Kings goaltender Kelly Hrudey stops a shot by Montreal Canadiens'… (Reed Saxon / Associated…)
His trademark blue bandanna is gone but Kelly Hrudey doesn’t look a day older than he did 19 years ago, when he tended goal for the Kings during their first run to the Stanley Cup Final.
Now a well-regarded commentator for Hockey Night in Canada’s telecasts, Hrudey visited the Kings’ spacious Staples Center locker room after their morning skate on Monday and acknowledged he is delighted to be in Los Angeles to see the current Kings pursue the Cup.
“It’s a little different than our dressing room,” Hrudey said of the old Forum. “I just can’t believe they actually have air conditioning in this dressing room in comparison to our dressing room. It was so hot in there. It was crazy.”
Hrudey has been back to Los Angeles many times but seeing the Kings in the Final has allowed him to relive some happy memories.
“This is amazing. I actually am very emotional. And I’ve talked to some of my former teammates and it’s the same way, how emotional this experience is, and to see them in the finals it’s actually really rewarding,” Hrudey said.
“We had a pretty good team back then and it feels good to have them having success again.”
He also said he never expected the Kings to go so long between Final appearances.
“I’ve been a big fan for a lot of years watching from afar. I must say I’m really biased. Everybody knows I’m a big fan of Dean Lombardi,” he said of the Kings’ general manager.
“He and I had a great relationship in San Jose for two years so I’ve always been hopeful he was going to build a great team here.”
Hrudey said he wasn’t sure which of his old teammates would be at Game 3 Monday night, but Wayne Gretzky said last week that he would attend. And rumor has it that Gretzky might be involved in the ceremonial opening puck drop.
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