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ALUMNI STORY: BOB BERRY

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings

One of the most productive left wingers in Kings history -- and one of its former head coaches -- has returned to the organization after over a 20 year absence.

Bob Berry, one of the mainstays of the Kings teams in the decade of the 70s, was named as a Pro Scout during summer of 2006 by President/General Manager Dean Lombardi. Berry’s association with the Kings began back in the 1970-71 season when he was acquired from Montreal to play left wing, and it was with the Kings where he established himself as an NHL player.

“To say that I am ecstatic about being back with the Kings would be an understatement,” Berry said. “I came here (LA) as a young man back in 1970 and it was the Kings that gave me an opportunity to play in the NHL. My family is from here and having the chance to be part of the Kings once again is just great.”

Berry’s long association with the game and his resume is quite impressive. After retiring as a player in 1978 he has either been a head coach (he coached the Kings from 1978-1981); an assistant coach or a scout at the NHL level.

He followed his three years at the helm of the Kings with stints behind the bench in Pittsburgh and Montreal, and he has also worked for St. Louis, San Jose and Ottawa in various capacities. His duties with the Kings will be an extension of what he has done most recently.

“I’ll be scouting the Western Conference of the NHL to give the organization a good handle and insight on the players. In the past I’ve scouted both NHL and AHL games but for now I’ll concentrate solely on the NHL.”

Lombardi worked with Berry when the two were employed in San Jose, and Berry mentioned his duties will be a little different this time around.

“It’s a new NHL with the rule changes and the salary cap. I think one of the keys to putting together a solid team is making sure you have plenty of speed and skill. It used to be a team tried to put together two scoring lines, a checking line and an energy line. I don’t know if teams can follow that formula in today’s game.

“What I’ll concentrate on is getting as good a read as possible on all the players so we’re prepared for future trades and free agency.”

As a player with the Kings, Berry played seven full seasons from 1970-77. His 350 points (including 159 goals) ranks 11th overall on the franchise all-time point list and only Luc Robitaille and Charlie Simmer were more productive for the club from the left side.

Upon retiring as a player, Berry became the Kings Head Coach commencing with the 1979-80 campaign. His three-year run included a 99-point season in 1980-81, which was the second best season in franchise history.

And it was also Berry who gets the credit for assembling one of the more potent lines in NHL history when he united left wing Charlie Simmer with center Marcel Dionne and right wing Dave Taylor in January of 1979. The trio became known as “the Triple Crown Line,” and the trio dominated the opposition on a regular basis for more than five years.

“You hear the term chemistry used a lot in sports,” Berry said. “Those three guys had chemistry. Marcel had the amazing talent and ability to score as well as make plays. Dave was great at digging pucks out of the corners and scrapping down low. What Charlie gave the line was some size, even though he wasn’t overly physical, and a great touch around the net.

“The three styles just meshed and obviously it worked beautifully.” The Kings are hopeful and confident that Bob Berry can help provide the Kings with added chemistry through his keen eye and experience. -Originally printed in Royal Reign

-Written by Nick Nickson for the Royal Reign

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