May 17, 2012 |
They were mere steps away from each other in the giddy, crowded hallway at Staples Center: Tim Leiweke and Bruce McNall. The present and past nearly collided Thursday night, the bookend faces of a long and winding and often frustrating hockey journey for the Kings' franchise. Nineteen years after McNall's Kings reached the Stanley Cup finals for the first time, Leiweke's Kings are on the verge of their second appearance in the finals. "Memories," said McNall, the former owner.
June 3, 2010 |
From Philadelphia -- Who would have thought fourth-liner Ben Eager would have scored more goals for the Chicago Blackhawks than emergent power forward Dustin Byfuglien three games into the Stanley Cup finals? Or that light-scoring defenseman Brent Sopel would have as many goals as he did during the season — one — while Jonathan Toews, a playoff MVP candidate through the first three rounds, would have none? The Philadelphia Flyers, hoping to capitalize on home-ice advantage Friday for the second straight game and tie the series at two games each, have similar examples of stars who have been stymied and lesser lights who have emerged as key players.
June 5, 1993 |
A few weeks ago, friends started asking Brian Engblom what he thought about the possibility of the Montreal Canadiens and the Kings meeting in the Stanley Cup finals. "I didn't want to talk about it, I didn't want to even think about it," said Engblom, the Kings' radio commentator. Now that it has happened, Engblom, a former NHL defenseman who spent seven seasons with the Canadiens and three with the Kings, says: "This is a good as it gets."
May 20, 2007 |
Leave it to Daniel Alfredsson -- the Ottawa Senators' captain and longest-serving player -- to score the most important goal in team history. With one clutch shot at 9:32 of overtime, Alfredsson ended a decade's worth of frustration by sending the Senators to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time. His goal secured a 3-2 win over the top-seeded Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, allowing Ottawa to win the Eastern Conference finals in five games.
May 19, 1991 |
The call came to the Coffey residence Friday afternoon around 3. On the other end was Bob Johnson, coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins. "Can you play?" Johnson asked Paul Coffey, his veteran defenseman and the mastermind on ice of the Pittsburgh power play. Can he play ? That's all Coffey has been asking--pleading, cajoling, insisting, hoping--for over the past few weeks. He has been in Johnson's face with the same diligence he generally reserves for opposing forwards.
June 2, 1992 |
The best "money goaltender" in hockey? Try Tom Barrasso. That's the opinion of no less an authority than Bryan Trottier. Remember, Trottier played with Billy Smith and those great New York Islander teams of the early 1980s. "Smith used to call himself the best playoff money goaltender," said Trottier, a member of four Stanley Cup winners with the Islanders. "Right now, Tommy is probably the best in the game. As each game gets bigger, he gets better."
May 24, 1988 |
As they prepare to meet the Edmonton Oilers in Game 4 tonight at the Boston Garden, the Boston Bruins acknowledge the monumental task facing them in the Stanley Cup finals. They trail in the best-of-seven series, 3-0. A victory tonight would give the Oilers their second straight National Hockey League championship and their fourth in five years. "They're a good team that's playing great," Bruin Coach Terry O'Reilly said of the defending champions.
June 6, 1994 |
The first couple of times New York Ranger Coach Mike Keenan told him to pay more attention to defense, Brian Leetch listened but didn't change his style. Keenan didn't tell him again. He didn't care that Leetch had won the Norris Trophy in 1992 and was the engine of the Rangers' power play. The next time Leetch made a low-percentage play, Keenan benched him.
May 30, 1994 |
The real Ranger fans knew their hearts would be broken again. The Wall Street types in the expensive suits thought the game was over and were high-fiving each other, but the fans in the cheaper seats--no seats at Madison Square Garden are cheap--held back. They were wondering what form the torture would take this time, how the defeat they saw coming would compare to all the other wounds they had suffered since the Rangers last won the Stanley Cup in 1940.
June 5, 1993
The Stanley Cup was first awarded in 1893 as the emblem of hockey supremacy in Canada, with the Montreal Amateur Athletic Assn. the victor. The Toronto Arenas won the Cup at the end of the NHL's first season, 1917-18. Not until 1928, when the New York Rangers won, did an NHL team from the United States win the Cup. And not until 1993 have the Cup finals come to California.