Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Free Agent Frenzy on Figueroa

Ladies and Gentlemen... the future of the Los Angeles Kings.

Dean Lombardi did exactly what you want your GM to do on draft day... he entertained a bunch of trade offers... didn't get suckered into making a panic move to get a player... and then drafted the best available player, in this case... Brayden Schenn. The 5th overall pick is nothing to be ashamed of having (well, of course, except for coming in 5th worst overall in the league during the season.) But leaving the 2009 draft with a good solid prospect like Schenn is fine by me.

Now the real fun begins... the blog rumors.. the twitter updates... players asking their wives if it's okay if they pull their kids out of school and start living somewhere else... with 6 million a year more in their bank account.

The Kings are exactly where Dean Lombardi wanted them to be... good young core of players who are hungry for the playoffs and plenty of salary cap space available to sign that player who wants to help the team get there... hence the newest reality game show sensation... Who Wants to Sign with the Kings!

The options for a big name player are actually few... there are the Marian's; Hossa and Gaborik or those conjoined twins that play in Vancouver that are not named Marian.

Hopefully someone from the Kings organization has presented Dean Lombardi with a video yearbook chronicling the short, injury plagued careers of Jason Allison, Ziggy Palffy and Pavol Demitra. Those 3 players alone should warn the Kings to stay away from the extremely talented but intensely fragile Marian Gaborik. And signing him to a 1 year contract makes no sense as Gaborik is not the missing link that will send the Kings into the Stanley Cup Finals next season. We just want to make the playoffs. So you'd have to sign Gaborik to at least a 3 year deal... and then use the cap space that you get from him being injured to change your roster.

The Sedin brothers are crazy. Look, I like working with my friends too... but could you imagine if I made my boss hire both me and my best friend for each job I had? Do these guys live together and are married to a set of identical twins as well? Being an NHL professional means you can play in whatever situation with whomever on your line. Do you really want to sign 2 forwards to big contracts that can only play on the same line?

So that leaves Hossa. Do I think the Kings are going to push hard for him? Yes. Really hard. Do I think he's going to sign with the Kings? No.

What does this mean for the Kings then? It means another summer of sub-tier free agents ala the 2008 summer trifeca (what is the word for 4?) of Nagy, Calder, Preissing and Handzus. Until Michal Handzus woke up this past season... that free agent blitz didn't work out so well. The Kings will chose from names like Gionta, Knuble, Sykora, Tanguay, Cammalleri (don't think so), and Lang for this summer's free agent class. Further proving that high-level, elite free agents just aren't ready to join the Kings. (See Drury and Chara from 2 years ago.)

What do I want to happen?

Scenario 1) I want the Kings to sign Hossa. And play the full season (at least until the trading deadline) with Frolov and Kopitar. Then they can think about trading Frolov before the season ends.

Scenario 1a) Well... this goes against everything I was saying about Gaborik... but the Philadelphia Flyers are in some bad salary cap shape with their aquistion of Chris "Elbows" Pronger. So if the Kings could get Simon Gagne and not give up any of their core... I'd be fine with that. Just as long as he keeps his head up.

Scenario 1b) Dean Lombardi finally understands that he can make a man out of Dany Heatley and he trades for the disgruntled Ottawa winger by giving up Frolov and nothing else.

I love the Free Agent signing period. Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy and I are ready to spend the day on IM trying to out-scoop each other with links to free agent signing confirmations. Hey... that's pretty much what Eklund does all day too.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Don't Call it a Comeback

Earlier this morning, I received an email from the Los Angeles Kings with the subject heading "Be Part of the Comeback" and the email contained this image:

So I clicked on the image and it took me to a site where it asked for my name and my phone number. I entered in the info and then this movie began to play:

So let's think about this for a second. Here is an new ad campaign for the Kings looking to bring on some more season ticket holders... based on the concept of the "Comeback." This concept is that a team has put itself into a 3-4 goal deficit and are fighting back to tie (or lose in a shootout... like the Kings did last season in these situations.) So this campaign wants you to get excited about a team that gets out of the gate poorly at the start of a game... but finishes kinda strong! Where do I sign up to buy tickets!!! I'm not sure if this is the exact message I'd like to be portraying to my fans. I'm pretty sure the Detroit Red Wings campaign is "We score first and win!"

Also, I love getting these emails and phones calls after Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy and I have already put down our deposits for the upcoming season. (That's right, we are gluttons for an 8th season of punishment!) You think the Kings would have some sort of database that lets them know who is getting tickets and who needs to be romanced by the sweet tones of Dustin Brown's voice. My favorite part of the video... when Anze Kopitar is just casually cleaning the visor on his helmet while Brown is talking on the phone. What a method actor. And I love how they shot Brown over the shoulder on the phone... so he could read the lines off the paper in his hands.

Nothing as of yet. And all of the so called actual hockey bloggers are predicting that the Kings won't be making a big move tonight. Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy and I will be watching the draft together live over Slingbox... so I'll be sure to update. In the meantime... the biggest scoop of the day comes over at Battle of California. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Guess Who's Back. Back Again.

After a slight detour to the far east during the Los Angeles Kings ill-fated attempt at securing an 8th seed playoff spot... I have returned to the world of hockey blogging. Inspiration can come in all shapes and sizes. For this particular instance, the inspiration to return came while crawling to work one day on the 110 South.

I am so hiring this for my next birthday.

So what has gone down in the last few months? Well, Kings fans were given the slightest of hopes as the Chicago Blackhawks made it deep into the playoffs and the Pittsburgh Penguins hoisted the Stanley Cup. Here are 2 teams that were absolutely brutal for a few seasons... then rebuilt themselves completely through high draft picks, trades and free agent signings. Sure, for Pittsburgh, having the 2 of the 3 best players in the league on your team helps a lot too... but these 2 teams can be looked at for inspiration as the over the past few seasons... the Los Angeles Kings have been just as shitty as these teams once were.

This week is going to be an enormous one in the history of the Kings. The NHL Entry Draft is on Friday and the Kings hold the number 5 overall pick. And on July 1st, the NHL Free Agent Frenzy begins. The Kings have the salary cap space and the need to trade for an impact NHL player. But a #5 pick is nothing to be ashamed of as a team can easily draft a potential superstar at that position. The dilemma for GM Dean Lombardi is to trade the pick or not. For this Kings fan... I say trade it. I don't care who, but get Vinny Lecavalier, or get Danny Heatley, or get Ilya Kovalchuk... just don't have Kyle Calder playing first line wing next season. (Ed. Note: I know there is no chance in hell that Calder is playing 1st line next season, but you get the analogy.) The elements are available to give this team a serious chance to make a run at a low playoff spot for next season. Whether or not Lombardi goes after them this week is what makes being a Kings fan all that much more fun.

And yesterday, Luc Robitalle was selected to the NHL Hall of Fame. Sure, former Kings Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Larry Robinson, Paul Coffey and even Grant Fuhr have been selected in the past, but Luc is the first true King that I grew up watching to make it into the Hall. (Sorry, Marcel Dionne.) But Luc's entry into the Hall of Fame is significant in another way... it means I'm getting old. Especially when Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull and Brian Leetch join him. These are players I dominated with while playing NHL 94.

Um, listen. There is something I need to tell you.

And just when you thought it was safe to re-join the world of hockey blogdom... something like this tragedy happens. If Rachel Hunter and Jarret Stoll can't make it work in this world... then who can? There are 2 scenarios for this one... either Stoll is going to be traded soon and is so heartbroken that he can't go through with marriage... OR... the Melville, Saskatchewan native has just spent his first season in Los Angeles and realized what several pro athletes discover when they move to LA... the girls of Manhattan Beach.

Be sure to catch all the great draft previews going on over at Cycle Like the Sedins. I had my chance to do one for James... but I blew it with my blogging laziness. But stay tuned for some great summer features by yours truly and James over there.

It's good to be back.