There is a difference between what I think will happen and what I think should happen. In my past few posts I have remarked on trades or firings. Let me be clear, those are the things that I have a feeling will happen. They aren’t necessarily things I think should happen. To be clear even further, I am not am member of Dionne Warwick’s Psychic Network, nor do I even like making predictions about what will happen at all.
The unfortunate truth about being a hockey fan is that we are accustomed to certain responses from GMs. I think Toronto fans have been expecting Ron Wilson to get fired from the moment he became Head Coach. Is it fair? No. A few years ago the Carolina Hurricanes were off to a bad start and Cup winning coach Peter Laviolette was fired. I still don’t like that decision, but it’s important to note that decision wasn’t solely made based on wins, losses, and overtime losses. What exactly influenced that decision we likely will never know because we’re fed the same stuff as always, “This team needed to move in a new direction,” or, “We decided it would be mutually beneficial to move on…”
Yet, we’re so trained to expect this action that we sadly don’t even question it. It’s easy to say, “Hey, they were losing. It was time for him to go,” and move on. We don’t need all the details, but as fans we must to realize it was more than just numbers.
So, what about these Kings? Not doing so hot right now, and like I said before, since the Western Conference is so tightly packed, every point counts. Is it time to panic? No, put the gun down.
How many times do you look at the standings at the halfway point and see the exact 8 teams at the top that will make the playoffs? Rarely. Teams go up, teams go down. The Kings aren’t in a terrible position, just not one that fans thought they would be in based on last season’s success. However, sometimes you have to take a step back in order to take two forward.
The other night, Rob Scuderi pointed out that the Pens were in the same sort of position at the halfway point the year they won the Cup. Of course, that was also the year they fired Michel Therrien. Okay, so let me be clear; I am not suggesting the Kings are poised to win the Cup this year, nor am I suggesting the firing of Terry Murray.
We all know that Kings GM Dean Lombardi is a long-term planner. He’s so long-term that he admonished himself for playing Jonathan Bernier for 3 games, a year ahead of schedule. He’s been patient and the patience has paid off supremely. He’s built a great young core, filled it out with some key veterans, and developed players into solid performers.
So, while I expect some sort of reaction from Lombardi, as he is a NHL GM and thereby susceptible to the same reactionary moves as any, it’s less likely in his case. ”Lombardi” and “rash decision” aren’t likely to share the same headline anytime soon unless he stumbles into a patch of poison ivy.
The trade deadline is in roughly 5 weeks. A lot can change in that time, so before you turn in your application for L.A. Kings head coach or start burning your Wayne Simmonds Jersey, take a breath.
And know that the team is in better hands than yours or mine.
About the Author
Written by Eric Cooney
Eric Cooney was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina, and lives in Los Angeles, CA. He shares his thoughts on the NHL as one man who is a northerner, southerner, east coaster, and west coaster. Follow him on Twitter @EricCooney