Luc Robitaille

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Luc Robitaille
Hockey Hall of Fame, 2009
LucRobitaille.jpg
Born (1966-02-17) February 17, 1966 (age 48)
Montreal, QC, CAN
Height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight 204 lb (93 kg; 14 st 8 lb)
Position Left Wing
Shot Left
Played for Los Angeles Kings
Pittsburgh Penguins
New York Rangers
Detroit Red Wings
National team  Canada
NHL Draft 171st overall, 1984
Los Angeles Kings
Playing career 1986–2006

Luc Jean-Marie Robitaille[1][2] (born February 17, 1966) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey player, and currently serves as President of business operations for the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League (NHL).

During his 19-season National Hockey League (NHL) career, Robitaille won the Stanley Cup in 2001–02 with the Detroit Red Wings, and played for the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers, but is most known for his fourteen seasons, over three different stints, with the Kings.[3] He served as Kings team captain during the 1992–93 season (while Wayne Gretzky was injured) and for the final two games of the 2005–06 season. Robitaille retired after the 2005–06 season as the highest-scoring left winger in NHL history and the holder of several Kings franchise records,[4] along with numerous Kings playoff records.[5]

Junior hockey career[edit]

Robitaille was drafted by the Kings in the ninth round (171st overall) of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft. Many hockey experts expected Robitaille to be drafted late in the draft due to his poor skating ability.[6] Robitaille himself has stated that he had only had contact with one NHL team during his junior career - the Kings. He happened to be attending the '84 draft (in the stands), and later introduced himself to first year Kings general manager Rogie Vachon.

Robitaille and former teammate Dave Taylor are the lowest NHL draft picks to have recorded 1,000 career points. During the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, the Kings drafted future Baseball Hall-of-Famer Tom Glavine in the fourth round, over one hundred spots ahead of Robitaille.

Robitaille played junior hockey for the Hull Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In three seasons with the Olympiques from 1983 to 1986, Robitaille amassed 155 goals and 269 assists, for 424 points in only 197 games,[3] including winning the CHL Player of the Year with 191 points in 1985–86. In his honor, because of his efforts, the QMJHL created the Luc Robitaille Trophy, awarded to the team which scores the most goals each season.

National Hockey League career[edit]

Los Angeles Kings[edit]

Robitaille made it to the NHL in 1986, helping the Kings make the playoffs, despite having a 31-41-8 record.[7] Robitaille scored 45 goals and had 39 assists in 79 games,[3] edging out the Philadelphia Flyers' Ron Hextall for the Calder Memorial Trophy,[8] the only Los Angeles player ever to win the award.[9] He also earned a spot on the Second All-Star Team.[9]

Robitaille scored more than 40 goals in each of his first eight seasons, including three 50 or more goal seasons, with a career-high 63 in 1992–93.[3] That year, Robitaille set league records for most goals and points (125) in a season by a left winger.[citation needed] Robitaille's 63-goal record amongst left wingers was eclipsed by Alexander Ovechkin during the 2007–08 season, although Robitaille still holds the record for most points in a season by a left winger. With captain and superstar Wayne Gretzky sidelined by injury for much of 1992-93, Robitaille assumed the captaincy and led the team in scoring, playing a key role in helping his struggling team to make the playoffs. The Kings reached the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history[10][11] where they eventually lost to the Montreal Canadiens in five games.[11] Robitaille had nine goals and 13 assists in 24 playoff games.[3]

During the 1993–94 season, Robitaille scoring totals remained respectable but considerably lower than his previous seasons, while Gretzky had returned from injury to win the league scoring title. The Kings failed to make the playoffs.

Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers[edit]

Robitaille was traded on July 29, 1994 to the Pittsburgh Penguins, in exchange for Rick Tocchet and the Penguins’ 2nd round draft pick in 1995 (Pavel Rosa).[12] There, Robitaille set then-career lows in goals and assists during the strike-shortened 1994–95 season.[3]

After one season, Robitaille was traded to the New York Rangers with Ulf Samuelsson in exchange for Petr Nedvěd and Sergei Zubov.[13] Robitaille had below-average numbers in two seasons with the Rangers, and for the first time in his career, had more penalty minutes (80) than points (69) in 1995–96.[3]

Return to Los Angeles[edit]

On August 28, 1997, in new-GM Dave Taylor's first move, the Kings re-acquired Robitaille from the Rangers in exchange for Kevin Stevens.[14]

Robitaille struggled in his first season back in Los Angeles, scoring only 16 goals in an injury-shortened 1997–98 season.[3] Robitaille returned to his All-Star form, scoring no fewer than 36 goals and had the best stats of his career after his first stint with the Kings during those three seasons.[3] On January 7, 1999, Robitaille scored his 500th career goal in a 4-2 victory at the Great Western Forum against the Buffalo Sabres.[5][15]

During the 2000-01 season, Robitaille netted 37 goals and tallied 88 points and helped lead the Kings to their first playoff appearance since 1998. During the 2000–01 playoffs, Robitaille helped the seventh-seed Kings to a first round upset of the Detroit Red Wings, and his team took the eventual Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche to seven games in the conference semifinals. Robitaille was named a second team all-star, his postseason team honour since 1993. Robitaille turned down a one year deal with a substantial pay cut by Kings GM Dave Taylor.

Detroit Red Wings[edit]

Robitaille ended up signing a two-year, $9 million deal with Detroit starting with the 2001-02 season, settling for less than what other teams offered, as the Red Wings represented his best chance at winning the Stanley Cup, especially after their recent acquisition of goaltender Dominik Hašek.

With the Red Wings, Robitaille scored 30 goals and 50 points,[3] helping them win the Presidents' Trophy, awarded to the team with the best regular season record.[16] Due to the tremendous depth of scorers among Detroit's roster, Robitaille had less playoff ice time, nonetheless he scored four goals in the postseason. The Red Wings defeated the Avalanche in the Western Conference Finals in seven games, meaning that Robitaille was going to the Stanley Cup Finals for the second time in his career. With the Red Wings’ 3-1 victory in Game 5 against the Carolina Hurricanes, Robitaille’s quest for an elusive Stanley Cup championship finally came to an end. At the direction of Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman, all of the teammates who had never previously won the Cup would hoist it after Yzerman, with Robitaille being the third Red Wing to skate the Cup around Joe Louis Arena, after Yzerman and Dominik Hašek.

Robitaille had the lowest goal total in his career in 2002–03, due partially to limited ice time, and the Red Wings were upset in the first round of the playoffs by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in a four-game sweep.

Final stint with Los Angeles[edit]

Robitaille returned to Kings as a free agent.[3] Robitaille had mediocre numbers for a team in the rebuilding process. On March 9, 2004, Robitaille scored the 650th goal of his professional career in a 3-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes at Staples Center.[5][17] He played his 1,000th game as a King a few days later, on March 13, 2004, in a 3-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion at San Jose.[5][17]

On January 19, 2006, during a game against the Atlanta Thrashers, Robitaille scored a hat-trick, tying and passing Marcel Dionne’s then-franchise record of 550 goals.[18] His record-breaking goal was met with several minutes of standing ovations and a video-congratulation reel on the scoreboard. On April 10, the Kings announced Robitaille's intention to retire at the conclusion of the 2005–06 NHL season. Robitaille officially confirmed this the next day in a press conference held at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California.[citation needed] Robitaille's final goal and point was scored in typical Luc Robitaille fashion: one-timing a pass from Jeremy Roenick while at the centre of the right wing face-off circle past Curtis Joseph during a power play in a March 14, 2006 6-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes.

Robitaille played his final NHL home game as a Los Angeles King against the Calgary Flames on April 15, 2006. He also wore the captain's "C" that normally belonged to Mattias Norström. Although he was held without a point in the game, he logged 18:37 of ice time, and had 4 shots on goal.[19] He was also the second shooter in the shootout, but his shot towards the upper-right corner of the net was stopped by the glove of goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, despite being given an open five hole.[19][20] The Kings went on to win the game 2-1 off of a shootout goal by Pavol Demitra, and three shootout saves by the Kings' Jason LaBarbera. The Kings held a curtain call for Robitaille after the game, where he was given a standing ovation by the sell-out crowd of 18,118 fans in attendance. After chants of his name died down, he gave a short speech and did one final lap of the rink at Staples Center.

Robitaille finished his playing career on April 17, 2006 at the HP Pavilion in a game against the San Jose Sharks. The Kings won this game 4-0, with Jason LaBarbera earning the shutout.[21] He received applause and chants of his name throughout the night by the 17,496 fans in attendance, as well as good wishes from many of the opposing players of the Sharks. After the game ended, the Kings players came out and gathered around him first, rather than the traditional congratulation of the goaltender. The Sharks players also came onto the ice to shake hands with Robitaille before they headed off into their locker room.

Achievements[edit]

At the end of his career, Robitaille had made eight All-Star teams, set the NHL record for goals by a left winger (with 668) and points (with 1394), as well the Kings’ franchise record for goals, with 577,[22] finished second to Dave Taylor in games played,[22] fourth (behind Marcel Dionne, Wayne Gretzky, and Taylor) in assists with 726,[22] second behind John Bucyk’s NHL record for assists by a LW (813), and second to Dionne in points, with 1,154.[22] Robitaille also became the second player in NHL history to record 1,000 points after being as drafted as low as the ninth round.[citation needed]

The Kings honored his playing career by retiring his number during a pre-game ceremony on January 20, 2007. Robitaille’s number 20 hangs in the rafters of Staples Center alongside Rogatien Vachon, Marcel Dionne, Dave Taylor, and Wayne Gretzky.

On June 23, 2009, it was announced that he would be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was honoured during the November 6–9 induction weekend alongside his former Red Wing teammates Steve Yzerman and Brett Hull, and his former Ranger teammate Brian Leetch.[23]

He has won two Stanley Cup Championships, in 2012 and in 2014, as President of Operations with the Los Angeles Kings.

United States Hockey League[edit]

On July 6, 2006, Robitaille was named president of the Omaha Lancers hockey team of the United States Hockey League (USHL).[24]

International play[edit]

Medal record
Competitor for  Canada
Ice hockey
World Championships
Gold 1994 Italy
World Cup of Hockey
Gold 1991 Canada
World Junior Championships
Silver 1986 Canada

Robitaille has participated in three international tournaments for Canada:

Kings management[edit]

Robitaille was named as the Kings' President of Business Operations on May 25, 2007.[25] He also serves as the team's alternate governor along with Dan Beckerman and Dean Lombardi.

Since joining the Kings in a management role, the team has won 2 Stanley Cup's in 2011-12 and 2013-14.

Other work[edit]

Robitaille and his wife, Stacia, co-founded the non-profit charity Shelter for Serenity in 2005 to help families displaced by Hurricane Katrina, and has extended to needy children in the Los Angeles community as Echoes of Hope.[5][26]

Robitaille made an appearance on the FOX TV series Bones in the Season 4 episode "Fire in the Ice". He appears as himself in an hallucination had by lead character Seeley Booth (portrayed by David Boreanaz, a passionate hockey fan[27]), when Booth is knocked out while playing in a recreational hockey game.

Robitaille also appeared in the movie Sudden Death. The directors used this to their advantage sending Robitaille in on a breakaway to tie the game as time expired.[28]

In Canada, Robitaille appeared alongside New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur in a Delissio frozen pizza commercial, where the two watch footage of Luc's many goals against the legendary goalie while sharing a pizza.

Robitaille made a cameo appearance as himself in the 1994 movie, D2: The Mighty Ducks,[29] and voiced himself in the Phineas and Ferb episode "For Your Ice Only".

He also made a cameo appearance as himself in the 15th episode of the eighth season of the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother. He is featured, among other Canadian celebrities, in Underneath the Tunes, a parody of VH1's Behind the Music.

Personal life[edit]

Robitaille is married to Stacia Robitaille. They have two sons, Steven (born July 13, 1988)[30] and Jesse (born June 2, 1995).[31] Steven is Robitaille's stepson and is an actor in the TV series The Vampire Diaries.[32]

He became a U.S. citizen in 2005.

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1983–84 Hull Olympiques QMJHL 70 32 53 85 48
1984–85 Hull Olympiques QMJHL 64 55 94 149 115 5 4 2 6 27
1985–86 Hull Olympiques QMJHL 63 68 123 191 91 15 17 27 44 28
1986–87 Los Angeles Kings NHL 79 45 39 84 28 5 1 4 5 2
1987–88 Los Angeles Kings NHL 80 53 58 111 82 5 2 5 7 18
1988–89 Los Angeles Kings NHL 78 46 52 98 65 11 2 6 8 10
1989–90 Los Angeles Kings NHL 80 52 49 101 38 10 5 5 10 12
1990–91 Los Angeles Kings NHL 76 45 46 91 68 12 12 4 16 22
1991–92 Los Angeles Kings NHL 80 44 63 107 95 6 3 4 7 12
1992–93 Los Angeles Kings NHL 84 63 62 125 100 24 9 13 22 28
1993–94 Los Angeles Kings NHL 83 44 42 86 86
1994–95 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 46 23 19 42 37 12 7 4 11 26
1995–96 New York Rangers NHL 77 23 46 69 80 11 1 5 6 8
1996–97 New York Rangers NHL 69 24 24 48 48 15 4 7 11 4
1997–98 Los Angeles Kings NHL 57 16 24 40 66 4 1 2 3 6
1998–99 Los Angeles Kings NHL 82 39 35 74 54
1999–00 Los Angeles Kings NHL 71 36 38 74 68 4 2 2 4 6
2000–01 Los Angeles Kings NHL 82 37 51 88 66 13 4 3 7 10
2001–02 Detroit Red Wings NHL 81 30 20 50 38 23 4 5 9 10
2002–03 Detroit Red Wings NHL 81 11 20 31 50 4 1 0 1 0
2003–04 Los Angeles Kings NHL 80 22 29 51 56
2005–06 Los Angeles Kings NHL 65 15 9 24 52
QMJHL totals 197 155 270 424 256 20 21 29 50 55
NHL totals 1,431 668 726 1394 1,177 159 58 69 127 174

International[edit]

Year Team Event Result   GP G A Pts PIM
1986 Canada WJC Silver medal icon.svg 7 3 5 8 2
1991 Canada CC Gold medal icon.svg 8 1 2 3 10
1994 Canada WC Gold medal icon.svg 8 4 4 8 2
Junior totals 7 3 5 8 2
Senior totals 16 5 6 11 12

Awards[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2577/4092725662_d219e7d60a.jpg
  2. ^ http://twitpic.com/ow7q1
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Luc Robitaille’s profile at hockeydb.com". hockeyDB.com. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  4. ^ Los Angeles Kings Communications Department (2007). 2007–08 Los Angeles Kings Media Guide. Los Angeles Kings. p. 200. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Los Angeles Kings Communications Department (2006). 2006–07 Los Angeles Kings Media Guide. Los Angeles Kings. p. 130. 
  6. ^ Buker, Rick. Total Penguins. Chicago: Triumph Books, 2010, page 340.
  7. ^ "1986–87 National Hockey League Standings". hockeyDB.com. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  8. ^ "Calder Memorial Trophy Winners". LegendsofHockey.net. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  9. ^ a b Los Angeles Kings Communications Department. 2007–08 Los Angeles Kings Media Guide. p. 170. 
  10. ^ Los Angeles Kings Communications Department. 2006–07 Los Angeles Kings Media Guide. p. 202. 
  11. ^ a b Los Angeles Kings Communications Department. 2006–07 Los Angeles Kings Media Guide. p. 203. 
  12. ^ Los Angeles Kings Communications Department. 2007–08 Los Angeles Kings Media Guide. p. 181. 
  13. ^ Lapointe, Joe (September 1, 1995). "HOCKEY; Rangers Trade Zubov and Nedved". The New York Times. Retrieved May 11, 2010. 
  14. ^ Los Angeles Kings Communications Department. 2007–08 Los Angeles Kings Media Guide. p. 182. 
  15. ^ Los Angeles Kings Communications Department. 2006–07 Los Angeles Kings Media Guide. p. 210. 
  16. ^ "2002–03 National Hockey League Standings". hockeyDB.com. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  17. ^ a b Los Angeles Kings Communications Department. 2006–07 Los Angeles Kings Media Guide. p. 215. 
  18. ^ Los Angeles Kings Communications Department. 2007–08 Los Angeles Kings Media Guide. p. 12. 
  19. ^ a b "Calgary Flames @ Los Angeles Kings, April 15, 2006". NHL.com. 2006-04-15. Retrieved 2007-12-30. [dead link]
  20. ^ Amber, David (2007-04-04). "Facing Off: 'Lucky' Luc sees the cup returning West". ESPN. Retrieved 2007-05-16. 
  21. ^ "Los Angeles Kings @ San Jose Sharks, April 17, 2006". NHL.com. 2006-04-17. Retrieved 2007-12-30. [dead link]
  22. ^ a b c d Los Angeles Kings Communications Department. 2007–08 Los Angeles Kings Media Guide. p. 150. 
  23. ^ a b "Hockey Hall of Fame Announces 2009 Inductees". Legends of Hockey. Hockey Hall of Fame. 2009-06-23. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  24. ^ "Lancers owner Luc Robitaille takes on new role within Lancers organization". Omaha Lancers. 2006-07-06. Retrieved 2007-05-16. 
  25. ^ "Robitaille Appointed President, Business Operations" (Press release). Los Angeles Kings Communications Department. 2006-04-10. Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  26. ^ "Echoes of Hope". Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  27. ^ "Why David Boreanaz Loves the Philadelphia Flyers". cbc.ca. April 22, 2012. Retrieved 2013-04-29. 
  28. ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005374/
  29. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109520/fullcredits
  30. ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1997596/
  31. ^ http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/columns/story?columnist=amber_david&id=2825153
  32. ^ http://www.tvguide.com/celebrities/steven-r-mcqueen/bio/271957

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Dan Hodgson
CHL Player of the Year
1986
Succeeded by
Rob Brown
Preceded by
Gary Suter
Winner of the Calder Trophy
1987
Succeeded by
Joe Nieuwendyk
Preceded by
Wayne Gretzky
Los Angeles Kings captain
1992–93*
Succeeded by
Wayne Gretzky

*Note: Robitaille served as Kings captain during the first half of the 1992–93 season, while Gretzky was injured and he was also captain for the final 2 games of his career.