Last week it was rumored that after Ron Hextall left the Kings as Assistant General Manager (to go to the Philadelphia Flyers to be head GM by this time next year) that there was a former, polarizing, King to fill the position. Rumors were it was to be Rob Blake. By the end of the week it was official. There was a lot of mixed emotions.
Welcome back to the @LAKings rob Blake! Haters be hating!— Jon Andrianos (@kings_jon) July 19, 2013
Rob Blake and "leader" in the same sentence is an oxymoron.— matthew barry (@bigmouthbarry) July 18, 2013
Rob Blake is our GM now?!? That's tight!— Coors. (@MaceOnUrBase) July 19, 2013
or a lot of confusion. Sorry Dean. Anyways, you get the idea.
I myself referred to Blake as a piece of shit a few times over in a recent post. To clarify, I didn't really hate Blake when he was on the Avalanche. I hated the fact he wasn't on the Kings anymore and was torching them in the playoffs, and winning Cups with stanky ol' Colorado. Then he came back. And sure, I didn't expect him to lead the Kings to a Cup. The Kings were relying on the likes of Derek Armstrong, Brian Willsie, Scott Thornton, Tom Preissing, Kyle Calder, and a rotation of goalies so bad Dan Cloutier seemed like a viable option. A deep playoff run wasn't in the cards at the moment. However, the play of Blake didn't do much to help at all. It was the worst point production he had in nearly a decade, and (for what it's worth) his +/- was -26 and -19 in his two seasons back. His advanced stats were also abysmal, though to be fair everyone's were in this period (except for Peter Harrold).
The worst of it came though during the 2008 off-season. Rob Blake claimed he never got an offer from the Kings, contradicting Dean Lombardi's claim that he extended one to Blake, and then Blake departed for the Sharks. For myself at least, I actually now did hate Blake. Going elsewhere was one thing, but going to the Sharks was outright treason (hope you are reading, Dustin Penner). True, Luc Robitailled even left to go win a Cup in Detroit, but Blake already had a few titles to his name. The Sharks went on to win the West twice with Blake, and finally even had a decent captain for a year. The Kings meanwhile floundered another season before finally making the playoffs in 2010.
Needless to say, Rob Blake was seen as a villain for this. He did little for the Kings in his two year return, left the team still in shambles, and helped the Sharks to almost perform well in the playoffs. But what I found strange with his hiring by Lombardi was that this was the same GM who said Blake ignored his contract offer. Blake of course said he never got one. Working together now? Hell, Blake and Lombardi truly may be some scheming masterminds.
Blake: "I'll do whatever it takes."
Lombardi: "Even if it means being completely hated, playing for a division rival, and actually not winning a Cup here in L.A. yourself?"
Blake: "I said 'whatever it takes'."
[CUE BATMAN MUSIC]
Okay, so it probably wasn't that dramatic. But the years the Kings sucked with Blake (um, the second time around, just to be clear) had them net Wayne Simmonds, Alec Martinez, Dwight King, Slava Voynov, Andrei Loktionov, and Drew Doughty. If Blake had played better, the Kings may instead not have Doughty but have Zach Bogosian instead. Terrifying, I know. The year after he left, guaranteeing the Kings defense would be truly awful with the likes of Denis Gauthier, the Kings drafted Brayden Schenn, Kyle Clifford, and Jordan Nolan. The Sharks' biggest draftee in their years with Blake was Charlie Coyle. San Jose also got bounced in the first round, and, despite Blake's best efforts to prevent them in doing so (two points in fifteen games), almost made the Finals. Blake then retired, leaving the Sharks with Kent Huskins to fill his spot.
So, yeah, sure. Blake helped design the Kings to be a Championship caliber team. At least that's what I am going to tell myself. Or we can go with Blake's assessment in which he doesn't care what people think of him. In any case, Rob Blake is the new assistant GM for the Kings, and does...whatever they're supposed to do. He was a dick to the Kings. He left San Jose in worse shape. He's a grade A asshole. And he's ours again! Hooray! Fuck you San Jose! Bow down to our douche assistant in chief!
Related note: Dustin Brown signed an 8 year extension.