My friend Jay over at Low on Oil is facing a dilemma this NHL season that The Royal Half knows all too well... how to get excited about blogging for your favorite hockey team that just happens to be the worst in the NHL. Sure, the Los Angeles Kings are looking pretty right now... sitting in 5th place in the Western Conference... but let's not forget that this franchise hasn't seen the playoffs in the last 6 seasons or at all in 11 of the past 15 years. Having a playoff spot secured in mid-February means nothing in the NHL... just ask the 2003-2004 Los Angeles Kings that had a playoff spot within reach on March 14th... and then proceeded to lose 11 straight games. So for Jay... this season, his Edmonton Oilers are the worst team in the NHL.
"Did you see that goal?"
"Is Mirtle going to respond to my tweet or what! Jeez!"
The Oilers aren't any better off than the Kings when it comes to the playoffs over the past 7 years. The Oilers have only made the playoffs twice in that time... but one of those playoff trips happened to be to the Stanley Cup Finals. It's not like the Oilers have been bad... but much like the Los Angeles Kings of the early 90's, the Oilers have fallen into the "black hole" theory of NHL teams... not good enough to make the playoffs, but not bad enough to get a Top 5 draft pick. In fact, the Oilers haven't had a Top 5 pick since 1994... when they selected the veteran of 79 NHL games, Jason Bonsignore, with the #4 pick overall. (FYI, Ryan Smyth was selected with the 6th overall pick in that same draft by the Oilers... so that wasn't too shabby.)
M.I.T. Mullet in Training.
But enough about the past, let's talk about the present. The Oilers are in town on Thursday night to take on the Kings and it's been a tough season for the Oilers... there's been injuries, more injuries, questionable goalie signings, some injuries and a winless January. All things that as a long-time Kings fan and blogger... I've gone through specifically over the last 4 years. (Instead of January, it's been the month of December for the Kings) So without further ado... here are The Royal Half's 5 tips on how to blog about a horrible NHL team! Check it out after the jump!
TIP # 5
Don't Get Excited About Beating Elite NHL Teams...
Your Team Still Sucks
Luckily the Oilers haven't had to deal with this at all. Despite 2 victories over the Detroit Red Wings (who haven't really been an elite NHL team this season) the Oilers haven't really beat a team of consequence since their victory over Colorado on November 18th. Back in the 2007-2008 season, the Kings beat the Rangers and Red Wings back to back. And you know what it meant to the overall season? Jack squat! The Kings could have probably finished last overall if they hadn't risen up to the occasion and beat these teams that were obviously better than them. (EDITORS NOTE: Most Kings fans are happy with coming in 2nd to last during the 2007-2008 season so that the team was able to draft Drew Doughty. Scratch that... all Kings fans are happy with this.) So who cares if your team beats San Jose with a 3-2 shootout win late in the season? It's just one higher draft pick that you are another lottery ball away from.
Sure, the on-ice product might be inferior and provide little to no inspiration for your blogging talents... so instead refocus on the world around your horrible favorite team! Why don't you try to guess about the dating habits of your favorite players? Or maybe make light of your teams' current Ad Campaign where they are basically giving tickets away in the desperate hope to have people attend hockey games? Or how about spending some time dissecting your teams 3rd jersey? Either way... you are guaranteed to take your blogging mind off the fact that your team hasn't won a meaningful game in a long time.
It's easy for Oilers fans across Canada and the US to blame Los Angeles Kings forward Michal Handzus for their horrible season. Because when the Kings and Oilers faced off on November 25th, 2009, the Oilers were only 10-11-03... just 1 game under .500 in the young NHL season. And then this happened:
But you wouldn't be doing yourself any service as a blogger if you blame Michal Handzus for your teams misfortune. Why? Well, Kings bloggers have been doing just that for the past 2 years, ever since Handzus signed his 4 year, 4 million per contract in 2007. Handzus had a miserable first season in LA, just 21 points in 82 games and an atrocious -21. Handzus turned it around the next season and then this year... he's been a huge reason why the Kings are where they are. So if your favorite horrible NHL team looks to Michal Handzus for inspiration... well, they could be turning themselves around within 3 measly years. Just like Handzus.
When you can't bear to watch the players on the ice... turn your attention to those people sitting left and right of you at a game. Blog about your experiences as a fan away from the ice... maybe your favorite foods at the game, the fanfare on opening night or what it feels like when Eastern Conference teams come into your arena and there are more fans cheering for the other team. (WARNING: This may be an LA-only phenomenon.)
When all else fails... just write about the awesome freakin' draft pick you are going to get when your team comes in dead last in the NHL. Jay is already doing a great job at this. Remember Edmonton faithful... it's not just about being bad 1 season... it's good to be bad multiple seasons. Take a look at the last 4 drafts from Kings GM Dean Lombardi.
2006 #11 Overall
Jonathan Bernier G - Manchester Monarchs AHL
21-13-5 2.01 GAA .938 SV%
2007 #4 Overall
Thomas Hickey D - Manchester Monachs AHL
Injured, but ranked #1 Kings prospect
2008 #2 Overall
Drew Doughty D - Los Angeles Kings / Canadian Olympic Team
11 G 32 A 43 PTS, 5th Leading NHL Defensman in Points
Sure fire Norris Trophy Winner for next 15 years
2009 #5 Overall
Brayden Schenn - Brandon Wheat Kings OHL
71 points in 45 games
Not a bad 4 players to re-build your team around, huh? So what does this all mean? Lose... just lose baby! If you want to turn your team around (and I am in no way suggesting that the Kings have actually done that yet... I've been through too many losing seasons to be that idiotic) you gotta lose. And you gotta lose big. And you gotta keep blogging about it. Because someday... the team you've been blogging about for a long time... will win the Stanley Cup. And then you'll show them!
So I hope that this helps Jay and the other bloggers from such cities as Edmonton and Raleigh and Toronto (well, Toronto has had some practice at this for a while, actually) on how to successfully blog about your team... when they totally suck. Take it from me, a Los Angeles Kings Blogger... it can only get better. (Offer not valid in Toronto.)