April 27, 2011
(Ed. Note: As the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue, we're bound to lose some friends along the journey. We've asked for these losers, gone but not forgotten, to be eulogized by the people who knew the teams best: The fans who hated them the most. Here is San Jose Sharks blogger S.M. Williams of Blades of Teal recalling the 2010-11 Los Angeles Kings. Again, this was not written by us. But you're probably not reading the intro anyway.)
By S.M. Williams, Blades of Teal
Ladies and Gentleman,
Just as an update, the funeral procession is currently stuck in traffic on the 10 East but on its way. Apparently, there were some delays in getting on the road as the morticians were told to match up each Los Angeles Kings player with his linemates for the procession…and they got confused.
So, we're going to get started.
Today we remember the fallen Los Angeles Kings. Sometimes ladies and gentlemen, the passing of seemingly vibrant and healthy youth, cut down in the prime of life, can be too hard for the living and victorious to bear, but we must muster on.
Well, not all young and vibrant. We remember you, head coach Terry Murray, and we can only assume that the reason you didn't shake hands with the Sharks players after being eliminated was because you were as bad as Dustin Penner(notes) at going to your right.
You did certainly lead by example Coach Murray, and that example was bitching about the officiating like a petulant child and causing your team to moan along with you in unison.
Seriously, about the only thing missing from your post game cry-fests was if you had been dressed in a sailor suit and sucking on a giant lollipop.
You gave us sage utterances as, "Heck, look, when you give up five goals in one period, everybody's got to be better" and announced the return of the hump Scott Parse(notes) as the tactical second coming of Rocket Richard.
I mean Scott Parse, rest his soul, was a mediocre grinder, coming off a hip injury who hasn't seen the ice since mid-November—I have that exact same guy on my beer league team. His name is Sully, and he broke his hip while hammered, after falling on the rock climbing wall, during a Carnival Cruise to Baja. Like Sully, Scott Parse also scored once last year, excepting in Sully's case, it was on said cruise with a chick, who I'm pretty sure belonged to the Hells Angels.
How about the late Drew Doughty(notes)? Drew, we will miss your grit and creepy playoff beard that never seemed to make it past the former-headlining-boy-band-who-now-plays-state-fairs stage. We did appreciate the penalty trade off you gave us for Scott Nichol(notes) in Game 4; I haven't seen a trade that bad since my buddy left a pre-IPO Google to get his law degree.
Drew, we will also miss your multiple uncalled slashes on guys like Devin Setoguchi(notes). Watching you get away with all those ineffective hacks was like watching Kobe Bryant using his mind bullets against NBA referees to not have six-step traveling violations whistled.
Speaking of ineffective hacks, we remember you Jonathan Quick(notes). Notso Quick, you did turn in a couple of beauties against the Sharks at the Tank, notably a shutout victory in Game 2 and a one goal against effort in Game 5—stopping a total of 86 shots over in those two games. But what about Games 3 and 4 and the 12 goals against?
Seriously, Notso, at what point did modeling your game after Dan Cloutier(notes) seem like a good idea? I mean, did Cloutier have something on you? Did that fir-trapping sieve blackmail you into letting him wear your gear and impersonate you on the ice? Did he lock you in Lamar Odom's locker?
We remember you Ryan Smyth(notes) and celebrate your 32nd and last year in the NHL. I know with the economic times were tough, but the Los Angeles Kings did pay you enough to buy an actual pair of hockey skates instead of those white "Play It Again Sports" blades you were rocking. Honestly, your skates were about the only ones that Mike Modano(notes) could talk smack about and were an abomination to the senses. They looked like you took your favorite pair of found dumpster tennis shoes and slapped a runner on them with a staple gun.
The sad thing is, you never would have even had to pay for them…just hit up the CCM rep next time he's around. With a little imagination, you could have even had a plastic surgeon sponsor your skates, and maybe take that Paleolithic mug of yours into at least the mid-Mesolithic period. Though, I suppose that matters not now as your carcass sits in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
We remember you Michal Handzus(notes), mostly because every time we saw you on the ice we were trying to figure out when Scott Hartnell had been traded to the Kings, how we missed that story and when he started to suck.
In all fairness, when life gives you lemons…or clown-like Chaka Khan hair, you make hair lemonade. You made hair lemonade Michal, you truly did.
To Anze Kopitar(notes), thank you for sitting in the Pierre Maguire seats at Staples and playing Angry Birds on your phone all game…and, for breaking your ankle earlier too…that one was clutch. It must have been really nice for some of your Kings teammates, covered in their own blood and sweat, to glance over at you grinning and giggling like a pre-teen who discovered that Joe Jonas just retweeted her.
To Brad Richardson(notes), thank you for ducking and getting checked into the boards by Jamie McGinn(notes), winding up with a head wound right out of "Braveheart." And for the lost teeth too, as there was nothing better than seeing you on your knees that time picking up your chiclets. But that big flop you sold as if somebody in the rafters shot you when Ginner ran you…the one that led to the 5 minute major penalty that your team couldn't capitalize on? Thank you for providing the official nail-in-the-coffin moment, which immediately preceded the end of your team's hopes and dreams.
As much as joy of their demise fills my senses, I must pause. For even when it's the grief of fans of a hated rival team, it's still important that we reach out. In these times though, endeavors of ours to sincerely console wallowing Los Angeles Kings fans on their team's annihilation can get muddled as we battle our own frightening images of playoff mortality. When is our time?
Of course, we are not exactly battling the whole frightening images of mortality thing right this second or anything like that after winning and beating the Kings…it's kind of the opposite actually.
Sometimes, you're just happy to see the dead guy go and that's OK to admit.
Maybe it was taking glee in the sight of the Staples Center emptying out, seeing downcast Kings fans hanging their heads and shrugging the shoulders of those brand new Jarret Stoll(notes) jerseys. Maybe it was remembering that tool in the lower bowl, wearing in the MC Ren era Kings hat, who kept mispronouncing the names of his team's own players ( HAND-Zeus) or made the "Jack Johnson has same name as singer Jack Johnson(notes)!" joke eight times in the span of about 15 minutes.
Not speaking ill of the Los Angeles hockey dead will come out in niceties such as, "They played us tough" or "they wanted it as bad as us" or "we got lucky" and will float about in the media ether for a day, maybe two. And just like the tearful faux tributes at the miserable guy's funeral, it will be all made up by a team trying to take the proverbial high road.
The beauty of those statements is that if your team is the one uttering them, you are the one still alive.
For the Los Angeles Kings, may their souls find peace, may their fans show up for them next year when they are reborn anew…and go not just because David Beckham goes.
Finally, may the hockey gods continue to shine their favor brightly upon the San Jose Sharks.