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TRH Gameday 23: Calgary Flames - Hollywood Burger

by The Royal Half / Los Angeles Kings
Disclaimer - The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Los Angeles Kings Hockey Club. All opinions expressed by The Royal Half are solely (and most likely) his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Los Angeles Kings or their Hockey Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His current whereabouts are not known to the Kings and he has no access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being a half-season ticket holder.

Game #23

26 pts

5th in Western Conference
22 pts
12th in Western Conference
7:00pm, Staples Center
Los Angeles, CA
Oh... this just got awkward.

We've got a tie!
Bob Janecyk. Rollie Melanson. Mark Fitzpatrick. Glenn Healy. While Wayne Gretzky was in his 1st season scoring goals for the Los Angeles Kings... these were the names of the guys trying to keep the puck out of the net. 
And trust me... they weren't doing a very good job of that.
On February 22nd, 1989, the LA Kings were 32-24-5... good enough for 2nd in the Clarence Campbell Conference, trailing only the juggernaut Calgary Flames. And while the Kings were leading the NHL in scoring... they were also leading the league in goals against. With 19 games left in the season... something had to be done if this team was going to do anything in the playoffs. 
Well, hello good-looking.
On February 22nd, 1989, Kings GM Rogie Vachon traded Wayne McBean, goalie Mark Fitzpatrick and future considerations (Doug Crossman) to the New York Islanders for goalie Kelly Hrudey.
I'll never forget how Hrudey wore his NY Islanders pads for the first few games.
And within minutes of the trade... even though it was February... Los Angeles got a little bit hotter.
Kelly Hrudey was immediately a fan favorite in Los Angeles. And it wasn't just because of his deep blue eyes or his sweaty blue bandana.
Nailed it..
No, Kelly Hrudey was popular because he kept the puck out of the net. Well... at least more then Glenn Healy did.
I could look at photos from 1990s hockey all day long.
Let's be honest here... Kelly Hrudey wasn't a "great" goalie... at least numbers wise. 
Check out those 92-93 stats... you know, the year
the Kings went to the Cup Finals... for the first time.
But what Kelly Hrudey lacked in numbers... he made up in game-saving saves at the times when they were most needed.
Bernie Nicholls on the Edmonton Oilers sighting.
And did we mention how good looking he was is?
Still timeless.
In a day and age where the Los Angeles Kings have been a little loose with the concept of LA Kings "Legends"... Kelly Hrudey is as legendary as you can get. And tonight at Staples Center, we'll get the chance to thank him for 8 great seasons between the pipes for the Los Angeles Kings. Sure, it may not have ended as we'd all like to remember it did... and much like other LA Kings stars of the past, he finished off his career in San Jose. But if you happen to see an incredibly good-looking man in his mid-30s crying his eyes out during the ceremony tonight... then you'll know that you've seen The Royal Half transporting himself back in time... watching his 2 favorite LA Kings play the game of hockey once again.
Wait... something's not right.
That's more like it.
Tonight is a night of tributes at Staples Center... as the good folks at Lets Go have decided to piggyback onto the Kelly Hrudey Legends Night Celebration to throw their yearly celebration of all things Burger King Jersey.
You can say they are ugly all you want...
but they still look better than the current New York Islanders' 3rd jersey.
We here at The Royal Half pride ourselves on being the Official Historians of the 1996 Los Angeles Kings 3rd Jersey. So we are excited that Kelly Hrudey Legends Night is being shared with Burger King Jersey Appreciation Night. These events have always been a lot of fun. As well as ugly. Really, really ugly. In 2011, I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Kelly Hrudey about wearing those jerseys for the first time on January 27th, 1996:
"I kinda remember though that a lot of us thought it was a pretty funky looking jersey, maybe 'funky' not in the best way. It was very strange in comparison to most hockey jerseys that you've ever seen before. And the color scheme was way different than something we had ever worn before, so it was an unique jersey, that's for sure. I think, from what I remember correctly, there was a lot of chuckles. It was just so 'unique'... I thought it was a strange looking jersey. It wasn't what I kind of expected."

"Everytime you throw on an NHL jersey, it's a significant event because it's not often that you get to play in an NHL game. I know that sounds corny but it's true. There is a lot of meaning in putting on that jersey. So when it was a strange concept and it maybe wasn't a traditional looking hockey jersey, I think that it seemed different putting that on for sure."

The game hasn't changed one bit, has it?
Via The Royal Half Historian™, Spike Coffman... presenting Kelly Hrudey's stats while wearing a Burger King jersey:

January 27th, 1996 vs Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
4 Goals Against
29 Saves on 33 Shots

February 19th, 1996 vs Boston Bruins
3 Goals Against
27 Saves on 30 Shots

March 25th, 1996 vs Vancouver Canucks
3 Goals Against
23 Saves on 26 Shots

10 Goals Allowed
89 Shots Faced
79 Shots Saved
GAA .887

FYI... Byron Dafoe played 5 games in a Burger King Jersey in 1996.

Never forget. 

So put on your Burger King jersey... slap on your Five Hole brand hat... and sit back and watch highlights of Kelly Hrudey diving across his crease to make a save. And if we are lucky... maybe the LA Kings will have a special surprise to add to the Staples Center rafters...
Probably not though.

From Kelly Hrudey as he takes a South Bay trip down memory lane...


The Royal Half has been a Los Angeles Kings fan since 1988 and a Half-Season Ticket Holder since 2002. He has seen the following goaltenders play in person for the Los Angeles Kings… Kelly Hrudey, Grant Fuhr, Byron Dafoe, Jamie Storr, Stephane Fiset, Felix Potvin, Cristobal Huet, Roman Cechmanek, Mathieu Garon, Adam Hauser, Jason LaBarbera, Barry Brust, Sean Burke, Dan Cloutier, Yutaka Fukufuji, Jean-Sebastien Aubin, Erik Ersberg, Jonathan Bernier and Jonathan Quick. If you like the hockey equivalent of dirty jokes or enjoy humorous screen-grabs of NHL players and broadcasters with funny captions... man, you are going to like The Royal Half. You can follow The Royal Half on Twitter at @TheRoyalHalf

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