The Gretzky deal: 20 years later
Tomorrow's the 20th anniversary of the trade that sent Wayne Gretzky to Los Angeles, a rather earth-shattering deal at a time when franchise players really were, more often than not, just that.
I'm a little late to the party, but I did want to point out USA Today's Kevin Allen's good read on the subject:
After Gretzky moved to L.A., he was seen often in commercials. He made the tour of talk shows. In 1989 and 1990, the Kings played all of their exhibition games in non-traditional markets. Gretzky's arrival made the NHL hotter than it had ever been, and on Aug. 15, 1990, nine cities applied for NHL expansion franchises, including Houston, Miami, Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Ottawa and Hamilton, Ontario. Ottawa and Tampa Bay joined the league in 1992-93 followed by Anaheim and Florida in 1993-94.I do a radio bit out in Edmonton every week on Thursdays or Fridays, and as part of today's discussion, host Bob Stauffer wondered how many more Stanley Cups those then-dominant Oilers could have won had they kept Gretzky in the fold.
Six? Seven? Maybe eight? Surely more than five, in any event, given the cast that was still there.
Former Kings owner Bruce McNall made it happen, so he gets the last word: "This deal probably has more impact in the sports world than any other deal in sports history."