Tuesday, November 8, 2011
After entering the NHL and playing four seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, Marcel Dionne was traded to the Los Angeles Kings for the 1975-76 season and was signed to the richest deal in hockey history at the time.
Dionne brought his offensive skills to the Kings and immediately scored 40 goals and 94 points in his first season is Los Angeles. The following season he set a new personal bests with the first 50 goal season of his career with 53 and 122 points to come in second in the NHL scoring race. He was also named the recipient of the Lady Byng Trophy for the second time in his career.
The 1978-79 season saw the arrival of Charlie Simmer, who was teamed with Dionne and Dave Taylor in what would become known as "The Triple Crown Line". The line would score a point in 56 consecutive games immediately upon being formed. Dionne again raised his personal bests with 59 goals and 130 points, again coming in second in the league. His efforts were rewarded by being voted the winner of the Lester Pearson Award by his peers.
The Triple Crown Line
Dionne set a career high in points with 137 points in 1979-80 from 53 goals and a career best 84 assists to finally capture the Art Ross Trophy as the league's leading scorer, as his 53 goals were two more than NHL rookie Wayne Gretzky, who tied Dionne in points. He also received his second consecutive Lester Pearson Award that season.
In 1980-81, the Triple Crown Line became the first line in NHL history where each member recorded over 100 points, with Simmer's 105, Taylor's 112 and Dionne's 135 as Dionne returned to his usual second overall in points for the third time in five years. They were also all named to the 1981 NHL All-Star Game held in Los Angeles and rather than being introduced as individuals, they were presented as a line.
“It was chemistry because nobody had a big ego. We complimented one another and we never had a bad game because we would also pick up the slack for each other on nights when it was needed,” said Dionne
After scoring 50 goals in 1981-82, Dionne extended his streak of 50 goal seasons to five consecutive with 56 in 1982-83 which included his 500th goal on December 14, 1982. His 51 assists also pushed his run of 100 point seasons to five as well. During that season's playoffs, Dionne and the Kings pulled off the greatest comeback in NHL playoff history, known as "The Miracle on Manchester", where the Kings came from down 5-0 after two periods to Gretzky and the Oilers to win 6-5 in overtime.
Dionne's streaks of 50 goals and 100 points came to an end in 1983-84 when he was limited to 66 games, yet still managed to post 92 points. Back in top form for 1984-85, Dionne played all 80 games, and while he fell a bit short of 50 goals with 46, his 80 assists pushed his point total to 126 and he reached the prestigious 600 goal plateau. After qualifying for the playoffs for the first seven of Dionne's seasons in Los Angeles, the Kings qualified for the playoffs that season for the first time in three years, but were ousted by the Edmonton Oilers in three straight.
Despite all his offensive success, Dionne grew increasingly frustrated with the Kings lack of playoff success, having won only three first round series in his now ten seasons in Los Angeles. After personally scoring 94 points in 1985-86, after which the Kings missed the playoffs, Dionne could see the Kings were in danger of missing the playoffs yet again in 1986-87 and demanded a trade, hoping to actually inspire the Kings to make some big moves to improve the team and keep him happy. The Kings however, surprised Dionne and, to his disappointment, dealt him to the New York Rangers, bringing to a close his 12 seasons with the Kings.
The Kings would honor Dionne on this date in 1990 when they retired his #16 in a pre-game ceremony before their game with his original club, Detroit. It would be only the second number retired by the Kings.
Today's featured jersey is a 1978-79 Los Angeles Kings Marcel Dionne jersey. This was the first season the Kings wore names on the backs of this style road jersey, which were introduced back in 1967 with one color gold numbers. One season later they introduced a bolder font for the numbers, now outlined in white which remained in use for the remainder of the life of this style jersey through 1978-79, the year the names were first added.
This jersey is from the season The Triple Crown lined was formed and Dionne set personal bests in goals and points.
Here's a moment we're sure they'd all like to have back. The Triple Crown Line doing their own music video! See how long you can last...
Next, a look at Dionne's career from the Legends of Hockey series.
Here's Dionne doing a commercial for CCM hockey sticks, and for an athlete, he's not half bad in front of the camera - as long as he's not signing, that is.
Oh. My. God.