Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Future Looks Bright

It is the consensus amongst the NHL that the Los Angeles Kings are the only team in the league with no hope of making the playoffs. I, for one, am surprised. This team, that sits last in the NHL on a meager 53 points, couldn't have started the season more brightly, with a 4-1 win over reigning Stanley Cup Champs, the Anaheim Ducks. Highly touted prospect, Jonathan Bernier was displaying the kind of skill, even guile, that had not been seen on Figueroa Street since the days of Felix "The Cat" Potvin.
So why Dean Lombardi returned Bernier to the Lewiston MAINEiacs, I don't know, but I am pretty sure it sparked the Kings' ugly fall to the bottom of the standings. Considering that the Kings had 8 forwards who would make the top six on most teams, a future Hall of Famer in Rob Blake on defense with his housemate, blue-chip prospect Jack Johnson, it simply doesn't make sense that the Kings' season has gone so cataclysmically wrong.
However, this failure has given promising youngsters such as 1st Rounder, Brian Boyle and AHL All-Star Ted Purcell a chance to show their worth to the Kings hierarchy. The Kings also have one of the best PR teams in the league, headed by model-turned-spokeswoman Heidi Androl. The style epitomizes the Kings' youth movement, with a happy-go-lucky ambiance in the dressing room.
Whilst luck appears to have forgotten SoCal's "other" team, a return to the limelight appears to be in order. Unloading the inflated salaries of Rob Blake, Ladislav Nagy and the recently departed Brad Stuart will give the Kings cap room to play with. The key priority must be to upgrade the defense, building around a core of Tom Preissing and Jack Johnson. As previously stated, the Kings are strong upfront, and will still have a strong top six even if all FAs walk away, and Jonathan Bernier should be ready to have another go as the Kings' starting netminder.
Whatever happens, the Kings look to have set the foundations of a bright future.

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