The Los Angeles Kings compiled a record of 437-406-63-78 (W-L-T-OTL) with purple as a primary color from 1998-2011, and that says little about a teasing and often frustrating era of Kings hockey.

With the two-game home sweep of Phoenix serving as the official retirement of the purple jerseys, I decided to compile a top-10 list of “favorite moments in black and purple” before realizing that any accurate account would rely too heavily on the most memorable moments from the 2001 playoff run: The Frenzy on Figueroa. Adam Deadmarsh’s series clincher against Detroit. Glen Murray’s double-overtime goal against Colorado.

If there was one play that seemed to represent a 12-season span in which the Kings won one playoff series, it was Bryan Smolinski hitting the post late in the second period of a tied road game against the Colorado Avalanche in the decisive match of the 2001 Western Conference Semifinals.

“A 1-1 game, Game 7, going into the third against the No. 1 seed, you’re kind of liking your chances,” Head Coach Andy Murray told Helene Elliott of the LA Times in May, 2001. “Some of the guys we talked to said if Smolinski had scored, we would have won, 2-1, and would have shut them down in the third period. But you never know. And for whatever reason, we didn’t play as well as we needed to.”

“But you never know” might as well have been the motto for a talented core of players that appeared to be on the verge of building something special with playoff appearances in three consecutive years from 2000-02.

Instead, the only trophies the team collected over the subsequent seasons were black and purple in their unattractive, bitter appearance: bruises.

What would have happened had franchise cornerstones Jason Allison – a point-per-game player in his season and a half in L.A. – and Deadmarsh not succumbed to career-derailing injuries early in the 2002-03 season? Where would the Kings be had they not surpassed their own 2002-03 record of 536 man-games lost to injury with an unofficial NHL record of 629 games lost to injury one season later? And what to make of Ziggy Palffy? Had Todd Simpson not grabbed a hold of his stick in overtime and dislocated his shoulder in a game in Anaheim nine years ago, where would his standing be in Kings history?

There are no answers to these questions, nor have Kings fans been asking them since last June.

A Stanley Cup banner has recently been hung at Staples Center, and any festering irritation towards an often unforgiving period has been virtually drained. It is no longer a “frustrating era”. It was simply “an era”, and one that spawned the careers of Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, Jonathan Quick, Jonathan Bernier and Drew Doughty in its later years.

As those players continue to evolve, so will our views of the black-and-purple years of the Los Angeles Kings.

For more on the retirement of the Kings’ purple jerseys, I recommend this icethetics blog post, Mourning Purple.

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Alec martinez

#27 | 6′ 1″ | 210 lb | Age: 29

Born: July 26, 1987
Birthplace: Rochester Hills, MI, USA
Position: D
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Martinez was drafted by the LA Kings in the 2007 Draft, while playing for Miami University. He has since become a two-time Stanley Cup champion and the 17th man in Stanley Cup playoff history to score the Cup-winning goal in overtime.

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Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

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Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right

Bio

Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

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Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.
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Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

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Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

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