If you know anything about this blog, you know that for every season that myself and my Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy have bought our Half-Season Ticket Package for the Los Angeles Kings.... they didn't make the playoffs. 7 years (8 if you include the Lockout) of all the fun of being Half-Season Ticket Holders... but without any of the playoffs. This unfortunate circumstance even led to the creation of The Royal Half official tag-line... "CONFESSIONS OF A 7 YEAR LOS ANGELES KINGS HALF-SEASON TICKET HOLDER... THE SAME 7 YEARS THEY HAVEN'T MADE THE PLAYOFFS."
The closest thing I could find to "sad Kings fan."
Well, it's with great pride and honor that I announce The Royal Half is now able to shed its reputation of being a blog that follows a team that is a consistent loser and can't make the playoffs. Presenting our new tag-line!
When the Chicago Blackhawks won their first Stanley Cup in 47 years my immediate thought was "hmm, I gotta think that the Kings are now near the top in terms of longest time without ever winning the Cup."A few internet clicks later and I learned the shocking truth.
The Kings are in a vicious 3-way tie for longest amount of time without a Stanley Cup. And since the Toronto Maple Leafs supposedly won a Cup in 1966-67, the Kings and St. Louis Blues have gone the longest without ever winning the Stanley Cup. I know it's hard being a Kings fan... but could you imagine being a Blues fan? You make it to 3 consecutive Stanley Cup Finals out of the gate as a franchise... and then nothing since.
You know, now that you mention it...
it was the Blues that gave up that easy goal to Orr in the '70 Finals.
So the Kings are now 42 seasons without the Stanley Cup. And to be honest, they only got close once. Heck, the Kings have only ever been in the Conference Finals twice. So now that the Kings have got the whole "making the playoffs" piano off their back... can a "win the Stanley Cup" one be far behind? I think so... as long as they can keep this guy around:
Oh shit... wrong upload.
No, this guy:
10 million a year, huh?
Yeah, thanks but no thanks you crazy Russkie.
Dean Lombardi is exactly the right guy for Kovy-Gate. Because you know what it takes to win Stanley Cups in the Salary Cap era? It takes Brass Balls.
Dean Lombardi may just have the biggest pair of Brass Balls in the NHL.
Glen Sather? Nope. Darryl Sutter? Nope. Bryan Murray? Nope. Dean Lombardi and Lou Lamoriello may have the biggest pair in the NHL. They are taking Ilya Kovalchuk and his agents dream of a 10 million dollar a year payday... and holding it hostage. This isn't about Kovalchuk not being able to make a decision... this is about 2 General Managers who are not willing to back down. It has all the intrigue of a cat and mouse political thriller... especially in the way that Dean Lombardi has used the LA Times and the power of Twitter to his negotiating advantage.
"See, what you've got here is the ability to keep a core group together for a long period
of time while at the same time checking off a box for that elite talent that...."
"Dean, give me 5 minutes with that Russian jerk-off and I'll get him to sign for 3 million a year."
"Give me one season with that asshole and I'll teach him how to backcheck."
Once the Kovalchuk dust has settled... and Kovalchuk has signed with the Kings for a cap-manageable amount of money OR the Kings have passed on a crazy contract that would screw the team in the long term... will Dean Lombardi come out as the best General Manager in Los Angeles Kings history? Well, no matter what happens with the Kovalchuk negotiation that shouldn't be too hard actually. It's not like he has the toughest competition.
Larry Regan: 1968–1973
Jake Milford: 1973–1977
George Maguire: 1977–83
Rogatien "Rogie" Vachon: 1983–92
Nick Beverley: 1992–94
Sam McMaster: 1994–97
Dave Taylor: 1997–2006
Dean Lombardi: 2006–present
Tim Leiweke is no patron saint of patience when it comes to running a sports franchise... but as a long time Kings fan, it's hard to be upset that Kovalchuk hasn't signed when you hear this.
"We really would love to add Kovi to our team, but not at the cost of our good young players," Tim Leiweke, the Kings' governor and chief executive of parent company AEG, said Wednesday night. "Dean is trying here, but we know what we need in cap space going forward to keep our nucleus together. We can't let one guy throw us into panic in a year or two. It is not about cash. It is about cap."
Do I think the Kings win the Stanley Cup next season with Kovalchuk? No. Without him? Certainly not. But are the Los Angeles Kings a step closer with Dean Lombardi as GM to winning a Stanley Cup than they ever were with Wayne Gretzky or Rogie Vachon? Hell yes.