Los Angeles Kings fans hope the Marty McSorley stick "curse" of 1993 doesn't hurt the team's chances of beating New Jersey in this year's best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Somewhere in Marty McSorley’s home in Hermosa Beach, Calif., is a hockey stick with a blade curved at least a quarter-inch more than the legal limit.
The longtime NHL tough guy doesn’t keep the most notorious stick in Los Angeles Kings history on display, saying it is not important enough. He is probably correct: The infamous stick’s proper place would be near the billy goat, the Bambino, the cover of the Madden NFL video game and every other supposed “curse” item in sports lore.
That stick, and McSorley’s resulting penalty for using it, turned the 1993 Stanley Cup Final in favor of the Montreal Canadiens, who knocked off the Kings in Los Angeles’ only trip to the best-of-seven Final before this year. The Kings will take their second shot at an NHL title starting Wednesday in New Jersey, against the Devils.
McSorley, 49, has grown weary of talking about that Game 2 disappointment but also believes the full story of the Canadiens’ skulduggery isn’t known. He hopes this run by the Kings will help fans finally straighten out their bad feelings about the illegal curve — which gets far too much attention, he insists.
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“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,” McSorley said. “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.”
As the much-disputed story goes on Los Angeles’ side, the Canadiens did a sneaky investigation of the Kings’ sticks earlier in the series when Los Angeles’ portable stick rack was in Montreal’s locker room — or maybe when the Kings just weren’t looking. Somehow, Montreal coach Jacques Demers knew exactly which sticks to challenge.
“We all know they basically pulled the stick rack into their locker room,” McSorley said. “That’s honest and that’s frank.
“Am I sitting here complaining? No. But that is what happened.”
The Canadiens have long denied such charges, with Demers crediting captain Guy Carbonneau for spotting McSorley’s illegal stick on the ice. Montreal trailed 1-0 in the series and 2-1 with 1:45 left in regulation in Game 2 when Demers called for a measurement, leading to a McSorley penalty — and, eventually, a tying goal and an overtime victory for the Canadiens.