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Williams Released by Kings : Move Will Benefit Team, Murphy Says

October 13, 1987|JERRY CROWE | Times Staff Writer

Dave (Tiger) Williams, one of the Kings' most identifiable players and the all-time National Hockey League leader in penalty minutes, was released Monday by the Kings.

Coach Mike Murphy said the Kings released the irascible left wing, a 13-year NHL veteran, to give their younger players, including rookie Craig Duncanson, a chance to play.

"We were disappointed that we had to make that move," Murphy said. "But it was something we felt we had to do to be a better team, although we might have to suffer for a period of time because of it."

The Kings also assigned right wing Bryan Erickson, defenseman Craig Redmond and rookie center Dan Gratton to New Haven of the American Hockey League, reducing their roster to 24 players.

Williams, 33, played two full seasons in Los Angeles after being purchased from the Detroit Red Wings at the end of the 1984-85 season.

He said he enjoyed playing in Los Angeles, felt "productive" here and was surprised by the move.

"You never look at anything in the sports business as being logical because most of the time it's not logical," he said. "Obviously, I'm on an island and there are a lot of sharks out there. Some of them I'll spit out and some of them I won't.

"It doesn't matter. I tried to give the organization everything I had, and if it wasn't good enough, that's life. They know I gave them everything I have."

Williams had 49 points in one of the best offensive seasons of his career in 1985-86, but his totals fell to 16 goals and 18 assists last season, when he established a club record with 358 penalty minutes and led the NHL in that category for the fourth time in his career.

He played in two of the Kings' first three games this season, failing to score in a 4-2 win over St. Louis and a 9-2 loss to Edmonton.

Williams has spent 3,879 minutes in the penalty box, averaging more than 300 penalty minutes a season in his career.

Long considered one of the NHL's foremost enforcers, he also has been involved in some of the league's most notorious incidents.

Williams, who formerly played for Toronto, Vancouver and Detroit, once sent former Buffalo Sabres' Coach Scotty Bowman crashing to the floor with an open head wound after Bowman had leaned over the bench to watch a fight in progress.

He once was brought up on assault charges after smashing his stick over the head of Pittsburgh's Dennis Owcher.

King fans probably remember him best for the time when, as a member of the Canucks, he engaged in a gruesome stick duel with the Kings' Dave Hutchison in the penalty box, or for the time he climbed out of the penalty box at the Forum to go after a heckler.

Williams said he hopes to sign with another NHL team this week.

If not, he said: "I know the L.A. Rams were looking for players. I called them today to see if they needed any scab linebackers."

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