Kings win cup. We now return to complaining about the Hawks

Kings win cup. We now return to complaining about the Hawks

First and foremost, congratulations to the Kings and Colin Fraser. On a deep team from two years ago, he was a guy who didn't get to contribute like he did in LA. On the Kings, a team that speaks volumes about balance, he was a genuine contributor who has a lot to be proud of. Happy as I was to see him hoist the cup, this picture is a lot cooler. There is an obvious segue here into a speech about priorities, but I'm not going to go too far with it. Fraser's season this year is something that a at least a couple of Hawks players should look to as measuring stick of how they carry themselves.

As most of you know, I tend to drink the Kool Aide of optimism and carry a belief that things are not despondent on Madison despite the fact the organ-I-zation has done nothing but flatly ignore our demands that Q be fired and Stan sent back to counting beans. Clearly, the Kings were on a much different path then the Hawks were both in terms of the types of players they drafted and the coach they selected to finally get them over the hump. That said, listening to my friend Joey out here bitch endlessly about years of Kings failure, while they plodded towards a cup, has had a certain feeling of familiarity.

From the start of the season, the Kings were penciled in by quite a few people to win the cup this year. Despite that, all year long there was no end to my friend Joey's point by point dissection of why the Kings STILL sucked, why Lombardi was a freaking idiot and why the team would not win jack. And yet, there they were last night hoisting the cup. Like Stan on Southpark, I feel like I've learned something here today. Congratulations to the LA Kings.

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  • Probably the better question is how the 8th seed in the West won it all.

  • In reply to jack:

    The only qualifier I would throw out there is that I believe the Kings are arguably much better then their record ultimately suggested. This team, I think, underperformed all season long.

  • Kings were only 1 win away from being the 3rd seed. The West was tight all year. At 95 points, they were better than 3 teams in the East. It just shows that you need to gel as team at the right time. A hot goaltender never hurts. Congrats to the Kings. Hawks in '13.

  • I am going to go ahead and point to the obvious. A coaching change along with a really big trade put this team in the right direction. Huh, go figure?

    The kings had a very strong foundation in their defensive style, and opened up with the aggressive mind of Sutter. Plus, as Reno points out, the best goaltender this year.

    I do not find this surprising. After all, we would like a coaching change, a big trade to stir the pot, and a top notch goaltender here in Chicago.

    Congrats to the Kings! That was a very impressive run. It was great to watch Fraser hoist the Cup, and to watch the playoffs from more of an objective point of view. It has only served to strengthen my views on what Chicago needs though.

  • In reply to Hostile Hawk:

    Agreed, that and the fact that Sutter recognized he needed to beef up the third and fourth lines so, instead of holidaying during the All Star break, he went and scouted the Kings' AHL team in Manchester, After that, he brought up King and Nolan and then the addition of Jeff Carter gave them the the roster they needed.

    I could see they were going to go far in the playoffs after watching them pound the piss out of Vancouver. They started to gel toward the end of the season and got stronger and stronger. The key for me was that they were able to win the first games of each series, all on the road.

    For me it was great to watch Sutter hoist the cup. I saw an interview with him in the winter when he first took the reins in LA. He talked about his love for all things Blackhawk. He was almost in tears. (Trivial fact: it was 20 years ago to the day that he took over as the 'hawks head coach.) Not sure how many of you ever got a chance to see him play, but the Kings—like the Flames and Hawks—were eerily similar to how he played the game. 5 knee surgeries and, I think, 4 shoulder operations forced him out of the game too early.

    Lombardi had the green light to spend and made some ballsy trades to assemble this team, kudos to him as well.

  • Well, in addition to wanting to give my buddy a stick tap, I wanted to make a bigger point which is that we are looking at one year that included a big trade and coach replacement. Lombardi has been at his "plan" now for quite awhile, and as my friend out can attest, there has not been a ton of love for the moves Lombardi has made and his "plan" has been considered shit, he has been considered an idiot, and so on.

    To your point HH, we are looking at one season out of six Lombardi has been at the helm. The turn around to where the team is right now was very slow and the foundation was in place before the big trade and coaching change. Arguably, I think it was very similar for Tallon. When he felt the team was close to what he wanted, he fired Savard and signed Q. The following season he went out and signed Hossa and rounded it out with a guy like Madden for the lower end. Like both Boston and now LA, they caught some lucky breaks or we would not be talking the way we do today.

    Food for thought, besides LA, seven other teams fired their coach last year. They are golfing the same as NJ. While we wail and gnash our teeth over Q this year and lack of 8 million dollar cap hit super star signings, I'm likely to continue being the douchebag that points out this is Stan's third year of a rebuild. For three years under Lombardi, the Kings did not even make the playoffs.

  • In reply to VegasHawksFan:

    Points well taken regarding Lombardi. He did however build the Sharks into perennial contenders before moving south, Doug Wilson has just spun his tires since he took over in SJ.

    I believe Tallon was already on the outs by the time Savard was fired and Qs hiring was the Bowman boys backed by McD. Hossa was not Tallon's idea. He was working hard to resign Havlat and once again he was over-ruled by McD.

    It takes good luck, good drafting, and good trading, along with good goaltending, good players and coaching to win it all. You forgot to mention that DeBoer was in his first year behind the NJ bench. Don't think coaching changes affect team play, team spirit, team game? I sure do! Think the KIng's players like Lombardi and Sutter? I do. Think the 'hawk players like Bowman and Q? I don't. So, this should be an interesting summer on PPW.

    I am not going to lose sleep over any missed 8 million dollar FA signings. I think that would be a huge mistake. I am also not buying into the rebuild idea. The core is in their prime. You're not going to waste that in a rebuild. If that's SBs plan he should be relieved of his duty immediately. Just what has Stan built so far? Do you think 6 years is a benchmark for rebuilds? SB cannot judge talent and suffers from a severe case of analysis paralysis. The 'hawks under his watch are regressing, IMO.

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    That's a lot to answer. On coaches, I feel like the time to do it is when you are starting a rebuild, or you are almost done. For better or for worse, SB is not going to do what Tallon did and sign a Brian Campbell like free agent. We can be bitter and bitch about him developing his prospects, but that is what he is going to do. I kind of wish they would fire Q so we could talk about something else here. Firing Q last year would not have changed the ultimate outcome that we didn't win the cup this year. But, when you can't see anything but what you think makes the most sense, it's hard to be objective about much else. My bias, I think it's far more complicated then you guys will give it credit for. Because of that, I don't buy that firing Q and bringing back Niemi is all we need to win another cup. Results may vary.

    10 teams scored >100 points last year, and the Hawks were one of those teams. After blowing up the cup team, I don't call that regression. What has Stan built? Well, nothing yet. I think he did about as well as he could presiding over a foreclosure sale, and I think the team suffered enormously losing Brian Campbell and still managed to come in solidly in the middle of the pack, in a tough conference. For now, on judging talent, I'm going to say I don't agree. Leddy for Barker? Shaw was a fifth round pick. Saad was a second round pick but both were from the 11 draft. He got Stalberg and Jimmy Hayes in return in trades. However, he has A LOT riding on Danault, Clendening and McNeil.

    Six years is too long for a rebuild. For me, this season is a bust if they do not at least make the WCF again. To win the cup again though, I believe they do need to make a coaching AFTER they have a team that is reasonably set. Last year was another year of low risk retreads, and I think he has kept the guys who were making contributions. The downside is that I believe he is going to rely on kids again and that could be a disaster. On the flip side, what's really out there? It's not a hugely strong UFA pool this year and at best, I think there are a bunch of near retread type guys that are not worth three year deals. If the Hawks are back in the cup after this upcoming season, I would say that's a reasonable rebuild.

  • Okay, we'll disagree for now. There's all summer—and maybe more—to discuss the mess in Chicago. I really wonder just who is calling the shots with management.

    Remember that commercial from Wendy's. Where's the beef? Well, that's what I want to see. Take a look at the last 4 cup winners and before Detroit won, the Ducks too. What you'll see is a very strong contingent of North American players. There's plenty of serviceable players available through UFA, but there's also the trade route.

    SB can put all of his marbles on his draft picks, who, by the way, have proved nothing to me. A year ago we were on about Morin and Ben Smith. This year, Pirri and Saad. Hayes and Shaw may be keepers but I'll hold off on that for now.

    Stop signing the Swedes and get some good ol' North American grit. The Detroit euros—Lidstrom excepted—are/were tough physical players. The Canucks' and the hawks' euros are soft. We're starting to look like the Canucks now, and perform like them in the playoffs too. The Bowmans are living in a bygone era and Q may not be far behind. Last I looked, the Wings, although perennially good, have only won the cup once in the last decade. If that kind of good is good enough, then we'll be discussing this for a long time to come. Build your team around the strengths you have and hire a coach who can get the players to perform to those strengths. Don't take someone else's recipe for success and expect them to work with your ingredients. I'm not blaming the euros, I'm just sayin' this team is too soft to compete in the playoffs no matter how many regular season points they get.

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    Well I have to agree that some players certainly player softer then others. Kruger plays they way I like to see as does Shaw. I think it's less about laying people out then it is playing with an attitude you won't take any shit. The first year Stalberg was here, I thought opposing teams F'd with him constantly. Last year, not so much. Morin played with a nice edge too, and paid a price for it with concussions. I don't think he's done yet, but we'll see.

    The one thing I think we have to get used to, whether we like it or not, is that Stan is not going to build a crunching team. I'm not convinced this dooms the team to failure, but it makes a system more crucial. I still stand by wanting to see a more or less settled team before axing Q. Not saying that still can't happen late this season, or shouldn't happen, I just don't want to see a bunch of panic moves.

    Easy on the Canucks talk. They are first only to PHX in being the biggest bunch of bitches, whiners and divers in the league. The Hawks may play soft, but they are not yet at the point of pulling bitch moves every time they think a ref isn't looking.

  • In reply to VegasHawksFan:

    Last paragraph, I agree with completely. I will be ashamed to call myself call m yself a 'hawks fan if they pulled that crap.

    Time to call it a day. I got too much fresh air today.

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