This is Juha Widing, maybe 1971. Los Angeles had a couple of pretty nice expansion seasons early in their history, mostly because they were smart enough to buy an entire AHL team (Springfield Indians, which brought them Bill White and some other quality players) and they traded for some very nice items at the Habs store (Rogie Vachon, Ralph Backstrom).
In the olden days, the Kings didn’t draft a lot because the Habs store took draft picks in trade for the Vachons and Backstroms. Even players LA drafted who were any good at all, like Dale Hoganson, ended up being traded to Montreal for the stream of veterans.
Widing himself came to LA courtesy the Rangers (via Brandon and Finland and Sweden. He was born to Swedish parents in Finland). By the way, his name was pronounced “Yoo-ha Vee-ding” and the junior boys beat hell out of him because he was a “soft Euro.” Manitoba would see the same kind of shenanigans years later when Ulf Nilsson and Anders Hedberg were beaten up nightly in the WHA. Those Europeans (Salming too) took a lot of crap and abuse over the years because of the silly notion they weren’t tough enough. That’s why I cringe when Don Cherry starts talking about soft Europeans. I think they’ve bled enough for Canada, Don.
I have to admit it, this is a fun team to watch. I look forward to every game and the layoff last week was an eternity (although I did get some shopping done). Hall is magic, Eberle is music. Gagner is Samwise and Peckham is 1970. What a bunch!
They gave the goal to Whitney the other night. Penner–being the good teammate he is–claimed not to have touched it although I do believe it was tipped by someone. This has happened before in NHL history. In Derek Sanderson’s book “I’ve Got to be Me” he tells the story of giving up a goal so that his linemate Eddie Shack could reach a performance bonus. Good times.
The fact that the Oilers called no one up for the blue is another tell in a telling season. The current Oilers are like one of the garbage barges NYC sent out to sea years ago: a ship without a home and no help is coming. The plan is the lottery and more bullets for MBS. I’m okay with it, but do think that part of teaching these kids probably should involve a good PP and PK. The PP has all kinds of raw material, but the PK lags behind in terms of personnel.
We should start to think about who is going at the deadline. Thoughts?