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Cal Worthington and his dog Spot > Los Angeles Kings

D.C. may have Eastern Motors, but they got nothing on Cal Worthington and his dog spot. If you have lived anywhere in California over the last 20 years you have been bombarded by this random car salesman hawking the worst looking automobiles imaginable while riding everything from grizzly bears to a flock of penguins. The commercials usually aired in the coveted 1-4AM time slot, better to appeal to the less than sober consumer.

According to, the Los Angeles Kings are sitting at a 2008-09 salary of $29.5M. A whopping $27M under the $56.7M salary cap and $11.2M under the $40.7 million salary cap floor. With 10 NHL forwards under contract and 4 NHL defenseman, a dip into free agency and the continuation of Dean Lombardi's rebuilding youth movement are definite possibilities. With the free agent ranks approaching Who's Left? territory, launching an offer sheet on restricted free agents becomes more attractive by the minute.

Before Barry Melrose accepted the head coaching job with Tampa Bay, he said that he thought the open San Jose Sharks position was the best one available in the NHL. New Kings head coach Terry Murray takes over a Los Angeles Kings team that tied Tampa with only 71 points, but based on win totals the Lightning (31-42-9) edge out the Kings (32-43-7) as the worst team in the NHL. While the Lightning have gone off the deep end signing almost 2 teams worth of NHL forwards, the Kings are another story. During the press conference today announcing Terry Murray's hiring, general manager Dean Lombardi said, "I think this is the toughest job in the National Hockey League right now". With an incomplete NHL roster, a hole in the crease and several young defenseman expected to fill significant roles on the blueline there are significant question marks for Los Angeles moving forward. Unless 2008-09 is going to be the season-long campaign to draft John Tavares first overall, Lombardi needs to identify targets, specifically a goaltender (Khabibulin?) and a veteran NHL defenseman who can absorb minutes like brawnee paper towels, then work the phones to make it happen.

If you need a better goaltender, go see Cal. For the best deals on defenseman, go see Cal. If you want your buyout payments low, if you want to save some dough, go see Cal, go see Cal, go see Cal. Any player, any team, go see Cal. If you want one who uses afrosheen, go see Cal. Its a giant supermart, save a bundle play it smart, go see Cal, go see Cal, go see Cal.

[Update] Murray to be introduced as the Kings' new coach, Flyers assistant will be the 22nd man to hold the top job for L.A., succeeding Crawford - Los Angeles Times.