It was “blockbustering”

As part of “turn back the clock” day, I found a story about the reaction of Kings players to the Wayne Gretzky trade. The highlight comes from Jim Fox.

”It’s, uh, pretty, uh, very, very blockbustering – if that’s a word. It’s got to be one of the biggest trades ever, and the first thing you think is ‘holy-moly.”’

Blockbustering and holy-moly, indeed. Of course, 20 years later, Jim is one of the best in the broadcasting business…

Here’s the rest of the story, for those feeling nostalgic.

Daily News of Los Angeles (CA)

August 10, 1988

Author: STEVE ROSENBLOOM Daily News Staff Writer

Article Text:

Jimmy Fox couldn’t find the right word to describe the idea of Wayne Gretzky becoming a King. So, he made one up.

”It’s, uh, pretty, uh, very, very blockbustering – if that’s a word,” Fox said Tuesday upon hearing of the staggering deal that brought Gretzky to the Kings along with forwards Marty McSorley and Mike Krushelnyski in exchange for center Jimmy Carson, 1988 top draft pick Martin Gelinas, three first-round picks and an estimated $15 million. “It’s got to be one of the biggest trades ever, and the first thing you think is ‘holy-moly.’

“The whole shock of the thing makes you go blank for a while. This is unbelievable. He’s the best player in the game.”

Other Kings players were similarly stunned, marveling over having the game’s greatest player as a teammate.

“I was all excited when I heard,” said Kings center Bernie Nicholls, who was at a golf tournament in Newfoundland. “Playing with the greatest player in the world is awesome.”

“What can you say?” defenseman Jay Wells asked. “He’s the greatest player in the NHL.”

“I’m happy that he’s a King,” said Luc Robitaille, whose name was mentioned when the trade rumors first surfaced. “He’ll really help us on the ice, but I think he’ll help us more off the ice. He wants to win. He’s won Stanley Cups and knows what it takes. He’s the greatest team player in the world.”

Team captain Dave Taylor saw the trade as a brilliant move by new owner Bruce McNall, who engineered the deal with Oilers owner Peter Pocklington.

“I think it means that Bruce is very obviously serious about bringing a winning hockey team to Los Angeles,” Taylor said. “He went out and got the greatest player in the game.

“That will put people in the building. (Gretzky) makes us a contender, as much as one player can.”

At the same time, the players lamented the loss of talented 20-year-old sophomore sensation Jimmy Carson, who scored 55 goals last season.

“I roomed with Jimmy for two years,” Taylor said. “It’s always tough to lose a teammate. I played with Jimmy for two years and we were pretty close.”

Still, Fox said, the subject is Gretzky.

“Where something involves Gretzky, you can’t doubt any of the moves. It’s positive any way you look at it. Being honest, I didn’t even think of Jimmy. You just hear Gretzky’s name and that’s all you think about.

“It gives us instant credibility for the players because of the respect the league has for Gretzky.”

Not to mention the respect the Kings have for “The Great One,” who has scored 58 goals and 170 points in 63 career games against the Kings.

“He’s had our respect for a long time,” Fox said. “The only thing he’ll be mad about is that he can’t play against us.”

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  • cristobal

    DL would never have given up those 3 1st rounders……

  • PRMan

    ”It’s, uh, pretty, uh, very, very blockbustering – if that’s a word. It’s got to be one of the biggest trades ever, and the first thing you think is ‘holy-moly.”’

    That guy definitely has a future in broadcasting…

    J/K Jim (if you are reading this). Love you and Bob!

  • mrk

    nah, he’d give up Kopi, JMFJ and Sulli.

  • cristobal

    so would i mrk

  • Quisp

    Great article on what happened to the picks the Kings gave up in the Gretzky deal:

    Highlight, for me, is the summary of who Edm COULD have picked with those picks:

    1989 – Olaf Kolzig, Adam Foote, Nicklas Lidstrom, Kris Draper, Sergei Fedorov

    1991 – Ray Whitney, Ziggy Palffy, Sandis Ozolinsh, Jozef Stumpel, Chris Osgood

    1993 – Saku Koivu, Todd Bertuzzi, Jamie Langenbrunner, Brendan Morrison, Bryan McCabe

  • cristobal

    quisp – i don’t wanna play that game, it makes me crazy. I cannot resist. What I”m gonna check is which of those players the Kings could have picked despite not having a 1st rounder.

  • cristobal

    89 – kings drafted Brent thompson – 2nd round, 39th overall, before Lidstrom (3rd round, 53rd overall), Kris Draper (3rd, 62 overall, winnipeg), Sergei Fedorov (4th, 74th overall), and Vladimir Konstantinov (12th round, 221 overall).

    —yesitscal, i think i found my GM, 3 hall of famers (in my book) outside the first 2 rounds.

    91 – kings drafted Dave Cameron – 2nd round, 39th overall, before Jozef Stumpel (2nd round, 40th overall, just missed), Chris Osgood, detroit again (3rd round, 54th overall), redemption came for the kings with this great pick and current free agent? of Alexei Zhitnik (4th round, 81 Overall). Geez – Europe must’ve been a mystery at the time, huh?

    93 – the year of ‘the daigle’ (are the senators still paying him?) Your KINGS drafted 42nd overall in the 2nd round – Shayne Toporowski BEFORE: Vaclav Prospal taken 71st overall in the 3rd round, Miroslav Satan taken 111th overall in the 5th round, Darcy Tucker taken 151st in the 6th round, and Pavol Demitra taken 227th in the 9th round, BUT BEFORE all those listed by quisp.

  • yesitscal

    Cristobal, that’s great! What’s his name?

  • Maverick

    Why did they call Marty McSorely a foward?

  • cristobal

    I don’t know, are you going to tell me. I do know that in 1984 he drafted Milan Chalupa 49th overall, though. His name is Chalupa.

  • cristobal

    your probably asleep or out at Miyagi’s with your posse, so i found this:

    James “Jimmy” Devellano is the senior vice-president of the Detroit Red Wings and vice-president of the Detroit Tigers.
    In the 1960’s, Devellano was employed by the Canadian government in an administrative capacity. During his frequent business trips, Devellano watched as many major junior hockey games as he could, and eventually found a job with the St. Louis Blues, working on spec as an amateur scout.[1] He went on to work for the New York Islanders and the Detroit Red Wings. He won three Stanley Cups with the Islanders, two as scout and one as Assistant General Manager/Director of Scouting in 1980, 1981, 1982. He left the Islanders to join the Detroit Red Wings and won four more Stanley Cups as the Wings’ Senior Vice President 1997, 1997, 2002, and 2008.

    He’s like the Sir Alex of American Hockey and the Red Wings are like the Manchester United. I’m gonna drop the Kings for the Wings.

  • yesitscal

    So, you claim to have come up with the new GM for the Kings based on the Wings’ drafts between 1989 to 1993 and later on tell me you had to look it up to see who their GM actually was at that time? I’ll have you know that Devellano wasn’t the GM in one of the years you cite. Brian Murray, brother of the latest inept Kings coach, was the GM of the Wings in draft year 1993. What’s Devellano doing these days? Perhaps you should start a campaign to have Lombardi fired and Jimmy hired? Save this franchise before Lombardi completely ruins it, please.

  • GFG

    Quisp, as an Oilers fan, we didn’t deserve to get anything with those picks.

  • yesitscal

    GFG, your team still had plenty in the tank after trading #99, but eventually I guess it was the salary structure being blown to hell that really did in the Oilers. The fans have hung with them through some pretty lean times since, so hopefully they’ll be rewarded by the new ownership. How do you think Tambolini will do up there?

  • cristobal

    yesitscal – You have no vision.

  • yesitsdcal

    Cristobal, what’s your point? I have no vision. Yeah, what else do you really want to know about me. Actually, you’re probably more accurate than you know because I am blind. Some people are blind, other people are stupid. If you had a choice which one would you choose? Oh, I think we already know.

  • cristobal

    Geez yesitscal – way to bring me down. although its eerie that i seemed to know. I’m sorry for your disability in all seriousness. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. What I meant was mentally in terms of hockey. Here I went and found some really interesting information, and you don’t make a peep about it. Devellano’s story, along with Sather’s, is the stuff of fiction, amazing acheivments by individuals who are just like you and i. I find it enthralling and cannot understand how you don’t.

    you know, just because you’re blind doesn’t mean you can go around attacking people and insulting them. you started in on me and i don’t for a second feel guilty for defending myself. i’ve tried not to be to harsh or crazy about what i say to people, whereas you seem to feel free to let fly with generalizations and spite. From your writing, you come across as immature and bitter. I’m just responding to the image i have in my mind. if you don’t want broken glass, don’t throw rocks at windows.

  • cristobal

    Maverick – McSorley played forward and defense. Originally the Kings employed him mostly as a forward. He was likely better on defense and never a liabililty. Overall, McSorley was a great player: insane, violent, intimidating, but also quite able to contribute with his tremendous playing ability. Those players are very hard to come by. Remember, too, he was the lone scored in game 5 of the Finals against Montreal. He refused to give up.

    I would personally love to see McSorley behind the bench alongside Murray and his coaching staff. Can we start some form of petition to send in to management. I know McSorley loves the game and has energy for years. He truly is great for hockey despite the incident with Brashear. Let’s honor his contribution to the Kings and those wonderful years with Gretzky.

  • cristobal

    yesitscal – was that an impersonator? i didn’t notice the d in yesitsdcal.

  • Quisp

    Gretzky trade leads to Teubert pick. See “Gretzky Trade Tree”:

    I thought this tree was kind of mesmerizing. But maybe you’ve all seen it.

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