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

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Vignette and Other Musings

Lombardi!

(Rudy Kelly is sitting in front of his television, sipping a glass of white wine and watching the draft. His roommate Matt, a Ducks fan, enters.)

Matt: Hey, how’s it going?

Rudy: Pretty much as expected, Kane, Van Riemsdyk and Turris. The Kings are up next. Don’t you love the draft?

Matt: No, the Ducks are good and just won the Stanley Cup, so I don’t give a fuck about the draft.

Rudy: …Fuck you. Wait, here’s the Kings!

Co-Director of Scouting Michael Futa: With the 4th pick in the NHL draft the Kings select, from the Seattle Thunderbirds, Thomas Hickey.

Matt (Laughing): Who the fuck is Thomas Hickey?

(Rudy does not say anything but instead grabs the bottle of wine by the neck and starts drinking.)

And….Scene!


***

Okay, so I was a little melodramatic when I heard who the Kings drafted. To be honest, I hadn’t really read too much on the guys that were rated below #10 because the Kings were drafting 4th. At first I was shocked and pissed and ready to kick someone’s ass (read: Lombardi’s), but with the benefit of hindsight I have come to accept the move. I wish Lombardi would have traded down and then drafted Hickey (and according to the Columbus Dispatch it almost happened), but if he felt he was the right guy then I guess we’ll just have trust him.


You're not helping me by looking like that, Hickey.

There’s no sense in grading a draft right after it has happened, but right now the Kings are taking a beating in early public opinion. I liked the Kings' two 2nd round picks, Oscar Moller (who seems to play like Cammalleri) and Wayne Simmonds (who’s a big guy and not afraid to drop the gloves), but the legacy of this draft will be determined by Hickey. (You can go here and read about the rest of the Kings’ draft picks.) Sometimes GMs can get so enamored with an idea of how they’ll draft that they forget to think about who they’ll draft. I hope Lombardi wasn’t sure he was going to get Hickey in the middle of the first round and then panicked when nothing developed and just took him 4th, but that’s what some people think happened. I don’t know; only time will tell.



Kings fans have shown a surprising (for us, anyway) amount of patience with Dean Lombardi so far in his tenure, but Lombardi has really hitched his star to the progress of Thomas Hickey. I like Lombardi and still think he’s on the right track, but, like in San Jose, there’s a possibility that he won’t be around to see his plan come to fruition. If Hickey stalls in his development, the vultures are going to be out and the Kings may be in the market for a new GM.



(Also, one of the conspirators who attempted to capture George Washington in 1776 was named Thomas Hickey. His was the 1st military execution in New York. This is not encouraging.)


***


In completely unrelated news, I’m taking a trip. The aforementioned Matt and I are taking a hajj to our personal Mecca: the Hockey Hall of Fame. We’re driving, so we’re going to be gone about 2 weeks or so and will be hitting up Denver and Pittsburgh along the way. We'll be in Toronto a few days and then head back through Canada and check out the Stampede on the way. I haven’t been to the Great White North since I was a kid, so I’m looking forward to seeing all the mountains, the culture, and the denim. Let me know if there's anything I have to see and if there's anything I should know about Canadians.


If Canadians don't all dress like this I'll be very disappointed.



This means I’ll be missing the exciting opening to Free Agency season, so I’m disappointed about that, but I’ll be back for the rest of the summer. Go Kings, and I’ll see all of you hosers in aboot two and a half weeks. (Man, Canada is going to hate me.)

9 comments:

dbushik said...

The problem I've had with Canadians I've dealt with in the workplace and socially is their reluctance to talk about hockey and/or Rush with me. :)

Of course they have no problem going on and on about the Tragically Hip, which IMHO, actually casts a much worse light on them. I was never much into Triumph, so I can't try that one...

Yeah, I totally think this draft is going to turn into a deciding point for DL. He's either going to be everyone's hero for the daring pick, or be called an idiot for throwing away a fourth over-all when there was a safer defender available (Alzner) and a potetial star forward (Cherepanov) probably more worth the risk.

Of course, plenty of other GMs were going off the board too. And there is the fact that this draft was so wide open that the consensus order of the picks was pretty much meaningless. I mean when one scout has a kid ranked in the top 10 and another has him out of the top 30, saying the consensus is he's around 20th overall doesn't mean anything.

I do think Lombardi has to take a hit for not coming through on the deal to move to seventh, but he likely can't be judged too harshly with CLM's GM reading the cards well, and there really not being much wiggle room considering had he dropped down too far he had info saying Hickey would go no later than 13.

If this was the kid they had as 4th on their list, we can't say they made a big mistake with the execution of the draft. It's just that the scouting may come into question if Hickey doesn't deliver.

Earl Sleek said...

Have a great trip, Rudy! Don't be afraid to announce that you're visiting from California (home of the Stanley Cup).

Aw, your vignette makes me long back for the days when I lived in Tustin with a Kings fan for a roommate. Of course, he still wasn't speaking to me by draft day, so congrats on being a better sport than he was.

Ian said...

Ah, memories. I remember a draft back in the mid-'90s where DL and his scouting brain trust brought us Sharks fans the bright Finnish light of Teemu Riihijarvi (drafted right before a certain goalie named Giguere) with the 12th overall pick. At least I assume his light must have been bright, because it certainly was brief. Like, a training camp or two, then oblivion.

Unlike the Hickey pick this last weekend, though, nobody else had even heard of Riihijarvi. He wasn't on anybody's list. Our scouting staff sure showed the rest of the league who was smart! Those were good times, good times. Fortunately for you Kings fans, Lombardi eventually figured out how to draft, and had pretty good instincts after that. [I think Doug Wilson is better, though.]

But the "Who?! What!? WHY??!!" reaction sure brought me back a decade or so.

Ted said...

Yeah like Ian said, as a Sharks fan we know the feeling all to well!! And I agree that I'd rather have Doug Wilson, but....

I can only rip into Kings fans so much for enduring DL and his draft day antics. Here is the script for the Sharks:

"The [insert team name X here] have traded the pick to the San Jose Sharks (who are usually sitting about 4 spots below team X) for San Jose's pick, their 2nd and 4th round picks this year, their 2nd and 3rd next year, and 5% ownership in the team."

"The San Jose Sharks proudly select [insert player name here who was projected at about 4 or 5 spots after the pick that the Sharks just traded]".

Always gives me that roller coaster feeling as well. I can't figure out if Wilson is a clown or some sort of super-genius. I have already decided on Lombardi, but as you say, the proof of each draft is in the future results.

Ian said...

"The San Jose Sharks proudly select [insert player name here who was projected at about 4 or 5 spots after the pick that the Sharks just traded]".

Well, I don't want to come off as a Doug Wilson apologist, but there are three points here:

1. Take any and every draft projection list with several heavy shakes of salt. The team's internal lists are likely very, very different, and they're not sharing them with anybody.

2. Teams often compete for the same players, which will elevate a player to an earlier slot, and also force the kinds of trades the Sharks often make. [I'd love to have an Oscars-style split screen reaction shot of the other GMs when each player is picked.] It's better to have the player you really want than two players you only sort of want.

3. The chances that a prospect turns into a solid NHL player plummets after the first dozen or two picks. The success of the rest of the draft is based on how well your scouting staff is tuned to your team's style and their ability to find the overlooked gem.

The Sharks seem to get kudos for their drafting and developing, and that's usually because they seem to more or less know exactly what they want come draft day. Other franchises, well, don't.

Sherry said...

If Canadians don't all dress like this I'll be very disappointed.

Only in the winter, Rudy.

Doogie said...

The problem I've had with Canadians I've dealt with in the workplace and socially is their reluctance to talk about hockey and/or Rush with me. :)

Of course they have no problem going on and on about the Tragically Hip, which IMHO, actually casts a much worse light on them.


I have no such flaws. I hate the Hip, love Rush, and will talk hockey until your ears fall off, if you let me.

Rick said...

I think I'd take Dean Lombardi's picks most of the time. The question I haven't seen asked is why he didn't try to trade *up*. The drop off after the top 2 or 3 was pretty severe.

Still, I'd take Lombardi's second rounder over most people's lottery picks. He and his staff are good.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry Rudy, Canada already hates you! (just kiddin'!). I'm sure you'll have a blast of a road trip, but for extra hilarity get random Canadians to explain the difference between Roughriders and Rough Riders.

And P.S.
If you're going to Stampede, first get into drinking shape.