The Los Angeles Kings announced their Legends Nights schedule on Wednesday:
Dave “Tiger” Williams: Saturday, November 4 vs Nashville
Felix Potvin: Thursday, December 21 vs Colorado
Mark Hardy: Saturday, February 24 vs Edmonton
Felix Potvin made the most of his 136 games with the club. Acquired from Vancouver in February, 2001 for future considerations three stops after his immediate ascendance in Toronto – he started all 21 games as a 22-year-old during Toronto’s run to the 1993 Campbell Conference Final, yielding the key third period goals to Wayne Gretzky and Mike Donnelly in Game 7 – Potvin provided the final lifeline for a talented Kings team that since the days of Rogie Vachon had not relied on goaltenders to regularly win games on their own. He followed five shutouts and a 1.96 goals-against average in 23 regular season games late in 2001-02 by helping lead Los Angeles to a first round upset of Detroit before taking eventual Stanley Cup champion Colorado to seven games by posting back-to-back shutouts in Games 5 and 6. Potvin and the Kings lost in Game 7 to the Avalanche in both 2001 and 2002, the latter season of which he turned in a workmanlike performance by backstopping the team to a 31-27-8 record, a 2.31 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage in 71 games. His 4,071 minutes that season rank fifth out of any single season in franchise history, while his 71 games played rank third.
The NHL’s career leader in penalty minutes with 3,971, Dave “Tiger” Williams arrived in Los Angeles after a trade from Detroit during the 1984-85 season. Over parts of four seasons and 162 regular season games with the Kings, Williams scored 40 goals and added 50 assists. He’s also credited for coining Robitaille’s nickname “Lucky,” partly because of the presence of Morris Lukowich – another “Luke” in the dressing room – and because he scored on his first shift in the league and lived in Marcel Dionne’s nice house, allowing him to drive to games in a car most 20-year-olds can’t afford. One of the most famous and feared enforcers of any era, Williams is one of only 15 players to score 200 goals and amass more than 2,000 penalty minutes.
Selected in the second round by Los Angeles in the 1979 Entry Draft, Mark Hardy played 616 of his 915 NHL games with the Kings, linked together by two stints for a total of 11 years with the organization. Ranking 20th on the franchise’s all-time scoring list with 303 points, Hardy also ranks among all-time club defensemen in assists (3rd/250), games played (4th/616), penalty minutes (5th/858) and goals (6th/53). He was reacquired, along with a fifth round draft pick, from the New York Rangers in exchange for John McIntyre in March, 1993. Appearing in 15 games during the 1993 run to the Stanley Cup Final, he totaled one goal, three points, a plus-seven rating and 30 penalty minutes. Hardy also distinguished himself in the Miracle of Manchester, scoring with 4:01 to play to bring the Kings within one goal of the Oilers; Steve Bozek scored with five seconds remaining, and Daryl Evans then netted the game-winner 2:35 into overtime to complete the greatest comeback in Stanley Cup Playoffs history.
The honoring of Hardy with a Legends Night re-establishes a partnership with the player who resigned as an assistant coach after he was charged with fourth degree sexual abuse following an altercation at a Washington, D.C. hotel in May, 2010 that resulted in the charges being dropped. An assistant coach under Andy and Terry Murray, Hardy was an assistant coach with the ECHL’s Ontario Reign from 2011-14, the AHL’s Chicago Wolves in 2014-16 and the Tucson Roadrunners in 2016-17. He is currently a special assistant coach with the ECHL’s Jacksonville Hitmen.
Legends Nights do not necessarily salute players who enjoyed the lengthiest careers with the Kings, but rather those who made impacts that, in concert with their own statistics and accomplishments, resonate with fans, staff and alumni long after they last wore the jersey.
Now in their 51st season, the Kings have checked a number of names off the list of potential Legends Nights honorees. Those to receive nights in the past are Tomas Sandstrom, Jari Kurri, Bob Berry, Bob Pulford, Bernie Nicholls, Charlie Simmer, Kelly Hrudey, Ian Laperriere, Jay Wells, Jim Fox, Larry Murphy, Barry Melrose, Tony Granato, Jimmy Carson, Nick Nickson, Robitaille, Evans, Vachon and Donnelly, while the “Miracle on Manchester” scorers were also recognized, as was Mattias Norstrom as part of a celebration of his tenure that predated Legends Nights. Rob Blake, Dionne, Gretzky, Vachon and Robitaille have also had their jerseys retired in separate ceremonies.
Ziggy Palffy, long overdue for recognition, was to have been honored during a Legends Night a season ago. Due to a family situation, his Legends Night was postponed for a later date, with the 2000’s-era Kings star saying “I will look forward to joining the organization for a Legends Night during the 2017-18 season.” According to conversations with those in the organization, the Kings and Palffy will look to reschedule his Legends Night at a future time conducive to both the team and the player.