. Its all quite civilized, which, Abner Doubleday intended | Forum

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LOS ANGELES, Calif. Jean-Francois Gillet Jersey . - Rob Blake stood under a spotlight Saturday night and recalled his NHL debut in 1990. He remembered pulling on his first Los Angeles Kings jersey and skating out onto the Forum ice, dreaming of hanging his name and number high overhead.From Day One, I wanted to be up there one day, Blake said.A quarter-century later, the bruising defenceman made it.The Kings retired Blakes No. 4 jersey in a warm pregame ceremony, raising a banner honouring the Hockey Hall of Famer who delivered huge hits and scored big goals on their blue line for parts of 14 seasons.The Kings recognized Blake during a ceremony before the defending Stanley Cup champions game against the Anaheim Ducks at Staples Center. Roughly 40 former teammates and family members took the ice to recognize the versatile defenceman who served as Los Angeles captain for six seasons.In my wildest dreams, I didnt think it would feel this good, said Blake, now an assistant general manager for the franchise.Blake is the sixth player whose jersey has been retired by the Kings, a Second Six franchise that joined the NHL in 1967. Los Angeles also has retired the numbers of Marcel Dionne, Rogie Vachon, Dave Taylor, Wayne Gretzky and Luc Robitaille.I knew back then that we would stand here one day, from that first game I played with him, Robitaille said.The honour caused Blake to reflect on hockeys proliferation in Southern California in the past 25 years. The Kings and Ducks have combined to win three Stanley Cup titles in the past eight years, and youth hockey is positively booming in the Southland, sending numerous players to the games highest levels.The Kings recent success is particularly sweet to Blake — and not just because he works for the team again.The way the franchise has gone, believe me, with the team thats on the ice tonight with two Cups in the last three years, youre going to see a lot of those jerseys up there, Blake said.Blake leads the franchise in points, goals and assists by a defenceman, and he won the Kings first Norris Trophy in 1998. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame last year.Not bad for a fourth-round pick from Simcoe, Ontario, who played at Bowling Green with slow-developing dreams of NHL stardom.Blake developed into an elite defenceman in the early 1990s during the Kings best previous run of team success before the current club, which has won two Stanley Cup titles in the last three years. Current Kings captain Dustin Brown played alongside Blake before the defenceman notoriously left for San Jose for his final two NHL seasons.We feel that youre finally back where you belong, where it all started, as a member of the L.A. Kings family, a visibly emotional Brown said during the ceremony. You taught us what it was to be a pro, and you showed us what it really meant to be a teammate.The Kings reached the 1993 Stanley Cup finals and lost, but Blake treasured the chance to play alongside Gretzky, Taylor and Larry Robinson, his childhood idol.I remember walking into the Forum for the first time and seeing him coming up and introducing himself to me, like, Hi, Im Larry, Blake said. Well, I knew that for the past 15 years. So it was special, for sure.The seven-time NHL All-Star and Olympic gold medallist was a vicious hitter and an opportunistic scorer, leading the Kings through several mediocre seasons. When Staples Center opened in 1999, Blake bought a luxury suite for Kings games and donated the tickets to charities.No person has meant more to me and my career than Rob, and no player benefited more from playing with Rob than me, said Mattias Norstrom, Blakes defence partner and successor as Kings captain.When the white banner was raised, Blake invited Norstrom to stand on his left side — their familiar alignment for all those years on the ice.Blake won the Stanley Cup with Colorado in 2001, highlighting a productive five-year tenure with the Avalanche. Blake returned to the Kings amid much fanfare in 2006, only to leave the struggling club again in 2008 to play his final two seasons with the Sharks.Many Kings fans expressed bitterness about Blakes two departures from Los Angeles, booing him regularly in his returns. But in July 2013, Kings general manager Dean Lombardi hired Blake as a vice-president and assistant GM, bringing him back to the franchise.Blake realizes some Kings fans still havent forgiven him, and thats fine with him.The good thing about fans in general — if youre not wearing their jersey, theyre not going to be happy, Blake said. And thats the way they should be. They back their team and look after it. Im on their team now, but at least Im out of shouting distance. Romelu Lukaku Jersey . The New York State Supreme Court only partially dismissed the lawsuit, meaning the case could be headed for trial. The tour announced a year ago that Singh would be suspended for saying in a Sports Illustrated story that he took deer antler spray, which was believed to contain the banned substance IGF-1. Christian Kabasele Jersey .J. -- Richard Sherman, Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch deservedly draw the attention for what theyve done in getting the Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl.Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week, they discuss the mistakes in the recently-filed concussion lawsuit, Jaroslav Halaks unwillingness to play his fomer team, Ryan Smyth and what he meant to Edmonton and Canada, and the new, civilized way managers and umpires argue with each other. Bruce Arthur, National Post My thumb is up to proofreading, especially when you happen to be filing a class-action lawsuit that pertains to concussions. The suit filed this week against the NHL on behalf of a group that included a small group of former players, including Michael Peluso and Dan Lacouture, was the second of its kind in hockey, and wont be the last. And it probably didnt help the cause by misspelling Sidney Crosbys name, citing movies like “Friday the 13th” and “Mystery, Alaska”, and declaring Gordie Howe dead. Look, we know what brain trauma does to people, now. In sports, what leagues knew and when they knew it is important, because if information was concealed, that could be monstrous. Now, Im not a lawyer, but if youre looking for answers, maybe start by not killing Gordie Howe. Steve Simmons, SUN Media My thumb is down to Jaroslav Halak, for basically opting out of playing goal against his former team, the St. Louis Blues. This is a hard one to completely understand and there is more than one version of the story. But the way I understand it, the Washington Capitals picked up the goalie at the trade deadline for the express purpose of trying to help them get in the playoffs. Yet he told his coach, Adam Oates, that he wasnt comfortable playing against the Blues, the team that just traded him away. Not commfortable? Isnt the athletes favourite game the one against his former team with all his friends? Isnt that what a goalie signs up for? The odd part in all this, without Halak the Capitals beat the Blues Tuesday night and still managed to miss the playoffs. Thomas Vermaelen Jersey. . Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated My thumb is up to Ryan Smyth, who announced his retirement Friday. He was not the greatest Oiler, obviously, but he was as much of an Edmonton-standard bearer in his era as Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier were in theirs. Smyth was not conspicuously skilled, but he stood for old-time hockey values - and he stood in front of the net, the source of most of his 386 goals. He was steadfast in commitment to country, playing in eight World Championships and two Olympics. Captain Canada, indeed. But Smyth spent 15 of 19 NHL seasons in copper and blue. He belongs to Edmonton. The rest of the country was lucky it could borrow him. Dave Hodge, TSN My thumb is down to baseball fans who say they miss the loud-cursing, dirt-kicking, arm-waving, near-spitting, face to face arguments between managers and umpires. Those have been replaced this season by civilized conversations that the managers deem necessary while they wait for dugout advice on replay challenges. We have enough fits of temper and rage in this world that they dont have to come in the form of phony sports entertainment. The managers look better when they act older than five, the umpires are deserving of respect and this way, bad calls can actually be corrected. Its all quite civilized, which, Abner Doubleday intended, I believe. If, indeed, Doubleday was baseballs inventor. 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