Wayne Gretzky had been a LA King player for four years when the 1992-93 season arrived. Although the Kings had the best player in the world and of all time, they hadn’t passed the second round in the playoffs.
And heading into the 92-93 season, nobody believed the negative trend would be broken. Wayne Gretzky got injured in the pre-season, and some even feared his career would be over. The Kings started the season slowly, but halfway into the regular season, The Great One returned, and in 45 games played, he scored 65 goals to push the Kings into the playoffs.
Against all odds, the Kings went to the Conference Finals against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs had a great team, with Doug Gilmour as their fearful leader. Earlier that year, when Gretzky was injured, some even labeled Gilmour as the best player in the world. And Gretzky didn’t like it. After six great games of hockey, one last game at the Maple Leafs Garden would decide who’d play the Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Ahead of Game 7, Bob McKenzie wrote a column in the Toronto Star that Gretzky was playing as if he’s ‘got a piano on his back.’ Gretzky was determined to play his best game ever. Then, on the game day, he ran into a security guard in the elevator at the team hotel in Toronto.
“Wayne says, “How are you doing?” The security guard says, “I’m doing fine now, but, boy, tonight at 10:30, my job is going to be terrible.” Wayne says, “Why is that?” The guard said, “Well, the city is going to be going nuts, and the fans will be going crazy.” As the elevator gets to the lobby and the doors open, Wayne starts to get out and turns back to the security guard and says, “Don’t worry about your job at 10:30.” The guard said, “Why is that?” And Wayne said, “Because mine starts at 7:30,” Bob Miller, Kings play-by-play announcer, told ESPN.
Wayne Gretzky scored three goals to take the Kings to the Stanley Cup final. Gretzky has been quoted as saying that his performance in that game was the best he ever played in the NHL.