Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Mere 82 Games Ago

Throughout training camp in September the Kings players were sporting shirts reading The Only Reason We're Here. At first, some wondered what it meant. However, it quickly became apparent that the team was now on the same page as fans and management - a return to the playoffs was a must this season.

The majority of experts had the Kings finishing out of the playoffs yet again. The more optimistic ones had the Kings finishing 8th...maybe 7th.

Yet, let's take a look at what the Mayor said in his October 3, 2009 article just prior to Game One:

My fearless predictions for the upcoming season:

Western Conference
1. San Jose Sharks
2. Chicago Blackhawks
3. Calgary Flames
4. Detroit Red Wings
5. Vancouver Canucks
6. Los Angeles Kings
7. St Louis Blues
8. Dallas Stars
I then went on to explain why I felt the Kings would not only make the playoffs, but actually finish HIGHER than 7th or 8th.

Overall, I would say things unfolded pretty much as expected.  Sure, Colorado made the playoffs.  Nobody saw that coming.  I challenge anybody to find a news source claiming the Avs would make the playoffs.  Calgary and Vancouver were seen as 'even' coming into the season.  You could have flip-flopped those two in the standings.  In the end, Calgary just didn't come together as quickly as the Canucks did.

In hindsight, the one team that should have been given more respect was the Phoenix Coyotes.  They were in the playoff race for the first 2/3 of last season.  Then the wheels fell off.  The coaching change was bound to do them some good - and it did.  Overlooking them was a mistake.

As for St Louis...well, as Andy Murray said in his interview with the Mayor - expectations were just too high for the Blues.  Unrealistic expectations.

Back to the Kings...all season long I've written about the importance of EVERY SINGLE POINT.  The Kings should have finished fifth in the West, perhaps even fourth if you really look at things.  They simply gave away too many points throughout the season. 

They can't continue to give games away if they expect to upset Vancouver in the first round.

In another article (posted here) where I made some predictions on player performance I had penciled Michal Handzus in for 25 goals and Ryan Smyth for 27.  Each fell just a few shy of those numbers.  Too bad they couldn't have chipped in just a couple more...if they had, the Kings probably would be playing Phoenix later this week instead of traveling to Canada.

That same article featured these words about Anze Kopitar - read carefully, THE KINGS NEED YOU, need you to play big every night, need you to become dominant.

It's probably even more true now than it was a mere 82 games ago.

The Mayor

1 comment:

  1. The "second season" starts now. Time to put the first season behind us and move on.