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

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Saying Goodbye to Lubo

RK: Okay, Lubo, here we are. Go on, get out of the car.
Lubo: Voite for Lubo!
RK: Alright, now go.
Lubo: L-Lubo?
RK: This is your home now, Lubo, you'll be free here. There's lots of forwards to play with and you won't be tied down like you were in LA. It's for the best.
*Lubo takes step towards the car
RK: (teary-eyed) Please, Lubo, this isn't easy for me. Just go and be happy.
Lubo: Lubo!
RK: Go on, git! I never liked you anyway! You're too small and you always have a whimsical look on your face!
*Lubo whimpers and runs off
RK: (whispers) I love you.


Like most Dean Lombardi trades, this one left me extremely confused. With most Lombardi trades, though, I'll usually feel better about them an hour or so later; that didn't happen with this one. You know how a kid feels when his best friend moves away? That's how I feel right now. Rationally I'm pissed because Lubo was one of the best players on the team and emotionally I'm pissed because he was the sweetest guy ever.* Lombardi always talks about raising kids to be Kings, and then he turns around and trades the one veteran brought up through the Kings' system? Not to mention that he traded him to Siberia 48 hours before his no-trade clause kicked in. That's harsh.

*Plus, I was going to write a fake interview with Lubo this summer wherein he would claim he runs the Kings and stabbed Sean Avery in the spleen. It needed work but it would have been good stuff. Now you're going to get some half-assed routine about Drew Doughty being fat. Thanks a lot, Dean.

I loved all the little things about Lubo: the way he snuck in the back door to rocket a one-timer on the power play, the surprised look on his face when his teammates congratulated him after a goal, everything. There's an awesome scene in Luc Robitaille's FSN show (the one that features his last game) where Luc's on the team plane and comes upon Pavol Demitra and Lubo playing cards with Craig Conroy and Jeremy Roenick. They talk for a bit and then Lubo says something to Pavol in Slovakian and they both burst out laughing. Nobody knows what they're laughing about though, so Robitaille looks uncomfortable and then just kind of moves on. It cracked me up.

Oh man, he's sticking his little tongue out!

The Kings got two fairly good players back in the deal: Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene. Stoll is a typical Lombardi pick-up, a character guy with a lot of skill that has been sidetracked by injuries (in his case, a concussion). He's got a good shot and can play both power play and penalty kill. He will center either the 2nd or 3rd line, depending on how they decide to use Handzus. Best case scenario: Stoll gets his game back and pots thirty goals while playing with Frolov. Worst case scenario, or what will happen because it's the Kings: he continues to suck and he and Handzus team up to form the worst 2nd center combo in NHL history. Also, Stoll is dating Rachel Hunter, so I guess my dad will have someone to look at during the game. At the very least this means Tom Preissing will have a shot with Tawny Kitean.

Also picked up was Matt Greene, who is a monster. Greene is a big defenseman and offers absolutely no offense. Basically, think Aaron Miller. He takes too many penalties and his lack of offensive skill kills a lot of his worth, but he's what the Kings needed. I don't know who he'll play with because the Kings aren't done with their defense, but he should anchor our penalty kill for a few years to come.

I would still rather have Lubo over those two players, although they do fill a big need for our team. The only way I'll be happy with this is if the Kings turn around and trade for Jay Buowmeester. It's unlikely, but the Kings have been trading for a lot of guys in that 23-25 range and they did draft a number of 20 year-olds this last draft that would replace any prospects we trade. If their plan is to sign Brad Stuart again, I'll flip. A defense consisting of Jack Johnson, Matt Greene, Rob Blake, Brad Stuart, Tom Preissing and Drew Doughty does not fill me with excitement. And it could never replace Lubo.

Poor Lu- whoa, holy shit.

If I could have a quick word with Edmonton fans: look, I don't like you and you have a grudging respect for me, but go easy on Lubo. Don't put a lot of pressure on him just because you're paying him $7 million dollars next year. I know you'll get frustrated because he's small and he'll never work the puck out of the corner, but he means well. He tries hard and he's very sneaky and he and Souray will give you a fantastic power play. Treat him well and make sure he gets plenty of vitamins because if you don't watch him he'll just eat candy and get a tummy ache. Oh, and here's his ear medicine; make sure you give it to him before he goes to bed.

Well, I guess that's it then. I guess I'll leave you with this:



Godspeed you lovable imp.

41 comments:

Connie said...

I WAS feeling okay about this trade, but then I read this. Thanks, jackass.

*sniff*

Earl Sleek said...

Yeah, it's tough on two levels, I'd say.

One, the need to get rid of Lubo is tough to figure, though maybe it becomes clearer after July 1st (or who knows, maybe after 2013). I guess it's about salary, but that makes the propositions of developing other players a bit scary (when will Kopitar be too expensive, or Doughty, or whoever?).

Secondly, though, is the trade return. If there was a need to get rid of Lubo, why weren't more teams made aware of it? Why wasn't it in play during the draft day trade shuffle? Why does this feel like a middle-of-the-night desperation move?

Tough to say considering the contract and the off-year, but I'd assume that more could have been had for Lubo, if DL played his GM cards better.

Beauty send-off, though.

Iffy said...

Perhaps the Kings owner has save some money because of some bad debt?

Earl Sleek said...

Lowetide commenter Jon K has left a translated Lubo interview found via HF Boards. Some interesting Lubo quotes, apparently:

"I'm frustrated and very sad. They pretty much didn't do anything that they couldn't, according to the contract. However, there was a verbal deal under the table, according to which they shouldn't trade me at all. They told it to me and my agent straight into our faces a year ago, when we were signing the contract. 'You're our player, we won't trade you.' Even the owner called me back then and told me: 'Lubo, your home ain't Bratislava and Slovakia, it's LA. You'll play here for us. We're happy to have you here, and you'll stay here.' So I was 100% sure, that I'll stay in LA, and if they wanted to trade me, that they'd trade me after a mutual agreement, so both sides were content."

"As far as two weeks ago the GM gave me word via my agent, that they want to trade me. We agreed, that OK, they can trade me, but after mutual agreement. They listed me six particular teams, with which I was basically content. I even expected, that something would come from this, but out of nowhere my agent called me at 2:30AM on Monday, and told me, that they traded me to Edmonton. It was also a surprise for him, and even bigger one for me. I admit, I was in quite a shock and didn't expect I'd end up on that team." stated the Topolcany native, who admitted, that Oilers weren't on the mentioned list, and also weren't among the clubs he himself would be interested in.

"I'm deeply wounded by how they acted. For my family, girlfriend, it's even much more harder. I have to say she's been brave about it, she even cheered me up instead of the other way around. She was very strong. I still have a five-year contract to fulfill, which I hope won't be the last one, and I'm there to play hockey and not to pick cities, where it's warmer. I just hope we'll be much better than LA and that we always beat them when we square off with them."


Poor, poor Lubo.

RudyKelly said...

I just hope we'll be much better than LA and that we always beat them when we square off with them."

Oh fuck, Hell hath no fury like a Lubo scorned. I guess I'd be devastated if I had to move to Edmonton too. That makes Lombardi sound like a real sack of shit.

Black Dog said...

Stoll was doing pretty well two seasons ago until some guy named Pahlsson ran him from behind, concussing him. Then in true hockey player fashion he came back, apparently unaware that he had a concussion and promptly got dinged again.

He was the total suck last year, I mean hard to believe how bad - I think he has three goals at ES all year, one of those in an empty net, and after Horcoff went down he played with Penner and Hemsky.

He was still shit.

Having said that if he does rebound then he can be a pretty decent player. Great on the draw, very good special teams player.

Greene is still developing, he's only had two years in the league. He cut down on his penalties last year. He could turn out ok.

Having said all of that I love the trade from the Oilers' point of view.

cynical joe said...

I have to say she's been brave about it, she even cheered me up instead of the other way around. She was very strong.

Gosh, she's such a trooper. We can only pray that remaining 28 MILLION DOLLARS on the contract will, in a small way, assuage the hurt feelings and trepidation of the future.

Earl Sleek said...

We can only pray that remaining 28 MILLION DOLLARS on the contract will, in a small way, assuage the hurt feelings and trepidation of the future.

Yeah, I suppose, but still, he had that contract guaranteed two days ago; nothing's really changed on that front.

And it might be worth checking out Ingmar Bergman's post. I had no idea that Visnovsky's no-trade clause flat-out disappears in these instances.

Who knows? Maybe Lubo can Pronger his way out of Edmonton :)

Sarah said...

I haven't followed the Kings in 4 years or so, but this makes me sad. And after reading this, watching the video and seeing the comments, I'm even sadder.

I'm sorry Kings fans. This stinks.

VeryProudofYa said...

Two weeks and they couldn't find a better deal for a guy with a 67 points year, and a 58 point year in which he tallied 17 and 18 goals, respectively? I really find that hard to believe.

You would think one of the teams openly interested in brian campbell would have made a strong pitch for Lubomir.

And, now, for the oilers they're welcoming this guy that's already openly stated he wasn't a fan playing in Hoth. Poor lubo.

Mike in OC said...

I guess I'd be devastated if I had to move to Edmonton too.

This is a misconception; lots of players want to play in Edmonton, they have a really cool mall.....

Mike in OC said...

After reading the comments on the Edmonton & LGK website is seems both fan bases love the trade. Stoll said he was excited about the move as well.

It looks like everyone likes the deal except Lubo. Is his NTC null and void now, or is he stuck in Edmonton with a NTC?

Earl Sleek said...

It looks like everyone likes the deal except Lubo.

I'm no Kings fan, but if I were I'd probably be a guy who doesn't like it. I'd think Lubo could fetch more on a multi-bidder market.

Is his NTC null and void now, or is he stuck in Edmonton with a NTC?

I think it's null and void, but considering Lowe's active acquisition, I'd guess it's largely moot. Likely Lowe keeps him around for the duration.

RudyKelly said...

I think it's a good trade because no one knows whether it's a good trade or not. Stoll could bounce back, Lubo could never be better than he was last year, Greene could contract syphilis and go insane, nobody knows. I guess we'll have to follow Ingmar Bergman's new site to find out who wins.

This is a misconception; lots of players want to play in Edmonton, they have a really cool mall.....

They also have a Festival of Trees...

Earl Sleek said...

I guess we'll have to follow Ingmar Bergman's new site to find out who wins.

Heh, I'm fairly sure that Bergman's site pre-dates BoC, but he's found other distractions the last year or so. In fact, I just recently took him off the sidebar.

What is it, Bergman? Are you back in the saddle (should I put you back in the sidebar), or was this just a one-time tease?

Chris in Torrance said...

I don't like this trade at all. Sadly, I think Matt Greene is going to spell Mike Commodore (or Brooks Orpik) for us.

Sorry Rudy, don't get your hopes up for tomorrow.

Johan said...

well lombardi seems to know what he's doing. the d is stocked for a long time and in a couple of years will boast similar depth to vancouver (which is to say, ridiculously deep when healthy). all that and without any major salary aquisitions, the kings still have room to maneuver in the free agency market. i just don't see how they can miss the playoffs again, provided lombardi finds reasonable goaltending/ bernier makes the big step.

Lowetide said...

You people kill me. Bitch and moan, bitch and moan. You DO know you ripped Gretzky from us, right?

RIGHT?

Right.

Earl Sleek said...

i just don't see how they can miss the playoffs again, provided lombardi finds reasonable goaltending/ bernier makes the big step.

Now there's an optimist!

Take last year's team, subtract Camalleri and Visnovsky, add Stoll and Greene, fill in with spare parts, and playoffs here we come!

I kid, of course. I think there is reason for optimism for Kings fans (it has to get better than the last two years, few teams can guarantee improvement), but it's probably a year or two away, I'd guess.

Then it will be up to DL to re-sign some of his developed kids and try to refrain from trading them two days before their new paycheck.

Mike in OC said...

try to refrain from trading them two days before their new paycheck. <- That is just shitty.

Kings fans are for the most part eternal optimist. All I keep hearing from my close friends who are die-hard Kings Fans is how screwed my Ducks are because of cap problems. If I were them I would be pissed my team is not willing to spend to contend. This is just another example.

Face it; you’re the Clippers of the NHL.

Sunny said...

You may have just redeemed yourself for the Dustin Brown/Nicole Brown Simpson post...maybe.

Earl Sleek said...

You DO know you ripped Gretzky from us, right?

I hope Lubo cries a Gretzky-esque amount of tears tonight.

doritogrande said...

"Is his NTC null and void now, or is he stuck in Edmonton with a NTC?"

Pretty sure he's in control of his NTC. It should still be in place, but he has the option of waiving it.

Ian said...

You people kill me. Bitch and moan, bitch and moan. You DO know you ripped Gretzky from us, right?

That's irrelevant to this trade, yes? And I don't recall Bruce McNall knocking the Great One on the head with a comically large mallet and flying him down to the Great Western Forum under the cover of a moonless night. Peter Pocklington and the Oilers brass had not a little to do with that trade.

Oh, and the Oil won another Cup within 2 years of the Day The North Cried.

But anyway, you were saying?

Nut said...

No one is more upset about Lubo leaving than me, but from an analytical standpoint, I think Dean knows what he's doing with this trade. Basically, Lubo is too old right now. Dean has said over and over how he wants the young guys to grow up together. Well by the time all the young guys are good (Doughty, Bernier, Kopitar-well better) Lubo is gonna be out of his prime and possibly could sign some where else for nothing. Right now we can get value from him (especailly from a dopey GM who would take on $7 mil a year on a team that is still not going to the playoffs. I don't think we necessarily needed the cap space, but now Dean can maybe pay more for Jack, O'Sullivan and Kopitar . The trade also filled two big holes on the team right now, namely a tough defenseman and a 2nd line center (although maybe we have 2 3rd line centers, we'll see) who is good at face offs. Those were both areas we were severely deficient in last season. Lastly, I think Dean thinks Johnson is ready to step into the first power play unit, and maybe he'll pick up some of the considerable offensive slack that is gone with Lubo. Still, the first time I see Little Lubo in an Edmonton jersey I will probably cry.

Earl Sleek said...

Good points, Nut.

Still, I will say that I don't fully buy the "we need nothing but young players" strategy in today's cap environment.

For one, there's nothing that prevents kids from growing and improving just because they play behind veterans. It took Getzlaf & Perry a few years to get their first-line boots on, and I don't see the fact that the team had Selanne as a detriment to their development. If anything, it gave them more flexibility to go to the minors if needed, and easier competition during the formative years.

Also, there's a strange matter of "how much do you want kids scoring before their second contract?" One benefit to having kids develop in secondary ice time is that their counting numbers can be (in a sense) controlled; you can possibly avoid signing a kid after a monster year.

Those are just considerations, though -- there's nothing inherently wrong with the DL strategy (other than it takes time to work out). I wonder, though, at the patience level of Kings fans, especially with a ticket hike. Someday they'll realize that a long-term rebuild can end up just as costly as a short-term rebuild, without all the long years.

Earl Sleek said...

Oh, and the Oil won another Cup within 2 years of the Day The North Cried.

But anyway, you were saying?


Heh, good work, Ian.

I should probably point out that Lowetide was probably poking fun more than whining, but at least we've got that avenue covered.

jd said...

...especailly from a dopey GM who would take on $7 mil a year on a team that is still not going to the playoffs...

Guess we'll see about that won't we....

RudyKelly said...

I don't know, we'll have to see on the validity of this whole young player strategy. I have a feeling a team is going to comprise itself almost exclusively with 30-somethings that are undervalued and make a run at the Cup. Young guys are great but they kind of lose their luster when they're getting paid $5 million a year.

Good work today, everyone.

Iffy said...

Maybe I'm dense and really didn't get what you were saying Earl, but I think this is the new Ingmar Bergman site.

Earl Sleek said...

I have a feeling a team is going to comprise itself almost exclusively with 30-somethings that are undervalued and make a run at the Cup.

Yeah, I could see that. Still, put my money down on the team that uses that saved money and spends it somewhere else (I dunno, like on a $7M pp quarterback). Saving money at every position is impressive, but big-money players still can differentiate teams.

Good work today, everyone.

Yeah, what he said.

Anonymous said...

This is a misconception; lots of players want to play in Edmonton, they have a really cool mall.....

They also have a Festival of Trees...

and don't forget the indoor water slides....fun for Lubo!!

Doogie said...

Random fact that is likely neither here nor there: Matt Greene's first NHL goal was a Bobby Friggin' Orr special.

The assist? Why, none other than Our Man Stoli.

Mike in OC said...

I am still trying to figure out what Edmonton is up to. They finished one of the hottest teams in the NHL, as a Ducks fan is was tough watching them win game after game and our draft pick get lower and lower.

So I was thinking (my first mistake) that group would be fun to watch this season.

Oh well. Looks like KLOWnE has decided to completely re-vamp the entire thing.

Earl Sleek said...

I too think EDM is a team to watch this coming year, especially comparing against the Kings' season.

It's almost like two schools of thought: EDM is trying a quick turnaround, LAK is trying a more patient approach. It probably takes a couple of years to really measure payoffs for each strategy, but it may prove enlightening on the question "how can a bad team turn good?"

Or maybe really, "does it really take a few years to turn around a team's fortunes?"

Jamie said...

Plus side for Kings fans: Matt Greene does funny, self-degrading TV spots.

After watching the collective effort of Kopitar, Blake, et. al. and Lubo's cookie catering performance, I'm glad it was only a one player deal going North. The Oilers will now be forced into crafting Lubo's comedic stylings for the remainder of his contract to appease the dour and hapless masses.

Kings win this trade on the funnybone scale... albeit that black comedic currency.

CJ said...

http://oshlhockey.blogspot.com/2008/06/dean-lombardi-takes-dump.html

I'm a Luddite, so I don't know how to paste a hyperlink, but this was funny.

Ingmar "W" Bergman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ingmar "W" Bergman said...

Hey Earl.

Yes, I'm back this time. If you feel like putting me back up I'd be honoured. :)

The Battle For Tavares blog is a new project, but I'm going to update that one regularly.

My goal is to make a shitload of money by getting $0.01 USD a click from GoogleAds. That'll make me what, at least $389 USD ($45 CDN) by the year 2017.

Then I'm boarding a plane for California and you and me can ride of in the sunset to the promised land of endless A-Team reruns.

Or the world will end in 2012. Whatever.

Ingmar "W" Bergman said...

Tripple-post. Sorry.

I meant to say:

The Battle For Tavares blog is a new project, but I'm going to update that one regularly too.

Earl Sleek said...

Yes, I'm back this time. If you feel like putting me back up I'd be honoured. :)

I put Bergman and Tavares up there, good to see you back in the saddle! Blogging's gotten way too North American lately, time to spice things up.