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1974-75 Los Angeles Kings

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06-03-2012, 12:50 AM
  #1
reckoning
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1974-75 Los Angeles Kings

With the L.A. Kings possibly on the verge of winning their first Stanley Cup, it's interesting to look back at the franchise's history. While they've had a few brief surges where it seemed they could be contenders, and of course the '93 playoff run, their record seems to be riddled with year after year of mediocrity. Except for 1974-75.

Amidst all the seasons in the 70s where they hovered around the .500 mark, this year sticks out. The 105 points they amassed still stand as a franchise record.

http://www.hockey-reference.com/teams/LAK/1975.html

An interesting team. The only player on the club considered a "star" was Rogie Vachon. Their top scorer was Bob Nevin, who was 36 years-old, near the end of his career, yet somehow had his "career year" that season. The rest of the forwards would fall into the good, but not great category (Goring, Murphy, Maloney, Widing, Carr).

But the team's success was defence. 2nd best goals against in the league, yet their blueline, led by Terry Harper and Bob Murdoch, wasn't star-studded either. As a result, the player who got most of the credit for their success was Rogie Vachon.

But the coaching of Bob Pulford was also a factor. He had the team playing a disciplined system that seemed to be working, but wasn't winning the team any excitement awards. Some of the comments from the media that year resembled comments made about the Devils and Panthers in the mid-90s:

"The Los Angles Kings are probably the most boring team in the National Hockey League. They play a purposely slow, defensive style; lining five men up on their blue line and waiting for the breaks, waiting for the opposing club to frustrate themselves into silly errors." - Globe&Mail Oct. 17/74

"A team that beats its opponents by putting them to sleep with a dull style of close-checking patterns" - Calgary Herald Feb 1/75

The best description may have been from a writer who said they were "the Flyers without the physical intimidation".


What I find odd about that team was why they fell back to earth the following year. The team was getting older, and they didn't have much in the way of prospects (due to managements habit of always trading their top draft picks), but that doesn't explain how it changed so quickly.

One easy explanation is that perhaps Rogie Vachon simply didn't play as well. His save percentage suffered a huge drop from .926 in 74-75 to .892 in 75-76. But the fact that his backup Gary Edwards had a similar drastic fall (.916 to .876) seems to indicate that there was a huge difference in shot quality between the two years.

Other factors to consider:

- The acquisition of Marcel Dionne in the summer of '75 finally gave the team a legit offensive force, which may have tempted Pulford into adjusting their style more to take advantage of his talent, but maybe hurt the team defensively.

- They lost their best defensive defenceman (Harper) and toughest forward (Maloney) as compensation for Dionne.

- Despite the teams record in 74-75, attendance was still disappointing. Could ownership have possibly pressured the team into abandoning their defensive style in favor of something more crowd-pleasing?

I've just always found the team interesting, and would be curious to hear opinions on that club from anyone here who saw and remembered them.

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06-05-2012, 01:08 AM
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Killion
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Yes?. 74?.Close to the Edge. Somehow did not cut it with the Kings, despite having one of the greatest Goaltenders of All Time between the pipes. Only thing I can figure was it was Pullys Problem. He wasnt "liked" as a Player, a Coach or GM.

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06-05-2012, 05:47 AM
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Close To The Edge was in 1972 (I was 15yo). 1974 was the equally awesome Relayer that followed the ambitious and somewhat overdone Tales From Topographic Oceans from 1973.

Mmm.... "The Gates of Delirium"

Soon, oh soon the light,
Pass within and soothe this endless night
And wait here for you,
Our reason to be here.

Soon, oh soon the time,
All we move to gain will reach and calm;
Our heart is open,
Our reason to be here.

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06-05-2012, 05:16 PM
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Was simply the case of some having up years (as it were) in the same season, with a fair amount of good timing as well. Take Larry Brown (defense), who went for -4 (55 GP), +4 (45 GP), +31 (78 GP), -27 (74 GP), -17 (54 GP), -13 (57 GP). The Dionne explanation won't work, as they scored more goals in the 105 point season than in that first season with Dionne.

Sheldon Kannegiesser is also useful to look at, his +/- for the season before, the 105 point season, and the season following: +3, +41, +10. On the O end you can look at the careers of Dan Maloney and Bob "Crease" Nevin. Maloney scored 27 that 105 point season, ditto the following season with Detroit, but only scored so much as 20 goals in one other season. Nevin's 3 year run there was 20, 31, 13. So as I said, some had career years all at once and there was some good timing as well. None of which showed up for that playoff series against the Leafs (though surprising or not, the playoffs loss the season before, the 33-33-12 season, to the Black Hawks, was even worse, since how does a team lose a series 1-4 when allowing but a mere 8 goals?)(Rogie Vachon went 0-4 in the nets, allowing 7 goals).

And that's why, Dionne, by the way, as the team simply needed a scorer. Wasn't a cure all, far from it, but as good some thought the 74-75 team was, they were mistaken, as there wasn't a scorer who couldn't be shut down. You could limit Dionne, somewhat, but you couldn't shut him down. The lesson of 73-74 and 74-75 was that you could shut down the entire Kings offense. 7 goals in 5 games versus the Black Hawks and then 6 goals in 3 games versus the Leafs. The following season, with Dionne, they actually managed to win a series, the 1st round over the Flames, 2-0, and then took the Bruins to game 7, losing that series 4-3. Dionne went for 6 goals in 9 games.

Lastly, re the attendance, was good against the good teams, since I went to games against Montreal and both were sellouts. But who really wants to pay to see the Kings play the Washington Capitals, Minnesota North Stars, California Golden Seals, and Kansas City Scouts. And as I always say, Wayne Gretzky ruined Kings hockey. Well, Wayne and Staples. Before his time, one could buy the $5 student ticket way upstairs at the Forum and move down into the vacant corporate seats along the blue line. Sure, the Kings weren't great, but you got to see Marcel and Dave and some rather worthy souls on the opposition. And instead of paying inflated prices for watered down beer, you could get your hand-stamped and go outside to your car in the parking lot there and drink all the alcohol refreshments that you could fit into the between period intermissions. Heck, during part of the season, you could walk across the street and place a bet or two at Hollywood Park (if you were smart, you picked some paying 4.40 to show for your 40 dollar show bet and you've got the game, food and between period refreshments paid for, with a small profit as well). Those were the days. Almost forgot, but you made sure to stay up there in the rafters early, if for no other reason than they didn't have a box area for the media, and so the media section was rather accessible and they handed out the media paperwork like toys at Christmas (so who needed to buy a program?). As I said, those were the days.

And I'll take some flak for saying this, but after the end of Gretzky, has been another installment in the NHL's era of mediocrity. Had to laugh when our gal at Grantland reported in the run-up to the Cup Finals that the Kings have the "fearsome" line of Kopitar, Brown and Williams. Sorry, honey, but 25, 22, and 22 just isn't "fearsome". Try instead 58 (Dionne), 56 (Simmer) and 47 (Taylor). That's fearsome. Or you could go with the opposition instead, say, 64 (Bossy), 50 (Trottier) and 38 (Gillies). Don't otherwise watch the game as much as I once did, since when you get older and wiser, you understand what Mike Bossy meant by the thuggery spoiling the beauty of the game:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iROGrf6aYjI

And for another by the way, the goalies today aren't any better than in times past, but instead there ain't too many took and consistently hit that right corner (the last goal in the vid there which not even the butterfly flop can save).

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06-06-2012, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by ArmaghSniper View Post


And that's why, Dionne, by the way, as the team simply needed a scorer. Wasn't a cure all, far from it, but as good some thought the 74-75 team was, they were mistaken, as there wasn't a scorer who couldn't be shut down. You could limit Dionne, somewhat, but you couldn't shut him down. The lesson of 73-74 and 74-75 was that you could shut down the entire Kings offense. 7 goals in 5 games versus the Black Hawks and then 6 goals in 3 games versus the Leafs. The following season, with Dionne, they actually managed to win a series, the 1st round over the Flames, 2-0, and then took the Bruins to game 7, losing that series 4-3. Dionne went for 6 goals in 9 games.

Lastly, re the attendance, was good against the good teams, since I went to games against Montreal and both were sellouts. But who really wants to pay to see the Kings play the Washington Capitals, Minnesota North Stars, California Golden Seals, and Kansas City Scouts. And as I always say, Wayne Gretzky ruined Kings hockey. Well, Wayne and Staples. Before his time, one could buy the $5 student ticket way upstairs at the Forum and move down into the vacant corporate seats along the blue line. Sure, the Kings weren't great, but you got to see Marcel and Dave and some rather worthy souls on the opposition. And instead of paying inflated prices for watered down beer, you could get your hand-stamped and go outside to your car in the parking lot there and drink all the alcohol refreshments that you could fit into the between period intermissions. Heck, during part of the season, you could walk across the street and place a bet or two at Hollywood Park (if you were smart, you picked some paying 4.40 to show for your 40 dollar show bet and you've got the game, food and between period refreshments paid for, with a small profit as well). Those were the days. Almost forgot, but you made sure to stay up there in the rafters early, if for no other reason than they didn't have a box area for the media, and so the media section was rather accessible and they handed out the media paperwork like toys at Christmas (so who needed to buy a program?). As I said, those were the days.

And I'll take some flak for saying this, but after the end of Gretzky, has been another installment in the NHL's era of mediocrity. Had to laugh when our gal at Grantland reported in the run-up to the Cup Finals that the Kings have the "fearsome" line of Kopitar, Brown and Williams. Sorry, honey, but 25, 22, and 22 just isn't "fearsome". Try instead 58 (Dionne), 56 (Simmer) and 47 (Taylor). That's fearsome. Or you could go with the opposition instead, say, 64 (Bossy), 50 (Trottier) and 38 (Gillies). Don't otherwise watch the game as much as I once did, since when you get older and wiser, you understand what Mike Bossy meant by the thuggery spoiling the beauty of the game:
Great post, except for the bolded part. Those are the teams I'd pay to see! (including the Kings)

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06-06-2012, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by dennilfloss View Post
Close To The Edge was in 1972 (I was 15yo).
.... Yer welcome for the Flashback. I see from the timestamp you
were up with the Heart of the Sunrise. 57 was a very good year btw.

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06-06-2012, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by ArmaghSniper View Post
Before his time, one could buy the $5 student ticket way upstairs at the Forum and move down into the vacant corporate seats along the blue line. Sure, the Kings weren't great, but you got to see Marcel and Dave and some rather worthy souls on the opposition. .
The $5 student ticket and then move down to the glass midway through the 1st period may have been the sports entertainment deal of the 20th century.

The Kings were fun to watch through the 70s and these 2 quarterfinal series with the Bruins in 75-76 and 76-77 were very tight and very entertaining -- and the crowd at the Forum for those 2 series was absolutely bonkers. They would give the Kings a 3 minute standing ovation before the start of the home playoff games against the Bruins, and I remember in Game 6 in the 77 series down 3-0 after 2 periods, the crowd gave the Kings a thunderous standing O going into the 3rd period. Gary Sargent smacked a slapper home just 1 minute in and they potted 2 more quick goals and the game was tied and the Forum was going nuts -- but the fuggin Bs scored another and Cheevers shut the door the rest of the way. After that, the team got only 1 other sniff past the 1st round (the Miracle on Manchester year) until Gretzky showed up.

In the pre-Gretzky 80s, the team lacked any semblance of D or goal-tending, but watching Dionne, Simmer, Taylor, and Bernie Nicholls was always entertaining -- and you also could sit by the glass for $5 and watch Gretzky's Oilers, the Al Macinnis Flames and other 80s juggernauts come through. And if all else failed, your eyes would still be lit up by those gold jerseys (which were actually yellow, but Jack Kent Cooke insisted on calling them gold).

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06-06-2012, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by marcel snapshot View Post
And if all else failed, your eyes would still be lit up by those gold jerseys (which were actually yellow, but Jack Kent Cooke insisted on calling them gold).
.... I surely do wish they'd bring back that original crest & color scheme with a few minor tweaks. Fantastic logo, loved the gold & deep purple. Everything thats followed, like the Canucks, pretty much a mess.

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06-06-2012, 03:43 PM
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.... I surely do wish they'd bring back that original crest & color scheme with a few minor tweaks. Fantastic logo, loved the gold & deep purple. Everything thats followed, like the Canucks, pretty much a mess.
Yep - nothing said hockey in LA quite like the sun-blindingly bright home sweater sported by the Kings in the 70s


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06-06-2012, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by marcel snapshot View Post
Yep - nothing said hockey in LA quite like the sun-blindingly bright home sweater sported by the Kings in the 70s.
... looks like a Minute Maid Orange Juice ad or something huh?.
If theyd gone with a dark purple pant, no problem. But that? Yikes.

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06-06-2012, 10:03 PM
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Oh, I would love it if they would return to the original colors, design and crest!

But one adjustment - NOT the yellow pants! Go with this ensemble instead....


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06-07-2012, 12:35 AM
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Oh, I would love it if they would return to the original colors, design and crest! But one adjustment - NOT the yellow pants! Go with this ensemble instead...
... ya, ditto. Loved the Crown, color combination. I even noticed at the Staples Center how the Kings have retired numbers & banners hanging that are a hodgepodge of all their colors over the years. Robitaille's # in that blue, Gretzky in the black & silver etc, none of them coming close (nor league wide for that matter) to the original.

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06-07-2012, 08:05 AM
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I had thought that they were going to adopt the retro uni's at some games this year? Not sure what happened with that but they should really do that.

How about this, in the 2017 season, on the 50th year anniversary of NHL expansion from 6 to 12 teams (and the beginning of NHL hockey in California), the four surviving teams (LA, Pitt, Philly, St.Louis) wear their retro uni's when playing each other. Also, Dallas busts out the North Star jerseys and the cherry on top, the current Bay Area team Sharks busts out the California Golden Seals jerseys. Imagine the Kings and Seals playing each other again?

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06-07-2012, 08:53 AM
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How about this, in the 2017 season, on the 50th year anniversary of NHL expansion from 6 to 12 teams (and the beginning of NHL hockey in California), the four surviving teams (LA, Pitt, Philly, St.Louis) wear their retro uni's when playing each other. Also, Dallas busts out the North Star jerseys and the cherry on top, the current Bay Area team Sharks busts out the California Golden Seals jerseys. Imagine the Kings and Seals playing each other again?
That's a great idea. And the prospect of a spike in merch money from all that retro-wear might make it attractive to the NHL.

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06-07-2012, 08:59 AM
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... looks like a Minute Maid Orange Juice ad or something huh?.
If theyd gone with a dark purple pant, no problem. But that? Yikes.
It's true there's such a thing as too much yellow. Agree that the purple pant, worn early in the franchise and then again later (as seen below in Miracle on Manchester clip) took a bit of the edge off all that glittering gold.


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06-07-2012, 09:14 AM
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And if all else failed, your eyes would still be lit up by those gold jerseys (which were actually yellow, but Jack Kent Cooke insisted on calling them gold).
And the purple road jersey was referred to as forum blue.

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06-07-2012, 10:25 AM
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. Imagine the Kings and Seals playing each other again?
One can dream...


Edit: trying to post a video and it won't take


Last edited by SealsFan: 06-07-2012 at 11:51 AM.
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06-07-2012, 10:40 AM
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The Kings did don the throwback purple unis for a handful of games this past season:


And thanks to all for sharing these old stories of the Kings and the old Forum. I wasn't born yet but I do love reading about the history of the franchise, yes, even the failures and the mismanagement of the team, led by the colorful Jack Kent Cooke.

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06-07-2012, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by marcel snapshot View Post
It's true there's such a thing as too much yellow. Agree that the purple pant, worn early in the franchise and then again later (as seen below in Miracle on Manchester clip) took a bit of the edge off all that glittering gold.
... ya, if they eliminated that hideous full 70's stripe dealeo (like the Leafs Ballard jerseys for eg.) down the sleeve, went back to the deep purple with a solid pant no stripe, Gold away, purple home, full-on beautiful crown crest, fantastic. Im sure Reebok with the new tailored fit could knock that right out of the park.

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06-07-2012, 02:26 PM
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... ya, if they eliminated that hideous full 70's stripe dealeo (like the Leafs Ballard jerseys for eg.) down the sleeve, went back to the deep purple with a solid pant no stripe, Gold away, purple home, full-on beautiful crown crest, fantastic. Im sure Reebok with the new tailored fit could knock that right out of the park.
I like the solid purple jersey for they wore for the road but I just can't get into a gold home uniform.

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