SUN Hockey Pool

L.A. bids adieu to 'King of Kings'

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:23 AM ET

LOS ANGELES -- Banners saying "Thank You 20" were everywhere.

Placards reading "Thank You Luuuc" awaited every fan at their seat and they were all handed T-shirts emblazoned with his likeness and the words "Luc Robitaille. King of Kings."

The JumboTron vignettes were constant, while deafening ovations and chants of "Luuuuuc" came from every seat in the house all game.

For one night in Robitaille's career, it was all about him.

"It's almost embarrassing to be about me," Robitaille said before the puck dropped on the final home game of his illustrious career. "It's very hard for me to handle when I see this."

Truly well deserved, though.

For 19 seasons, 14 donning the Kings' colours, the one known as Lucky -- a nickname given him by the immortal Tiger Williams -- scored goals by the bucket load, 668 going into last night's clash with the Calgary Flames.

And through those seasons, while accumulating nearly 1,400 points, his infectious personality made the NHL a better place.

For that, Robitaille credited his first linemate and mentor Marcel Dionne, whose retired No. 16 will certainly be joined by Robitaille's 20.

"He was a great example," Robitaille said.

"What people didn't know about Marcel, because he was a quiet guy, was how much he loved the game. When I came in, I think he was 36 or 37 years old and realized how much he loved the game and loved going to the rink."

A place he's now saying farewell to as a player.

As a swansong, the face of the Kings for nearly two decades has been bestowed with the captaincy, handed by Mattias Norstrom.

"I came to the rink and saw that and said, 'Well, I guess that's what happens when you have a bad practice,' " Robitaille quipped.

"He didn't have to do this."

For the occasion, he had more than a few sweaters on hand. And an armload of sticks, as he will in his career finale in San Jose tomorrow.

"I told Torch (coach John Torchetti) he's gonna have to play me a lot because I don't want to have to switch sticks on the fly," he said laughing.


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