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Don't Credit Vachon for Kings' Success

December 15, 1990

Is Allan Malamud so desperate for ideas and so out of touch with reality that he has to congratulate King General Manager Rogie Vachon on a new contract as well as credit him for the Kings' play this season?

The move that fueled Malamud's misguided praise was Vachon's acquisition of goalie Daniel Berthiaume from Minnesota before this season. In the wake of Berthiaume's stellar play, it is conveniently forgotten that the player traded to the North Stars, Craig Duncanson, was the Kings' No. 1 draft choice in 1985.

Duncanson played in only 28 games for the Kings, scoring a measly three goals. Not the sort of production one would expect from a first-round draft choice.

But the drafting of Duncanson and his subsequent play is not an isolated case. Vachon has been burned so many times in player transactions that he should wear gloves when he's dealing on the phone.

Who can forget the 1986 acquisition of aging netminder Al Jensen for speedy defenseman Garry Galley (still playing, by the way)? How about slow Gilles Hamel for crafty Paul Fenton? Perhaps the "best" was obtaining lethargic Mikko Makela in 1989 for two players still contributing to the New York Islanders.

Mr. Malamud, the only reason Vachon still has a job in the NHL is because Jerry Buss knew even less about hockey and because Bruce McNall needs a figurehead to carry out his wishes. Don't insult the intelligence of L.A. hockey fans by suggesting that Vachon is responsible for the Kings' success. The team has prospered not because of him, but in spite of him.

ANDREW D. JAMNER

Long Beach

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