Los Angeles Times

For Gretzky, his greatest game is frozen in time

LOS ANGELES_The details come back to Wayne Gretzky as if he just finished a shift at old Maple Leaf Gardens.

The passion is in his voice, the memories still glowing. To listen to him talk about his Game 7 performance in the 1993 Campbell Conference final is something akin to an artist reflecting on his masterpiece, brush stroke by brush stroke.

"I remember everything about that game like it was yesterday," Gretzky said.

Twenty-five years ago Tuesday, Gretzky played the best game of his career, scoring a hat trick against the Toronto Maple Leafs to launch the Kings into their first Stanley Cup Final.

It ended one of the best series in hockey history and represented the apex of the Gretzky era in Los Angeles that lifted California hockey into another stratosphere.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Gretzky looks back on it a quarter of a century later.

Prologue

It was a disjointed run-up to the playoffs for Gretzky. He sat out 39 games because of a herniated disk in his back, his first abbreviated season with the Kings and, for the first time in his NHL career, he was not a finalist for a postseason award.

But, at 32, he was still Wayne Gretzky, and he forced

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