Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO

On-Ice Overture Leads to Perfect Fit for Kings

October 09, 1998|RANDY HARVEY

Steve Duchesne says Luc Robitaille tried to persuade him to return to Los Angeles as a free agent even while they were playing against each other in a playoff series last season between the St. Louis Blues and the Kings.

Robitaille doesn't remember it quite like that.

"The only time we talked was when I cross-checked him in the back," Robitaille said Thursday, the Kings' last full day in town before leaving on a season-opening trip beginning Saturday in Edmonton. "Actually, he did all the talking."

What did Duchesne tell his good friend from their first tour together as King teammates?

"I didn't hear it all," Robitaille said, laughing. "I was skating away as fast as I could. He was a little mad."

In line to shake hands after the Blues had swept the Kings, however, Robitaille said he did make a recruiting pitch.

That, besides a three-year, $11.25-million offer from King management, was all it took to convince Duchesne, who combines with Norris Trophy winner Rob Blake, Mattias Norstrom, Sean O'Donnell, Garry Galley and Doug Bodger to give the team a group of defensemen that, six deep, should rank among the NHL's best.

Robitaille is the first to admit his interest in Duchesne was partly selfish.

A forward who relies on finesse, he appreciates Duchesne's defense--as an artist might appreciate an industrious house painter. But another reason he wanted Duchesne back was obvious during the exhibition season. Among the more offense-minded defensemen, Duchesne assisted on three of Robitaille's six goals.

"If you've got a five-on-four power play, he's so good at breaking away from a guy one on one that it becomes five on three," Robitaille said.

If Duchesne's second stint with the team is as successful as Robitaille's and Galley's, General Manager Dave Taylor should bring back other former Kings. Maybe he could suit up again with Marcel Dionne and Charlie Simmer. Wayne Gretzky will be available when the playoffs start.

*

Combine the Kings' defense with the Ducks' Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya, then you'd have a team to threaten the Detroit Red Wings' hold on the Stanley Cup. . . .

Who's the wise guy who scheduled the Ducks to open the season Saturday at Washington against Ron Wilson? . . .

When Robitaille had dinner Wednesday night with Texas Ranger reliever John Wetteland, formerly of the Expos, they spoke at length about the importance of keeping baseball in Montreal. . . .

Robitaille was among the Expos' too-few fans while growing up there. . . .

"I'm still mad at Rick Monday," he said of the Dodger outfielder who hit the National League championship series-clinching home run against the Expos in 1981. . . .

So the Yankees got jobbed. It's about time. . . .

Twenty years ago next Wednesday, umpires let Reggie Jackson's hip movement steal a World Series game from the Dodgers. . . .

Of course, New Yorkers insist that the Dodgers were still suffering from bad karma after Walter O'Malley moved them from Brooklyn. . . .

O'Malley, by the way, would have turned 95 today, an occasion to celebrate on this coast. . . .

Searching for an edge over Skip Away in Saturday's Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont, trainer Richard Mandella has outfitted Gentlemen with blinkers for the first time. . . .

I'm still going with Skip Away, who, with a win, will break Cigar's all-time earnings record and become the first horse to go over the $10-million mark. . . .

Gary McCord, who turned 50 in May, has entered the Pacific Bell Senior Classic at Wilshire Country Club Oct. 26-Nov. 1. . . .

"I just want to play once in a while, hit the ball around and try not to hurt anybody," he said. . . .

Los Angeles will begin next week assembling a bid committee for the 2012 Summer Olympics after today's U.S. Olympic Committee review of nine potential candidates. . . .

Seattle, San Francisco, New York and Washington-Baltimore are having trouble getting their acts together. . . .

It looks like John Robinson had a valid reason for not moving Chad Morton to tailback because of his lack of durability. . . .

It's better to have a good safety who's playing than a great running back who isn't. . . .

Kerry Collins has a good idea. . . .

Boss, if it's all the same to you, I think I'll just watch other people work next week.

*

While wondering if the World Series this year will be between the Bronx Zoo and the San Diego Zoo, I was thinking: The Braves must have a good team to overcome some of Bobby Cox's moves, the Yankees miss Darryl Strawberry, everything about baseball is better this year except the umpiring.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|