The LA Kings have a long, storied history since their arrival in the 1967-68 season. Like most teams, there were ups and downs, highs and lows. Somewhere in the middle, we got most comfortable, expecting the unexpected. With these five iconic moments, we go down memory lane and reveal some of the best and most storied moments in Kings’ history.
1. The Trade
The Edmonton Oilers were an established NHL powerhouse franchise that won many Stanley Cups in a short amount of time. Success was the name of the game in Edmonton, and they were expected to be competing for the Stanley Cup every year based on their track record. Much of their success came from a skinny kid from Brantford, Ontario, named Wayne Gretzky.
“The Great One” was on pace to break every scoring record there was, and he was still very young. From all of the success came heartbreak for the Oilers on August 9, 1988, when the Oilers traded number 99 to the Kings, along with defenseman Marty McSorely and Mike Krushelnyski, for forwards Martin Gelinas and Jimmy Carson, three first-round picks, and $15 million. Gretzky wanted to go to the Detroit Red Wings until he spoke to his father, the late Walter Gretzky, who changed Wayne’s mind. He ended up agreeing to go to Los Angeles in a trade that shook the NHL and changed hockey in Southern California forever.
2. “The Kings are the kings”
Los Angeles as a team had some success but could not win the big one, despite making it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1993. After years of failing to win the Cup, their time had come in 2012 against the New Jersey Devils. Dustin Brown became the first Kings player to hoist Lord Stanley as the Kings won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. They did so by defeating the Devils 6-1 in Game 6, winning the series 4-20. Jonathan Quick was named Conn Smythe trophy winner, going 16-4 with a 1.41 GAA and a .946 save %.
3. “Royalty reigns again”
Winning their first Stanley Cup was something to remember, but what is better than one Stanley Cup? Two Stanley Cups and the Kings would achieve greatness again only two years later. They faced the New York Rangers this time, winning the series in five games. Defenseman Alec Martinez scored in the second overtime to clinch the victory, again on home ice. Justin Williams was named Conn Smythe trophy winner, scoring nine goals and 24 points in the playoffs. His overtime winner in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final helped Los Angeles erase a 2-0 deficit.
4. Kings Sign Simmer
The Kings signed Charlie Simmer in 1977, but he would only play three games with LA in the 1977-78 season. The Terrace Bay, ON, native would score 48 points in 38 games in his first extended stint with the Kings before back-to-back 56-goal seasons, eclipsing the 100-point mark in each.
Playing with Marcel Dionne and Dave Taylor, this line became known as the triple crown line, and not only were they one of the more famous lines in NHL history but also one of the more productive lines. In 1980-81 the trio combined for 328 points, marking the first time in NHL history that a line had scored 100 or more points each.
During his career with the Kings, Simmer played eight seasons, scoring 222 goals and 244 assists for 466 points in 384 games while being a +84 and scoring 25 game-winning goals. In the playoffs, he scored seven goals and seven assists for 14 points in 15 games. He also scored five hat tricks during his time in Los Angeles.
5. “Miracle on Manchester”
The Kings participated in one of the most talked about games in NHL history, The “Miracle on Manchester.” On April 10, 1982, one of the biggest comebacks in league history took place at The Forum (now Kia Forum) in Inglewood, California. It was game three of the Conn Smythe division finals between the Kings and Oilers. Entering the third period, the Kings were down 5-0. Jay Wells broke the shutout and put the Kings on the board with a shot that eluded Oilers netminder Grant Fuhr. That began the comeback as the Kings would score five goals in the third period to tie it up with the game-tying, power-play goal from forward Steve Bozek with just 5 seconds remaining in the game.
With the game on the line, Kings forward Daryl Evans scored on a slapshot just 2:35 into overtime to give the Kings a come-from-behind 6-5 victory. The Kings would eliminate the OIlers but fall to the Vancouver Canucks in the next round.
The Kings have had many memories in their history and still have many more to make. What are your favorite moments in Kings’ History?