A Letter from a Fan
Dear Kings' Players:
You all know who you are… each and every one of you. Help this fan out a little. How can you play so inspired elsewhere and so inconsistent at home in front of those who want you to succeed most? Los Angeles may be one of the largest cities in the United States but when it comes to hockey, it is a non-traditional market. As a result, you players face little external pressure to win. Sure, there was Crawford but his volume and non-teaching ways displaced him to CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada. Now, you have Murray who by all accounts had made all the difference in the world for this team… unless your name is Preissing.
So, now who can exert pain and pressure against each and every one of you to succeed when pressure is needed? Rich Hammond may be one of the best beat writers but he is one man with one pen and one blog. And his paper can no longer afford to follow you wherever you go. In Toronto, practices are televised. In Los Angeles, kids scream for pucks and sticks and autographs… to those kids you can do no wrong. Again, no pressure….. Sure the Los Angeles Times has a Hockey Hall of Fame writer in Helene Elliot but she rarely writes about hockey these days. She too works for a newspaper who cannot afford to follow you around. So again, no pressure…
The only honest place where pressure always awaits you … along with hope, passion, and a building full of people who most want you to succeed is at home. At Staples Center, fans want nothing more. Of course, when you fail as you and your Kings’ teammates have done far too much of since the lock-out… fans do what they alone do best. We speak, scream, boo and bleed for each and every one of you. We debate who has the right to hurt the most when you lose. We fight each other about who is to blame, who has not shown up, who should be driven to the airport, who should be banished to another league and when for the love of all things good will you reward your fans for the faith, blood, sweat, tears and money we invest in you.
In a time when our daily lives needs a boost, an escape and a hero, we fans look to you Kings to lift us to places we may never get to go personally. What do we fans want in return? Winning would be the easiest answer. In fairness, winning makes us forget near everything else. However, after succeeding in the road trip to end all road trips, all we fans wanted was an opportunity to watch that magic in person. That turned out to be too much to ask.
Who delivered? Let’s get real there, so few of you did. How hard is it to start playing a game when it starts? Apparently, this is a whole lot to ask based on the most recent homestand. I am back at why is that? Sure, for the first time many of you are playing in games that matter. When each of you were kids and dreamed of the NHL, did you only dream of making it to this league? More likely, you dreamed of winning in this league. There is a reason most home teams win game 7 in the play-offs. Apparently, that home magic eludes this Kings’ team.
Bottom line, we as fans want you to be our heroes. That is no small aspiration. I do get that. However, take a step back for a second. What have you all got to lose really? The fact that you are in a play-off race is a surprise to all concerned. If you lost every game for the rest of the season, then this team has already exceeded expectations by not being mathematically eliminated from the play-offs by Christmas. So the pressure, if it is that, is coming from where exactly?
To this fan, this is pretty basic. You are playing a game where you make more in a day than most of us make in a year. Have fun. Start the game at the start of the game. Keep your sticks where they belong, on the ice, on the puck or anywhere but waist high on your opponents. Keep your hands to yourselves, and not on an opponent. In other words, stop handicapping yourselves by acting undisciplined at the worst times as if there was ever a good time to take a lazy, sloppy or selfish rule infraction.
I hate to call out individuals but sometimes tough love is in order. Ivanans, let’s get real. You played two minutes and four shifts in the first period Saturday and managed to spend another two in the box. Quincey fought and fought well, where were you? Enforcers who don’t enforce and take ill-timed roughing penalties while the play is in the Kings’ offensive zone is offensive. Only Murray can explain why you have never been in the press box or really been held accountable for your undisciplined ways. If you have to dress, then consider helping the team instead of hurting it for a change.
Brown, by all accounts you are leading this team on the ice and off. You may choose to let your play be how you lead. However, just as I took last year’s leaders to task, I look at you. Why are you never on the post game show after a loss and facing the music? Richardson was there Saturday. In fairness, Kopitar has shown up too. Where are you? Heck, where is Greene while I am at it? You have letters; well show us fans how you earned them.
Gauthier, where to begin? Getting suspended twice in a month keeps you off the ice so perhaps that is a good thing. You are one of the team’s veterans and what kind of an example are you setting really? Really… Lombardi may absolve you in his public quotes but this fan does not. Play within the rules and stop being the topic of headlines about what the Kings are doing wrong. I have had my fill of those contributions you make to this team.
Frolov, you are an amazing talent and when you are on your game and the puck, no one is going to take you off of it. You are now the subject of trade rumors. You have one year left on your deal. Rightly, or wrongly, I often see you be the first scapegoat for losses and miscues. Lombardi recently named you in particular as someone who has to want to do more than be in the NHL but be a reason the Kings win. Raise your game to the bar Lombardi set and by doing so prove your critics wrong.
Some kudos are due too. Handzus so many questioned what Lombardi was thinking when he signed you at all, much less to a four year deal. This year you are showing why Lombardi brought you here and thank you for that. Thank you for what you do right in the face-off circle this year, for helping Simmonds become the NHL player he was born to be which he targeted from the age of 7. At key times and key moments, you stop your opponents, you win draws and you do it disciplined and outside of the box. May your teammates follow your lead. Others deserve applause too including this year’s most unexpected surprises, Quincey and Quick. The league is learning as are Kings’ fans that you both have NHL game.
Kings team….. Take your fans with you away from home and frankly at home. We all expect and deserve that. Win or lose if you leave your best game on the ice, then and only then will you have no regrets. Stop leaving your best off the ice, or wait to bring it until the other team scored first and second and… It is much crueler as a fan to see you lose this year because this year all concerned know you have another gear and the talent to use it.
It would have been nice to beat Phoenix. Really surprised we didn't.
One has to look at other teams who have gone/are going through the same growing pains the Kings are.
The Penguins missed the playoffs four straight years while in rebuild.
We have a lot to be thankful for this season. Doughty. Quincey. Handzus. Greene. O'Donnell. Stoll. Ersberg. Quick. Terry Murray.
We still have a ways to go, though.
Don't compare us to the Penguins, we are knowhere close to the Penguins. They have more talent on that team than the Kings have had in the past 6 years combined.
Originally Posted by Carla Muller
That was really nice to read.
But this "letter from a Kings fan", did this Kings fan send this letter to Dean Lombardi, yet, or going to?
If not I WILL SEND IT for YOU.
It needs to be heard out.
Originally Posted by gescom
Originally Posted by Dr. Naysay
Please make sure that this letter gets to the Kings and becomes required reading for each and every one!
No; this letter was not sent. It was my take on the team at Staples of late. I do hope this message gets through to the team though. I was also motivated to write this because I have heard sentiments like this by the people who sit around me at games.
Originally Posted by Brown23