Here’s a familiar-sounding scenario: the Los Angeles Lakers are quickly eliminated from the NBA playoffs; the Kings keep going through to the Stanley Cup finals; reporters board bandwagons full of new fans to cover the ride.

It’s a summary line LA Times sportswriter Helene Elliott is living this spring just like she did back in 1993. At that time, after three years of covering the Angels and a season on the Lakers beat, she was tasked with chronicling Gretzy’s exploits once the purple and gold were bounced in the first round by the Phoenix Suns. As the Brooklyn native recently told Montreal Gazette sports editor Stu Cowan, things have changed dramatically since she first began covering hockey for Newsday:

“When I started, there were not the kind of equal-access rules that there are now,” she said. “There were times you would have to wait outside the locker room and a PR person would have to bring somebody out for me to interview… Just different scenarios. I’m glad those days are long gone…”

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