I was sorry to have missed Luc Robitaille’s ceremony, but I thank Ramona Shelburne for capably filling in. It doesn’t surprise me in the least that so many people would attend the event or record video messages for Luc. Any fan who has ever met Luc knows what a class act he is. From a reporter’s standpoint, he’s the first athlete who ever told me, “You have my number, call me whenever you need something,” and that was before I even started covering the Kings on a regular basis. That kind of cooperation is rare and valued.
How classy is Luc? He invited longtime team staff members Pete Demers and Peter Millar — who were coldly dismissed by the team after last season — to the ceremony. How many players would take the time to remember a couple guys whose hard work is usually taken for granted by the players?
Luc’s speech went on for approximately 25 minutes. That’s not shocking, knowing how much Luc always valued his time on the ice… But seriously, he deserved the moment.
Condolences go out to another class act, Dave Taylor, the Kings’ former GM and longtime teammate of Robitaille, who missed the ceremony to attend his father’s funeral.
A light moment came after the ceremony, when Robitaille realized he had forgotten to thank Barry Melrose, the coach who led the Kings to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1993. Robitaille told reporters that he felt terrible about the accidental snub and promised Melrose, now an ESPN analyst, a lenghthy on-air interview.
Marcel Dionne, Luc’s close friend and former teammate, missed the ceremony due to a family committment. Wayne Gretzky, coach of the Phoenix Coyotes, was in attendance, and a message from the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant was played on the video board. TIm Leiweke was resoundingly booed.
And…the Kings lost the game because they started a goalie who wasn’t in game shape. They head into the All-Star break on a seven-game losing streak.
[edit: I should have made that last graph a little clearer. My point was that starting Burke hurt them, because he couldn’t finish and they had to go to a cold goalie off the bench. If Fukufuji plays the whole game, maybe he’s in a better rhythm. Probably not, but maybe.]