Luc Robitaille, on his first conversation with Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten:
Well, that was before their big winning streak, so I didn’t want to bother him too much. I just said to him, I said, ‘What do you think about playing an outdoor game?’ He goes, ‘That would be great!’ I was like, ‘It’s that easy?’ I couldn’t believe it. He goes, ‘Get with my guy! We’ll get it done.’ So we went and met here, and we tried to figure out the right date and what made sense. At first, we were thinking it would be the Sunday, but then everybody realized it would be the Grammys. So now it will be the night before, which I think is great for L.A. It’s the same weekend as the Grammys. Everybody’s going to be in town, so I think it’s going to be absolutely incredible.
Robitaille, on his memories of growing up and playing pond hockey:
I would have loved to play in this game. I think for a player, any time you have an opportunity to play in big events – because sometimes when you’re a player, you know it’s special, you know it’s great. But it’s when you retire you remember, you go, ‘Man, I was there when it happened. This is the first outdoor game in Southern California. It might never happen again here. This is certainly something special, and I think that’s why our fans that we hear are buying tickets, everybody’s talking about the fact that they’re going to be a part of a historic moment.
Robitaille, on any disappointment over the lack of an alumni game:
You know, if you look at our schedule – and our team’s playing that Thursday – so they’re not able to practice. We would have loved to have an alumni game, but we’re not going to play during the day because we want to make sure we cover the ice. At night, we have to have our teams practice here. Both teams are going to practice. We’ve got to give time a little bit with their families. So it would have put an alumni game at 9:30, 10:00 on Friday night, and we’ve got to make sure the ice is perfect for the next day. So it didn’t make sense.
Robitaille, on what type of questions the players have been asking:
They haven’t asked any questions – they’re just happy to be a part of it. They think it’s going to be something amazing. I think as a player, you love to be a part of those big events. Our guys, obviously playing last year in the playoffs, and the year before in the finals, they’re part of big games and big events, so this is something because of the way they played and what they’ve accomplished, we’re able to do this now.
Robitaille, on the LAKI report that ticket sales had been moving along at a “record clip,” and whether that surprised him:
I’m not surprised. I believe in L.A. I’ve always believed in this market, and probably more than most people because I was here when Gretz came, and I saw what happened. And then you see what happened with our team the last couple of years. Before we won the Cup, we made the playoffs a couple years, and we were selling out almost every game. Now we’re going to sell out every game this year. I believe in this market. I know we have a lot of great hockey fans. But in this town, you’ve got to compete. You’ve got to win, and you’ve got to be part of the top teams. People will follow you, because this time wants winners.
Robitaille, on whether he would “push Gary for a Winter Classic” should expectations for the game be exceeded:
Yeah. I’ve been bothering Gary for five years for this game, so I’m not going to stop. I believe in the Kings. I believe in L.A. Yeah, we’re always going to push for the next thing. For sure we think we’re going to exceed our expectation, and we know it’s going to be a huge success. Then, after that, we’ll go to the next step. But for us, once the game starts we’ve just got to win the game and get the two points and beat the Ducks.
Robitaille, on whether ticket sales will be available for the general public:
We don’t know yet. We’re still analyzing everything because the Dodger fans will get a few. We’ve got to go back to some of our premium seats. So hopefully there’s a few left that we can go to our fans and then make a few available, because we have a lot of Kings fans. We have a lot of hockey fans here that we know. We want to do something special for all the kids that play hockey, too.
Robitaille, on the “chatter” that a beach setting was at one point considered:
Actually, with Tim Ryan of the Ducks, we’ve had talks about it that if it could be on the beach, but it was more in the sense that it would be a preseason game. We know if you’re going to do an outdoor game, it needs to be big. Like, we never looked at another stadium. We really thought Dodger Stadium was the place to be. It’s an iconic stadium. It’s special. It’s something that you can only do it once, but it’s certainly something absolutely incredible, and if you’re going do to this here, it had to be here.
Robitaille, on what he remembers of the hype and execution of the 1991 outdoor game in Las Vegas:
Well, it was fun for us because it was a preseason game…and there was huge buzz around it. I think we had 10 or 11,000 seats and it was sold out. It was absolutely incredible. The one thing that was funny for us was everybody talked about the ice, and the only reason they had some issue about the ice – they had it covered during the day, and the guy before the end of the day, he put the cover, the tarp down on the ice. So that’s what kind of melted the ice. So they cranked it back up. We started about a half-hour late and we never had a problem with the ice. The one thing that was funny was over there there were these grasshoppers that would jump on the ice and then suddenly freeze. So the players, we kept seeing this, and we thought it was the weirdest thing.
Jeff Carter, on how he feels about playing in front of a crowd of over 50,000 people:
It’s going to be great. Everything I’ve heard, it’s going to be filled up. It shows the way the game has grown here in Southern California, and the fans that both teams have. I think speaking for our team, the guys are real excited to get the game underway. It’s going to be a great one.
Carter, on whether he has ever had a Dodger Dog:
I have. [Reporter: So maybe a pre-game meal?] I might have to save those for after the game.
Carter, about playing in the Winter Classic:
I played in Fenway Park when I was with the Flyers…Same deal, just a little warmer.
Carter, on his initial thoughts about when the event was first announced:
The guys were talking about it with the trainers and whatnot. We had kind of heard about it for a little while. When it officially got announced, the guys were excited. It’s not too often that you get to do something like this. I know now they’re doing it a little more. But, still, every time you get to play outdoors in front of this many fans, it’s exciting. [Reporter: It’s obviously not until January, but it is in the front or back of your mind? Do you think about it at all?] Yeah. I mean, we talk about it. With it being in California, it’s a little bit of the unknown with the weather and stuff like that, how it’s going to be. But I’m sure the staff that’s working here is going to do a great job in getting the ice top notch for us, and it should be good.
Carter, on whether the outdoor setting “will take away the intensity” of the game:
Absolutely not. As I said earlier, I’ve played in one before, and it was intense. There’s a lot of battles, a lot of hitting and whatnot. It’s a huge game for both teams. It’s a huge game for the league. The guys realize that. It almost bumps the intensity up, because everybody wants to win that game, you know?
Dustin Penner, on his initial reaction to learning that he’d be playing in an outdoor game:
How the ice was going to be. I mean, it means less and less as it gets closer to the game, because it’s more about the venue and the historical precedent it’s going to set.
Penner, on what it means to be able to bring “pond” hockey to Southern California:
Everybody’s going to remember where they were when they played this game. It’s a special feeling, I think. It’s one of those things where after playing the game you’ll realize that one, five, 10 years down the road that you were a part of that. It’s going to make a nice picture frame on a mantle for the guys.
Penner, on how “strange the transition” has been in rejoining Anaheim, and whether he feels like a “windshield wiper hockey player”:
Better than a grocery stick, where you just stand and separate the forwards from the D. It’s been interesting. I started my career with the Ducks, so there are a lot of memories that you can’t replace being on the Kings, because that was my first introduction into professional hockey. Winning a Cup and then going to LA and being a part of a tradition that spans 45 years, winning a Cup there and seeing the support we got. Obviously both teams have gotten great support, have had great teams and players come through the roster. The rivalry continues to build.
Penner, on what his walk-out song would be if he played for the Dodgers:
Probably the Pina Colada song. [Reporter: Why?] I don’t know. Matt Greene used to always play that in Edmonton when we’d play together and we’d sing it all the way to the rink.
Penner, on whether it’s “weird” to “turn on and off” the emotions towards the rivalry from both sides:
It’s different. Even when Doughty hit me last game, I was like, ‘You know, that could have happened in practice.’ It’s a different feeling personally, and even when I played against the Ducks last year, it’s something you have to learn to turn off and just look at his jersey instead of the name on the back.