Being called for an illegal stick in Game 2 of the 1993 Stanley Cup Final was something that haunted McSorley for the better part of two decades. So much so, in fact, that he needed to hold a press conference after the Kings advanced to the 2012 Stanley Cup Final simply due to all the media requests.
Among his many comments were, “Is my being caught with the stick a bigger story or is how they found out a bigger story?”
After defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Conference Final, in perhaps the best 7-game series in NHL playoff history, Barry Melrose had his Kings team clicking on all cylinders heading into their matchup with Montreal. They took down Patrick Roy and the vaunted Habs 4-1 in Game 1. Then, they found themselves leading late in Game 2 when McSorley was sent to the penalty box for an illegal stick.
“I’m very honest and I’m very frank. The thing that disappoints me most about this – I think there has been a big degree of sensationalism and I don’t think there has been a lot of honesty. Did I have an illegal stick? Yes, I did. Did I stand up after the fact and say that I had an illegal stick? Yes, I did. Things that have transpired since then, I don’t think there was a lot of honesty. For me personally, it was very disappointing,” explained McSorley at that 2012 sit down with the media. “If it’s going to come out, let’s be honest about what happened… We all know they pulled the stick rack into their locker room… To make a call like that is really, really gutsy. To find out later that they know, and how they knew, was really, really disappointing.”
As for the hockey itself, the Canadiens went on to win that game in overtime and eventually closed out the Kings in five games. However, for players and fans, that single penalty had pretty much become an emotional hot button in the years that passed.
“I’ve read about ‘The Curse of Marty McSorley’ and ‘The Curse of the Stick’ and I think we all have to admit that is, to a large degree, sensationalism,” said the man who originally came to Los Angeles with Wayne Gretzky via a trade with Edmonton in 1988. “We played well in Game 3 and Game 4. We really did. I thought we out-chanced them. We just didn’t bury the puck to win the series… It is what it is. I’m a big boy… I did not take that stick and put a torch to it and bend it. That’s how it came from the factory. If truth be told, we at that point after the game, knew something had happened. Something a little fishy had happened. I used the same curvature stick in Game 3 and Game 4.”
There were many telling moments from that interview, including McSorley being asked if a Kings 2012 Stanley Cup victory would lift a 20-year weight from his shoulders.
“No. Because I don’t think there is anything I need to be absolved from,” he firmly stated.
Later that same day, in a follow-up interview on the MayorsManor Live radio show, McSorley went on to talk up Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Quick, as well as answer who would win in a hypothetical 7-game series, the 1993 Kings or the 2012 Kings.
“We were so flamboyant we just went out and played. We weren’t big on systems,” was part of his answer. To hear the full interview – including what he planned to do with the infamous curved stick, should the Kings go on to win the Cup in 2012 – click here.
NOTE: That edition of MayorsManor Live also featured a plethora of guests discussing the ’93 playoffs in advance of the Kings 2012 Stanley Cup Final appearance, including Bruce McNall, Bob Miller, Jim Fox, Luc Robitaille, Kelly Hrudey and many others.
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