Thursday, August 31, 2006

Off With Their Heads!!!

There is some discussion over at Lowetide's space about who is likely to finish last in the West.

Here's a candidate.

But first, an interesting note on the THN rankings.

The Minnesota Wild lost five defencemen who played @ 60 games or more last season but in picking up Kim Johnsson, Pavol Demitra and Mark Parrish, they are supposed to make the leap from 11th to 7th place. Indeed some predict even better for them.

But the team that lost two of these players who are supposed to help Minnesota make this quantum leap - the LA Kings - are supposed to hold the course and finish tenth, again.


Anyhow, as to the Kings. This is a team that is following in the steps of its California brethren - shedding highly paid veterans and going with youth. Unlike teams like Phoenix these guys are going about it the right way I think. They signed Scott Thornton and the underrated Alyn McCauley, brought back Rob Blake (not sure about that one) and picked up Dan Cloutier, who has a lot to prove.

Luc Robitaille (Luciano Robitelli) retired. (Imagine how many goals he might have scored if he could skate - poor guy.) They dumped Val Bure, Parrish and the saddest example of how alcohol can destroy a man's career - Jeremy Roenick.

They also got rid of their best player - Pavol Demitra.

And this team had a hard time scoring last year.

So Patrick O'Sullivan will see a lot of icetime as well as Dustin Brown and their other kids.

That's good.

But the Sharks had guys named Thornton, Cheechoo, Marleau and Hannan while the Ducks had Selanne and Scott Niedermeyer to help the kids along.

The Kings have no such players.

One last thing, why in God's name did they resign Sean Avery?

This year, these guys finish way down the way.


Vic Ferrari said...

I haven't checked, but I bet that Avery played a whack of icetime against Naslund this past season. And probably outchanced him. Just a guess mind. Also, Crawford has always liked the loudmouth shit-stirrer types.

Crawford and Lombardi are reportedly working as cohorts there in terms of aquiring "value for money" players. Personally I'm struggling to see the reasoning in a lot of it. But they are going to be a tough team to play against. In Brown and Frolov they have a couple of grade A youngsters. And with Cammalleri and O'Sullivan they should have a couple of guys who can help the PP and score some goals while playing against the weaker forwards.

My guess: they probably need a few of the teams in front of them to have injuries to key guys in order to end up in the playoff mix.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

vic - I think Avery is a pretty good player, never mind the persona he projects, but the question is at what point does the ego, the drinking (which he spoke about in that Maxim article), the constant distraction to the team outweigh the player's contributions? I think at the end of last year it did. Now Crawford wants a kick at it but guys like this - I think they are who they are.

They have some nice young players, all who you mentioned, but I think they are down the road now - more then a few teams will have to struggle mightily for them to be in the mix.

And to me, thats ok if I am a Kings fan - rebuild if you are going to rebuild. Year after year of ninth place or sneaking into the playoffs only to get whacked is no fun (we know that, right?)

Of course having said all of this, the Kings always seem to overachieve. Was that Andy Murray's doing? We'll see.

bigleaguer said...

I read somewhere in an interview with Crawford, saying they like Avery, but they've put him on "double-secret probation: (his words, not mine) - in other words, shut yer cake hole, Avery.

Doogie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Doogie said...

If ever an Animal House reference were appropriate, it would be in talking about Avery. What a reject, and what a shame, too, because there's a decent amount of talent underneath all the bullshit. Nothing that'll make the All-Star Team, mind you, but enough that he would be coveted as a third liner by a lot of teams if he wasn't such a Goddamned dick.