As the Kings continue on their "Regular Season Doesn't Matter" '16 Tour, they get a nice little trek through the hamlets that helped them have a Spring off last year. Of course, they get to miss the playoffs this year. But it's not just the tiny towns of Vancouver, Calgary, and Winnipeg. Again, it is all of Canada. And because of the drain they are on the league in terms of not just being mediocre franchises, but also financially a blackhole, the NHL and Gary Bettman may want to start thinking about the tough decisions. I think it is time the league folded Canada.
Let's start with the obvious problem team first. The Vancouver Canucks. This is a franchise that has failed at every turn, has wasted the unbelievable talents of Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and is universally despised. They made the hockey community cheer for the Boston Bruins. We're not talking about a feel good story of ending a century long drought either. Nowadays the Canucks just export their ungodly shit to Anaheim, as if they needed more of it. Vancouver is trapped in a spot where they are just good enough to not load up on young generational talent, but are horrendous enough to miss the playoffs until the sun burns out. Jim Benning deserves his own award for finding that sweet spot of ineptitude.
Speaking of that ability to load up on generational talent, how about those Edmonton Oilers? "This year will be different!" How many times can a fanbase keep lying to themselves like that? And what's worse, the amount of players pissing away their careers in that frozen wasteland should have forced the league to contract Edmonton years ago. The dispersal draft would have revitalized the league and the players wouldn't be contemplating walking in front of oncoming trains anymore. Meanwhile, the city of Edmonton agreed to pay for a new arena so they can watch their shitty product in at least a more sanitary venue. The amount of waste generated by this franchise cannot, and should not, go on any longer.
Their neighbors, the Calgary Flames, however got to live that lie that maybe, "This year will be different!" And it was actually. It was the cruelest of japes the universe has played. The Flames weren't ever really a "contender" so to speak. The bit of fun they had last year was clearly an anomaly, given the results from the season before and this current one. Everyone saying how great it was and how fun they were? The Flames were comparable to that kid who was his basketball team's equipment manager who finally got his chance to play in a game and sunk a bunch of three pointers. It was improbable, completely illogical, and also totally fleeting. Except the difference was with that kid, he recognized reality and moved on. Calgary suddenly believed they were somebody special. Realistically, they are a team with no identity, deprived of actual talent and structure, and are going to be flailing around like a monkey hopped up on cocaine in space.
Winnipeg...I'll save the Jets for another time.
Out east, the Montreal Canadiens finally got exposed for what they were: A one man show. Carey Price deserves every award until the end of time in my opinion for propping that farce up for as long as he did, at as high a level as he did. I don't think there was ever a team in any sport so reliant on one player. The rest of the franchise sat on their collective ass letting him bail them out ad nauseam For that reason alone, Montreal deserves to be folded up like a lawn chair. Wasting one man's unbelievable level of talent like that should be illegal. So adios, pendejos.
The Toronto Maple Leafs continue to be the Simpsons-esque city landmark tire fire that perpetually burns. A rebuilding to be a middling franchise where the city's media eats players alive will be great for a bunch of young players that can't win shit. The NHL probably won't have to shut the team down though, as that tire fire will spread out of control and will burn the city itself to the ground leaving no survivors once Steven Stamkos realizes he left Ontario for a reason and decides to stay Stateside. Hell, even if he went back, I don't think Toronto realizes how screwed they are. There's absolutely nothing to help Stamkos, and he'd probably jump off the CN Tower two weeks in.
The Ottawa Senators should have never come into existence in any regard. Unfortunately, beloved Gary Bettman hadn't come into power when the Senators tricked the league, becoming a shell organization. For a team that sounds incredibly fictional, they were offensive on all levels. Unrecognizable and yet still unbearably annoying. A combo that has been the only well executed venture the franchise has attempted. There's only so many times Bettman can call them a horrendous mistake before the league decides to smother the franchise in its sleep. Which is something they should have done back in the early 90s, but hell if bowl cuts were a good idea, this probably seemed normal too.
It's like the speech by Morgan Freeman's character in The Shawshank Redemption about hope and how dangerous it is to. Canada holds on to this irrational bit of hope that maybe they will be great at something. That maybe just one of their franchises will actually not be a bumblefuck of a blind man covered in sugar stepping on a beehive. They're doomed though. And it's time the NHL stopped with this charade. Pull the plug on these Terry Schiavo organizations and mercifully let them die. The rest of the league will thank you.
Prediction: The Kings continue to not give a shit any longer and lose 3-2 again.