As a followup to our story (linked here) with former Kings defenseman Marty McSorley, a few points he can make from his perspective:
Comparing the Kings’ 93 to this squad:
== “We were much more of a run-and-gun team. We had (Kelly) Hrudey (in goal), who was good, and (Rob) Stauber also had some good games — nothing like Quick, who has been unbelieveable. But goaltending for us didn’t have to be that good. Obviously we also had a guy (Wayne Gretzky) who everyone wanted to come out to see, so the fanfare around the team was so much greater.
“The style of play was much different then. What Montreal did (in the final) and wasn’t really documented was how they had an early trap working in that series. They were trying to counteract a team that could easily score seven goals a night.
“This team is very different, much bigger. We played hard games, but not like the 0-0 ones this team can grind out. That wasn’t who we were. We had a lot of personalities, but that’s what (owner) Bruce McNall had a feel for and wha the wanted.
“It’s great what this current team has done getting huge help from (rookies) like Voynov and King and Nolan, with veteran defensemen that let Martinez step in comfortably. The third line also has a lot of energy. I was curious to see if Stoll would be a third-line centerman, but he’s doing it. The kid in the net also doesn’t force the third and fourth lines to score, but they’ve been very deep. Management will have to make some decisions by July 1 on who to keep — and they’ve got pay Quick.
“They’re all firing. They don’t have any ‘controversy’ hanging over them. The biggest thing is they challenged themselves before the playoffs, and now they’re far more. They all skate so well and shoot so well. They all want to do great things with the puck.”
On what makes this 2012 team tick:
== “They’ve got everyone helping and chipping in. The play of some guys allows the others to just do their jobs. That’s a huge help. Not too much is asked from a lot of them. They’ve got three veteran defensemen aside from from the kid in the nets, and they’re a big part of it. Quick puts them in position to win, and now Anze Kopitar he stepped up as a true leader. Richards and Carter take the emphasis of checking off Kopitar, which gives him more freedom. Now you have two lines with legitimate scorers.”
Photo by Tom Hoffarth/Daily News Marty McSorley poses with fans and autograph seekers before Game 4 of the Kings-Phoenix Western Conference finals at Staples Center last Sunday.
Marty McSorley can turn surly.
In his NHL glory days, it happened when he came face to face with an opposing player — someone who would stupidly want to pick a fight with one of the league’s most legendary brawlers.
With the Kings fighting their way to the Stanley Cup finals for the second time ever and first time in 19 years, the thing that causes a distinct change in McSorley’s otherwise kind-natured demeanor is when he’s in a face-off with a media member.
Just so you know, he’s not amused by the “Curse of the Curved Stick” storyline.
“You’re not in my shoes,” the 49-year-old admitted.
He’ll attend charity events as a member of the Kings Alumni Association, and once the master of ceremonies spots him, there’ll be a joke made from the podium at his expense.
He’ll sign autographs for hours to please a line of Kings fans, as he did in the concourse at Staples Center before Game 4 of the recent Western Conference finals. Almost on cue, someone will make what they believe is a light-hearted remark about whether the Sharpie he’s using is illegal.
McSorley gives a half-smile, more of a pained look, and tries to set them straight.
“They think it’s funny, they snicker about it, but they get caught up in what they took away from ’93 with a bit of a misguided scenario,” he said. “That shouldn’t be the focus. That’s the part that’s confusing to me.”
Does this thing that many call a “curse” haunt him?
“No,” he said, “because, for me, you play the game as hard as you can. It’s more disappointing to know you played all year and put as much into it, and then you get singled out. For this? Really? For a Stanley Cup final?”
Is this something he’s ever been asked to apologize for?
“No,” he said, “because I can’t believe it’s gotten so sensationalized. It’d be interesting to see if this had happened to any number of other players (in Kings’ history).”
Is anyone coming to his defense? Not so much.
At a time when everyone still seems to want to stick it to him, when does someone stick up for McSorley?
What’s included in this week’s sports media column (linked here):
The best reasons for the Kings’ inclusion in the Stanley Cup final, from purely a viewers, readers and tweeter’s point of view, including the potential for more local news flub-ups in coverage of the on-ice events (which the Kings, above, have tried to stay ahead of the curved stick here with a light-hearted cheat sheet)
What isn’t included:
== Save of the day (and a beauty) to Kevin Olsen, a reader in Burbank who politely points out that the L.A. Kings actually did play a game in Sacramento once. In 1994. On Easter Sunday. And he was there, “that’s how I seem to remember it.” The NHL had “neutral ice” games at various venues around the U.S. and Canada and Sacramento’s Arco Arena hosted one that day. Here’s the game summary (linked here). Kings won, 6-1. Gretzky had three assists. We demand an apology right this minute to Chuck Henry.
== The NHL Network will have a three-hour live show during “Media Day,” and NHL.com will let fans pick among three podiums to watch players at their press conferences.
Starting with Game 1 of the Cup Final on Wednesday, NHL Network has a three-hour pregame show that includes analyst Barry Melrose. Darren Pang will be assigned, with Steve Mears, to cover all the Kings-related activity.
== Two Sports Illustrated pieces on Doc Emrick, who Kings followers will hear call the Stanley Cup final for NBC and NBC Sports Newtork, one done a year ago by Richard Deistch (linked here) and then recently by Michael Farber (linked here).
== Lee Jenkins’ Sports Illustrated cover piece on the 78-hours of the L.A. L.A. Paloosa (linked here) is equal to or greater than the effort by Grantland.com’s Bill Simmons (linked here). But neither took their picture with the Chick Hearn statue.
== An excerpt of the Frank Deford essay/commentary on NPR.com that he delivered Wednesday included this assessment of why the NHL isn’t so much part of the ESPN national-driven discussion (linked here):
“What we used to call ‘the sports world’ is actually now ‘ESPN-world.’ And of all the major sports leagues it carries, ESPN doesn’t carry the NHL. As a consequence, the NHL is like a tree falling in the forest — because pretty much if a sport isn’t on ESPN, then it doesn’t count as a sport. Poker became a sport when ESPN started showing it.
“Angry hockey people even tabulate the few minutes that ESPN deigns to mention the NHL. ESPN replies that hockey is not in the ‘national discussion.’ The NHL is not just like LeBron or Kobe, or baby bumps, or Mitt Romney’s dog.
“Hockey fans say that the NHL can’t be in the national discussion unless ESPN discusses it, because in American sports today, that’s how you get national: You get on ESPN. Look at it this way, ESPN to sports is like Fox, MSNBC, the Comedy Channel and MTV all in one.
“ESPN might have a problem, though. The New York Rangers and the Los Angeles Kings may very well end up playing in the NHL finals. Is ESPN even bigger than L.A. and New York City, together? Stay tuned.”
Again, the latest Deford autobiography, “Over Time: My Life as a Sportswriter,” is available in book stores (linked here).
== More background on the @LAKings digital media team from Yahoo.com (linked here).
== Video of how NBC Sports Network’s Pierre McGuire was between the glass at the right time during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final of the Stanley Cup playoffs (from the New York Times link):
McGuire calls himself an analyst who sometimes acts as a reporter, as he was put in a unique situation during Game 4 of the Rangers-Devils Eastern Conference series.
McGuire, a former bench coach in Pittsburgh, went on a mini-media tour this week to explain how being allowed to stand in that “privileged position” comes with it a responsibility to maintain a “professionalism” that goes with “a respect factor” not to reveal everything that goes on. Even if it leads to criticism that he isn’t telling viewers enough.
McGuire told Dan Patrick on his syndicated radio show this week there are “certain things that can be reported and certain things that can’t,” especially when it comes to confidential injury information. “It’s not fair to say what the injury is. I don’t believe in that. When people start to do that kind of reporting, when you’re basically invading (the bench) territory of the teams, then that (analyst) position will probably get shut down.”
== Victor Rojas and Eric Byrnes are on the call for Fox’s regional coverage of the Angels-Mariners game from Seattle (Saturday, 4 p.m., Channel 11, going to 11 percent of the country, while most see Philadelphia-St. Louis with Joe Buck and Tim McCarver). Question: If either Angels pitcher Jerome Williams or the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez takes a no-no past, say, the fifth inning, will Rojas say anything about it or would be be forced to if Fox’s national coverage cuts to this game (recall that the Chicago White Sox’s Phil Humber threw the perfect game at Seattle earlier this year on a Fox regional telecast).
== From the ESPN “SportsCenter” Sunday piece that will run on Dan Wheldon prior to ABC’s coverage of the Indianapolis 500:
ESPN’s vice president of motorsports production Rich Feinberg said the piece “celebrates his life and certainly touches upon the thrilling victory that he achieved in the 100th, centennial anniversary, of the Indy 500 last year. We’ll also touch on the tragedy of Las Vegas. For many viewers, and for the sport, this is the first time we’ve seen oval racing, not only in these cars, but since the tough events and horrible events of last year’s Las Vegas race.
“The feature is a touching tribute to him. It’s not meant to be an analytical breakdown of what happened in Las Vegas, but much more celebrate his life. It includes an exclusive interview and sit-down that we did with his wife Susie Wheldon.
“There is also a tribute planned in the prerace ceremony, and we certainly plan on covering that and offering it for our viewers to experience.”
== Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star explains further what happened during last Monday’s Dodgers-D’backs telecast, when there were no commercials shown for the first seven innings because of a glitch in the Fox Sports Network production out of Houston (linked here). Somehow, that didn’t bother us too much, either.
== As NFL Films president Steve Sabol battles with brain cancer, the HBO series “Hard Knocks” continues to be without a team as the subject matter for its upcoming season. Several teams have turned it down. The New York Post reports that the networks hopes to have a team decided by June 1, although it would not be a surprise at this point if the series at least skipped 2012.
== A site called TheForestLab.com (linked here) has these shirts for sale. For $28. Amazing what a Photoshop can do. Illegal? We’ll see whose lawyers speak up first.
Excerpted from the Daily News archives, Friday, April 16, 1993:
For the first time in 13 years, the NHL has playoff games on over-the-air networks. For the Kings’ Game 1 first-round opener in Calgary, the L.A. market will get an ABC coverage, with Al Michaels and John Davidson. This is a year removed from when CBS covered the 1992 Winter Games.
Three years earlier, Kings play-by-play man Bob Miller let go of his radio duties to do a TV-only broadcast for Prime Ticket with Jim Fox. That left Nick Nickson and Brian Engblom on the XTRA-AM (690) broadcasts over radio.
Miller talked about how he stayed at his Woodland Hills home for Game 1 from the Saddledome rather than join the Kings’ traveling party and would later go to Calgary for Game 2 on the following Wednesday.
“It seems a little weird and I’m not really happy about it. I feel left out,” said Miller.
“I understand that the league wants the network exposure and I’m all for that. But I don’t understand how you abandon people you’ve been with all year. To me the fairest thing to do would be to let ABC do the game, but not shut out the local TV.”
As part of the new five-year, $80 million ESPN-NHL TV contract, ESPN bought time on ABC for five straight Sunday playoff games, with the Kings-Flames being one of three regional telecasts. Prime Ticket was upset over losing local TV ad revenue from the change.
Interestingly, Kings owner Bruce McNall helped orchestrate the ESPN-ABC-NHL TV deal.
ABC also did the Kings-Flames Game 4 from the Forum on Sunday April 25, changing the faceoff from 7:30 p.m. to noon.
One indication that the NBC Sports Network lacks in a strong advertiser base is how many times during the NHL playoffs that we’ve been exposed to this one particular spot — a bunch of talking barnyard animals lament how their owner looks so lonely as “she’s out walking the cornfield again” since it’s difficult for her to meet her true love. They then suggest she tap into FarmesOnly.com, the dating service for farmers, ranchers and “good ol’ county folks.”
Google the term “animal husbandry” and see if it’s a more accurate portrayal of what’s going on here.