It’s now been roughly half a season since I jumped to the foolish conclusion that the Los Angeles Kings were melting before our eyes. In fact, the Kings have done so well in reversing their bad start that they have now decided, as their acquisition of Vincent Lecavalier from the Flyers shows, that they’re good enough to wallow in a little crapulence for the remainder of the season.
Others may snicker, but I’ve learned my lesson; this time, I’m going to remember that Kings are high cards, and unless someone has an ace to play (Chicago…Washington…Dallas, maybe?), high cards tend to win.
I note with interest the somewhat jaundiced view of Lecavalier in the Yahoo! piece linked above, from which you’d assume that Dean Lombardi just traded for Lecavalier’s rotting corpse. ESPN’s Pierre Lebrun seems much less skeptical of the Kings’ move, and I think I’m in that boat. Regardless of the problems he’s had lately, Lecavalier is a guy who’s done it before: he’s got skills, and knows how to use them, and there’s a strong whiff around this deal that the Kings got a guy who is suddenly much more motivated to get things done on the ice than he was at the start of the week.
There were grumblings about Mike Richards (he just joined the Capitals, by the way, under the apparent assumption that it’s not a stakeout or set-up) and Jeff Carter before the Kings acquired those two disgruntled former Flyers back in 2012, and that worked out rather well for SoCal hockey.
Besides, the once-struggling Kings are now firmly ensconced in first place in the Pacific division, so why not roll some dice in filling a hole. Hell, it may turn out that Luke Schenn makes the biggest difference for Los Angeles down the road. That’s a lot of potential upside for the cost of a prospect and a draft pick. Even if Lecavalier doesn’t retire and let Los Angeles off the hook for the rest of his contract, that sum will be a small price to pay if the move helps bring the franchise its third Stanley Cup in five years.
Did I say small price? Oh, yeah, and the pathetic Flyers will be footing half the bill for both players’ salaries. I’m surprised the Kings didn’t just go all the way and demand the right of prima nocte on Ed Snider’s youngest great-granddaughter as well.
The moral of this story seems pretty clear: even if you’re screwing up, get your act together and soon enough you can be the one dictating terms. It is good to be the King. And, as likely as not, it looks like the Kings-Blackhawks era rolls on.