Q&A: Robitaille’s Stanley Cup

This is one of my two favorite answers of the session, in which Luc talks about winning the Stanley Cup with Detroit, not the Kings…


Question: You’re associated so strongly and closely with the Kings, yet you won the Stanley Cup with the Red Wings. Obviously the thrill of winning the Cup is unmatched, but if there any internal conflict because it didn’t happen with the Kings?

ROBITAILLE: “There’s no conflict because it wasn’t my choice. I clearly remember some years, being in the locker room at training camp, believing we could win the Stanley Cup with the Kings. I always thought, `If we could just do this…’ That was my goal. If you remember, the year before (the Detroit Stanley Cup), we beat Detroit and got to Game 7 against Colorado. I really thought that summer was going to be the summer that we rebuilt our team. I knew we needed one center and that was it. I really believed that we were right there, that we were going to compete with anybody in the league. Then I never got an offer.

“I never got an offer until June 30, or maybe two days before (July 1). I wasn’t looking for a stupid contract. I was just looking for what I thought was fair. The year before, I led the team in scoring and I felt I was one of the leaders of the team. They offered me a pay cut. I was like, `How could that happen?’ I didn’t even understand. I took it hard. I took it really hard. I was really, really, really disappointed. I never thought this would happen. So it was not my choice to leave. I remember that I was told, `Why don’t you go to free agency, and let us know what you get, and we’ll match.’ And I said, `That’s not the kind of person I am.’ I would never do that. I refused to do that in my life. So I said, `You guys should give me your best offer before July 1,’ and I never got another offer, so I figured that they didn’t want me. I didn’t know why they didn’t want me.

“So the next day, my wife said, `Who do you think has a chance?’ She was crying. It was hard and we didn’t want to leave. So I said, the team that has the best chance is Detroit, because they had just gotten Hasek. She said, `Well, why don’t you have your agent call and see if they want you.’ Well, they wanted me. (laughs) As a player, you go where you’re wanted. Funny enough, they found a way to offer me a pay increase, and it wasn’t a stupid contract. They just offered me what the Kings wouldn’t offer me. The Kings knew what I was worth at the time. I was disappointed, but at the same time I said, `If I’m going to leave the Kings, I want to win the Cup.’ I felt I was going to help a team win the Cup. I wanted to help the Kings win the Cup, but if they didn’t feel like I could help them win the Cup, that was not my fault, you know? Detroit felt like I could help them win the Cup, and it worked. That was my mentality on it.

“If you ask me today, `Do you regret it?’ No way. It’s so hard to win the Stanley Cup, and I feel so fortunate that I had no injuries, nothing. It capped my career. But that’s really what happened.”

Question: I’m not sure if everyone knows the story…what did you do with the Cup?

ROBITAILLE: “I brought it back to L.A. I threw a big party in my backyard. We had like 300 people. We took it to Dodger Stadium and Universal Studios, on the Jurassic Park ride. We took it on Sunset Boulevard. Chris Chelios had a party in Malibu on the beach. It was like three days of craziness with the Cup, and it was fun.”

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