Tuesday, June 21, 2011

GM's Are From Mars, Writers Are From Venus

When all the chatter broke out yesterday about Ryan Smyth's future with the Kings, it only took a matter of hours for all the rumor and innuendo to reach critical mass and leave me completely disgusted in the process. I know the season is finally over and hockey withdrawals have started in earnest, but that's really no reason for people to lose their minds.

"Didn't I take enough abuse for you guys this season?"

The more I read last night, the more I became convinced NHL general managers speak a different language than the writers that follow them. No one seems to believe that a GM actually means what he says, so everyone has to offer their personal interpretation on what every blessed word means, as if they have some kind of secret decoder ring to help ferret out the "real" truth.

Quisp at Jewels From The Crown created the grandaddy of decoder rings in this post yesterday. And Surly and Scribe have made a name for themselves attempting to crack the "Kings-speak" code. In these two cases, I at leave give these folks credit for attempting to take the words given and extract some logical meaning, even if it is their version of logic.

You certainly can't say the same about Helene Elliott, who abandoned the premise of interpretation and logic and simply inserted her own version of the truth as accepted fact. Nothing like quoting a "person with knowledge of the situation but not authorized to comment publicly" as proof that Ryan Smyth wants out of Los Angeles. Is there a better definition of hearsay? And don't even get me started on her opinions of how the Doughty negotiations are going...

Possibly the only voice of complete reason is Matt Murray of Life in Hockeywood, who provided one of my favorite Facebook status updates of this whole mess:

One of the premises of the best-seller Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus is that men communicate in a very literal fashion -- they say what they mean. There isn't hidden meaning behind the statement "I'm fine, honey." With women (at least the book asserts this) words always have emotion tied to them and the actual words therefore have underlying meaning. So a woman saying "I'm fine, honey" may mean anything from she's OK to she's not good at all but is just afraid to tell you what's bothering her.

Many hockey writers -- and you notice I didn't say bloggers because "mainstream media" folks like Helene Elliott do it too -- seem to operate on the assumption that GM's are actually Venutians. They believe some cloak and dagger conspiracy exists buried in every quote and their job is to find it an expose it. But let's assume for just a minute that when a GM answers a question, there is no hidden meaning. Dean Lombardi admitting to Helene Elliot that he and Ryan Smyth have had conversations about a trade does not mean Smyth "wants" one. "Wants" is a word chosen to embellish the basic truthful statement that there have been conversations.  Adding a word to a statement doesn't make it true.

So the only thread of truth in every single one of these blog posts in the past 24 hours is that conversations have taken place. No one really knows the tone of those conversations because they weren't there, so they can only guess. And speculation leads to the wild escalation of rumors that quickly gets ridiculous.

So back to Ryan Smyth and the Kings. Are there reasons the Kings would want to trade Smyth? Yes. If he knew he was going to be traded, would Ryan Smyth suggest a particular team he wanted to join? Of course, since he has a no-trade clause. Does any of this mean he hates LA, doesn't think we appreciate him and is demanding to get the heck out of Dodge? Of course not. Because Ryan Smyth is a classy guy, and like most players who have been around the block a few times, he understands that at the end of the day, hockey is a business.

For my part, I choose to believe Ryan Smyth when he says he has not asked for a trade. And if this trade does happen, I wish him nothing but the best wherever he goes. He's been a warrior for this organization and earned my respect and admiration. Plus I'll miss him tossing pucks over the glass to the hockey-crazed little kids we watch warm-ups with at games.

I just hope the Oilers don't convince Dean Lombardi to take on Sheldon Souray. Lord only knows how the blogosphere would explode then...


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ten Lessons From The Stanley Cup Playoffs

If your team doesn't make it to the Stanley Cup finals and one of their rivals does, you only have one choice -- root against your nemesis. So as a die hard Kings fan, I watched this years series hoping -- no, actually praying -- for the Vancouver Canucks to lose.

That may sound bitter to some of you, but I don't hate the Canucks JUST because they ended the Kings playoff hopes 2 seasons ago. I actually really started hating the Canucks this season for both their classless behavior on the ice and the ridiculous stunts their arrogant fans pulled at Staples Center this season. Prior to this year, I always enjoyed the Canucks fans that came to LA. They were drunk but mostly harmless and always complimentary of my team. Apparently winning made them forget where they came from and they morphed into jerks this season. So you get as good as you give, my friends. You're off my favored fan base list.

Blow it out your hole, buddy!

First and foremost, I'd like to thank Tim Thomas and the Boston Bruins for answering my prayers and denying the Canucks their date with Stanley. But I'd also like to thank both teams for teaching all hockey fans and their respective teams some important lessons during this epic seven game series. I hope the Kings were watching and taking notes, but just in case, here are my top 10 lessons from the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.
  1.  Having a French-Canadian goalie does not guarantee your team a Stanley Cup.  Having one that works well under pressure does.
  2. Players with talent but without mental toughness don't get you very far (see #1).
  3. Your biggest stars can set records all season long, but it doesn't matter if they don't show up when it counts.
  4.  Solid defensive hockey may not be sexy, but it wins championships. 
  5. If you're a player, don't say anything in an interview someone can hang you with later.
  6. Unless you're Bailey, don't bite people.
  7. Furry mascots are good. Latex covered ones are not.
  8. Bring a little piece of home with you to every road game and use it to your advantage.
  9. The President's Trophy curse is REAL. There is nothing uncool about being a runner-up for the smaller prize if it gets you the big one.
  10. When the Kings finally get to raise The Cup, stay classy and don't do anything that resembles THIS.
The new season starts NOW!


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Quick, Stoll Are THN Award Winners

The May 16th issue of The Hockey News listed the magazine's best performances for the 2010-2011 regular season, and two Kings made the cut -- at least when it comes to shoot-outs.

Jarret Stoll was named Best Shootout Shooter and Quick got the nod as Best Shootout Goalie. Here's THN's write-up on their awards.

The Hockey News - May 16, 2011

And a bonus photo of our #1 goalie is icing on the cake.

The Hockey News - May 16, 2011

Congrats boys!


Friday, June 3, 2011

Kings and Their Castles

You may have already seen video of Jarret Stoll's segment for MTV's lifestyle show "Cribs," but did you know he's not the only King who's had his house featured on the show?

If you've been a Kings fan for a while, you may recall Michael Camalleri shot an episode of "Cribs" back in 2008. I dug up Cammy's show for a little comparison.

Watch them both, then tell me which King has the nicest castle -- Stolly or Cammy?


Thursday, June 2, 2011

ESPY Awards

If you're a fan of all sports, including hockey, the Kings have an offer you can't refuse.

They're going fast, but the Kings have group deals available on tickets to the 19th annual ESPY AWARDS hosted by Seth Meyers. The show celebrates the best sports stories of the year.

The 2011 ESPY’S will take place live on Wednesday, July 13th at 6 p.m. from the Nokia Theatre at L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles. Here is the group pricing information:

If you're interested in getting a group together, contact Ryan Kim at the Kings ticket office. Seats are going fast!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Blog Is Back!

It's been an embarrassingly long time since The Queen's last blog post. Fan Appreciation Day, in fact. The last home game of the regular season. What happened?

I'm sure many of you shared the same emotions I did that night. "We're in the play-offs, but did we have to end the regular season with a loss to the DUCKS? Thank God we don't face them in the first round of the play-offs." I shudder even now thinking about that night.

After that, it was the crazy roller coaster ride of the Shark series and another out in the first round. Just like the players, I was gassed. Toast. Done. Couldn't muster the words for anything. I needed a break from hockey -- at least writing about it.

But after a month off, it's time to get back to business! There is plenty happening in the Kings world even when they boys aren't on the ice, and Kings Court is here to bring it to you.

For starters, the Kings official website has a nifty calendar on the home page with important dates every Kings fan should know. We'll keep you updated on a lot of these as summer progresses.

The off-season is also a great time to write about some aspects of Kings fandom that go beyond games, so look for some new feature topics coming soon. I'll also be starting player reviews -- just not the kind you think.

So for now, keep enjoying your summer but check in here when you can. I hope you enjoy the return of the blog and thanks for supporting Kings Court!