All I Want For My Birthday….
Today is July 14th. Today is my birthday. I’m turning 30 today. As if this isn’t bad enough, I have to keep longingly looking into the store window as other people buy up all of the birthday presents I wanted. What birthday presents do I want…Let’s start with Jaromir Jagr. There were two big arguments against the Kings getting Jagr.
The BIG concern was how much we would have to give up. Well, Washington proved NOT MUCH. In a trade that should cost Craig Patrick his job, the Capitals stole Jagr out of Pittsburgh for three prospects (as the crux of the deal). Two of the three players didn’t even have a bio on ESPN.com. I follow hockey pretty closely, and I have never heard of any of these guys. I would like to draw your attention to 1996 (I believe the year was). The Kings traded Wayne Gretzky to the St. Louis Blues for Patrice Tardif, Roman Vopat, and Craig Johnson. Within 2 years, Craig Johnson was the only one left on the Kings’ roster, and I believe today, is the only one left in the NHL. And, while I like Craig Johnson, he’s always been a C+ to B- player. He’ll most likely never score 30 goals in a season. We also got a First Round Draft Pick which I believe was either Aki Berg, or Oli Jokinen. Neither of which became a stellar player either. It is often joked in LA that the Kings got two things in the Gretzky trade….. Jack and Sh!t.
The question then becomes, why couldn’t the Kings have trumped that deal for Jagr? It obviously boils down to money. Despite the great showing in the playoffs, it’s obvious that the Kings are back-stepping and trying to cut costs. Let me tell you the problem with this. For the first round of the playoffs vs. the Red Things, I got tickets a few DAYS after they went on sale. When we got by Detroit, I was in line for Kings v. Avs tickets when Ticket Master opened, and they sold out in 15 minutes. I was the 5th person in line, and when I got to the window, all I could get were tickets scattered out up top. I couldn’t even get two tickets together. What does this tell you? When Kings management can prove that they’re going to put a team together that can win, and won’t get knocked out of the playoffs in the first round every year, the people will come.
Sadly, it’s my birthday. Most of the really good presents are already gone. The best present of all, though, would be a sign that the Kings are committed to winning, and not saving money. A sign that we didn’t just tell Robitaille (the Luc variety) to “get lost”. Show me that there is a plan other than saving money. They don’t have to get the biggest toy on the block, but something to prove that we’re moving forward, and not backwards.