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Kings, Robitaille Talking

June 12, 2003|Jerry Crowe | Times Staff Writer

Luc Robitaille, perhaps the most popular player in club history, is in talks with the Kings about returning to the team, Robitaille and a King source said Wednesday.

The 37-year-old left wing and his agent, Pat Brisson, have met with General Manager Dave Taylor in recent weeks and Robitaille also has spoken with club President Tim Leiweke.

Said a King source of the talks, "There's mutual interest."

Tuesday over lunch in El Segundo, the second-leading scorer in club history sat down with Taylor and Coach Andy Murray to discuss how he might be used next season as the Kings try to improve upon a disappointing, injury-racked season in which they finished 14 points out of the playoffs.

"We had a real good talk," said Robitaille, who was released last month by the Detroit Red Wings after scoring only 11 goals last season, the least productive of his 17 NHL seasons, and will be an unrestricted free agent July 1. "I came out of there real positive."

Robitaille said he also has talked with three other Western Conference teams, but the Kings would seem the most logical fit. In two stints with the club he has scored 520 of his 631 goals, a league record for left wings, and 1,079 of his 1,319 points. And he still lives in Holmby Hills.

Signed as a free agent by the Red Wings two summers ago, Robitaille scored 30 goals during the 2001-02 season, his 12th 30-goal season, and helped the Red Wings win the Stanley Cup championship. But he slumped last season as his playing time was cut, and in January was benched for the first time in his career.

"I want to go to a situation where I can play," he said. "I'm looking forward to helping a team a lot more than I did in Detroit because I know I can still contribute. I know I can still be one of the top guys."

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