Lucas at Large: A Kings fan for life

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UW men's hockey assistant coach Gary Shuchuk is hoping that Davis Drewiske, a former Badger captain, will be treated like a King, a Los Angeles King, a Stanley Cup-winning Los Angeles King.

"As of right now,'' Shuchuk said, "it's a shame to be a part of a franchise and when they finally do win the Stanley Cup knowing that you're not going to get your name on that Cup.'

Shuchuk, a former King, understands that the Los Angeles organization would have to tweak the protocol because Drewiske didn't play in enough games to qualify for having his name on the Cup.

Drewiske, 27, skated in just nine games overall for the Kings this season and didn't see any action in the finals against the New Jersey Devils. His last actual game appearance was in December.

"He waited for his call,'' Shuchuk said.

And it never came whether through injury or coach's decision.

Sporting his No. 44 sweater, Drewiske still celebrated on the ice Monday night with his teammates following the Kings' first Stanley Cup-clinching win in franchise history, dating back to 1967.

"I hope the Kings are able to do something to get his name on the Cup,'' Shuchuk went on. "I got to know Davis and he's a great young man and leader. When he wasn't playing, he never asked for a trade, never complained. He went to the weight room and to practice and he waited for that call.

"They brought up another kid from the minors and Davis didn't get his chance. That's just the business. But he was a part of the organization; probably a big part of the scout team against the Devils; so he helped make those guys better in practice and had something to do with winning the Cup.

"Davis is going to get a big, beautiful huge ring that he's never going to wear because they're so massive and gaudy. I just hope the Kings can do something to get his name on the Cup. Talk to some of the guys who have done it, like Adam Burish (another former UW captain). It means a lot.''

Why is it so important to be formally recognized on the Stanley Cup? "There's the mystique of the Cup,'' Shuchuk emphasized. "There's all that history and when you have your name on the Cup you become a part of that history, and they can never take that away from you.''

Have you ever heard anyone ever talking about the Lombardi Trophy in the same reverent tones, he then asked rhetorically. "I don't even know what they call the baseball trophy,'' he added. "But when I was growing up in Canada (Edmonton) all I wanted to do was get my name on the Cup.''

Shuchuk came close in 1993 as a member of the Wayne Gretzky-led Kings that lost in five games to Montreal in the Stanley Cup finals. Shuchuk had an impact on the post-season run by scoring the game-winning goal in double-overtime against Vancouver in Game 5 of the Smythe Division finals.

Not that he remembers the specifics.

"Midway through the first period, I was coming through the middle of the ice and Gerald Diduck laid me out with an elbow to the jaw,'' Shuchuk said of the Canucks' 225-pound defenseman.

"I came out of the game and I didn't know what hit me.

"They gave me some smelling salts on the bench and when our coach, Barry Melrose, came over and asked, 'Are you OK?' I said, 'I'm ready.' I'm not going to lie, I was real foggy.

"I played the rest of the game and I can remember being out there (for the overtimes). It wasn't like I totally blacked out or anything like that.

"But when I got interviewed afterward on the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), I had to look at the teleprompter to see how I had scored because I honestly didn't know what happened.''

Shuchuk, now 45, has never forgotten the friendships that he made with those Kings.

He's still very close with Melrose, an ESPN analyst; and Tony Granato, a former UW center and NHL assistant. Occasionally, he'll cross paths with his old roommate, Mike Donnelly, a Kings scout.

"The hockey world is so small that I still get to see some of my ex-teammates,'' he said, listing Kelly Hrudey, Charlie Huddy, Corey Millen and Rob Blake, among others.

During his four seasons in Los Angeles, Shuchuk and his wife Michelle got to be friends with actor Ted McGinley and his wife Gigi, who's also an actress.

Among his roles, McGinley was Roger Phillips, the gym teacher, in the "Happy Days'' sit-com. Later, he was Jefferson D'Arcy in "Married ... with Children'' and Charley Shanowski in "Hope and Faith.''

"I'd get him tickets to the Kings and we'd go to the tapings of Married ... with Children,''' Shuchuk said. "We keep in contact all the time through our kid's graduation and birthdays.''

Shuchuk is still loyal to the Kings.

"I've always had a special place in my heart for them,'' he said. "I lived in Los Angeles. My son was born there. It was a special time in my life and I still feel like I'm a part of the organization.''

He was delighted to see Kings announcer Bob Miller, a Hall of Famer, finally get a chance to hoist the Cup. Miller was the original voice of Badger Hockey before relocating to the West Coast.

"Over the last 19 years,'' Shuchuk said, "I've always cheered for the Kings.''

One of his many acquaintances during his playing days was the late John Candy, a Canadian actor and comedian. Prior to the '93 finals, Candy gave each of the players a bottle of champagne to toast winning the Stanley Cup. Shuchuk still has his unopened bottle.

"It came from a special person and it means a lot to me,'' he said.

Resisting the temptation to pop the cork after Monday's game, Shuchuk said that he plans on not opening the champagne "until the time is just right ... maybe when we win in Pittsburgh, I'll crack it open then.'' Pittsburgh is the site of the 2013 NCAA Frozen Four.

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