Former King Bob Pulford enjoying team's success
Bob Pulford stood next to the glass during the Kings’ morning skate Thursday at the Toyota Sports Center and marveled at what he was seeing.
“They’re all so big,” he said as players practiced at the El Segundo facility for Thursday’s game against the St. Louis Blues at Staples Center. “They’re a good team.”
The Kings’ 40-25-5 record proves he’s right and not simply biased because his daughter, Wandamae, is married to the Kings’ general manager, Dean Lombardi.
The current Kings are the first edition to record back-to-back 40-win seasons. The first Kings team ever to win 40 games was the squad Pulford coached in 1974-75, which won 42 games and still holds the franchise record of 105 points.
The Kings will honor Pulford in an on-ice ceremony Saturday at Staples Center before their game against the Ducks. It’s the last in the Kings’ Legend Night series and will feature players wearing replicas of the team’s old Forum blue-and-gold uniforms.
Pulford, a four-time Stanley Cup champion with the Toronto Maple Leafs, played the last two seasons of his career with the Kings and became their coach on June 7, 1972. He left the Kings after the 1976-77 season to become general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Pulford said he and his wife, Roslyn, usually visit Southern California once a season to catch up with their daughter and son-in-law. He’s still fondly remembered by longtime Kings fans, and he returns the affection.
“We had great teams. We outdrew the Lakers in those days,” said Pulford, who will be 75 later this month and splits his time between Chicago and Florida.
“We always won the first round of the playoffs but basically played the Bruins every year in the second round and we went six or seven games every time. I always felt if we had gotten by them, it really would have established hockey here.”
Check back soon for some tidbits about Thursday’s game.
-- Helene Elliott
Photo: Bob Pulford answers questions at a Blackhawks press conference in 1999. Credit: Ted S. Warren / AP