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.


jamestobrien said...

At first I didn't like the Smyth deal but I'm kind of warming up to it. The Kings have no shortage of young D but have very little in the way of veteran O.

Stoll-Brown-Williams-Smyth gives the Kings four guys who are rugged enough to succeed in the West, even if they rarely do sexy things. Justin Williams is a much bigger injury concern than Smyth, though.

The only thing I'd worry about is the Kings continuing their unfortunate tradition of frailty.

(Quick aside: Jennifer Aniston's sexual stock is erratic, isn't it? For some reason all the talk about her having the hair cut every woman wanted made me look at her as too wholesome but then she wore this ... amazing dress on 30 Rock. But now every time I go to CVS I see some tabloid headline about how much of a crazy clinger she is. Odd.)

Anonymous said...

I agree with Rudy.

I hate Smyth's face.

Chris Kontos said...

I'm glad to hear you are warming up to the deal, James. Do you not consider Kopitar a "rugged" guy to succeed in the West? I also agree about Williams... I fear he may suffer from a case of Handzusitis.... the need for a full year off before regaining his form.

Why do people have such hate for Ryan Smyth? Sure, I get that he isn't a likeable player because he's dirty and jabs goalies in front of the net... but now he gets to do that for the KIngs!

M said...

I'm excited for Smyth in the sense that he can't kill a King if he is a King. But I feel like he's a "now" solution and in the long run, we may have given up a gem. Quince is severely under appreciated on many levels and is passed off as the "so-so" player.

But we're forgetting that he had nearly 30% of a herniated disc removed from his back and this obviously didn't help throughout the season. That being said, have we really paid attention to his stats?

So in the present, we may be seeing The Cup in L.A., but we may have missed out on one of the most promising young men on D.