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Reactions
CNNSI.com asked if Kings fans had any opinions on the subject. And guess what ... they did.

Click here to read a sampling of what CNNSI.com users had to say. 

 
Sports fans love to reminisce over the days where it all went wrong: the wasted draft pick, the tragic trade or the defecting hero. These may not be, by definition, the worst roster moves ever made, but they were the ones that affected us on a personal level. These are the events that caused -- and still cause -- us to sit on our bar stools and lament the cruel twists of life.

With the trade of captain Rob Blake on Wednesday night, CNNSI.com empathized with Kings fans. But we also could not resist twisting the knife a little by recalling a few more Kings heartbreakers, like the 1987 trade of legend Marcel Dionne; the strange tale of expelled coach Pat Quinn; the lost chance to draft Ray Bourque; and, of course, the fall from grace of owner Bruce McNall.

 
February 21,
2001 
Kings trade D Rob Blake and C Steven Reinprecht to Colorado for RW Adam Deadmarsh, D Aaron Miller, a 1st-round pick in '01, and future considerations
 

  Rob Blake Colorado fans remember Rob Blake ... he played there in the All-Star Game three weeks ago. Robert Laberge/Allsport

It's always tough to trade your captain. Even tougher when he was your very own draft choice (70th overall in '88), an Olympian, a four-time All-Star and only three seasons removed from a Norris Trophy.

But that's life in modern times. And even though Blake, an unrestricted free agent after this season, wavered on his desire to be traded over the past few months, that's what happened.

Blake turned down a five-year, $40 million offer last summer and an even richer offer a week before the trade. Blake wants numbers close to the $29.5 million, three-year deal St. Louis recently gave Chris Pronger, a defenseman who was both the Norris Trophy winner and the league MVP last season. Pronger is 26; Blake is 31.

"It was evident to us from very early on Rob was intent on free agency," Los Angeles GM Dave Taylor said. "Last week, we added to our proposals in an attempt to bridge the gap, but we were unsuccessful." Taylor said he the Kings' best bet was to acquire a number of players who could help the team immediately.


  Hugh Pike, Cathedral City, Calif.:
Dave Taylor should allow Rob Blake to fill in the numbers on a blank check, for all the good he has done for the L.A. Kings, and being that he is the top NHL defensemen. Any success they hope to have should be centered around him, as he is hockey in Los Angeles, and is the king of all Kings. 

 
March 10,
1987 
Kings trade C Marcel Dionne, D Jeff Crossman and a 3rd-round pick (later traded) to N.Y. Rangers for C Bobby Carpenter and D Tom Laidlaw
 

Long before Wayne Gretzky was packing 'em into the Fabulous Forum, there was Marcel Dionne. Over 11 seasons, "Little Beaver" became the Kings' all-time leader in goals (550), assists (757) and points (1,307) before finally requesting a trade to a contender ... which GM Rogie Vachon somehow considered to be the Rangers, who had only four more points than the Kings and would not get out of the first round of the playoffs.

That was nothing new for Dionne, who played in all four winning seasons and 43 playoff games with L.A.. The years of losing added up and Dionne was hoping his trade request would light a fire under Vachon. Instead, Vachon really traded him.

"I've never been a good gambler. I go to Vegas and I don't win anything," a despondent Dionne said two weeks later. "I rolled the dice again . . . and I lost. I'm still a Kings fan and I always will be. My heart is still with the Kings, but now my body's with the Rangers."

Dionne led the team in scoring in nine of 11 seasons, topping 50 goals six times, and was named the club's most valuable player eight times.

  Dionne Asks for a Trade, Goes to Rangers
Los Angeles Times -- March 11, 1987
By Julie Cart

Carol Dionne was preparing to drive her husband to the airport Tuesday night and sounded frazzled after a day of upheaval. She said Marcel would not come to the phone.

"I found out at 2:30 this afternoon," she said. "I don't think he wanted to leave. If they really wanted him here, they could have offered him things. He is not a greedy man. He's tried very hard for 12 years here, and nothing has happened with the team."

She said that her house had been full of King players and that King Coach Mike Murphy had come by. The phone, she said, had not stopped ringing. ...

... Dionne was especially close to the Kings' three rookies. Luc Robitaille had lived in his home and Dionne found places for Steve Duchesne and Carson to live.

Carson and Robitaille stayed at the Dionne house until late evening. Carol Dionne said their good byes to Dionne were emotional.

Duchesne had been out all afternoon and not heard of the trade until a reporter called.

"Really? I can't believe it. He was like a God for us," he said. "For myself, this is a big loss. No way I can believe this, I would say you are crazy."  


 
October 9,
1978 
Kings acquire G Ron Grahame from Boston for 1979 1st-round pick (D Ray Bourque)
 

Ron Grahame really tore up the World Hockey Association in 1974-75, leading the league in wins, shutouts and goals-against average as his Houston Aeroes won the title. He would lead the league in shutouts and GAA again in 1976-77, making him something of a hot commodity.

  Ray Bourque Had the Kings drafted Ray Bourque in 1979, they could have traded him for Adam Deadmarsh this week. Brian Babineau/Allsport

The Boston Bruins signed Grahame as a free agent, and he went 26-6-7 with a 2.67 GAA as an NHL rookie in 1977-78 ... making him even more of a hot commodity. So hot, that the lowly L.A. Kings thought to make him their goalie of the future at the price of a No. 1 pick.

That pick turned out to be the eighth overall, landing the Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque, who would, of course, go on to become, well, Ray Bourque. Grahame went 24-37-8 and never had a GAA under 4.19 in four seasons with L.A. and Quebec.

More cruel irony? Bourque is now a teammate of one-time Kings star Rob Blake in Colorado ... and Boston has Grahame's son, goalie John Grahame, in their system.


 
January 9,
1987 
Kings coach Pat Quinn expelled from NHL until start of 1991 season
 

  Pat Quinn Who's the only man to coach two teams in the same division at the same time? Well, not really, but Pat Quinn came close. Al Bello/Allsport
In 1984, the Kings turned to Pat Quinn to lead the team to respectability. And he did in his first season, guiding them to their first playoff appearance in three years. But (after missing the playoffs in 1986) Quinn was expelled from the NHL midway through the 1986-87 season because he signed a contract with Vancouver while still under contract with L.A.

Quinn said the Kings had missed a deadline on an option on his contract, which had a clause allowing him to negotiate with other teams.

NHL commissioner John Ziegler banned Quinn from coaching the Kings for the remainder of the season and from coaching the Canucks until the start of the 1990-91 season. He set the Kings back in many ways, including the fallout with Marcel Dionne (above). The team missed the '87 playoffs and new coach Mike Murphy was fired 27 games into the next season, which the Kings finished 30-42-8.

And somehow, Quinn's contract wasn't on file with the NHL, and the Kings were unable to press tampering charges against the Canucks.

The silver lining? With Barry Melrose behind the bench and Wayne Gretzky on the ice, the Kings beat Quinn's Canucks in the 1993 division finals en route to their only Stanley Cup finals appearance.


 
January 9,
1997 
Kings owner Bruce McNall sentenced to 5 years, 10 months in prison
 

Ten years to the day after the Quinn decision, another front-office fiasco for the Kings.

The man who brought Wayne Gretzky to L.A. also brought shame upon his team and the league.

McNall was sentenced to time in prison and ordered to repay $5 million two years after after pleading guilty for his scheme to swindle banks, a securities firm and the Kings of more than $236 million.

He bought the Kings from Jerry Buss in 1988, then in Buss-like fashion lured Wayne Gretzky to Tinseltown. Just over a year after Gretzky took the Kings to the NHL finals, McNall was forced into bankruptcy after selling 72 percent of the team for $60 million. A year after that, in 1995, the team was sold to Denver billionaire Philip F. Anschutz and local developer Edward P. Roski.

  No Glitter, no Gretzky for 'New' L.A. Kings
Toronto Sun -- January 16, 1997
By Jim Proudfoot

HOCKEY was in its glorious, glamorous Los Angeles heyday when the Maple Leafs opposed the Kings in the 1993 Stanley Cup semifinal.

That L.A. team was excellent, with Wayne Gretzky in the forefront, and a Stanley Cup championship was by no means out of the question.

The Forum was the place to be on the left coast that May and motion picture luminaries like Goldie Hawn and James Woods hung around the arena corridors, hoping for an audience with the Great One or even Marty McSorley.

The Kings traveled in a specially fitted jet because, for athletes employed by Bruce McNall, anything less just wouldn't do.

Nobody understood at the time that it was all smoke and mirrors, a house of cards McNall had erected with other people's money. But reality eventually did prevail and the sad story ended last week when McNall was sentenced to nearly six years in prison.

The National Hockey League franchise barely survived his financial shenanigans because in fact, items like the $15 million he paid Edmonton owner Peter Pocklington for Gretzky were just drops in the bucket.

A lot of people had fun while it lasted.  


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