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
KINGS PLAYERS: GRETZKY WILL MAKE US A CONTENDER
Author: STEVE ROSENBLOOM Daily News Staff Writer
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.”