1967–68 Los Angeles Kings season
|1967–68 Los Angeles Kings|
|General Manager||Larry Regan|
Long Beach Arena,|
Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena,
Los Angeles Forum
|Minor league affiliate(s)||Springfield Indians (AHL)|
|Goals||Bill Flett (26)|
|Assists||Eddie Joyal (34)|
|Points||Eddie Joyal (57)|
|Penalties in minutes||Dave Amadio (101)|
|Wins||Wayne Rutledge (20)|
|Goals against average||Wayne Rutledge (2.87)|
The Kings were one of six expansion teams, which doubled the size of the league from six to twelve. While the expected favorite bid in Los Angeles was by Dan Reeves, owner of the Western Hockey League's Los Angeles Blades and the NFL's Los Angeles Rams, the league instead awarded a franchise to Jack Kent Cooke, a Canadian who also owned the National Basketball Association's Los Angeles Lakers. The Kings were placed in the newly established West Division, along with the other expansion teams: the California Seals, Minnesota North Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues.
Prior to the 1967 NHL Expansion Draft, Cooke arranged a deal with Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Red Kelly, who as a player holds the distinction of playing on the most Stanley Cup championship teams without any of them including time in Montreal, and was set for his retirement, to become the Kings' first head coach. During the draft, the Kings picked goaltenders Terry Sawchuk and Wayne Rutledge with their first picks, and once Maple Leafs' general manager Punch Imlach decided to put Kelly on the protected list on the tenth round, Cooke was forced to send one of his picks, Ken Block, in exchange for his future coach. To not rely only on the draft, Cooke purchased the American Hockey League's Springfield Indians for $1 million to bolster the Kings roster. Long-time Indians player Brian Kilrea would score the Kings' first goal.
Cooke invested heavily on promoting his team, inviting Hollywood stars to the arena, and creating nicknames for most players which he enforced play-by-play announcer Jiggs McDonald to employ in broadcasts. Still, conditions were chaotic. For the first preseason practice in California, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour producer Saul Ilson had to bring a puck from his Hollywood office for the Kings to play, as the team's own were unreachable in storage.
The Kings played their home games in three locations during that inaugural campaign. Before the brand new arena built by Cooke and known as The Forum would become their permanent home, the team played their first two games at the Long Beach Arena, and 14 more at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena . The season opener was against fellow expansion Philadelphia Flyers, a 4-2 victory in Long Beach. While the Inglewood arena was being finished, the Kings struggled to attract consistent crowds, with sellouts only when the "Original Six" visited. The team still played well, only losing on the sixth game, and in the previous one winning their first confrontation against an Original Six team when visiting the Chicago Black Hawks.
The Forum was opened on December 30, and in the Kings' first game ever there, they lost 2–0 to the Philadelphia Flyers, to their largest crowd that far of 14,366 expectators. Given that aside from California Seals the closest team from Los Angeles were the St. Louis Blues, the Kings had to endure long road trips for away games. A new arena led to bigger and more consistent crowds, with the average of 6,045 tickets in the first 16 games rising to 9,725 at the Forum, for combined totals of 8,037 across the 37 home games. Original Six teams still brought larger audiences, with an average of 12,560 fans compared to the 7,432 when receiving fellow expansion teams. The Kings were predicted by writers to finish last in the new West Division. Surprisingly, the Kings finished second, just one point behind the Flyers. The division lead was taken by the Kings with four games remaining once they beat Philadelphia at The Forum, but Los Angeles slipped down one position by failing to win the final three games. The Kings had the best record of any of the expansion teams against the "Original Six", going a respectable 10–12–2, including winning their first two games ever against the legendary Montreal Canadiens. The home record of the Kings was 20–13–4 in their 37 home games spread over 3 arenas. On the road, Los Angeles posted a record of just 11–20–6.
The goaltending tandem of future hall of famer Terry Sawchuk and Wayne Rutledge allowed the team to stay in most games. The roster invested heavily on depth, with eight players having at least 25 points, and four scoring a minimum of 18 goals. The leaders were Bill Flett, who scored 26 goals, while Eddie Joyal scored 23 goals, adding 34 assists for 57 points and was the second leading scorer in the West Division. Defenseman Bill White had 11 goals and 38 points, and had the second most penalty minutes with 100, just one behind Dave Amadio.
The Kings faced off against the Minnesota North Stars in their first-ever playoff series. Although the Kings had home-ice advantage, the North Stars won the best-of-seven series 4–3. Los Angeles got the first two games at the Forum, lost twice in Minnesota, and had a close 3-2 victory on Game 5 to retain the lead. Afterwards, the North Stars won in overtime to force a Game 6, and dominated Game 7 at the Forum with a 9-4. Doug Robinson and Lowell MacDonald led all Kings playoff scorers with seven points, while Eddie Joyal and Gord Labossiere had five points each.
|2||Los Angeles Kings||74||31||33||10||200||224||−24||72|
|3||St. Louis Blues||74||27||31||16||177||191||−14||70|
|4||Minnesota North Stars||74||27||32||15||191||226||−35||69|
Record vs. opponentsEdit
|1967–68 NHL records|
Schedule and resultsEdit
|1967–68 game log|
1968 NHL Quarter-finalsEdit
Minnesota North Stars vs. Los Angeles Kings
|April 4||Minnesota||1||Los Angeles||2|
|April 6||Minnesota||0||Los Angeles||2|
|April 9||Los Angeles||5||Minnesota||7|
|April 11||Los Angeles||2||Minnesota||3|
|April 13||Minnesota||2||Los Angeles||3|
|April 16||Los Angeles||3||Minnesota||4||(OT)|
|April 18||Minnesota||9||Los Angeles||4|
Minnesota wins best-of-seven series 4–3.
Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; PIM = Penalty minutes
Note: GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; PIM = Penalty minutes
Note: GP = Games played; MIN = Minutes; W = Wins; L = Losses; T = Ties; SO = Shutouts; GAA = Goals against average
Awards and recordsEdit
- March 10, 1968: Fastest two goals, 6 seconds apart, Bill Flett at 9:14 of first period, and Eddie Joyal at 9:20.
- Fewest short-handed goals against in season, 3
- Most shutouts against in season, 9
|Brian Kilrea||First Kings goal||October 14, 1967|
- NOTE: Back before 1979, the amateur draft was held with varying rules and procedures. In 1967, teams only needed to select as many player as they wanted to, which is why there was only one Kings player drafted.
- Los Angeles Kings selections
|1.||Terry Sawchuk (G)||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|2.||Wayne Rutledge (G)||New York Rangers|
|3.||Gord Labossiere (C)||Montreal Canadiens|
|4.||Bob Wall (D)||Detroit Red Wings|
|5.||Ed Joyal (C)||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|6.||Real Lemieux (W)||Detroit Red Wings|
|7.||Poul Popiel (D)||Boston Bruins|
|8.||Terry Gray (RW)||Detroit Red Wings|
|9.||Bryan Campbell (C)||New York Rangers|
|10.||Ted Irvine (LW)||Boston Bruins|
|11.||Howie Hughes (RW)||Montreal Canadiens|
|12.||Bill Inglis (C)||Montreal Canadiens|
|13.||Doug Robinson (LW)||New York Rangers|
|14.||Mike Corrigan (LW)||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|15.||Jacques Lemieux (LW)||Montreal Canadiens|
|16.||Lowell MacDonald (LW)||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|17.||Ken Block (D)||New York Rangers|
|18.||Bill Flett (RW)||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|19.||Brent Hughes (D)||Detroit Red Wings|
|20.||Marc Dufour (RW)||New York Rangers|
|1967–68 Los Angeles Kings roster|
7 – Gray • 8 – Smith • 9 – R. Lemieux • 10 – H. Hughes • 11 – MacDonald • 11 – Corrigan • 12 – Campbell • 15 – Irvine • 16 – Joyal • 17 – Flett • 18 – Anderson • 19 – Kilrea • 19 – Menard • 20 – Labossiere • 22 – Inglis • 23 – Robinson • 25 – Corbett
- Kings have interesting, some might say colorful history
- Bass, Alan (2011). "7: Los Angeles Kings". The Great Expansion: The Ultimate Risk That Changed the NHL Forever. pp. 87–96. ISBN 1-4502-8605-4.
- KINGS ALL-TIME ARENAS: 1967 - PRESENT
- Brian McFarlane, 50 Years of Hockey, pp. 140–143, Greywood Publishing Ltd, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
- "1967–1968 Division Standings Standings - NHL.com - Standings". National Hockey League.
- 1967-68 Season in Review