Sunday, July 26, 2009

Re-Nerding The League

James over at Cycle Like the Sedins came up with a great summer idea. What if a select group of bloggers got a chance to play GM and re-draft the league? So instead of wasting the summer away by going outside to the beach or playing frisbee golf with friends (okay, I would never do that in the summer or winter) we will be spending the next few weeks putting together our NHL dream team, with salary cap and all.

Now of course, I was hoping to be the virtual Dean Lombardi of the virtual Kings. But the great Rudy Kelly over at BoC beat me to it. So James gave me the sloppy seconds of being the GM of the Minnesota Wild. And my first order of duty as the new GM and President... a return to the glory years:

When all with the NHL was right.

That's right, we are ditching the abstract bear logo and going with what screams toughness in today's NHL... Lime Green and Gold! I actually got a chance to see the Minnesota North Stars play in Minnesota at the Met Center before they headed south to Dallas to torment the Kings. Unfortunately it was after they dumped the pointed N and switched to the Stars logo that they still wear today.



Seeing the North Stars at the Met Center was one of my coolest early hockey memories... the place was so compact and you really felt like you were on top of the ice at the highest point. And the crowd screamed the entire game. It was an arena built for hockey and up until that point I had only seen professional hockey at the Forum in LA.

But enough daydreaming about my hockey past. For the #18th pick, I was hoping to grab Jeff Carter. He has a decent enough cap hit at only 5 million a year and he's a complete stud. But Rudy Kelly and the virtual Kings snagged him before I could.

So I went with the 2nd best option... Carter's teammate, Mike Richards.

A bit more of a cap hit at 5.75 million, but maybe a better all around player.. a Captain that you would look to build a team around. Plus he is a hit with the ladies.

That's why he is the Captain.

The only other player I considered at this position was Rick Nash. Nash had 79 points last season and Richards 80. But I like that Richards is a playmaker and a scorer. This draft is far from over as putting together a full NHL team will probably take much longer than James and the rest of the bloggers could have imagined. But the Minnesota New North Stars will be a team to watch in the NHBL. (The Nerd Blogger Hockey League as Rudy Kelly named it)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


The Los Angeles Kings are the Jennifer Aniston of the NHL. They strive for respect... and never get it. They are popular... but never really had a substantial starring role. And no matter how hard they try... they just can't get a superstar to commit to them long term.

"Hey Jarret Stoll... I heard you are single!"

The incredible NHL Free Agent Frenzy is over and once again the Los Angeles Kings have come away with nothing. Over the last few years Dean Lombardi has cozied up to some of the NHL's finest superstars and offered them the moon... well at least a sizable box to fill on the moon. Names like Chara, Elias, Drury and now Hossa. And like Ms. Aniston making a move for Pitt, Vaughn, Wilson and Mayer... both failed miserably.

Jennifer Aniston photographed at the birth of Drew Doughty.

Once again a July 1st has come and gone and the Kings are left hanging their helmets alone in Malibu... right next to Ms. Aniston. Why can't these two entities ever find love? The Kings have everything a young superstar would be looking for, right? Excellent up and coming players... a young Captain that loves to hit... strong defensive minded coaching that can still allow for some hotshot scoring... and a GM who is dedicated to filling every single empty box he has on his whiteboard. But year after year... the Kings remain at the altar standing around looking to see if their groom is going to show up. And you know what... he never does. Hence my new spec script for a movie with Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd... "The Runaway Forward."

For the first time in a long while, Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy and I worked together for a few weeks and we took some quality time to re-create Dean Lombardi's world in his office. Above is what the white board looked like on the morning of July 2nd. No Hossa, no Havlat, no Gaborik (thank god, can you believe what that guy stole from the Rangers!) to fill that all important 1st line left wing box. Worn out from re-freshing my RSS reader every 5 seconds, I causally glanced at and noticed something strange.... which led to this IM exchange with Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy.

It was true... cause it was on Twitter! The Kings signed Stanley Cup Winner Rob Scuderi to a 4 year, 13.6 million dollar contract. Um.. ok. That's interesting... wasn't so sure that Dean Lombardi was in a market for a 30 year old defensive defenseman. But ok... here was a player that had just won the Stanley Cup and done it with a team that was the worst in the league for a few years. Maybe this guy could be a good fit for the Kings. And then I learned his nickname... "The Piece." Check out this amazing story from Puck Daddy if you haven't already. Finally, a hockey player with a real nickname... not "Scudsy" or "Scuds" or "Robby." The Piece. I liked it. And then it hit me... of course... a trade is coming!

Hello, I'm Ryan.

I just didn't think it would be Kyle Quincey. But in hindsight, it makes complete sense. The Kings gave up nothing to get Quincey. They have too many players to fit into Dean Lombardi's "Young Defenseman" Box and to get a good player you have to give up a good player. But did I think that all it would take to land Ryan Smyth would be Quincey, Tom "Vertigo" Preissing and a 5th round draft pick? Wait let me say that again... the Kings rid themselves of Tom Preissing and his contract. And got Captain Canada in return.

Oh, Dustin Brown.. you break all the rules.

Unlike my respected fellow Kings blogger RudyKelly, I am very excited about the acquisition of Ryan Smyth. I have been a big fan of his ever since I dominated my college NHL 96 league with the Edmonton Oilers. (Smyth and Todd Marchant lead the league in scoring that season.) He is hard-nosed, hard-working and hard-to-move-from-in-front-of-the-net. He is the exact type of goal scorer that the Kings need right now and the type of player I hope Dustin Brown can turn into. Sure, everyone loves to talk about his injuries and how his style of play has Smyth on the downside of his career. Well you know who doesn't play like Smyth and is still always hurt? Gaborik. And Smyth is a much better player for this team than Gaborik.

There is still much uncertainty for the Los Angeles Kings this fall. This is the year that they actually have to contend for that 8th playoff spot instead of flirt with it. There is still a long way to go before training camp starts but for once, the Kings are sporting a pretty solid top 6.


Stoll is the only real pretender there in the top 6, as he really belongs on the 3rd line. Listen, you are reading the rantings of an idiot who has paid for Half Season Tickets to the Los Angeles Kings for the last 6 non-playoff years. And had already sent in his money for a 7th before the Kings traded for Ryan Smyth. SO OF COURSE I'm going to be excited about the upcoming season. But when you look around and see all the bat-shit crazy moves other teams like the Rangers and Canadiens pulled... you can't help but be hopeful about the Los Angeles Kings chances for the 2009-2010 season. Just please don't let anyone get hurt.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Captain Canada

Said on this here blog Sunday, March 1, 2009:

"Rumors are flying left and right with the trade deadline coming up Wednesday at noon. The only one I've read that has interested me has been the possibility of Ryan Smyth coming to the Kings. If I'm the Kings GM, I make that trade in a heartbeat. There is a reason Ryan Smyth is called Captain Canada and he's the exact type of dirty, hardworking, goal scoring forward that this team needs. And you know what? I might even give up one of my prized young goalies to make the trade. Because after all, Jon Quick is now the Kings goalie of the present and the future."

Thank you Dean Lombardi... Thank you.