Scouts saying that Luc Robitaille didn’t have the foot speed for the NHL didn’t stop him from scoring 668 goals and earning a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame. So, even though NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has repeatedly said he doesn’t see a Winter Classic being played on the West Coast, it hasn’t deterred Robitaille from wanting to put the Kings in an another outdoor game.
Of course, they famously took on the Rangers in a makeshift rink at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas - long before taking the game outdoors was the in vogue thing to do. During the pre-season of September 1991, Robitaille, Wayne Grezky, Tomas Sandstrom and crew suited up to face a New York team led by Tony Amonte and Doug Weight.
More recently – well, three years ago - Robitaille first told MayorsManor of a desire to put on a pre-season outdoor game in conjunction with the Anaheim Ducks. At the time, he was kicking around the thought of playing in a large stadium, like the Rose Bowl or LA Coliseum (where all seats might be priced at $5-10 to guarantee a sellout), or putting it on the beach, similar to a Pro Beach Volleyball event.
Either way, it sounded like something that would generate quite the buzz in a town where hockey isn’t usually the lead sports story of the day.
And even though the lockout has put nearly everything in a giant holding pattern, don’t think for a second that Robitaille has ditched his outdoor vision and moved on to other things.
“We’ve had communications,” he said, when asked for an update on the idea this week. “I think both teams would love to do something moving forward. Considering what’s going on [with the lockout], we’re trying to manage what we’re doing. But, it’s something we’re both open to doing in the future.”
At first glance, one might interpret that to mean the idea has been put high up on the shelve and the two sides will get to it on some rainy day in the future. However, Robitaille was quick to finish the thought before any misguided conclusion might be drawn.
“Tim Ryan (Anaheim Ducks COO) and I actually had a conversation about it a couple of months ago.”
Which, in the end, means that like all things related to NHL hockey in Southern California at the moment, no date for the game can be given just yet.
But, hey – at least these two parties are still talking.