A couple of weeks back, my son came to me and said he had a project due for school. He’s 12 years old and in sixth grade.
The project is titled “Wax Museum.” Participants pick out famous people—actors, presidents, sports icons, whomever they wish—and portray them for one day at school.
My son wanted my opinion on which person he should choose. He asked if it was okay if he did his report on Wayne Gretzky.
For a second, I was stunned. I almost shed a tear. It was one of those “that’s my boy” moments.
I'm reminded of that moment today, because it's the 16th anniversary of Gretzky's record 802nd goal to pass Gordie Howe.
Gretzky is considered by many, including myself, to be the greatest player of all time. Debate all you want, but he’s my choice.
Drew Doughty fired the shot heard around the hockey world, and gave everyone watching a reminder of why he’s one of the NHL's best young players. He also showed why he deserves to be considered for the Norris trophy this year.
The scoring shot came in overtime after a timeout. A play was drawn up for someone to take a shot through traffic in front of the net.
It was drawn up for Jarret Stoll, not Doughty. But Doughty used his hockey sense, saw the opportunity, and took it, firing a shot into the two-hole (top left corner) of the net. His goal earned the Kings a 4-3 victory.
The shot was hit so hard that Fox Sports cameras couldn't slow it down in HD. Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson didn’t even seem to see it go by. He only realized he had been scored on when Ryan Smyth raised his arms in front of him.
The goal and the victory were significant for a few reasons.
The Kings kept their victory streak alive. The Kings haven’t lost a game this year when leading after the first two periods. That streak was threatened after Colorado scored late and forced the OT.
This is the first significant victory the Kings have won recently—they beat a team they are battling for playoff position.
This was only the fourth goal the Kings have scored of late. They have struggled to put pucks in the net. And three of the four scored were hard-working, up-close goals.
Beginning with the first goal scored by Colorado (a deflection off of Modin), it seemed like some force was at work against the Kings. When things have gone against them recently, they’ve failed to step up to the challenge. This win changed that.
Lately, the Kings have not brought the sense of urgency or the energy they’ve had in their victories this year. Many around the league have begun questioning if the young team is running out of gas.
Terry Murray, the head coach of the Kings, shuffled the lines. Even team captain Dustin Brown pointed out the lack of focus.
They’ve relied on goal tending to save them. Thankfully, Jonathan Quick has been up to the task, or they may have fallen out of the playoff race all together.
But last night, the Kings showed up with a renewed energy and sense of purpose. They didn’t play error-free hockey, but they didn't quit either.
To any team scouting for a possible matchup, it's a reminder that the Kings can be one of the scariest teams in the NHL.
They play tough, tight defense. They play with a physical edge. They have skill to match the edge.
And when they are hungry like they were last night, not much is going to stand in the way of victory. They just need to continue that level of intensity through the rest of the season.
If they do that, there might be a Stanley Cup sighting in the Southland and not in the shadow of the Mouse.
Remember, Kings fans: They owe the Blue Jackets the conditional seventh-round pick when this season ends. That will truly be a win-win—and if you don’t know what the condition is, ask yourself if you are a real Kings fan.