So… tonight’s kind of a big deal
It’s Jim Fox Legends Night at Staples Center! It’s also Milestone Night, given the bizarre confluence of hallmark franchise events that the Kings are on the verge of celebrating.
First, Jonathan Quick has 170 wins as a Los Angeles King. That’s one win off the mark set by Rogie Vachon, who recorded a franchise record 171 wins between 1971 and 1978. Vachon recently spoke about what he sees in Los Angeles’ heralded netminder. From my weekly column, Rogie and Quick:
“We’ve always had expectations of winning a Cup every year, so nothing has changed inside the locker room,” Quick said. “It’s now people outside the locker room see that we have a good team now and now their expectations are up there.”
That expectation was realized with a Stanley Cup in 2012, a crowning achievement by a franchise that relied on a goaltender who that year had bested Vachon’s franchise-record shutout streak of 184 minutes and 55 seconds with a 202-minute, 11-second streak of his own, and surpassed Vachon’s eight shutouts from 1976-77 with an astounding 10.
And that’s fine with Vachon on the precipice of having his franchise wins mark bested.
“Let’s put it this way – it’s not going to be the last record that he’s going to break if he stays healthy and plays another six, seven [years]. He’s going to put up some really good numbers.”
The Kings are also on the verge of reaching a round, even attendance record. Having surpassed the 75 consecutive regular season and playoff sellouts between December 8, 1990 and October 8, 1992 that represented the previous record, Los Angeles will celebrate its 100th consecutive sellout at Staples Center this evening. The last game that was not played in front of a sell-out crowd was a 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers on December 3, 2011.
President of Business Operations Luc Robitaille recently spoke with LAKI about the healthy union between the club’s business and hockey operations.
“We always talk about how great organizations are aligned right, and right now we all feel our organization, we all work together as a team where the hockey operations works really well with the business operations, and we’re able to do a lot of things together, Robitaille said. “Our players obviously are doing a lot of appearances. They’re doing a lot of little things that make a difference in the lives of our fans…and, obviously, winning is the number one, the most important thing. Suddenly we’re competing with the top teams in this town, and it’s probably the first or second time only that the Kings have been able to do this, and the fact that we have so many young guys, and Mr. Anschutz allowed Dean to sign them for all long term, we all know we’re going to compete for the Stanley Cup every year for the next seven, eight years. So I think the fans are going to have a lot of fun in the next few years.”
Darryl Sutter continues to add to his win total, having tied former Kings coach Terry Murray for 18th place all-time amongst NHL coaches with his 499th career win. His 500th career win will tie Toe Blake for 17th place on the all-time list; his 501st career win will place him alongside Pat Burns in 16th place.
“I think in today’s game the most important part is percentages. You get extra points now. You get one point, so it’s way more important,” Sutter said Wednesday. “It’s like when you get the thousand game thing, you’re able to do it over a long period of time, so that means you can do that. But the winning, the percentages are what’s important because at the end of the day, that allows you to be a playoff team, and I’m more into how many playoff games you’re in as a coach than anything else. I’d rather have a whole lot of playoff games than anything else. It’s the only reason you do it.”
Apart from the hallmarks and milestones, this evening’s significance centers around the organization’s Legends Night recognition of Fox’s 578 games and 479 points in a Kings uniform, and his continued advancement of the team’s ideals through his work as a television analyst and color commentator, and his creation of the Kings Care Foundation and Tip-A-King.
“Of all the legends, he’s probably the first one that a lot of players really know, and that’s just because of the history of the team,” Dustin Brown said. “He’s been around it, and I guess Daryl [Evans] would be in that group as well. It’s always good to see. I think Legends nights are cool for everyone involved. I know we’re undefeated in the Legends jerseys, so we’ve got to keep that going.”