The handshake line

Ah, it’s a lovely time of year, ain’t it?!  The birds are chirping, the sun lingers a little longer, and the NHL playoffs have begun.

Now, while I am totally ok watching games 1 through 82, I get that it’s not for everyone; it can be a hard game to follow, especially on TV. Once you know what’s happening, and the ins-and-outs of the game, you begin to really appreciate what’s going on, and you start to fall in love.

Regular season games are a mish-mash of coaches giving minutes to guys they usually don’t, trying different line configurations, strategies, etc.  All the teams do it, and between the shuffling of lines, and bringing guys up from the minors, etc., consistency can be fleeting.

Once the puck drops for the postseason…now we’re talking.

Those starting line-ups are pretty much set in stone; sure, an all star center could see time on more than one line, or your Norris Trophy candidate can squeeze some extra minutes from a bottom 6 guy, but for the most part…you know what you’re going to get.

These teams are battle tested.  They’ve put up enough of a fight to get here.  They’re cognizant of what works for them, as well as what their opponent leans on.

Beards are started.  The refs swallow their whistles.  Scores drop drastically, and you’ll see more 1 goal games than in one month of regular season games.

The best part?

The handshake line.

No other sport has anything close. Two beaten opponents, completely gassed and running on fumes, meeting at center ice to shake hands and exchange pleasantries, as the triumphant squad moves on, while the defeated keep their chins up, and respectfully congratulate the men they violently hated not 10 minutes ago.

Love this time of year!!!  Lace up them skates boys….it’s go time!!!

 

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In Dean We Trust

Those 4 words are panacea to whatever has ailed LA KINGS fans since 2012; Dean has done such a resplendent job of turning our woefully mediocre team into a perennial powerhouse, we have come to trust our GM, Dean Lombardi, implicitly.

Well, here we are, 24hrs after the trade deadline, and the LA KINGS made these moves:

-Traded Jordan Weal and a 3rd round pick for Vincent Lecavalier and Luke Schenn

-Traded Christian Erhoff and his UFA status at the end of the year for 37yr old Rob Scuderi, owed $1.25m

-Traded Valentin Zykov and a 5th rounder for Kris Versteeg

  • My thoughts:
  • -Erhoff was a corpse at the end of the bench/in the minors.  His play style did not fit the Kings and Sutter was clearly not impressed with his lackluster effort.  Getting Scuderi will toughen up the blue line, and his leadership in the room will be a great side-benefit.
  • -Weal was a bit….uh….diminutive for the LA KINGS and the way they play; getting Lecavalier and Schenn was, at first, a push.  This move has gotten better as the games go by; Vinny looks reborn, and Schenn is a big body who isn’t afraid to stand up at the blue line and both are contributing to the team nightly.
  • -I have yet to see Versteeg play, but from what I’ve gathered, he’ll slot into our 2nd/3rd line and contribute; a bigger guy who’s not afraid to muck it out in the corners, and has the skill to finish when given the opportunity. From all accounts, Zykov might not be NHL quality, so shipping him and a 5th for a scorer is a pretty good deal.
  • What cannot be overlooked is that this team has sat in 1st place in the Pacific Division since the year started; our lead is much slimmer now, due to a white-hot Anaheim squad, but make no mistake….these LA KINGS are for real, and they’re built for one thing-
  • Post season play.  7 game series.
  • See you boys  in June.
  • GKG!