Kings fans

Kings fans have suffered — oh, how they’ve suffered


The Los Angeles Kings are one victory away from their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. For hardcore fans of the club that’s been around since 1967, it hasn’t been easy keeping the faith. Below is a list of reasons why.

—- Out of their previous 43 season, Los Angeles missed the playoffs 18 times and lost in the first round 16 times.

—- Only three times have the Kings broken the 100-point barrier in a season. And in two of those seasons they lost in the first round, the other in the second round.

—- The Kings have just two banners hanging in the Staples Center, one for winning the Smythe Division in 1991 and one for winning the Campbell Conference in 1993, the year they lost in the finals to Montreal.

—- In the 18 seasons since making it to the finals, they’ve missed the playoffs 11 times.

—- In 1995, the Kings had to claim bankruptcy as a result of former owner Bruce McNall’s financial misdeeds. McNall ultimately went to prison for almost five years after pleading guilty to five counts of conspiracy and fraud.

—- In 1996, the Kings were forced to trade Wayne Gretzky to St. Louis at his behest. In return, they got Craig Johnson, Patrice Tardif, Roman Vopat, a first-round pick in the 1997 draft (Matt Zultek) and a fifth-round choice in the 1996 draft (Peter Hogan). Remember any of those guys?

There have been good times along the way as well – the Miracle on Manchester, Gretzky’s arrival, Mike Krushelnyski’s goal – but Wednesday could top it all.

Habs claim Byron off waivers from Flames

Paul Byron
Leave a comment

Montreal added some forward depth on Tuesday, acquiring diminutive forward Paul Byron off waivers from Calgary.

Byron, 26, is a veteran of nearly 150 career NHL games, most coming with the Flames. Despite fairly solid production over the last two years — 40 points in 104 games — he was exposed to waivers on Monday, along with fellow forward Mason Raymond.

(Calgary does have a logjam of players at forward, hence parting ways with Byron and Raymond.)

Byron can play both wing and center but, at 5-foot-7, 153 pounds, is one of the most undersized skaters in the league. Thankfully for him, Montreal has an affinity for undersized forwards, with the likes of Brendan Gallagher (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) and David Desharnais (5-foot-7, 174 pounds) already on the active roster.

Byron could also fill Zack Kassian‘s roster spot. Kassian is currently suspended without pay while undergoing Stage 2 of the NHL’s Substance Abuse program.

Isles claim goalie Berube off waivers

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jaroslav Halak
Leave a comment

The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.

Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.

That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.

If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.

The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.