Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Lucky Luc Leaving League

You have to love the usage of alliteration. But, today, Luc Robitaille announced he was going to call it a career at the end of this season. Though his game had slowed down this year, he brought a leadership and ora to the Kings lockerroom that couldn't be beat. What he does for leadership on the team is something that 29 other teams wish they were able to have on a daily basis.

In 1984, the Kings took a chance with Robitaille with their 9th Round pick, since they really had nothing to lose. His lack of skating ability and ability to be pushed around in the corners easily made his stock drop to 171st pick, but it paid off greatly for the Kings. After two more years playing for the Hull Olympiques in the QMJHL, Robitaille came to the Kings and tore it up as a rookie. With his 45 goals and 39 assists in 79 games, Robitaille took the Calder Trophy for Rookie of the Year and never looked back. After recording 392 goals and 411 assists in his first stint with the Kings, Robitaille played on the Penguins and Rangers for three years total to limited success (70 goals, 89 assists), Robitaille returned to La-La Land to reel off three straight 35+ goal seasons after a slumping first year back.

Robitaille signed with the Detroit Red Wings in the summer of 2001, with hopes of gaining a Stanley Cup. Robitaille was a big player in the Red Wings' run at the Cup in 2001, registering 30 goals in the regular season and finally getting his Cup that summer. The second year in Detroit was a disaster, which lead him back to LA. Though he has been benched in the past months, Robitaille is doing what he able to do for the betterment of the team. This January, Robitaille broke the franchise records for goals with 500.

However, what he has done on the ice isn't all this stellar player has done. This past off-season, when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, Robitaille and his wife Stacia opened up their home to four families affected by the Hurricane and opened up Shelter For Serenity. Because of that, and other charitible causes he has done, Robitaille is up for the Bill Masterson Trophy this season.

Looking back, the 171st pick in the 1984 Draft turned out to accomplish plenty in his career. Whether it be his 668 goals, his 726 assists, his eight all-star appearances, his five first team All-Star team bids, his two second team All-Star team bids, or his work off the ice; Robitaille is a class act and real loss to the game. Someone mentioned on a message board that they had wished Robitaille did this earlier so they could honor him throughout the year. The thing is, Robitaille is not the kind of guy to make a big to-do about it. He's going out on his own terms and doing it his way. If only there were more players like Lucky Luc out there.

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