Oh, Marty. Give me a break.

“Disappointment” is an odd choice of words. I’m sure Marty McSorley is disappointed that, essentially, everyone blames him for losing the 1993 finals. Of course, no one blames him really, or at least not 100%. We all know the laundry list of blame: the Kings could have killed the penalty, they could have scored in OT, they could have won any of the remaining games. Maybe you could even argue that Marty McSorley is a hero, because if the Kings had lost in the finals after having a 2-0 lead, that would have been a historic meltdown. Instead of a famous penalty.

Never mind. You can’t really argue that.

But here’s another fact: Marty McSorley doesn’t need to meet the press at all. The stick incident is a famous prop in Kings lore, and nothing is going to change that. Sports history is built on such stories.

It’s pathetic for McSorley to imply that the “media” created this story. Everyone who followed the Kings watched that story unfold in real time. It was — really — a nightmare. As narratives go, it’s a pretty excellent one (with potential skullduggery and deathbed confessions and all of that). But for the fans who lived it, it was a horrible moment.

Now, every kid who becomes a Kings fan is told the story of what happened in 1993. Because sports fans wear these various humiliations with a sort of backwards pride. The indignities are badges of honor, and the more you have, the greater the vindication when your hard-luck team wins it all.

Here are the choicest bits of McSorley’s apologia:

Stick Controversy Disappoints McSorley – LA Kings Insider

[…] For 19 years, McSorley has heard about the stick, from fans and media. Most of the mentions and inquiries are of a good nature, but somewhat understandably, McSorley tires of hearing questions and comments about the stick and its infamous place in franchise history. Today, with the Kings back in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1993, McSorley held an informal session with the media and addressed the incident at length. […]

MCSORLEY: “[…]The thing that disappoints me most about this (is) I think there’s been a degree of sensationalism, a big degree of sensationalism, and I don’t think there’s been a lot of honesty. Did I have an illegal stick? Yes, I did. Did I stand up, after the fact, and say, `Listen, I had an illegal stick’? Yes, I did. The things that have transpired since then, I don’t think there has been a lot of honesty. For me, personally, it was very, very disappointing. I’ve always been honest with the fans and the media here in L.A. I’m being honest with you now. That was very disappointing. To kind of hear it come out, if it’s going to come out, let’s be honest about what happened. Let’s be honest about the situation. Let’s not sensationalize it. Let’s be factual, and then we move on.

You can’t put the genie back in the bottle. There is no moving on. You’re famous, Marty, and this is what you’re famous for. That, and the other thing.

[…]We all know they basically pulled the stick rack into their locker room. That’s honest and that’s frank. Am I sitting here complaining? No. But that is what happened. Is it disappointing for me? Yes.

The key word there is “basically.” It’s not honest or frank to assert that this happened when there’s no evidence it happened. That’s like saying there was “basically” a gunman on the grassy knoll.

[…] they knew there were numerous guys (with illegal sticks). I think we kind of treated it, at that time, as almost George Brett’s pine-tar (bat). That’s kind of how we treated it.

Everybody’s doing it. That’s just honest and frank. And did I mention I’m disappointed?

[…]To find out later that they knew, and how they knew, was really, really disappointing. This is not a shot at the Montreal Canadiens […].

No, it’s a shot at the 1993 Montreal Canadiens.

As you guys know, I do some studio analyst work up in Canada, and I do some work here with Fox in Southern California […]. I’m brutally honest on the air, as I am right now. That part really disappoints me.”

As an aside, I find it extremely difficult to trust people who tell me over and over and over again how honest they are.

[HAMMOND:] McSorley largely laid the blame for the continuing story at the feet of the media, and that’s simply not true. In 19 years, it was really only a media storyline in 2003, during the 10th anniversary, yet fans and hockey followers regularly bring up the stick when McSorley’s name is mentioned. When asked whether he thought he would be “absolved’’ if the Kings ever win the Stanley Cup, McSorely ultimately said no.

MCSORLEY: “You know what? No, because I don’t think there’s anything I need to be absolved from. […] From the fan base, I certainly don’t look at the fan base as being a body of people that have hung onto that. I really don’t.”

Marty McSorley took a stupid penalty and it cost the Kings one game in the Cup Final, at least. At most, it cost them the Cup.


  16 comments for “Oh, Marty. Give me a break.

  1. Garrett79
    May 28, 2012 at 12:34 AM

    That stick measurement is the biggest moment in Kings history until they win a championship.

    It just is.

    Whether the Habs cheated or not (they did), whether the Kings could have killed the penalty off or not (other than a goal that shouldn’t have counted because there was a skate in the crease, they did), and whether the Kings should have gotten over it and won the next game (clearly, they didn’t), that play was the obvious turning point that everyone who watched can look back at.

    If the Kings can beat the Devils in the next couple of weeks though, there will be a new biggest moment in franchise history and we can all forget about Marty’s fuck-up. Nobody talks about Buchner anymore, right?

  2. CarlosListon
    May 28, 2012 at 1:32 AM

    Doesn’t he have better things to do than parade around with the team? Seriously, would the Cubs have Steve Bartman give a press conference before the 2022 Word Series? I think not. The current squad needs to be the story, not a guy that is tied to the most embarrassing moment in Kings history. I just don’t get why he was given a press conference, what was the point? Did we learn anything from him speaking? Absolutely not. He’s always come off as a used car salesman in interviews and in person, and we all know this and take him for what he’s worth, which is not much. He needs to stop being given a platform, and people need to stop wearing his jerseys. 

    • scsf
      May 28, 2012 at 1:07 PM

      There’s a lot of time to kill before game 1.  Almost as bad as the two week break between the conference finals and the Super Bowl, so every story gets dredged up.  It’d be nice if Marty said that he doesn’t want to take the focus off of the 2012 team, but alas, that’s not his style.  Now if he uploaded a vid to YouTube of him burning the stick out on Manhattan Beach one night, that’d be somewhat amusing and perhaps we could all move on.

  3. USHA#17
    May 28, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Odd, just saw the LAT article that mentioned your site, stopped in to mention it and I noticed my comment from yesterday had disappeared…

    I made mention of points that were theme to the LAT piece.

    Still think the stick should be enshrined in a special memento case at Staples (only when the Kings win a cup).   The case could also include historic sticks (forget the hall of fame…its back east and no one back there gives a damn about LA)

    In a team short on history its important to have touchstones which we can call our own.

    • May 28, 2012 at 6:32 PM

      what article mentioned my site?

      • May 28, 2012 at 6:33 PM

        What comment of your disappeared? 

        • May 28, 2012 at 6:33 PM

          I’m so behind. 

          • USHA#17
            May 28, 2012 at 6:59 PM

            How can you not be…so much to cover, only 10 fingers to punch it out.

            I may be confused as to where I posted it but I was all but certain it was here…yet its not on any of my discus profiles.

            I mentioned the incident as a touchstone for all Kings fans like the goat…..and on and on….

            Still think if the cup is had the stick should have special place in  a Zen-line Shrine at Staples…  Even better, perhaps hanging in the rafters next to the SC Champion banner….now that would give the arena a little class and character and personality…something for national announcers to always talk about…and something sorely (or McSorely) needed in our ever more homogenized culture.

            Hey, maybe retire Marty’s jersey, too.

      • USHA#17
        May 28, 2012 at 6:53 PM


        About 14 paragraphs down.  Mentions the blog in passing

        • May 28, 2012 at 7:36 PM

          Ah. Thanks for the link. You said “LAT” in the previous comment. 

          • USHA#17
            May 29, 2012 at 9:14 AM

             Yeah, was mobile browsing early in AM…took a while to recall…sorry if any time wasted…..

            • May 29, 2012 at 2:00 PM

              Yes, I wasted five minutes I could otherwise have been wasting doing…well…this, I guess. 

    • May 29, 2012 at 10:22 AM

      ” (forget the hall of fame…its back east and no one back there gives a damn about LA)”

      The Kings have more than their fair share of memorabilia on display at the HHOF, largely because Gretzky broke most of his significant records while on the Kings.

  4. Sam
    May 28, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    I just want the big goon to go away.

  5. May 28, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    “I think we kind of treated it, at that time, as almost George Brett’s pine-tar (bat).”
    At least the Royals won that game…

    • May 29, 2012 at 10:23 AM

       … about four months later, if memory serves.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.