Oh Yeah, Los Angeles Has A Hockey Team!

ANAHEIM, CA - OCTOBER 03: Jonathan Bernier of the Los Angeles Kings reacts in front of Saku Koivu of the Anaheim Ducks to the game winning goal of Teemu Selanne during overtime at Honda Center on October 3, 2010 in Anaheim, California. The Ducks won 3-2. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

That's right, Bernzie, you will kneel before Zod.

 As the resident Ducks scribe, I’ll scan the blogs dedicated to teams that are going to give us trouble: Sharks, ‘Yotes, Canucks, etc.  This means that I don’t really pay all that much attention to the activities of the Los Angeles Kings.  Oh sure, I know their key players, their aptitudes, big losses (Frolie had to be a bitter blow) and awesome gains (assigning the back-up goaltender spot to Bernier and reassigning Ersberg).  I even endured the preseason pounding on September 28th when they demolished Anaheim 8-3 and there were only about six Ducks fans in all of Staples.

However, that being said, I (like many of my fellow fans) don’t really give a rat’s arse about the Kings. 

The fact that the Ducks are able to inspire such intense hatred and bile just means we’re doing our job.  The fact that the biggest insult Kings fans can hurl is “DUCKS SUCK!” says it all.  That’s it?  That’s all you’ve got?  Our response to such annoying contretemps is sublime, to say the least.

“WHERE’S YOUR CUP?!”

**piff** I mean, really.  You’ve had just a little more time than “that Disney team” to get coordinated and wrest Lord Stanley from the arms of the old guard.  You’ve had players that are not merely Hall of Famers but are regarded by the entire hockey community as demigods.  You’re smack dab in the middle of a metropolitan mecca of over four million souls. You could woo some of the biggest Hollywood names to leverage better brand recognition.  You have advantages most teams would kill for…

And yet year after year after year you continue to fail and fail again.  Why exactly is that?  Ownership problems?  Lack of decent coaching?  Crap players?  Nah.  Doesn’t add up.

Personally, I don’t think it’s a lack of talent, but rather a misuse of talent and the fact that you are leaning more toward high skills players and shying away from anyone who could be considered a goon.  Oh sure, Simmonds and Westgarth are willing to throw down, but their ability to make sure a fight situation results in a 4 on 4 instead of incurring a Kings’ 5 minute major is not very well developed.  I’ve seen Simmonds engaged in more dumbo dust-ups than I can count.

However, I will give you props that your guys managed to get Matt & Trey to make intro animations (I especially enjoyed the one with Cartman fishing for sharks), Bailey is probably the most entertaining and engaging mascot around (he never set himself on fire), the ice girl outfits don’t have tramp stamps across their derrières, the “Duck Hunter” is always fun to mess with and you have two of the most talented goaltenders in your 23.

Below is Fansided’s Kings writer’s article originally posted back in August and I apologize for the delay in responding in kind, but as I said, the Kings are a bit of loose tape on the end of the blade of a stick I was going to throw away.  My responses are in (what else?) blood red.

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The Ducks suck. Let’s be honest, they pretty much always suck. Even when they’re playing well, they still suck. It’s not hard to hate a team that’s based off a Disney movie, and as much as they desperately try to escape that legacy, it’s a done deal. They’re stuck with it, and they’ve got no chance of getting away. Fortunately for those of us who take pleasure in the downfall of our next door neighbor rivals, this season they look prepared to suck on both a philosophical and practical level. 

Is it just me or did that paragraph read like something you’d hear coming out of the mouth of a 10-year-old kid who just had his lunch money taken by the school bullies?

Key Players:

Bobby Ryan (oops), Ryan Getzlaf, Lubomir Visnovsky, Joffrey Lupul, Teemu Selanne

Did you even take a look at our existing and potential roster?  Vis and Lupul are “key players”?  WTF?

Offense:

The Ducks actually have a quasi-respectable offense, at least at the top end. Bobby Ryan (if he actually plays this season) has some skill, as do Getzlaf, Lupul and Selanne. In fact, if you look at the list of “key players” above, you might notice that they’re all offensive players. Even their defenseman on the list (Visnovsky) is an offensive defenseman. Of course they’re stuck playing some schmuck like George Parros, which is an… interesting decision. Then again, with Ivanans the last couple years, I’m not sure we have much room to talk.

How on earth do you leave Saku Koivu with his improving ‘no look’ passes and Corey ‘I own you mofo’ Perry off that list? Also forgetting the hot out of the gate Dan Sexton?  With regard to Georgie, I’m still stunned how much the guy gets disrespected.  Not only is he the perfect ‘gentleman goon’ (I like to imagine Carlyle intoning “UNLEASH PARROS” just before sending him in), but he knows how to surprise the enemy when they forget that he actually can skate and shoot.

Defense:

A couple years back the Ducks boasted Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer on their blueline. Now? Not so much. There is a gaping hole where Niedermayer and his leadership used to reside, and it’s unclear if the Ducks will be able to do much (anything) to recover. Only time will tell, but frankly it looks like this team is going to be leaking goals. Especially with Jonas Hiller in net. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not the WORST keeper in the league, and can occasionally throw down a legit game. But in all, he’s far from brilliant, and is not going to be sufficient to save this defense.

Pronger’s ego grew to the size of a planet and dumping his kraut arse was one of the best decisions the Ducks ever made – without that move, we wouldn’t have Cam Fowler and Emerson Etem in the fold.  Scotty’s still around and is mentoring Fowler who said he has patterned his style of play after Niedermayer, so with a D that also includes Sheldon Brookbank, Luca Sbisa and the veteran Paul Mara, we’ll have things shored up come opening night.  The only prediction I tend to agree with is that our goaltending is a bit weak.  Jojo’s good, but he’s not brilliant and our back up guy…?  Go watch video of the game on September the 28th and cringe.

Prediction:

Honestly I see the Ducks ending up at or near the bottom of the Pacific Division. They might sneak past the Stars, but frankly I wouldn’t hold my breath. I’ll put the Ducks at 11th in the Western Conference, with a pleasing crash and burn season. It’ll be fun to watch (unless you’re from Anaheim), but it won’t be “good hockey.”

With Teemu and Saku on the ice, Scotty behind the scenes and newly minted Captain Ryan Getzlaf getting sage advice from all sides, we’re going to have a great run.  The combination of incredibly hungry kids being mentored by seasoned vets as well as the fact that we have a high percentage of players who combine skill with hard-hitting grit will put us solidly on track to post.

Finally, when you play the below video, crank the volume and you will hear everyone in the house shout “WHAT IN GOD’S NAME ARE YOU WATCHING!?” You’ll also laugh so hard Molson will shoot out of your nose.

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Tags: Anaheim Bobby Ryan Cam Fowler Canucks Draft Ducks Game George Parros Hockey Ice Los Angeles Kings NHL Ryan Getzlaf Saku Koivu San Jose Sharks Scott Niedermayer Stanley Cup Teemu Selanne Vancouver Canucks

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