San Jose Gets Past the Kings in Overtime, 3-2
Things are going so badly for the Kings, even their plane has been suspended.
Forbidden by the Federal Aviation Administration from using their private 727 jet Tuesday morning because of a problem with the seating configuration, the Kings were forced to bus to Los Angeles International Airport and then catch a commercial flight north.
And that was the best part of their day.
In the Cow Palace Tuesday night, the Kings’ long, wearying day ended in an overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks, 3-2, before a sellout crowd of 10,888.
Taking a pass from Kelly Kisio, San Jose’s Brian Mullen went behind the Kings net, came out on the left side, spun around and put the puck past the pads of the Kings’ Kelly Hrudey 22 seconds into the overtime for his team-leading eighth goal.
The Sharks thus extended the longest unbeaten streak in their brief history to 3-0-1, making them 6-20-2 overall. The Kings, on the other hand, have lost three in a row to fall to 11-10-6.
It wouldn’t have been close had it not been for Hrudey, who stopped 46 shots.
In the other net, Jeff Hackett made 26 saves to get the victory.
Hrudey said he expected Mullen to spin and shoot.
“I just tripped,” the King goalie said. “It hit my left pad and went in. I’m at a loss for words. I just can’t let in goals like that.”
The Sharks’ Wayne Presley opened the scoring with his sixth goal 5:10 into the game.
After being outshot, 11-2, the Kings got even in the goal department, Wayne Gretzky scoring his 11th from just outside the right post off a pass through the crease from Tony Granato.
The Sharks kept the pressure on, outshooting the King, 20-7, in the first period, but couldn’t add to their goal total.
They did in the second period, Perry Berezan putting the Sharks in front on a power play by tipping in Jayson More’s shot for his fourth goal.
That’s the way it stayed until Granato’s 12th goal tied the score with 2:48 to play in regulation time.
The Kings talked about the Sharks’ tendency to blister the opposing net in this building and about their own defensive deficiencies. But none would talk about their plane problems when it came to explaining the loss.
“The way things are going, it would only be another excuse,” Hrudey said. “But it doesn’t matter if we get here at a quarter to seven, we have to be ready to play.”
The Kings are playing without Coach Tom Webster, who has been suspended. Wing Tomas Sandstrom starts his suspension Saturday. There have been numerous injuries.
“I’m tired of excuses, suspensions and injuries,” said Rick Wilson, running the team with fellow assistant coach Cap Raeder in Webster’s absence. “No (plane alibis). We were here for the start of the game, like they were.”
When King owner Bruce McNall purchased his jet nearly two years ago, it was for the purpose of transporting his hockey team. Recently, the Kings applied for a certificate to lease the jet when the Kings are not using it. Upon FAA inspection it was discovered that there was a problem with the switch from the standard seating to all first-class. “We were informed (Tuesday),” said Ron Muniz, the team’s traveling secretary, “that the paper work for the seating configuration passed on to us by the previous owner was not complete.” Scheduled to take off at 10:15 Tuesday morning from Van Nuys Airport, the Kings learned at 9:30 that they would not be allowed to use the plane. The players were put on a bus and driven to LAX, 39 seats were purchased on a commercial flight and the Kings traveling party arrived in San Francisco at 1 p.m. and were at the hotel before 2. . . . Late Tuesday night, McNall’s pilots were trying to work things out with the FAA to allow to jet to fly to San Francisco today and take the team to Chicago, where it will meet the Blackhawks Thursday.
Whatever the Kings’ travel plans today, they won’t include Wayne Gretzky. The King center left San Francisco after Tuesday night’s game and flew to Vancouver where he is scheduled to testify today in a legal proceeding involving the NHL and two soft-drink companies. . . . The Kings were scoreless in their five power plays Tuesday. . . . King rookie defenseman Darryl Sydor is going to play for Canada in the world junior championships in Munich, Germany, at the end of the year. Sydor will go to camp Dec. 13 and is not expected to rejoin the Kings until early in January. “It’s a great chance for a kid,” King General Manager Rogie Vachon said, “a great experience. He’s all excited and we’re glad to give him the chance to go.” . . . Kings Tony Granato and Randy Gilhen, along with announcer Bob Miller, attended the funeral of Pittsburgh Penguin Coach Bob Johnson Monday in Colorado.