July 3rd, 2008, 09:15 PM #1
Blake Gone – What Does His Departure Really Mean?
While I was off in jury duty, it appears the world has ended, the Kings will never be the same, and no one wants to come to Los Angeles and Tavares here we come…. *ugh* Let’s get the basics down, I wanted Blake gone. I never thought he earned his last contract. I was resigned to him returning but prayed for the love of sanity that if he returned that at least his salary would be correlated to what he can really offer now. Another retirement contact might just make me heave. With that out of the way, time to talk turkey.
From reading some of the threads over the last few days, I almost wish it was worth the energy to copy and paste comments over the last season or two. First, Lombardi signs a bunch of bridge and filler players who never earn their deals. Then, Lombardi thinks, overpaying role players and guys who are best known for what they used to be than what they are has failed. Why not give the team and the room to the young core that has earned the right to put the team on their backs and see where they can take it. I demand this of them then I handicap their right to achieve it.
Frankly, just the thought of watching this thing play out has me far more excited then signing more generation gap players. The team tried it. It was a colossal failure, did anyone really want to watch a bunch of unmotivated over-the-hill players who left their game on their prior team weigh the kids down. Really? Are you freaking kidding me? For those who say, think or want to blame the team’s inactivity to the Kings going cheap, I am sorry but I just do not buy that. Not at all. Does anyone really want Los Angeles to be the Ducks or the Penguins or the Flyers who find themselves in cap troubles and unable to re-sign their own players at an alarming rate? Again, really? Really?
By the Kings focusing more on the cap floor than the cap ceiling, the organization is now both planning and budgeting to have enough $$ left to keep the kids when their entry level contracts expire. I promise to eat all of these words if the Kopitars, Johnsons, and O’Sullivans and Bernier, Hickey and Doughty walk or leave the way of offer sheets and trades. Until or unless that occurs, I am sticking to this premise.
It has taken me until my 40’s to really appreciate the value of a dollar, living within my means and thinking about how what I spend today effects what I do tomorrow. Better late than never, no doubt. So lo and behold, Lombardi learns from his past choices and those of his peers. He is trying another tack.
I am anything but a gambler but I have recently come to appreciate the meaning of going “all in”. Lombardi had two choices this off-season. Patch a team together of kids, bridge and filler players waiting to give the team to its real future or have the future start right now. (A concept it took Billy Crystal to get until the end of ‘When Harry Met Sally’… Don’t we all want the rest of our lives to start right now once we figure out where we want the rest of our life to go…? Think about that.)
In theory to some apparently, this is a train wreck because right now the most seasoned defenseman is Preissing and he is penciled in per Hextall as a 5th or 6th defenseman and no more. The most seasoned guy between the pipes is LaBarbera and well… he hasn’t won the job or proven to be consistent yet. Right now, the most seasoned forwards are Handzus and Armstrong. These two guys often seem to be (next to Blake) the greatest lightning rod of fan discontent.
Lombardi’s plan is to finally commit to his master plan … right now. No more expensive band-aids. No more waiting. He claimed last summer that what he most wanted to see is if the kids would take responsibility for winning. Those were great words but he hardly lived them. The team leadership went to Blake, Thornton, Visnovsky and Cammalleri. The year before, the designated leaders were Norstrom, Miller, Conroy and admittedly I forget the last “A” of that season. Noticing a trend? Yeah, hard to ignore that every one of these players is elsewhere.
It turns out it was a bit of an oxymoron to ask Kopitar, Brown, Frolov, O’Sullivan and Johnson to be responsible for winning and then designate others to lead. Lombardi hedged his bets with that dichotomy. On the one hand, young core, it is your team. On the other hand, it is not your turn yet. This is the veterans’ room. In my best Tim Gunn impression, “Make it Work”. Only it didn’t and the Kings did more than lose, they lost ugly too many times.
Consider this. Manchester’s veteran leadership of Giuliano and Klemm, amongst others, ended up with the big club. That disposition became a real positive. Adversity can either breed character or reveal a very real lack of character. Someone had to lead that room and the likes of Boyle and Gauthier stepped up. They took over that Manchester room and against all odds found ways to win and make the play-offs.
The way Boyle and Gauthier grew plain does not happen with the Klemms and Giulianos of the world there. Well, time to take the training wheels off the youth and find out whether Lombardi’s master plan and players can walk the walk Lombardi has talked and talked about. I envision two possibilities: losing and growth or chaos. Either way, I am far more excited about next season than last season. Wouldn’t everyone prefer to see if these players are worth their next contract by seeing where they take the Kings with all of the excuses and place holders out of the way?
Win or lose, Lombardi has no further place to hide. He has to prove he can pick the right coach, traded for the right players and his draft choices have to be more right than wrong or … the Kings will truly be a ship without a paddle and with only passengers on board. Sink or swim, next season or two will define his legacy or not.
Last edited by Carla Muller; July 3rd, 2008 at 09:41 PM.
July 3rd, 2008, 09:21 PM #2
You do know your stuff and I enjoyed every word. thank you.
July 3rd, 2008, 09:29 PM #3
Im impress thank you a different way to see it. thanks
July 3rd, 2008, 09:30 PM #4
It's a little difficult to be generally positive at this point while faced with so many looming negatives. No coach, no #1 goalie, no #1 d'man, no #2 d'man, no second line center, no deal with Sully, no deal with Ersberg... etc. DL seems to be intent on making fans forget the recent successes of the draft. Unless he pulls a herd of rabbits out of his hat, this is going to be a tough season to watch.
July 3rd, 2008, 09:53 PM #5
July 3rd, 2008, 10:09 PM #6
I do admire your optimism but the fact remains that this team, as presently constructed, is a last place team. No organization that seriously expects to sign top talent goes into the UFA period with no coach. That absurd situation clearly demonstrates that the yard sale and rebuild mentality is the only mind set in the Kings' front office right, and, I guess, that is as it should be. While this resignation to futility is ultimately not a bad thing, it is going to be difficult to watch just the same.
Originally Posted by CarlaMuller
July 3rd, 2008, 10:20 PM #7
July 3rd, 2008, 10:28 PM #8
It's DL's master plan to get Tavares. 3 years of hellish rebuilding and then we make drastic improvements over the next 2 years means he gets an extra 3-5 years to stay the course (sound failure?)...
If not, then maybe we wake up tomorrow and DL just signed multiple free agents and made a trade or two. Either way this year is going to be a tough one. What else is new!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
July 3rd, 2008, 10:31 PM #9
Can you feel it?
The future is now, mother ****as. Get ready for the ride!
July 3rd, 2008, 10:59 PM #10
That's the only real positive I see here. All indicators point to a very long painful arduous year, full of growing pains. But hey, they sometimes say that you have to lose before you win.
Originally Posted by CarlaMuller
...I just hope it's not like watching a trainwreck over and over again... :x