to bring hockey to Hollywood and with expansion he had that opportunity, as the Kings are one of six expansion teams to join the NHL. Placed with the other five new teams the Kings wearing colorful purple and gold uniforms would finish second in the Western Conference with a record of 31-32-11. However in the playoffs the Kings would be beaten in seven games by the Minnesota North Stars.

1968/69: In their second season the Kings would struggle all season posting a record of 24-42-10. However, in the all-expansion Western Division it would be good enough for fourth place to earn a playoff berth. In a battle of California the Kings would beat the Oakland Seals in a hard fought seven games series. However, in the Western Finals the Kings would crash to reality as they are swept in four straight games by the St. Louis Blues.

1969/70: The Kings would play miserable hockey all season as they finished dead last with a horrible record of 14-52-10.

1970/71: The Kings struggles continued as they miss the playoffs for the second straight season, while finishing in fifth place with a 25-40-13 record.

1971/72: The Kings struggles continued as they finish in last place for the second time in three years with an awful record of 20-49-9.

1972/73: The Kings show some light improvement while missing the playoffs again, finishing in sixth place with a record of 31-36-11.

1973/74: The Kings end a four year absence from the playoffs by finishing in third place with a record of 33-33-12. However, the Kings would make a quick exit in the playoffs as they are beaten by the Chicago Black Hawks in five games.

1974/75: With realignment the Kings are placed in the Norris Division in the Prince of Wales Commence. Despite playing in a division with the Montreal Canadiens the Kings put together a stung season posting the third best record overall while finishing in second place with a 42-17-21 record. However, in the playoffs the Kings would get a cold dose of reality as they are beaten by the Toronto Maple Leafs in a three game series.

1975/76: The Kings who have brought several star players like Bob Pulford and Terry Sawchuk past their prime acquire Marcel Dionne in a trade from the Detroit Red Wings. Dionne who is just coming into his prime gives LA its first true hockey superstar. With Dionne leading the way the Kings finish in second place with a 38-33-9 record. In the playoffs Rogie Vachon would allow just one goal as the Kings extinguished the Atlanta Flames in two straight games. However, in the second round the Kings would fall in a hard fought seven game series to the Boston Bruins.

1976/77: Marcel Dionne scores 53 goals as the Kings finish in second place with a 34-31-15 record. In the Playoffs the Kings would beat the Atlanta Flames in a three game series, before falling to the Boston Bruins in the second round again this time losing in six games.

1977/78: Despite slipping below .500 with a record of 31-34-15 the Kings finish in third place, and make the playoffs for the fifth straight season. However, it would be a quick exit as the Kings are buried by the Toronto Maple Leafs losing two straight games, by a combined score of 11-3.

1978/79: Marcel Dionne is joined by Dave Taylor and Charlie Simmer, who form the Triple Crown line. The addition of the linemates helps Dionne put together a solid season scoring 59 goals. However, the Kings would only mage to finish in third place with a record of 34-34-12 as they allowed 286 goals n the season. In the playoffs the Kings goaltending problems would catch up with them as they are flattened by the New York Rangers in two straight games, allowing nine goals. The Kings are a part of history as they are sold by Jack Kent Cooke along with the Lakers and the Forum to Jerry Buss for a then record $67 Million, the largest business transaction in sports history at that time. Buss would sell the Kings himself a short time later.

1979/80: Marcel Dionne captures the scoring title with 53 goals and 84 assists. However, the Kings would struggle to post a 30-36-14 record while allowing 313 goals. Despite their mediocre record the Kings would finish in second place and make the playoffs. However, it would be another quick exit as they are beaten by the New York Islanders in four games.

1980/81: Marcel Dionne continues to be one of the premier scores in the NHL posting his fourth 50-goal season in five years as the Kings finished in second Place with a solid 43-24-13 record. However in the playoffs the Kings would make another first round exit as they allowed 23 goals in a four games as they lost to the New York Rangers three games to one.

1981/82: The NHL moves to a more geographical division setup as the Kings are moved into the Smythe Division. Marcel Dionne would score 50 goals, but the Kings would struggle miserably posting a 24-41-15 record while allowing a league high 369 goals. However, under the new playoff format the Kings who finished in 4th place would make the playoffs. The playoffs would get off to a wild start as the Kings beat the Edmonton Oilers 10-8 in a Game 1 shoot out in Edmonton. After the Oilers won Game 2 the Kings appeared to be heading for defeat down 5-0 in the 3rd period at the Forum. However, the Kings would chip away at the lead tying the game with five seconds left on Steve Bozek's goal with goalie pulled. In overtime the Forum would erupt when rookie Daryl Evans scored at 2:36 into overtime. After dropping Game 4 at home the Kings would again stun the Oilers 7-4 in the decisive 5th game in Edmonton. However in he Smythe Division Finals, the Kings would be knocked off by the Vancouver Canucks in five games never recovering from losing back-to-back games in overtime to fall behind 3-0 in the series.

1982/83: The Kings goaltending trouble catch up with them as they miss the playoffs for the first time in ten years while finishing in last place with a record of 27-41-12. Along the way Marcel Dionne would post another 50-goal season surpassing the 500-goal milestone in the process.

1983/84: Losing Marcel Dionne for part of the season to injury the Kings struggles continue as they finish in last place with an awful 23-44-13 record.

1984/85: Marcel Dionne nets his 600th career goal as the Kings make the playoffs after a two year absence posting a record of 34-32-14 while finishing in fourth place. However, in the playoffs the Kings would be swept in three straight games by the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Edmonton Oilers losing two games in overtime.

1985/86: The Kings miss the playoffs for the third time in four years while finishing in last place with a record of 23-49-8.

1986/87: Marcel Dionne plays his last game in a Kings uniform as he is traded near the end of the season to the New York Rangers. However, Kings fans would quickly find another hero to cheer for as Luc Robataille scored 45 goals while capturing the Calder Trophy. With a young team the Kings made into the playoffs with a 31-41-8 record, finishing in fourth place. However, it would be another quick exit as the Kings are beaten by the Edmonton Oilers in five games.

1987/88: Despite a 30-42-8 record the Kings make the playoffs by finishing in fourth place. In the playoffs the Kings would make a quick exit as they are toasted by the Calgary Flames in five games. However, the big news would come a few months after the season when Owner Bruce McNall would off the hockey deal of the century, acquiring Wayne Gretzky in a multiplayer deal from the Edmonton Oilers.

1988/89: After two decades of toiling in relative anonymity the city of Los Angeles finally had to take notice at the Kings, who had the greatest player in NHL history, Wayne Gretzky. Gretzky would make an immediate impact winning the Hart Trophy while leading the Kings wit a 42-31-7 record good enough for second place. In the playoffs Gretzky who had won the All-Star Game MVP in his return to Edmonton came back to haunt his former team again as the Kings overcame a 3-1 series deficit to beat the Oilers in seven games. However, in the Smythe Division Finals the Kings past goaltending problems would rise again as they are swept by the Calgary Flames allowing 22 goals in four games.

1989/90: Wayne Gretzky would get the season started off right as he made history in Edmonton again passing his boyhood idol Gordie Howe with his 1,851st point on October 15th. Gretzky would go on to lead the NHL in scoring with 40 goals and 102 assists. However the Kings would have to settle for fourth place with a record of 34-39-7, while allowing 337 goals. However, in the playoffs the Kings would explode scoring 12 goals in Game 4 to take a 3-1 series lead over the Calgary Flames. After dropping Game 5 in Calgary the Kings would advance to the Smythe Finals with an overtime win at the Forum. However, for the second straight year the Kings would be let down by their goaltending as they allow 24 goals while being swept by the Edmonton Oilers in four straight games.

1990/91: The Kings win their first ever division title posting a solid record of 46-24-10 as Wayne Gretzky captures another scoring title with 122 assists. In the playoffs the Kings would beat the Vancouver Canucks in six games setting up a Smythe Final rematch with the Edmonton Oilers. However, once again the Kings would fall losing in six games in a series that saw 4 games go to overtime.

1991/92: The Kings are unable to repeat as Division Champions posting a 35-31-14 record while finishing in second place. In the playoffs the Kings would be knocked off by the Edmonton Oilers again this time falling in the first round in six games.

1992/93: Despite missing Wayne Gretzky for the first half of the season due to a back injury the Kings are able to make in into the playoffs by finishing in third place with a record of 39-35-10. Wayne Gretzky began to get healthy as the playoffs began and by only playing 48 games he was fresh. In the first round the Kings would extinguish the Calgary Flames in six games scoring 33 goals including nine in each of the final two games. In the Smythe Finals the Kings stayed red hot as they beat the Vancouver Canucks in 6 games, scoring 26 goals. Facing the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Campbell Conference Finals the Kings finally slowed down as they fell behind three games to two. Facing elimination in Game 6 Wayne Gretzky sent the series to a decisive seventh game with a power play goal in overtime. In Game 7 in Toronto, Gretzky carried the Kings on to the Finals with a hat trick as the Kings beat the Leafs 5-4. In their first finals appearance the Kings appeared to be heading for hockey immortality on the Stanley Cup as they won Game 1 in Montreal and led the Canadiens 2-1 late in the 3rd period of Game 2. However, the Habs facing a 0-2-deficit gambled that Marty McSorley's blade had too much curve and challenged his stick. McSorley's blade was in fact too curved and the Habs would tie the game on the ensuing power play and tie the series in Overtime. As the series shifted to LA the Habs would continue their overtime magic winning Game 3 and Game 4 in Overtime before knocking off the disheartened Kings 4-1 in Game 5.

1993/94: After their heartbreaking loss in the Stanley Cup Finals the Kings struggled alls season, missing the playoffs while finishing in fifth place with a disappointing record of 27-45-12. Making matters worse their record was even worse then the expansion Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. However, the season was not without a great moment form The Great One as Wayne Gretzky broke Gordie Howe's career goals scored record on March 23rd in front of a full house at the Forum.

1994/95: Owner Bruce McNall who was once the toast of Los Angeles is forced to sell the team as his once great financial empire was now in ruin, as he even faced fraud charges, for which he would later serve four years in Federal Prison. In a season shortened by a lockout the Kings would fall one point short of the playoffs as they finished in fourth place with a record of 16-23-9.

1995/96: While the Kings were in the midst of their third straight season without making the playoffs with a 24-40-18 record, the Wayne Gretzky era in Los Angeles comes to an end as he is traded late in the season to the St. Louis Blues. In his eight years in LA, Gretzky had opened the NHL to new markets in the Southern United States, while leading to an new era of expansion. When Gretzky was traded to the Kings there were 21 teams in the NHL, only one of which was in the Sunbelt. When Gretzky was traded to St. Louis there were 26 teams, five of which were in the Sunbelt. Over the next five years that number would grow to 30 NHL teams in which nine of which were in the Southern US.

1996/97: Without Wayne Gretzky the Kings would continue to struggle as they finished in sixth place with a miserable record of 28-43-11 record.

1997/98: The Kings welcomed back Luc Robataile as they returned to the playoffs with a second place record of 38-33-11, led by a stellar season from Rob Blake who won the Norris Trophy. However, in the playoffs it would be a quick exit as the Kings are swept in four straight games by the St. Louis Blues.

1998/99: In the final season of hockey at the Great Western Forum the Kings end up finishing in last place with a disappointing record of 32-45-5, missing the playoffs for the fifth time in six years.

1999/00: The Kings entered a new Millennium with a new state of the art arena in the Staples Center. In their first year at the shimmering new arena the Kings would finish in second place with a solid 39-31-12-4 record. However, it would be another quick exit as they are swept by the Detroit Red Wings in four straight games.

2000/01: Faced with losing Rob Blake to free agency the Kings trade their star defenseman to the Colorado Avalanche for Adam Deadmarsh. Deadmarsh would actually provide a spark for the Kings as they made the playoffs by finishing in third place with a record of 38-28-12-3. In the playoffs the Kings appeared to be heading for another quick exit as they dropped their first two games to the Detroit Red Wings. However, the Kings would rally to win the next four games to win their first playoff series in eight years. Facing the Avalanche in the second Round the Kings would give Rob Blake's new team all they could handle rallying from a 3-1 deficit to force a seventh game, before the Avalanche rallied to win the final two games and eliminate the Kings. Blake and the Avalanche would go on to win the Stanley Cup.

2001/02: Just as training camp is starting the Kings are affected personally by the horrors of September 11th when Director of Scouting Garnett "Ace" Bailey and Scout Mark Bavis are among those killed when United Flight 175 which they were taking from Boston to Los Angeles is hijacked and ran into the World Trade Center. Playing the season in tribute to their two 9/11 victims the Kings post a solid 40-27-11-4 record, but can only secure the 7th seed and are forced to face the Colorado Avalanche in the first round. The Kings appeared to be overmatched as they fell behind three games to one. However, goalie Felix Potvin would keep the Kings alive with a 1-0 overtime win in Game 5. Potivn would continue to frustrate the Avalanche in Game 6 as the Kings forced a seventh game with a 3-1 win at the Staples Center. However, in Game 7 the Kings would be the ones who were frustrated as they were blanked 4-0 in Colorado.

2002/03: After three straight playoff appearances the Kings are ravaged by injuries as several key players miss significant time due to injury as top Center Jason Allison appeared in just 26 games, while Winger Adam Deadmarsh was limited to just 20. In total 536 man games were lost to injury a franchise high as the Kings struggled to finish in third place with a disappointing record of 33-37-6-6, leaving the Kings out of the playoffs.

2003/04: Injuries were problematic from the start of the season as Jason Allison and Adam Deadmarsh were unable to return from the lingering effects of concussions. Despite the loss of manpower the Kings managed to hang tough through the first half of the season as they held a 21-14-11-5 record at the All-Star Break. However, as the season wore on the injuries continued to mount as Goalie Roman Cechmanek missed two long stretches due to a groin injury, while Zigmund Palffy was lost for the entire second half after shoulder surgery. The mounting injuries would eventually be too much to overcome for the Kings who missed the playoffs for a second straight season with a mediocre 28-29-16-9 record. One bright spot for the Kings was the return of Luc Robitaille who in his third tenure with the Kings led the team in scoring with 51 points.

2004/05: Season Cancelled Due to Lock Out

2005/06: Coming out of the lock out the Kings looked to be one of the more improved teams in the league as they were able to acquire players like Valeri Bure, Jeremy Roenick, Pavol Demitra, and Goalie Mathieu Garon, as they got off to a solid 15-6-1 start. The Kings continued to play good into the start of the New Year winning their first two games in January to sit at 27-14-2. However, it would all go downhill quickly from there as injuries and struggles to the new players the Kings were counting on overwhelmed them as they won just four of their next 18 games heading into the Olympic Break. After the Olympics in Torinio the Kings continued to struggle as they acquired Mark Parrish and Brent Sopel from the New York Islanders at the trade deadline. When that did not work the Kings would change coaches replacing Andy Murray John Torchetti. However, all the Kings scorers could not get back on their early season roll, as they missed the playoffs for a third straight season with a record of 42-35-5, while Luc Robitaille ended his brilliant 20-year career with 15 more goals ending his career with 668 goals most of which came with the Kings in three separate tenures in LA.

2006/07: With the hopes of getting back into the playoffs the Kings hired Marc Crawford, a coach with a Stanley Cup resume. However, when the season started it was clear the Kings, had a long way to go to build a team good enough for Crawford to lead, as they got off to a terrible, winning just five of their first 19 games. One move that did not work out was the acquisition of Goalie Dan Cloutier as won just six games with a 3.98 GAA. Goaltending would be a problem all season for the Kings, as injuries and poor play led to five different goalies seeing time in the net, and they ranged from the unproven Yutaka Fukufuji who became the first Japanese born player to play in the NHL to the washed up veteran Sean Burke who was in his 20th season in the NHL. None of them worked out as the Kings were never a factor in the playoff chase as they landed in fourth place in the loaded Pacific Division with a disappointing record of 27-41-14.

2007/08: England was not stranger to Kings, but for the Los Angeles Kings it was a whole new world as they began the season facing the defending Stanley Cup Champions Anaheim Ducks in first regular season games played in Europe. The Kings would take the opener at O2 Arena with Goalie Jonathan Bernier having a successful debut, making 26 saves in a 4-1 win. The Ducks would recover to win the second game. When the Kings returned to Los Angeles Bernier struggled and was returned to his team Junior Hockey team in the QMJHL, as the Kings lost their first four games in North America. The Kings would to win four in a row, as they closed October with a 6-7-0 record. After a mediocre November the Kings stumbled in December, suffering an eight game losing streak as they entered the New Year in last place with a record of 14-24-2. The struggles continued into January as the Kings continued to play sub .500 hockey. The Kings would go on to finish with the second worst record overall in the NHL as they posted a 32-43-7 record. Following the season the Kings would fire Coach Marc Crawford, and replace him with Terry Murray.

2008/09: With an eye on the future the Kings named 23-year-old Dustin Brown as their new captain, as they entered the season with a Terry Murray behind the bench. While the season saw the Kings miss the playoffs again with a 34-37-11 record, the young Kings made some strides, as remained in the playoff hunt for most of the season, while playing in 43 games decided by one goal. Leading to the improvement were key contributions by several young players including Drew Doughty, the second overall pick in the 2008 draft, who led the team in ice time and blocked shots, while being named to the NHL All-Rookie Team. Also emerging for the Kings was Jonathan Quick who took over as starting goalie and posted a 21-18-2 record after starting the season in the AHL with Manchester.

2009/10: With Jonathan Quick firmly established as the starting goalie, the Kings looked to make a big step forward as the season began as they acquired veteran Winger Ryan Smyth in the off-season from the Colorado Avalanche to help boost the offense. The Kings showed some good signs early in the season as they posted a 17-10-3 record in their first 30 games. Despite a December slump the Kings were still skating strong as the New Year began. As January turned into February the Kings made a move to secure a playoff spot as they went on a nine game winning streak, which included tough road wins against the Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins. With five players in the Olympics, the Kings held a 37-20-4 record at the break. When play resumed in March the Kings went through a slump as they posted a mediocre 6-7-2 record. However, with a 46-27-9 record the Kings would top 100 points and end their eight year playoff drought. In the playoffs they faced the Vancouver Canucks and lost a 3-2 overtime heartbreaker in the opener. In Game 2 the Kings would win 3-2 in overtime on a power play goal by Anze Kopitar. As the series shifted to L.A. the Kings took control of the series with a 5-3 win, as Drew Doughty led the way with a goal and three assists. However, the Canucks would take over the rest of the series winning the next three games to take the series in six games.

2010/11: After ending an eight year playoff drought, the Kings looked to take the next step and become a factor in the race for the Stanley Cup. The Kings would start the season against the Vancouver Canucks who eliminated them in the playoffs, beating them 2-1 in a shootout on the road. After a 3-1 loss to the Calgary Flames, the Kings would win their home opener 3-1 over the Atlanta Thrashers. The Kings would get off to a strong start, winning 12 of their first 15 games. However, they would lose seven of their next eight games to end November, with a record of 13-10-0. With a strong record at home, the Kings would rebound to win nine games in December, as they acquired Marco Sturm from the Boston Bruins. However, as the New Year began the Kings would go into another slump, losing 10 of 12 games. Needing a strong finish to get back into the playoffs, the Kings landed Dustin Penner in a trade from the Edmonton Oilers for Colten Teubert and two draft picks. Even as the Kings made the deal they were on the rise again, posting a solid 8-2-3 record in February. The Kings would play just as strong in March, posting a 9-3-2 record, as they went on to make the playoffs for a second straight season with a record of 46-30-6. With the seventh seed the Kings would face the San Jose Sharks in the first round. The opener would go to overtime, as the Sharks won 3-2 on a goal by Joe Pavelski. Game 2 would be all Kings, as Drew Doughty had two goals and two assists, while Jonathan Quick stopped all 34 shots in a 4-0 win. As the series shifted to the Staples Center, the Kings looked to seize control as they jumped out to a 4-0 lead in Game 3. However, the Sharks quickly came back with five goals in the second period. The game would go to overtime tied 5-5 after a scoreless third period. In overtime the Sharks would strike again, as Devin Setoguchi netted the game winner. After the Sharks won 6-3 in Game 4, the Kings would face elimination in San Jose. With Jonathan Quick stopping 51 of 52 shots, the Kings survived Game 5 winning 3-1. However, back home the Kings would suffer another overtime loss as the Sharks won 4-3 on a goal by Joe Thornton to end the series in six games.

[This history did not have the 2011-12 season, so I'm including the Wikipedia version]


Road to the Stanley Cup (2011–12)

In the 2011 offseason, the Kings acquired Mike Richards, and prospect Rob Bordson from the Philadelphia Flyers for Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn and a 2012 second round pick, by personal request, traded Ryan Smyth to the Edmonton Oilers for Colin Fraser and a 7th round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, and signed Simon Gagne from the Tampa Bay Lightning to play along side former Philadelphia Flyer teammate Mike Richards.

The Kings started 5–1–1 to the 2011-12 NHL season, but went 8–11–3 which resulted in a 13–12–4 overall record and the firing of coach Terry Murray. Los Angeles named John Stevens interim coach for four games until on December 20, named Darryl Sutter the 24th head coach in franchise history. Before the trade deadline, the Kings acquired another former Philadelphia Flyer in Richards' friend and former teammate Jeff Carter from the Columbus Blue Jackets for Jack Johnson and a conditional first round draft pick. The team improved very well under Sutter going 25–13–11 and also missed out on its second divisional title in franchise history in a close race with the San Jose Sharks and Phoenix Coyotes. In their final two games the Kings lost both to the Sharks in overtime, allowing San Jose to edge them out by one point for the 7th seed in the Western Conference, while a five-game winning streak gave the Coyotes their first Pacific Division championship. The Kings settled for the 8th seed, having rounded out the season with a 40–27–15 record (95 points).

The Kings headed into the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Presidents' Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks. After playing two games in Vancouver and one in Los Angeles, the Kings were up 3–0 in the series, a franchise first. By winning game 5 in Vancouver, the Kings advanced to the semifinals for the first time since the 2000–01 season, where they swept the second-seeded St. Louis Blues and advanced to the Western Conference finals for only the second time in franchise history. In doing so, the Kings also became the first NHL team to enter the playoffs as the 8th seed and eliminate the 1st and 2nd seeded teams in the conference. They then defeated the Phoenix Coyotes in five games to reach the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals, becoming the 2nd team in NHL history to beat the top three conference seeds in the playoffs (The Calgary Flames achieved the same feat in 2004 also under Darryl Sutter) and the 1st 8th seeded team to accomplish the feat. They faced the New Jersey Devils in the Finals and defeated them 4-2 winning their first Stanley Cup on home ice at the Staples Center.[55] Team captain Dustin Brown lifted the Stanley Cup first, showing excitement to fans alike.
From: System16 Nov 2015 12:42
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 From:  Razz (RAZZMAN)  
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Wikipedia has a great piece on the Kings history...


Los Angeles Kings

99–2000 season.[2]

The Kings won their division for the only time in their history in 1990–91.[3] They have qualified for post-season play in twenty-four seasons, advancing past the first round twelve times, and past the second round twice.[4] The franchise has won the Western Conference twice.

Their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals was in the 1992–93 season, losing to the Montreal Canadiens in five games.[5]

On May 22, 2012, the Kings beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4–3 in overtime in Phoenix to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1993. On June 11, 2012, the Kings beat the New Jersey Devils 6–1 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals to win the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup, becoming the first ever 8th seeded team in North American professional sports to win a championship.[6]

Franchise history

Hockey in Los Angeles

Prior to the Kings arrival in the Los Angeles area, both the Pacific Coast Hockey League (PCHL) and the Western Hockey League (WHL) had several teams in California, including the PCHL's Los Angeles Monarchs of the 1930s and the WHL's Los Angeles Blades of the 1960s.[7] When the NHL decided to expand for the 1967–68 season amid rumblings that the WHL was proposing to turn itself into a major league and compete for the Stanley Cup, Canadian entrepreneur Jack Kent Cooke paid the NHL $2 million to place one of the six expansion teams in Los Angeles.[8] Los Angeles has a large number of expatriates from both the Northeastern United States and Canada, which Cooke saw as a natural fan base.[9]

LA Kings primary logo from 1967–82.

Cooke was thus awarded one of the six new NHL expansion franchises, which also included the California Seals, Minnesota North Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues.[8] He named his team the Kings, and picked the original team colors of purple (or "Forum Blue," as it was later officially called) and gold because they were colors traditionally associated with royalty. The same color scheme was worn by the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA), which Cooke also owned.[10][11]

The "Forum Blue and Gold" years (1967–68 to 1974–75)

Cooke named Larry Regan the first General Manager of the Kings, and Red Kelly the first head coach in franchise history. Cooke wanted his new NHL team to play in the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, home of the Lakers, but the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission, which manages the Sports Arena and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to the present day, had already entered into an agreement with the Blades (whose owners had also tried to land the NHL expansion franchise in Los Angeles) to play their games at the Sports Arena.[12] Frustrated by his dealings with the Coliseum Commission, Cooke said, "I am going to build my own arena...I've had enough of this balderdash."[12]

Construction on Cooke's new arena, the Forum, was not yet complete when the 1967–68 season began, so the Kings opened their first season at the Long Beach Arena in the neighboring city of Long Beach on October 14, 1967, defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 4–2.[13] For the next two months, the Kings played their home games both at Long Beach and at the Sports Arena.[1] The "Fabulous Forum" finally opened its doors on December 30, 1967, with the Kings being shut out by the Flyers, 2–0.[7]

The Kings made the Forum their home for the next 32 seasons.[2] Players like Bill "Cowboy" Flett, Eddie "The Jet" Joyal, Eddie "The Entertainer" Shack and Real "Frenchy" Lemieux helped introduce the Los Angeles area to the NHL in the team's first few seasons.[7] Such player nicknames were the brainchild of none other than Cooke himself.[7]

LA Kings crown logo, used on their purple jerseys from 1967–88. A purple version was used on their gold jerseys.

In their first season, the Kings finished in second place in the Western Division, just one point behind the Flyers.[14] The Kings were the only expansion team that had a winning record at home, but were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Minnesota North Stars, losing the seventh game at The Forum on April 18, 1968, 9–4.[15] In their second season behind Red Kelly, the Kings finished fourth in the West Division—the final playoff berth.[16] But after eliminating the Oakland Seals in the first round of the playoffs in seven games, the Kings were swept out of post-season play in the second round by the St. Louis Blues.[15]

After two fairly successful seasons, the Kings hit upon hard times, mostly due to poor management. Kings general managers established a history of trading away first-round draft picks, usually for veteran players (many of them NHL stars on the downside of their careers), a problem that would hinder the development of the franchise for years to come.[17] The Kings' attendance also suffered during this time, leading Cooke to muse that the reason so many Northeasterners and Canadians moved to Southern California was that "they hated hockey."[9]

In 1972, the Kings made two key acquisitions. First, the rise of rookie goaltender Ken Dryden in Montreal made goaltender Rogie Vachon expendable,[18] and the Kings obtained him in a trade with the Canadiens on November 4, 1971.[18] After years of a "revolving door" in goal, Vachon solidified the position, often in spectacular fashion. For the next five years, the Forum was often filled with chants of "Rogie!, Rogie!" as Vachon made many a great save. In addition, the Kings obtained former Toronto Maple Leafs winger Bob Pulford, first as a player and then as their head coach.[1] Under Pulford's disciplined direction, the Kings went from being one of the worst defensive teams in the league to one of the best. It took him just two seasons to lead the Kings back to the playoffs and in 1974, they faced the Chicago Blackhawks, only to be eliminated in five games.[15] Pulford eventually led the team to three of the most successful seasons in franchise history, including a 105-point season in 1974–75 that is still a franchise record. They finished second behind Montreal in the Norris Division, which was relatively strong compared to the other divisions. Also in 1975 that season, the NHL introduced a new playoff structure due to the addition of new teams, and introduced a best of three preliminary rounds to the playoffs for the bottom eight of the qualifying twelve teams (the winners of each division automatically receiving a bye into the second round). With the fourth-best record in the league, the Kings were heavy favorites against the Maple Leafs, who finished with 78 points. Despite winning Game 1 at home in the Forum, the Kings lost Game 2 in Toronto on April 10. Due to scheduling conflicts, and owner Jack Kent Cooke's refusal to play an afternoon game on April 12, Game 3 was played at the Forum the next day, April 11, instead, giving each team less rest between the games. The Kings, being an older team than the Maple Leafs, simply did not have the energy due to lack of rest and recovery, and were upset in the deciding game by the lowly but younger Maple Leafs.[19]

Marcel Dionne and the "Triple Crown Line" (1975–76 to 1987–88)

After being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in both 1973–74 and 1974–75, the Kings moved to significantly upgrade their offensive firepower when they acquired center Marcel Dionne on June 23, 1975, in a trade with the Detroit Red Wings. Dionne was already a superstar in the NHL and he made an immediate impact in the 1975–76 season, scoring 40 goals and adding 54 assists for 94 points in 80 regular season games.[20] He led the Kings to a 38–33–9 record (85 points), earning them a second place finish in the Norris Division.[20][21]

LA Kings primary logo from 1982–88.

Behind Dionne's offensive prowess, the strong goaltending of Rogie Vachon, and the speed and scoring touch of forward Butch Goring,[22] the Kings swept the Atlanta Flames out of the first round of the playoffs, but were eliminated in the second round by the Boston Bruins in seven games.[15] The Kings would defeat the Flames and lose to the Bruins in the following year's playoffs as well.[15]

On January 13, 1979, Dionne found himself on a new line with two young, mostly unknown players: second-year right winger Dave Taylor and left winger Charlie Simmer, who had been a career minor-leaguer.[1] This line combination, known as the "Triple Crown Line," would go on to become one of the highest-scoring line combinations in NHL history.[1][23]

After the Triple Crown Line's first season together, Dr. Jerry Buss purchased the Kings, the Lakers, and the Forum for $67.5 million, but the Simmer-Dionne-Taylor combination remained intact.[7] The next season, the Triple Crown Line dominated the NHL, scoring 146 goals and 182 assists, good for 328 points. They did even better in the 1980-81 NHL season, scoring a total of 161 goals and 191 assists, good for 352 points.[1] The entire line, along with goalie Mario Lessard, was selected to play in the 1981 NHL All-Star Game that season, which was played at the Forum. The Kings finished the 1980-81 season with an impressive 43 wins and 99 points, good for second in the Norris Division. But once again, an impressive season was washed out by a first round upset, this time by the New York Rangers, who eliminated them in four games.[1]

The 1981-82 Kings saw the Kings slump to 17th overall and fourth in their division with 63 points, only making the playoffs due to being in the same division as the Colorado Rockies, who finished with 49 (in those days, the top 4 teams in each division were guaranteed a playoff berth) during that time, the team replaced head coach Bob Berry with assistant coach Parker MacDonald. The Kings opened the playoffs against the Edmonton Oilers, who were led by a young but fast-rising star by the name of Wayne Gretzky. Gretzky was only in his third year in the league, but he dominated the NHL like no other had before from the moment he stepped onto NHL ice in his rookie season. By the 1981–82 season, he was already the most dominant player in the league, and had made the Oilers one of the elite teams in the NHL, on their way to winning four Stanley Cup championships in the 1980s.[24] The Oilers finished with 111 points.[25] Few expected the Kings to stand a chance, but it was the Kings who won Game 1 in Edmonton on April 7, 1982, 10–8, in the highest scoring Stanley Cup Playoff game ever.[26] The Oilers recovered to win in overtime in Game 2,[15] and the teams headed to Los Angeles for Games 3 and 4.

Game 3 would be one of the most amazing in hockey history and was later dubbed the "Miracle on Manchester" (the Kings arena, the Forum, was on Manchester Boulevard). In that game, played on April 10, 1982, Gretzky led the Oilers to a commanding 5–0 lead after two periods and it seemed like the Kings were headed for a blowout loss. But the Kings began an unbelievable comeback in the third period, scoring four goals and finally tying the game on a goal by left winger Steve Bozek at 19:55 of the third period and sending the game into overtime.[27]

Bozek's goal set the stage for what was to come. At 2:35 of the overtime period, Kings left winger Daryl Evans fired a slap shot off a face-off in the right circle of the Edmonton zone, passing Oilers goaltender Grant Fuhr over his right shoulder to give the Kings an incredible come-from-behind, overtime victory, 6–5.[27][28] The Miracle on Manchester, the greatest comeback in NHL playoff history,[29] is also the greatest moment in Kings franchise history as of 2007.[1] Not only did the Kings complete a miraculous comeback against the vaunted Oilers, but they also went on to eliminate them from the playoffs in five games, winning the decider in Edmonton, 7–4,[28] however the Kings would lose in the next round to the Vancouver Canucks in five games.

Despite Dionne's leadership, the Kings missed the playoffs in the next two seasons, on January 30, 1984, Rogie Vachon became general manager of the Kings during the 1984, he coach the team for 2 games in 1984 after replacing Don Perry, Roger Neilson coach the teams final 28 games until after the season named Pat Quinn head coach. But the Kings were quickly swept out of the playoffs by the Oilers in 1985, when the Oilers won their second straight Stanley Cup championship.[15] Vachon also became the first player in team history to have his jersey retired on February 14, 1985. Dionne's time with the Kings ended on March 10, 1987, when he was traded to the New York Rangers.[30] But by this time, the Kings had new skaters to help lead them into the next decade, including star forwards Bernie Nicholls, Jimmy Carson, Luc Robitaille, and defenseman Steve Duchesne.[27]

Even before the Dionne trade the Kings were sent reeling when coach Pat Quinn signed a contract to become coach and general manager of the Vancouver Canucks with just months left on his Kings contract. NHL President John Ziegler suspended Quinn for the rest of the season and barred him from taking over Vancouver's hockey operations until June. Ziegler also barred him from coaching anywhere in the NHL until the 1990–91 season. In Ziegler's view, Quinn's actions created a serious conflict of interest that could only be resolved by having him removed as coach.[31]

Despite these shocks, Mike Murphy who played 13 season with the Kings and was their captain for 7 years replaced Quinn as coach. The Kings made the playoffs in the next two seasons, but they were unable to get out of the first round. After a slow start to the 1987–88 season, Murphy was fired, Vachon coached the team for 1 game until promoting AHL's New Haven Nighthawks coach Robbie Ftorek as new head coach. Part of the problem was that the way the playoffs were structured (teams were bracketed and seeded by division) made it very likely that they would have to get past either the powerful Oilers or Calgary Flames (or both) to reach the Conference Finals. In fact, the Kings faced either the Oilers or the Flames in the playoffs four times during the 1980s.

However, the 1988–89 season would be a big turning point for the franchise.[15]

McNall brings Gretzky to LA (1988–89 to 1995–96)

LA Kings logo from 1988–98. Coinciding with the return to the silver and black scheme, the wordmark returned full-time on the helmets in the 2011–12 season.

In 1987, coin collector Bruce McNall purchased the Kings from Buss and turned the team into a Stanley Cup contender almost overnight. On August 9, 1988, McNall acquired the league's best player, Wayne Gretzky, in a blockbuster trade with the Edmonton Oilers. The trade rocked the hockey world, especially north of the border where Canadians mourned the loss of a player they considered a national treasure.[32] McNall also changed the team colors to silver and black.

In Gretzky's first season with the Kings, he led the team in scoring with 168 points on 54 goals and 114 assists, and won his ninth Hart Memorial Trophy as the league's Most Valuable Player. He led the Kings to a second-place finish in the Smythe Division with a 42–31–7 record (91 points), and they ranked fourth in the NHL overall.

The Kings faced Gretzky's old team, the Oilers, in the first round of the 1989 playoffs. They fell behind 3 games to 1, but rallied to take the series in seven games, helped in no small part by nine goals from Chris Kontos, a little-known player who had just recently been called up from the minor leagues. However, the Kings were quickly swept out of the playoffs in the second round by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Flames. Gretzky also had a clash and feuded with his first Kings head coach Robbie Ftorek, at seasons end Ftorek was fired and was replaced by Tom Webster.

The next season saw Gretzky become the league's all-time leading scorer. On October 15, 1989, in Edmonton, he assisted on a Bernie Nicholls goal to tie Gordie Howe's career record of 1,850 points, then broke it late in the contest on a game-tying goal against Bill Ranford. The goal forced overtime, where Gretzky capped a spectacular night by scoring again to win the game for Los Angeles.[33] At season's end, the Kings finished fourth and faced the defending champion Flames in the first round. This time, they defeated Calgary in six games, two of which had dramatic overtimes — Game 3 was won with a shorthanded goal by Tony Granato, and Game 6 ended with a strange goal by Mike Krushelnyski while he was flat on his back. However, the Kings were swept in the second round by the eventual champion Oilers, who were seeking revenge for the loss of the previous year.

Gretzky spearheaded the Kings to their first regular-season division title in franchise history in the 1990–91 season with a 46–24–10 record (102 points, the second best point total in franchise history). Notably, it was the first time in 10 years that a team from Alberta had not finished first in the Smythe. However, the heavily favored Kings struggled in the playoffs, winning the first round against the Vancouver Canucks in six games but losing a close series against Edmonton in the second round that saw four games go into overtime. The 1991–92 season, the Kings' 25th as a franchise, witnessed seven Kings players score over 20 goals; Gretzky himself had a then-career low in scoring yet still finished third in the league behind Pittsburgh Penguins star Mario Lemieux and Kevin Stevens. Despite this, Los Angeles again failed to thwart their Edmonton rivals in the post-season, losing to the Oilers in the first round. This marked the third straight year that the Gretzky-led Kings were eliminated from the playoffs by Gretzky's former teammates, and at the end of the season, Tom Webster was relieved from head coach, and general manager Rogie Vachon was moved to a different position in the organization and named Nick Beverley as his successor.

From: System16 Nov 2015 12:44
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PART II of the Wikipedia article...


First trip to the Stanley Cup Final (1992–93)

The Kings would reach new heights in the 1992–93 season, but the season started badly when it was learned that Gretzky had suffered a career-threatening herniated thoracic disk before the season began. The concern was not mainly whether Gretzky would be able to play that season, but if he would ever be able to play again. But even without their captain and leading scorer, the Kings got off to a blistering 20–8–3 start,[34] with left-winger Luc Robitaille, who won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the 1986–87's NHL Rookie of the Year, filling in as captain for the ailing Gretzky. Robitaille led the team until Gretzky returned after missing the first 39 games.[35] Robitaille would go on to retire at the end of the 2005–06 season as the highest-scoring left winger in National Hockey League history.[36]

Robitaille and Gretzky, along with former Oilers' winger Jari Kurri, forwards Tony Granato and Tomas Sandstrom, defensemen Rob Blake, Marty McSorley and Alexei Zhitnik, and goalie Kelly Hrudey, guided the Kings through a rough middle portion of the season until they found their game once again in the last three months of the season to make the playoffs. Although Gretzky came back to score 16 goals and 49 assists (65 points) in just 45 games, it was Robitaille who was the Kings' impact player that season, leading the team in scoring with 63 goals and 62 assists (125 points) in 84 regular season games, setting new NHL all-time records for goals and points scored by a left winger in a single season.[34] The Kings finished with a 39–35–10 record (88 points), clinching third place in the Smythe Division.

First-year head coach Barry Melrose had his team's offense running on all cylinders when the 1993 playoffs began, and they scored an amazing 33 goals in their first-round series against the Calgary Flames.[37] In the second round, the Kings faced the heavily-favored Vancouver Canucks, a team that had beaten the Kings rather handily five times in seven games during the regular season, and had not lost to the Kings in their four meetings in Vancouver. But the Kings would go on to eliminate the Canucks in six games, with the pivotal victory coming in Game 5 at Vancouver, which was tied 3–3 at the end of regulation play. The teams were still tied after the first overtime period, but winger Gary Shuchuk scored at 6:31 of the second overtime period, giving the Kings a 3–2 series lead, and dealing the Canucks an emotional and, as it turned out, fatal blow.

In the Campbell Conference Finals, the Kings were even more of an underdog against the Doug Gilmour-led Toronto Maple Leafs. But with Gretzky at the helm, the Kings eliminated the Leafs in a hard-fought seven-game series that included two overtime games and a Game 6 win for the Kings, who were facing elimination after losing Game 5 in overtime—they trailed the Leafs in the series, 3–2.[38] In Game 6, Toronto scored two third period goals and tied the game at 4–4 at the end of regulation play. But in overtime, Luc Robitaille fed Gretzky a perfect pass and Gretzky scored to give his team a dramatic 5–4 victory and send the teams back to Toronto for a Game 7. The game was not without controversy, just prior to the winning goal Wayne Gretzky clipped Gilmour in the face with his stick, but referee Kerry Fraser did not call a penalty and Gretzky scored the winning goal moments later.[39] In the final contest, Gretzky scored a hat trick (three goals) and had an assist to lead the Kings to a 5–4 win and a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history.[38][40]

In the Stanley Cup Finals, the Kings faced the Montreal Canadiens, who had breezed through the playoffs and were well-rested. The Kings defeated the Canadiens in Game 1, 4–1. Game 2, however, proved to be the turning point in the series. Late in the contest, with the Kings leading by a score of 2–1, Canadiens coach Jacques Demers requested a measurement of Kings defenseman Marty McSorley's stick blade. His suspicions proved to be correct, as the curve of blade was too great, and McSorley was penalized. The Canadiens pulled their goalie, Patrick Roy, giving them a two-man advantage, and Eric Desjardins scored on the resulting power play to tie the game. Montreal went on to win the game in overtime on another goal by Desjardins, and the Kings never recovered. They dropped the next two games in overtime, and were shelled 4–1 in Game 5 as the Canadiens won their 24th Stanley Cup in franchise history.[38][41]

Despite the stinging defeat at the hands of the Canadiens in the finals, Gretzky and the Kings had generated excitement about hockey and the NHL that had never been seen before in Southern California. As soon as Gretzky donned a Kings jersey, the Forum was sold out for every game — virtually overnight, a Kings game became the hottest ticket in town. During the Stanley Cup Finals, more people in the Los Angeles area were tuned into the television broadcasts than any other station. The popularity of Gretzky and the Kings also led to the NHL awarding an expansion team to Anaheim, California; in 1993 the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (who became the Anaheim Ducks on June 22, 2006) would become the Kings nearest rival, just 35 miles to the south. Gretzky's popularity in Southern California also led to the NHL expanding or moving into other Sun Belt cities such as Dallas, Phoenix, Tampa, Miami and Nashville.

Bankruptcy and Decline (1993–94 to 1998–99)

Kings' primary logo from 19982002. (Would later serve as the team's alternate logo from (20022011).[11]

The next chapter after the 1993 playoff run for the Kings was tough for Kings fans. Wayne Gretzky returned to form for the 1993–94 season, and continued to lead the team with 38 goals and 92 assists for 130 points, winning his final Art Ross Trophy as the league's leader in points that season. On March 23, 1994, Gretzky surpassed Gordie Howe's record for goals and became the all time leader in goals, assists and points. But despite Gretzky's leadership, and the individual efforts by Robitaille, Kurri and Blake, the Kings slumped to 5th place in the Pacific Division and failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 1986.

The Kings logo appearing on an alternate jersey used during the 1995-96 season.[11]

By 1992, Bruce McNall was elected chairman of the NHL's Board of Governors, the second-most powerful post in the league. His support of Gary Bettman tipped the scales in favor of Bettman's election as the league's first Commissioner. However, in December 1993, McNall defaulted on a loan from Bank of America, who threatened to force the Kings into Bankruptcy unless he sold the team. McNall sold the team to IDB Communications founder Jeffrey Sudikoff and former Madison Square Garden president Joseph Cohen in the wake of a federal investigation into his financial practices. He also resigned from his position on the NHL Board of Governors. He ultimately pled guilty to five counts of conspiracy and fraud, and admitted to obtaining $236 million in fraudulent loans from six banks over 10 years.[42]

It later emerged that McNall's free-spending ways put the Kings in serious financial trouble. At one point, Cohen and Sudikoff were even unable to meet player payroll, and were ultimately forced into bankruptcy in 1995.[43] They were forced to trade many of their stronger players, resulting in a roster composed of Gretzky, McSorely, Kurri, Blake, and little else. Before the lockout-shortened 1994–95 season, general manager Nick Beverley left the Kings to work as a scout for the Toronto Maple Leafs and his replacement was Sam McMaster. However, the team continued to stumble, but were within one game of clinching the 8th playoff spot. However, they lost their final game to the Blackhawks 5–1 to finish in 9th place with 41 points, one point under the 8th place San Jose Sharks. During that time, the Kings fired Barry Melrose even after leading the team to the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals. Rogie Vachon coached the team's final 7 games in the 1994–95 season. After the season, Larry Robinson who played three seasons for the Kings from 1989–92, was named head coach after winning the 1995 Stanley Cup as an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils.

Larry Robinson's first season as the Kings coach saw the Kings slump even further to sixth place in the Pacific Division with only 66 points for the 1995–96 season.

Phillip Anschutz and Edward P. Roski bought the Kings out of bankruptcy court in October 1995 and began a rebuilding phase. Meanwhile, Gretzky, who was by this time on the downside of his career, stated publicly that he wanted the team to acquire a forward capable of scoring fifty goals per season and an offensive defenseman. If they failed to do that, he wanted to be traded to a team that was a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.

After all he had done for the game by that time, Gretzky wanted another chance to win an elusive fifth Stanley Cup before retirement. On February 27, 1996, Gretzky was traded to the St. Louis Blues, for forwards Craig Johnson, Patrice Tardif, Roman Vopat, a first-round pick in the 1997 draft (Matt Zultek) and a fifth-round choice in the 1996 draft (Peter Hogan).[44] None became stars for the Kings, although Gretzky himself was an unrestricted free agent by season's end, and only played 18 regular season games for the Blues. Like Marcel Dionne before him, Gretzky ended up with the New York Rangers.

Shortly after Gretzky was traded, Rob Blake was named team captain, and the Kings then traded Marty McSorley, Jari Kurri and Shane Churla to the New York Rangers for Mattias Norstrom, Nathan LaFayette, Ian Laperriere, Ray Ferraro, and a draft pick. The oft-maligned general manager Sam McMaster was fired and replaced by former Kings winger Dave Taylor.[45] But the rebuilding phase for Taylor was a tough one, as the Kings continued their streak of forgettable seasons until 1997–98.[38] That season saw the Kings finish second in the Pacific Division with 87 Points. Blake also became the first (and, as of today, the only) Kings defensemen to win the James Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defenseman after recording a career-high 23 goals and 50 points. The Kings were matched against the highly skilled St. Louis Blues, and after losing the first two games on the road, had a chance to bring life back to the Kings for game 3. Leading 3–0 in the third with 11:28 left, Blues forward Geoff Courtnall charged into Kings goalie Jamie Storr while Storr was out playing the puck, in immediate response, Kings defenseman Sean O'Donnell viciously attacked Courtnall from behind, resulting in a 5 minute major penalty for O'Donnell and power play for St. Louis. The Blues rallied and scored 4 goals within 187 seconds during the power play to win Game 3, 4–3, and then won Game 4, 2–1 to sweep the Kings. After another disappointing season in 1998–99, head coach Larry Robinson was fired.

Move to Staples Center and three straight playoff appearances (1999–00 to 2001–02)


Taylor turned to Andy Murray, who became the Kings' 19th head coach on June 14, 1999. Taylor's hiring of Murray was immediately criticized by media across North America because of Murray's perceived lack of experience — up to that point, his only head coaching experience had been at the international level with the Canadian National Team and at the US high school level. Indeed, Taylor took a gamble on Murray, hoping it would pay off.[46]

But Taylor was not finished dealing that summer. Shortly after hiring Murray, Taylor acquired star right-wing Zigmund Palffy and veteran center Bryan Smolinski on June 20, 1999, in exchange for center prospect Olli Jokinen, winger prospect Josh Green, defenseman prospect Mathieu Biron and the Kings' first-round pick in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft.

Staples Center, viewed from Figueroa Street, the southeast side of the arena.

The Kings also made an even bigger move in 1999, as they left the Great Western Forum and moved to Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, which was built by Anschutz and Roski. Staples Center was a state-of-the-art arena, complete with luxury suites and all the modern amenities that fans and athletes would want in a brand-new facility.

With a new home, a new coach, a potential 50-goal scorer in the fold and players such as Rob Blake, Luc Robitaille, Glen Murray, Jozef Stumpel, Donald Audette, Ian Laperriere and Mattias Norstrom, the Kings improved dramatically, finishing the season the 1999–2000 season with a 39–31–12–4 record (94 points), good for second place in the Pacific Division. But in the 2000 playoffs, the Kings were once again eliminated in the first round, this time by the Detroit Red Wings in a four-game sweep.

In the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, the Kings drafted in the first round Alexander Frolov with the 20th overall pick and in the fourth round drafted Lubomir Visnovsky 118th overall. The 2000–01 season was a controversial one, as fans began to question AEG's commitment to the success of the Kings because they failed to significantly improve the team during the off-season. Adding fuel to the fire was the February 21, 2001, trade of star defenseman Rob Blake, who had won the 1998 Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defenseman in 1998.[47]

In that deal, the Kings sent Blake and center Steven Reinprecht, to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for right wing Adam Deadmarsh, defenseman Aaron Miller, center prospect Jared Aulin and a first-round pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft (Dave Steckel). After Blake's departure, Mattias Norstrom became the Kings' thirteenth Captain, and Deadmarsh and Miller became impact players for the Kings, who finished the 2000–01 season with a 38–28–13–3 record (92 points), good for a third place finish in the Pacific Division and another first-round playoff date with the Detroit Red Wings.[48]

The heavily-favored Red Wings — many predicted another four-game sweep — made easy work of the Kings in Games 1 and 2 at the Joe Louis Arena, but the Kings got back in the series with a 2–1 win in Game 3 at Staples Center.[38]

In Game 4, the Red Wings took a commanding 3–0 lead after two periods. This set the stage for yet another unbelievable playoff comeback for the Kings, highly reminiscent of the "Miracle on Manchester," back in 1982. Seldom-used forward Scott Thomas, a career minor-leaguer, scored a power play goal at 13:53. The Red Wings were called for a penalty with just under three minutes to play and Kings' coach Andy Murray gambled and pulled his goalie to give his team a two-man advantage. The gamble paid off as Jozef Stumpel would follow with another power play goal at 17:33. Finally, Bryan Smolinski tied the game at the 19:07 mark. In the overtime, Deadmarsh stole the puck from Red Wings' star defenseman Chris Chelios in the right corner behind the Detroit net, and threw a centering pass to center Eric Belanger, who scored the game-winning goal at 2:36 to lift the Kings to a miraculous come-from-behind win, now known as the "Frenzy on Figueroa," or the "Stunner at Staples."[47][49] That win would help the Kings eliminate the Red Wings in Game 6 by winning four straight games after going down 2–0 in the series. It was the Kings' first playoff series win since 1993.

In the second round, the Kings went up against another elite team, the Colorado Avalanche, led by superstars Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Patrick Roy, Ray Bourque and Rob Blake. The Kings took the eventual champions to seven games but lost the series, 4–3.[38] The most memorable game of that series was Game 6 where goalies Patrick Roy of Colorado and Felix Potvin of the Kings battled to a 0–0 tie after regulation. The teams played through one overtime, and the Kings scored in the second overtime for a 1–0 win.

The Kings' logo since 1998. It was the primary logo from 20022011 and now uses as an alternate logo since 2011, albeit devoid of purple.

The 2001–02 season started off with tragedy as team scouts Garnet "Ace" Bailey and Mark Bavis were both casualties of the September 11th attack. The team honored the two by wearing "AM" patches on their jerseys. The Kings drafted Michael Cammalleri 49th overall in the second round of the 2001 NHL Draft. Earlier in the season, the team acquired Jason Allison who was involved in a contract dispute along with Mikko Eloranta from the Boston Bruins in return for Jozef Stumpel and Glen Murray. At mid-season they hosted the 2002 NHL All-Star Game.[50] They clinched seventh place in the Western Conference, then met the heavily-favored Avalanche, who bounced them from the playoffs in the first round.

Rebuilding (2002–03 to 2008–09)


The next two seasons would be major disappointments. The Kings suffered through injuries in both the 2002–03 season and the 2003–04 season as the team failed to make the playoffs. In 2003, Luc Robitaille returned to the Kings after two seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, and the team drafted Dustin Brown with the thirteenth pick in the first round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Following the resumption of play after the 2004–05 NHL lockout, the Kings drafted Anze Kopitar with the eleventh pick in the first round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft and goaltender Jonathan Quick in the third round, 72nd overall. In free agency, the team acquired Valeri Bure, Jeremy Roenick and Pavol Demitra for the 2005–06 season. Los Angeles began the new season strongly, but the second half of the season saw the Kings stumble badly, freefalling from second place in the Western Conference in early January to tenth place. On March 21, 2006, the team fired head coach Andy Murray, replacing him with interim head coach John Torchetti. With three games left in the season, Robitaille, the team's all-time leading scorer and the NHL's all-time highest-scoring left winger, announced that, at the end of the year, he would retire.[36]

Just one day after the end of the Kings' 2005–06 regular season, AEG decided to clean house. On April 18, 2006, President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Dave Taylor and Director of Player Personnel Bill O'Flaherty were relieved of their duties, and Vice President and Assistant General Manager Kevin Gilmore was re-assigned to other duties within AEG. Torchetti and assistant coaches Mark Hardy and Ray Bennett, along with goaltending consultant Andy Nowicki, were also fired. Kings CEO Tim Leiweke also announced that he would no longer be the team's Chief Executive Officer.

On April 21, 2006, the Kings signed Philadelphia Flyers scout and former San Jose Sharks general manager Dean Lombardi as President and General Manager. He was signed to a five-year contract, signaling big changes in the near future for the franchise. Soon after he was hired, Lombardi quickly began to revamp the Kings' hockey operations and just barely over one month into his tenure as President and General Manager, on May 22, 2006, he hired Marc Crawford to be the Kings' 21st head coach. In the 2006 offseason, Roenick signed with the Phoenix Coyotes; Bure, who didn't play the 2005–06 season, retired; and Demitra was traded to the Minnesota Wild for Patrick O'Sullivan and Trevor Lewis and acquired the rights of Jack Johnson, along with Oleg Tverdovsky, from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Tim Gleason and Eric Belanger. In free agency, Rob Blake returned to the Kings.

There were few highlights during the 2006–07 season. On January 13, 2007, the Kings made hockey history by putting Yutaka Fukufuji in goal for the third period of a game with the St. Louis Blues. This marked the first time in hockey history that a Japanese-born player played in an NHL regular season game. On January 20, 2007, the Kings retired Luc Robitaille's jersey in an hour-long ceremony prior to a game with the Phoenix Coyotes. It was the fifth Kings jersey to be retired.

Before the 2007–08 season, the Kings drafted Wayne Simmonds in the second round, 61st overall, Alec Martinez, 95th Overall and Dwight King 109th overall in the fourth round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and signed six unrestricted free agents, including center Michal Handzus, left wings Ladislav Nagy and Kyle Calder, and defensemen Tom Preissing, Brad Stuart and Jon Klemm. Rob Blake was named the teams' fourteenth captain after longtime captain Mattias Norstrom was traded to the Dallas Stars in February 2007. However, despite opening the season with a win against the defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks in the first NHL regular season game in Europe at the new O2 Arena (also owned by AEG) in London, United Kingdom,[51] the new acquisitions did little to change the Kings' fortunes as the team finished with the second worst record in the league. On June 10, 2008, the team announced the firing of head coach Marc Crawford.[52]

In the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, the Kings had a busy day, starting with a 3-way trade with the Calgary Flames and the Anaheim Ducks. The Kings traded Mike Cammalleri to the Flames, and the 28th overall pick to the Ducks. The Kings received the 12th overall pick (which eventually was traded to the Buffalo Sabres for the 13th overall pick). The Kings used the 2nd overall pick to select defenseman Drew Doughty, Colten Teubert was selected 13th overall and Vyacheslav Voynov in the 2nd round, 32nd overall. In the 2008 offseason, the Kings traded Lubomir Visnovsky to the Edmonton Oilers for Matt Greene and Jarret Stoll and, after Rob Blake left for the San Jose Sharks, the team brought back in a trade from the Anaheim Ducks, Sean O'Donnell.

On July 17, 2008, the Kings hired Terry Murray, who became the 22nd head coach in franchise history.[53] On October 8, 2008, right wing Dustin Brown was named as the Kings' fifteenth captain in franchise history.[54] Brown, 23, was also the youngest captain and the first American-born captain in Kings' history.[54] In March 2009, the Kings acquired Justin Williams from the Carolina Hurricanes for Patrick O'Sullivan.

Return to the playoffs (2009–10 to present)


During the 2009 offseason, the Kings traded for forward Ryan Smyth,[55] known for his prowess in front of opposing goaltenders. They also signed defenseman Rob Scuderi, who won the Stanley Cup the previous year with Pittsburgh, and drafted Brayden Schenn in the first round, 5th overall, Kyle Clifford in the 2nd round, 35th overall, and Jordan Nolan, the son of former NHL coach Ted Nolan in the 7th round, 186th overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. The Kings were very successful during the 2009–10 NHL season, as they finished sixth overall in the Western Conference while in the midst of rebuilding. They established a franchise record with a nine-game unbeaten streak, and finished the season with 101 points, just the third 100-plus point season in franchise history. However, they lost to a highly skilled Vancouver Canucks team in six games in the first round. The Kings led the series, 2–1, and were ahead 3–2 after the 2nd period of game 4, only to let it slip away in part due to excellent goaltending by Roberto Luongo and late goals by the Sedin twins. Despite the series loss, many considered the season to be an outright success due to the age of the team and the setbacks from injuries to key players Ryan Smyth and Justin Williams. Forward Anže Kopitar spent most of the first half of the season in the top ten in the league in scoring, and finished 20th overall in points. Doughty was one of three finalists for the James Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman and received the team's ‘Best Defenseman’ award. This was the first time in eight years that the Kings made it to the playoffs.

During the 2010 offseason, the Kings signed veteran and former on-ice captain for the Vancouver Canucks, Willie Mitchell, and added forward Alexei Ponikarovsky after losing out on the controversial free agent signing of Ilya Kovalchuk. Mitchell's signing created a top defensive pairing along with Norris Trophy favorite Drew Doughty and bolstered the chemistry of the locker room after the departure of veterans Sean O'Donnell and Alexander Frolov, in the trade deadline, the team acquired Dustin Penner from the Edmonton Oilers for Colten Teubert, a first round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, and a conditional second round pick in 2012.

The Kings entered the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs as the 7th seeded Western Conference team and played San Jose in the first round. The team’s high scorer, Anze Kopitar, was injured and unavailable for the playoffs. On April 25, the Kings were eliminated by the San Jose Sharks in six games of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

First Stanley Cup victory (2011–12)

In the 2011 offseason, the Kings acquired Mike Richards and prospect Rob Bordson from the Philadelphia Flyers for Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn and a 2012 second round pick, by personal request, traded Ryan Smyth to the Edmonton Oilers for Colin Fraser and a 7th round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, and signed Simon Gagne from the Tampa Bay Lightning to play alongside former Philadelphia Flyer teammate Mike Richards.

The Kings started 5–1–1 to the 2011–12 NHL season, but went 8–11–3 which resulted in a 13–12–4 overall record and the firing of coach Terry Murray. Los Angeles named John Stevens interim coach for four games until on December 20, named Darryl Sutter the 24th head coach in franchise history. Before the trade deadline, the Kings acquired another former Philadelphia Flyer in Richards' friend and former teammate Jeff Carter from the Columbus Blue Jackets for Jack Johnson and a conditional first round draft pick. The Kings were much improved under Sutter, going 25–13–11. They also narrowly missed clinching their second divisional title in franchise history.

In their final two games the Kings lost both to the Sharks in overtime, allowing San Jose to edge them out by one point for the 7th seed in the Western Conference, while a five-game winning streak gave the Coyotes their first Pacific Division championship. The Kings settled for the 8th seed, having rounded out the season with a 40–27–15 record (95 points). The Kings headed into the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Presidents' Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks. After playing two games in Vancouver and one in Los Angeles, the Kings were up 3–0 in the series, a franchise first. By winning game 5 in Vancouver, the Kings advanced to the semifinals for the first time since the 2000–01 season, where they swept the second-seeded St. Louis Blues and advanced to the Western Conference finals for only the second time in franchise history. In doing so, the Kings also became the first NHL team to enter the playoffs as the 8th seed and eliminate the 1st and 2nd seeded teams in the conference. They then defeated the Phoenix Coyotes in five games to reach the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals, becoming the second team in NHL history to beat the top three conference seeds in the playoffs (the Calgary Flames achieved the same feat in 2004 also under Darryl Sutter) and the first eighth seed to accomplish the feat.

They faced the New Jersey Devils in the Finals and defeated them in six games to win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. With the Game 6 victory occurring on home ice at Staples Center, the Kings became the first team since the 2007 Anaheim Ducks to win the Stanley Cup on home ice, and the second Californian NHL team to do so.[56] Goaltender Jonathan Quick was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player during the playoffs, and soon signed a ten-year contract extension on June 28, 2012.[57]

Season-by-season record

This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by the Kings. For the full season-by-season history, see List of Los Angeles Kings seasons[58]

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime losses/Shootout losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against

Season GP W L OTL Pts GF GA Finish Playoffs
2007–08 82 32 43 7 71 231 266 5th, Pacific Did not qualify
2008–09 82 34 37 11 79 207 234 5th, Pacific Did not qualify
2009–10 82 46 27 9 101 241 219 3rd, Pacific Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 2–4 (Canucks)
2010–11 82 46 30 6 98 219 198 4th, Pacific Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 2–4 (Sharks)
2011–12 82 40 27 15 95 194 179 3rd, Pacific Stanley Cup Champions, 4–2 (Devils)



2012–13 Los Angeles Kings season
Conference Western
Division Pacific
Founded 1967
History Los Angeles Kings
Home arena Staples Center
City Los Angeles, California
Colors Black, white, aluminum


Media FS West
Prime Ticket
KTLK (1150 AM)
Owner(s) Philip Anschutz
Edward P. Roski
General manager Dean Lombardi
Head coach Darryl Sutter
Captain Dustin Brown
Minor league affiliates Manchester Monarchs (AHL)
Ontario Reign (ECHL)
Stanley Cups 1 (2011–12)
Conference championships 2 (1992–93, 2011–12)
Presidents' Trophies 0
Division championships 1 (1990–91)