May 14th, 2007, Hammond's site:
OK, this is where we really get into the meat of my talk with Lombardi. This is where he grabbed the marker, went to the board and illustrated, line by line, how the team could look in a couple years. Dean will be the first to admit that it's far from a science, and there's no way to determine how close to reality this turns out to be, but I found it to be a fascinating look into his thought process and a window to how he thinks the Kings will turn things around.
What I wrote:
Over on Inside the Kings, Dean Lombardi mentioned how he plugs people in boxes to set up how the Kings are looking in the future. As an intellectual exercise, I did this with the Kings, and the first thing I did was pencil Kopitar in as our top-line center. Right after I did that, though, I began to vacillate. I mean, right now Kopitar is our top center and best player, but will that always be the case? What I mean is, can he be the guy on a Stanley Cup winning team?
I’m a big believer in what Lombardi is doing with the Kings; I've always felt that the way to build a Stanley Cup team is by building from within and then getting complementary pieces through free agency. But that strategy doesn't work unless you develop that elite-level player. The only Stanley Cup champion I can think of that didn’t have an elite offensive player over the last 10 years were the Devils, but they had Martin Brodeur, Scott Niedermayer, and Scott Stevens’ elbows. On the other side of things, look at the Sharks. I mean, yeah, they were good because of their excellent farm system, but they didn’t really become Stanley Cup contenders until they got Joe Thornton. That’s what worries me: do the Kings have that player? Even if Kopitar becomes the next Mats Sundin, is that enough? I don’t know.
Thanks for making me look like a dick, Anze.
Oh wait, I don't need any help:
Dustin Brown's game has evolved these past two seasons. Kopitar used to be the dynamic playmaker of the two, but Brown has taken it upon himself to carry the puck a lot more this season; that's good, but Kopitar has looked a little lost when he's not the one carrying the puck into the zone. It's like two best friends in middle school, but one came to high school with breasts grown over the summer. It might be better off to throw Brown with Stoll and Frolov, giving that line a guy that can finish his chances, while putting Patrick O'Sullivan and Oscar Moller with Kopitar. The latter line managed to score both goals against the Oilers on Wednesday despite not actually playing together. Sully and Moller give Kopitar 2 players that can shoot well while still keeping the puck on his stick. Brown and Kopitar have been great, but it may be time to break them up.
I started writing for this blog on February 21st, 2007. It is now May 29th, 2012. I've written 1,133 posts. (362 of those were funny.) Today is the first post I've ever written while under the belief that the Kings might actually win the Goddamn Stanley Cup. Feels pretty good, man.
I just jinxed it. I just jinxed it, didn't I? Goddammit.
Prediction: Kings win, 3-2. Goals by Jeff Carter (x3).