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KINGS REPORT

It'll Be a Dry Last Goodbye

April 18, 1999|JIM HODGES

Larry Robinson is not a sentimentalist, and he'll shed no tear today when the Kings play their last regular-season game at the Great Western Forum.

Not that there aren't memories.

"I scored my first goal here, against Rogie Vachon," said Robinson, recalling the 1972-73 season, when he was a Montreal Canadien rookie and Vachon the King goalie.

Now the building that helped launch a Hall of Fame career could house the end of his reign as King coach.

"We're all assuming things, and I hate to do that," Robinson said of his job, which a source close to the situation said would end with the season.

The parting could come when he and the rest of the coaches meet, probably Tuesday, with Dave Taylor, the team's senior vice president, general manager and coaching decision-maker, for their evaluations.

"I'm a realist," Robinson said. "If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, then life goes on."

Robinson's four-year contract runs out after this season, and there is irony, perhaps, that he was offered an extension in September for what the Kings said they hoped would be three more years.

"If I had signed a contract earlier on in the year, this probably wouldn't be happening in the first place," he said Saturday. "But the timing wasn't right. The team wasn't going well and I certainly didn't want to sign a contract under those circumstances."

Used to success as a player, he has found it in limited quantity as coach of a team that made the playoffs once in his four seasons.

"It's sad," he said. "It's sad because I set out when I took this job to be successful and . . . it's still not complete. Contrary to a lot of people's beliefs, I think we have come a long way, but we still haven't accomplished what we all set out to do when we got in this business and that's to win the [Stanley] Cup.

"Every year that goes by, unless I'm holding [the Cup] before I leave for the summer, I don't feel I've been successful."

*

The Kings signed University of North Dakota center Jason Blake, 25, to an amateur tryout contract. He will play today against the St. Louis Blues.

TODAY vs. St. Louis, 12:15 p.m.

* Site--Great Western Forum.

* Radio--KRLA (1110).

* Records--Kings 32-44-5, Blues 36-32-13.

* Record vs. Blues--0-2-1.

* Update--St. Louis beat the Phoenix Coyotes, 6-4, Thursday to clinch fifth place in the Western Conference and will play the Coyotes in the first round of the playoffs. Among the scorers in that game was Geoff Courtnall, who has goals in both of the games he has played after sitting out 57 games because of post-concussion syndrome. The Kings have won three consecutive games and four of five.

* Tickets--(888) 546-4752.

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