With the Los Angeles Kings pushing for a Stanley Cup and the city getting excited about hockey, it can’t be any surprise the papers are bringing up what they’re calling the ‘McSorley curse’ and how the team is trying to overcome said ‘curse.’[…] Needless to say this is all pretty tiresome to McSorley, who lives in L.A. and, [he says?] more often than not, people include just a snapshot of what happened, not the whole story.While he freely admits he was in fact using an illegal stick, he also wants people to know the Canadiens had some help in making the crucial call. It’s now been well documented that Luc Robitaille […] was contacted a year later by a Montreal policeman who said his conscience was bothering him over the incident. Apparently the cop was told to leave his post for a few minutes between periods while the Habs examined the LA sticks […].
I don’t know if the story rises to the level of “well documented”, but it is at least often reported.
“Gary Leeman told the whole story about how they had our stick rack in their room,” says McSorley, recounting the situation in detail. “[…] There must have been five of us who had them because it was never called by anybody. In fact, at the time it was illegal to ask for a stick measurement during overtime. They just picked me because I killed all the penalties. I’ve spoken to people who have video of the time the request for the measurement was made and they claim at least six to eight of the Montreal players can be seen handing their sticks back to the trainer at the Montreal bench. A lot of guys used them.
“Was I using an illegal stick. Yes, I was, but it’s not as if I took a torch to it. They came from the factory that way. I used the same stick in the next game and tied Game 4 with what might have been the same stick.
Why? Are you an idiot?
“[…] What bothers you is that nobody ever talks about anything else that happened in that series. […] Nobody talks about how Dave Taylor, Gretz (Wayne Gretzky) and I had a three-on-two with eight minutes left and as Wayne passes the puck to me and I’m getting ready to shoot, Taylor gets called for interfering with the goalie.”
I love that the writer clarifies that “Gretz” is Wayne Gretzky.
Nobody ever mentions Montreal had a player in the crease when the much talked about tying goal was scored either — something strictly enforced in those days —but what bothers McSorley most was the reaction of LA management at the time and how there wasn’t much support from the likes of president Rogie Vachon or general manager Nick Beverley, given how well he and the rest of the team had played getting to the final.
“None of us guys from Edmonton (who came in the Gretzky trade from the Oilers) were ever really accepted for some reason,” says McSorley, who currently works for Sportsnet as one of the most outspoken and frank analysts on television. “Maybe it was because (Kings owner) Bruce (McNall) had made the deal and it wasn’t really accepted by them or something. He was running things through them, but at the end of the season when my contract was up I got an offer from another team and all I ever heard from Beverley was a fax saying that they had matched the offer and traded me to Pittsburgh. No phone call from your own team after you’d been to the Cup final.”
I don’t think you need a conspiracy theory to explain why Kings management didn’t give McSorley a big thank-you after the 1993 playoffs. Hey, maybe they heard you continued using the same stick the rest of the series.