Jay Wells: “I was so tickled to see L.A. win a cup”
On being honored at Legends Night:
Well, it’s like I said on the ice there, it will be a memory that I treasure for a long time, with my kids and my wife there too. It’s a special honor and I am tickled to be able to come back. Those nine years didn’t seem that hard, really. I enjoyed playing that style. Someone had to protect Luc every once in a while.
On helping to spark the Miracle on Manchester:
It was everybody. It wasn’t just a hit though. It was everybody in the dressing room. We went in that dressing room in that game and most teams would have buried their heads or whatever and we just said ‘let’s just forget about those two periods. We know we can score goals. We know our goaltender can stop pucks. So let’s just go out and play.’ It was a real freak thing because I scored like, what, a handful of goals when I here. So, for me to score the first it was maybe a little bit of a pickup for everybody and then everyone just started to cannon ball like that. It was an amazing period, no question. Then, when Daryl scored the overtimer that was special. That was really special.
On where he was when the Kings won the Stanley Cup:
I remember, I wasn’t watching the last game when they actually won the cup and hoisted it but the game before we were sitting there at a neighbor’s place, watching around a pool. Sort of a traditional thing, where we were watching the game and if they won we were going to jump into the pool or whatever, and I certainly watched it after the fact. That was a great team. They just worked so hard. It was an amazing ride. We watched an awful lot of games during the whole run. I often said, I had the privilege of winning the Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers and I never want them to win another cup because they always call us back. If they win another one they will forget about us. I was so tickled to see L.A. win a cup. That was awesome.
On the Stanley Cup-winning team:
Anytime a team wins it for the first time it’s special. This is really, pretty much the same team. The nucleus is still there. It is a growth over years and years. I never knew in ’94 when we won, what you had to go through. The ups and downs, it’s more of an emotional rollercoaster than a physical rollercoaster, and that’s something you got to learn through playing. We had guys like Messier and Anderson and Kevin Lowe, guys that had already won four or five cups, so experience goes a long way. This team now has been through it. They have seen it and they have a good bunch of leaders on this team, so I think it can happen again with this core group. You just have to find the right pieces to the puzzle to add to that core. I think they can do it again. There is no question. They certainly are in every single game. They’re a feisty team. It’s a great game to watch. I think they got it in the future still.
On which current Kings resemble him:
Kyle Clifford is no slouch, that’s for sure. He’s pretty feisty. There’s a few guys who like to play a little rough and rugged.
On how he likes to see the game played:
I’m thinking just a hard-hitting, battles in the corner, that kind of stuff. I have never been a big fan of the fights. I did a lot of it, I think my 120 fights in my career. So, I did a lot of it but I really believe that my fights were protecting my teammates or standing up for what I believed, and that was none of my guys are going to get pushed around. When I talk about feisty, I’m just talking about in your face, passionate hockey. That could be scoring, that could be hitting, that could be pushing and shoving, that could passing, that could be the skills too. That’s what I was talking about being feisty. Let’s see some emotion and let’s play some hockey. When we played there was emotion. Sometimes it got out of control but there was emotion.
On the hitting in today’s NHL:
I am not an expert on the game of course. I think the speed of the guys, they are so big and so strong and their equipment is so big. I mean, shoulder pads when we wore them were shoulder caps and strings and there was no plastic, it was just leather on you. So when you hit somebody, you were braced and you knew it might hurt you, you might hurt him, whatever. Now they wear these big, heavy equipment with plastic molded inside. It’s like hitting a brick wall sometimes. I think the equipment is there to protect but the guys are so big and fast and strong that it actually injures now. Concussions are obviously a big issue. I don’t know what I would change. I love the pace of the game without the center line, but center line might be a good thing to slow the game down a little bit and show a little bit more skill, puck movement and that kind of stuff. I I was changing something I might look at that kind of thing, putting the center line back in, slowing these guys down a bit.
On fighting in the NHL:
It’s really hard now a days, I am talking from a younger group, junior players, the players that aren’t in the NHL, it’s really hard. You can’t really fight. Once you fight you are thrown out of the game. First fight you’re gone. Now it’s they wait until the third period and then if they’re losing they go out and fight. To me, that is senseless fighting. Back in the 70’s and 80’s, and today still there are spontaneous fights that just erupt and I don’t have any difficulty watching and seeing those types of fights. I hate the staged fights. Line up on a faceoff and ‘hey, you’re a big tough guy and I’m a big tough guy, we’re going to go alright’ and then you drop your gloves and go. That needs to be eliminated. I don’t think, there is no reason for that kind of stuff. In today’s day-and-age the fighter has to be able to play the game. If you can’t play the game, you don’t belong in the league. Tough guys now can actually play, where back in the 80’s there were a lot of tough guys that played two or three seconds in a game and had three fights or two fights. I think they have done a good job of correcting those fights, in my opinion. There can still be some improvement I am sure, but I like the ones that just erupt and happen spontaneously. That’s the ones that someone is sticking up for themselves or another person. Kyle Clifford, I thought that was great. Kyle’s a tough guy. Tonight, he hits and a guy and two guys come charging at him and he doesn’t do anything about it because that was smart by Kyle. Back in the 80’s, that would have been a brawl. That is eliminated and that is good for hockey.