Hockey Correspondent and Occasional Shakespeare Character, White Cover Magazine
Here’s a newsflash you probably weren’t expecting to hear at the NHL 2013 quarter mark: the Los Angeles Kings suck.
It’s not even close. Entering Tuesday night, they were the worst team in the Western Conference, and they’ve actually looked like it most nights. Jonathan Quick hasn’t been able to double down on his pre-hangover performance in last year’s Stanley Cup playoffs. Anze Kopitar was injured and then just became invisible altogether. Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene are hurt and exposing the Kings’ blueline vulnerability.
And, oh yeah, there’s Drew Doughty.
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If you spent your high school life in a locker, and if you’d rather watch the movie Cutting Edge over Miracle, Rudy, or D2, this is the play all those as*holes talk about and high-five over at lunch. This is the play that unites all douchebags at your college, who slam back buck-a-beers while you try and study and choose Monday Night Football over the class they really, actually, want to take but lie about.
This is the goal that transformed Steve Yzerman from a pretty decent kid with some speed into a playoff legend. Before this goal, Stevie Y had no Cups. After, he won three. (No, the Wings didn’t win it this year, but they won it the next year. And, the one after that.)
Guys test each other, wondering which of them can spell Jon Casey‘s name right. (It’s true: there’s no ‘h’ in Jon.) Guys talk about where they were when they saw it and, if they didn’t see it live (which is most likely, because how many people were watching a Detroit-St. Louis Game 7 in the middle of May?), they lie about it.
Word to the wise: if you’re looking to suck up to all the leather jackets, or if you want to just fit in, this is the play you’ll go to. Just use it by default.
Lock it in your mental encyclopedia with the following:
-Doug Flutie’s hail mary at Boston College
-David Tyree’s catch in 2008
-(Don’t worry about baseball. Nobody really cares.)
Stanley Cup champions and their rosters don’t often read like All-Star lineups. Sure, there are exceptions, like the 2002 Detroit Red Wings or the 1996 Colorado Avalanche. But, too often, Stanley Cup champions and their rosters are complete. That’s it. Don’t get greedy, because reaching for the mashed potatoes will get you stabbed.
You know, complete. As in, no holes, and stuff. The opposite of Shia LaBeouf’s only good movie. Everything is filled in. Unlike Michael Strahan’s mouth, there are no gaping spaces.
Take last year’s L.A. Kings. Yea, maybe they didn’t jump out at you with their pedestrian regular season record, but nobody was going through Dwight King in the playoffs. Or, around Jordan Nolan. Or, getting behind Slava Voynov.
A complete lineup in hockey beats All-Stars every day, most obviously because the salary cup doesn’t allow it to work. Where you load up one area, you lose in another.
Do you remember what it was like to study for both Math and English on one night?
It’s what the Leafs, and the Wild, and the Rangers won’t – and can’t – understand. You can’t just blow money on guys because you need them right now.
It’s why the Bruins beat the Canucks in 2011, and Vancouver took notice, even if they’re a year late to spin the bottle.
That’s why they re-signed Mason Raymond today. Is he the best left winger out there? Sh*t, no way. But, he’s still there.
Look at what they did with Jeff Tambellini a couple years ago. The Canucks need to fill out their top 12, because their top six is already checkmarked and sent to press. The Twins and Burrows make up Line 1. Kesler, Lapierre, and Malhotra fill out the centres. Booth and Higgins are mainstays. Wiese will play fourth line minutes, as will the suddenly forgotten Zach Kassian.
That leaves two spots, one of them Raymond can operate in just fine. Jannik Hansen is the other guy, and he can do anything.
Raymond might actually be the 12th forward on this team, even if he’s on the top line. He’s replaceable in any position, whereas someone like Wiese or Bitz (if he gets a second chance) have a delegated position.
If this was the United Nations, they’re in between Malawi and Malta, and they’re not going anywhere.
They’re elevator music. Jazz.
Raymond, though, has flirted with the Security Council. You know what Jerry Seinfeld said, right?
- “You’ve never flown first class, Elaine. I can’t go back.”
- “I can’t be an orgy guy. I’d have to wear different clothes.”
Take your pick. Either of those works.
Raymond’s in an awkward area, where he can be moved, swapped, or dropped entirely. But, he plugs the hole.
Now, the Canucks still need help, because this is the same team as last year, and that team flamed out in spectacular fashion.
Shane Doan would do. How about Rick Nash? You could blow up three spot for Nash’s trade value, and still fill the holes if you get Doan.
Hell, Jordan Schroeder could even work his way in. Anton Rodin. Nicklas Jensen.
The Canucks can afford to experiment, and Raymond’s signing means the world to this team’s success, even if it simply delays the inevitable for him.
First of all, we’re not in the business of guessing or slandering. But, I mean, watch and judge for yourself. The Kings goaltender and Conny Smythe Winner drops three F-bombs during his celebratory speech, and the crowd goes wild. That makes you think you’re either in a select part of Los Angeles or Abbotsford, B.C.
Then, he kind of half-mumbles his way through some words. We can’t tell if it’s his American(ish) accent or what it might be, and he wouldn’t be the first athlete to be bombed during his speech. Still, it might be the most memorable.
Obviously, we imagine Doughty was laughing pretty good.
Should Russia have marched on Warsaw? Should the Poles have tried to beat them up? Should they have even been playing each other? — How cool is Derek Jeter? — How beautiful is Minka Kelly? — What’s better: the NBA Finals starting or the NHL Playoffs ending?
Host: Kolby Solinsky
June 12, 2012
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