Sunday, August 30, 2009

LA Kings HockeyFest 2009: Sunday's Runner-Up Session

Pick your Z...

In the Alex Zhitnik or Doug Zmolek spot (#2) - Bob Miller's One Man Show

Like yesterday, the session I entered the day most looking forward to didn't end up earning my top billing when all was said and done. Great show. Great speaker (obviously). Just slightly one upped later in the day.

The voice of the Kings - our Vin Scully - brought a myriad of stories and video highlights from the team's 40+ years in LA.

* He opened things with 1967 and a video package entitled "Getting to Know You."

* Talked about driving up to Jack Kent Cooke's house in a rented Plymouth Omega (no link available). Cooke said he liked small cars too - like Maseratis.

* Bob isn't too fond of the way Cooke treated people or his (less than legendary) marketing ideas. For example, he once suggested that Bob say "...and there goes Marcel down the ice like a Datsun" as a way of plugging their automobile sponsor. Bob politely suggested they go a different direction - like mentioning the Datsun Scoreboard when referring to the score of the game.

* In the early days the Kings had several early players worthy of being in GQ magazine Bob claims. One notable exception was Butch Goring - who once spilled pasta sauce on his white turtle neck on the first night of an eight game road trip. He showed up the next day with what some players thought was a clean replacement. No - he simply turned the shirt around backwards and put a jacket on!

* For the trivia buffs...the hardest shot Bob has ever seen belonged to Dennis Hull of the Blackhawks.

* More trivia? He'll never forget the '76 playoffs. The worst call he remembers making was when Mike Corrigan tied the game against Boston in game six, after being down 3-0 that night. Relax Bob. More fans probably remember Goring scoring to win it at 18:28 of overtime - the longest game in Kings history at that point. Or what happened after - something Bob proudly proclaimed he has never seen since (or before) - a hockey player carried off the ice on the shoulders of his celebrating teammates.

* Of course, there were stories about the triple crown line, the trade of '88 that came with new team colors and more. There were also some less feel-good "I don't mind telling you I hated the Oilers (of the early 80's), their arrogance really bugged me."

* What had to be the kick to the gut moment of the whole weekend was watching Montreal celebrate winning the cup in '93. Sure, that playoff run was brought up in nearly every session throughout the weekend. Yet, this wasn't about the great Toronto series leading to the finals or even the stick incident in game two. This was a video featuring a celebration by the team that beat the Kings. The prior night Marcel refused to watch the video clip of Simmer breaking his leg. I felt the same pit in my stomach reliving that dreadful day. OUCH.

Bob's session ran 30 minutes over and easily could have gone another hour. The man is a hockey encyclopedia.

If you don't have his book, get a copy now (details and link below). It's easy reading and full of great memories.

Check out Bob Miller's book at Amazon:

The Mayor

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