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A “did you know?” Tuesday

It’s a game-day Tuesday, but I’m in a bit of a “”show me, I’m from Missouri” frame of mind before I post a lot more on the current state of the Leafs. Club executives met in Florida late last week, evidently mapping out their “plan”, as in, “where do we go from here, now that the season has not gone as we had hoped or planned?”

The next few weeks, unfortunately, will be all about possible trades with the Leafs as “sellers” before the deadline. The Olympics will limit Leaf talk for two weeks, but reality will settle in quickly thereafter in terms of where this season finishes up.

Let’s see if there is anything new, and worth discussing, after tonight’s contest.

In the meantime, with the Kings are in town tonight, the following tidbits and L.A.-oriented bits of trivia are things many of those following this site may already know, but just in case, did you know:

• the first-ever coach of the LA Kings was former Leaf Hall-of-Famer Red Kelly? (see our post from last week on Red)

• 1950s Leaf Larry Regan, a Calder award winner with the Bruins in the mid-‘50s, was the first General Manager of the Kings

• Toronto businessman Jack Kent Cooke (also a long-time owner of the NFL Washington Redskins) was the first owner of the Kings

• Cooke was quoted years later as saying, when crowds in LA were small, that he knew why so any ex-Canadians went to Los Angeles. It was “to get away from hockey”

• Eddie Shack played with the Kings before returning to Toronto for his second and final stint with the Leafs

• Defenseman Larry Hillman, a cog on the leaf defense in the ’67 Cup playoffs, played for 8 NHL teams, including briefly with LA in 1971-‘72

• After many outstanding years with and as captain of the Rangers, ex-Leaf Bobby Nevin played for LA

• Ex-Leaf tough guy Tiger Williams played under former Leaf coach Pat Quinn on the west coast with the Kings

• Former Leaf great Bob Pulford built a strong reputation in his first NHL coaching gig with the Kings in the mid ‘70s

• Two former Leaf coaches were, earlier in their careers, captains of the Kings- Mike Murphy and Dan Maloney

• Legendary junior coach (and Hall-of-Famer) Brian Kilrea played for the Kings in their inaugural NHL season

• Terry Sawchuk was the only ex-Leaf (I believe) on the Kings opening-night roster that first year , 1967-‘68

• “Cowboy” Bill Flett, a future Maple Leaf, played with LA in the early years of expansion

• Probably the best Kings line of all-time was the “Triple Crown” trio of Marcel Dionne, Charlie Simmer and Dave Taylor

• Dale McCourt (who later played for the Leafs in the 1980s), a first overall choice with the Red Wings in 1977, was awarded to the Kings as compensation for Detroit signing free agent goalie Rogie Vachon. McCourt refused to report, and after legal delays, was “traded” back for a draft choice that turned out to be future Leaf Larry Murphy

• Montreal traded Ralph Backstrom to LA during the 1970-’71 season, to help ensure the Kings stayed ahead of Oakland in the overall standings. They did this because they owned Oakland’s first draft choice. Oakland did finish last overall, and Montreal secured future Hall-of-Famer Guy Lafleur

• Ex-Habs Larry Robinson, Steve Shutt and Dickie Duff (also a former Leaf great) later played in LA

• Every living, breathing Leaf fan is still bitter about Game 6 of the 1993 semi-finals against the Kings

• Bob McKenzie, then of the Toronto Star, woke up Wayne Gretzky during that series, by writing, after Game 5, that Gretzky had been playing “like he had a piano on his back”

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