Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Kings Gameday: I Figured it Out...

Los Angeles Kings (Better than Phoenix!) vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (28-36-7, 12th in West)

7:30 PST, FSN West

As I was watching Long Beach State's basketball team get pasted by Tennessee today, I had a startling realization: I’m cursed. I have never been a fan of a team that won a championship in any sport. Long Beach State was once a national powerhouse in baseball until I started cheering for them; since then, there has been no mention of them on a national scale unless it’s attached to Jered Weaver (and I’m not exactly proud that I went to the same school as that guy; I mean, look at his hair!). The Kings, obviously, have been terrible ever since I started following them in the ’92-’93 season. My ex-girlfriend once asked me my favorite Kings moment and I told her about the time that the Kings came back and beat the Red Wings after being down 3-0 in the 2001 playoffs. She stared at me and then said, “You mean I have to put up with all of this [“this” being me making her watch games and then making her put up with my sour mood when the Kings lost] and a first-round playoff win is the best you can do?” She sucked, but the point is that the Kings haven’t had many good memories since I came around. The Dodgers have one playoff win since 1988 and recently gave a $50 million dollar contract to a guy (Juan Pierre) whose best attribute is his fondness for stirrups.

That's my bad, guys.

“But Rudy,” the voice in my head says, “what about the Lakers and the USC football team?” It's true that they've won recently, but I only started liking the Lakers after Shaquille O’Neal (the world’s biggest leprechaun) left. I started liking USC in 2005, when they got embarrassed by Vince Young. Even though these teams have won championships, it was only because I wasn’t there to suck the life out of them.

If you’re a fan of any of the above teams, I’m sorry. It’s my fault that they’ve sucked, but I can’t stop following them. I'm compulsively obsessed with sports, and I naturally feel a connection with certain teams. Asking me to cut out one of these teams (especially the Kings) is like asking Jonathan Cheechoo to stop eating moose, or asking Rob Neidermayer to not have a misshapen head.

I mock the Kings a lot, but I honestly think that they’re headed in the right direction despite having me as a fan; I just hope I’m still alive when they actually get to raise a Stanley Cup banner to the rafters. With my luck, the banner will probably fall and I’ll be crushed underneath. Truthfully, though, I can’t think of a better way to go.

Prediction: They’ll be up by two and then end up losing in overtime because I started watching the game. Sorry.


Earl Sleek said...

Uhh, so, who you pullin' for in these playoffs?

Alexander Dubcek said...

After checking out the salary cap figures and players under contract, I really think the 2008-09 season is going to be the Kings' year. Assuming they lock up Cammi and Lubo to extensions (which, frankly, should be the priority this offseason ahead of blowing cap space on a big name free agent), they'll potentially have lots of cap space (the contracts of Blake, Thorton and others are up after next season), plus their young core will have matured and blossomed into NHL stars. It's not unrealistic to think Fro and Cammi score 40 goals apiece in two seasons, with 30 goals and 80-100 points from Anze. Plus, O'Sullivan, Brown and others should be realizing their potential by then, and Jack MF Johnson will be a force on the blue line.

Yeah, they're still shaky in goal at this moment. But the best case scenario is that either Cloutier finally gets back to health and proves he can win 40+ games and warrant the extension Lombardi gave him before the season. Or, LaBarbera gets a shot to be a No. 1 goalie and shows that those gaudy numbers in Manchester are no fluke. Neither of these scenarios is farfetched, though it's just as likely neither pans out.

Still, when I saw what the salary profile would be like and thought about the development of the young guns, then saw how much room they'd have to lure a couple of big pieces, I got really excited about 08-09.

Of course, Lombardi could blow all that by 1) not getting extensions signed for Visnovsky and Cammaleri, forcing him to lose one or both for little or nothing; 2) dealing one of the young prospects who's slow to develop and having him explode with a new team; or 3) doling out a bunch of big contracts to free agent busts-to-be, thereby eating up the cap room and saddling us with a bunch of unmovable contracts for guys who aren't putting up the production to justify their salaries.

Of course, I'm thinking Lombardi is smart enough to know that rebuilding is a process, and that he's not going to jump the gun by a year (even though that would be perfectly in character for this franchise).

Earl Sleek said...

If the Kings' year is truly 2008-09, and I think there are compelling enough reasons to think that it could be, I think the Kings should forego some signings this season and instead use some cap room to buy out Cloutier.

That'd free up another couple million to complement the kids.

RudyKelly said...

That's good stuff. I'm not sure about buying out Cloutier just because it would make the organization look really bad, and I'm not sure if the Kings are going to be good enough defensively in 08-09 to make the playoffs quite yet. When they do get in, though, they're going to be a team no one wants to play against.

I have a few ideas about what I think the Kings will do this off-season, but I want to save that for the end of the year. I know the anticipation is killing you.

RudyKelly said...

And Earl, don't worry, I'll be picking an Eastern Conference team and cheering for them. I think the rise of the Ducks is proportional to my hatred for them. It's a reverse-curse, I guess.