The Quick and the Dead

This post was originally published yesterday on the Yahoo! Sports Puck Daddy site, and my many thanks to Greg Wyshynski and everyone over there on his team for allowing me the opportunity share with the world how truly sorry at least one San Jose Sharks fan is to see the Los Angeles Kings go.

Greg did have to edit down my original for the Puck Daddy post.  Curiously, the more I thought about the dispatched and hated Kings and their fans…well, the more vitriolic and wordy I became. Not the first time Greg, and thanks for taking a gentle scalpel to my screed.

So, please find the “Director’s Cut” below, and if you can actually make it to the end, I promise to sing the song of your choice as accompanied by the trumpet guy that hangs out by the Tank.

Go Sharks!…S.M. Williams

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Ladies and Gentleman,

Just as an update, the funeral procession is currently stuck in traffic on the 10 East but on their way.  Apparently, there were some delays in getting on the road as the morticians were told to match up each Los Angeles Kings with his linemates for the procession…and they got confused.

So, we’re going to get started.

Today we remember the fallen Los Angeles Kings.  Sometimes ladies and gentlemen, the passing of seemingly vibrant and healthy youth, cut down in the prime of life, can be too hard for the living and victorious to bear, but we must muster on.

Well, not all young and vibrant.  We remember you head coach Terry Murray, and we can only assume that the reason you didn’t shake hands with the Sharks players after being eliminated was because you were as bad as Dustin Penner at going to your right.

You did certainly lead by example Coach Murray, and that example was bitching about the officiating like a petulant child and causing your team to moan along with you in unison.  Seriously, about the only thing missing from your post game cry-fests was if you had been dressed in a sailor suit and sucking on a giant lollipop.

Coach, you gave us sage utterances such as, “heck, look, when you give up five goals in one period, everybody’s got to be better” and announced the return of the hump Scott Parse as the tactical second coming of Rocket Richard.

Scott Parse?

I mean Scott Parse, rest his soul, was a mediocre grinder, coming off a hip injury who hasn’t seen the ice since mid-November—I have that exact same guy on my beer league team.  His name is Sully, and he broke his hip while hammered, after falling on the rock climbing wall, during a Carnival Cruise to Baja.  Like Sully, Scott Parse also scored once last year, excepting in Sully’s case, it was on said cruise with a Hells Angels chick

Well, she said she was with the HA at least, but Sully had his doubts and decided his life was worth the gamble.  81.

How about the late Drew Doughty?  Drew, we will miss your grit and creepy playoff beard that never seemed to make it past the former-headlining-boy-band-who-now-plays-state-fairs stage.  We did appreciate the penalty trade off you gave us for Scot Nichol in Game 4, and I haven’t seen a trade that bad since my buddy left a pre-IPO Google to get his law degree.

Drew, we will also miss your multiple uncalled slashes on guys like Devin Setoguchi.  Seriously, watching you get away with all those ineffective hacks was like watching Kobe Bryant using his mind bullets against NBA referees, to not have his six-step traveling violations whistled.

Speaking of ineffective hacks, we remember you Jonathan Quick.  Notso Quick, to your credit you did turn in a couple of beauties against the Sharks at the Tank, notably a shutout victory in Game 2 and a one goal against effort in Game 5—stopping a total of 86 shots over in those two games.

But, what about Games 3 and 4 and the 12 goals against? Seriously, Notso, at what point did modeling your game after Dan Cloutier seem like a good idea?

I mean, did Cloutier have something on you?  Did that fir-trapping sieve blackmail you into letting him wear your gear and impersonate you on the ice?  Did he lock you in Lamar Odom’s locker?

Notso, you were the FUTURE OF AMERICAN GOALTENDING!…oh wait, that’s still Ryan Miller.  Nevermind.

We remember you Ryan Smyth and celebrate your 32nd and hopefully last year in the NHL.  I know with the economy that times were tough, but the Los Angeles Kings did pay you enough to buy an actual pair of hockey skates, versus those white “Play It Again Sports” blades you were rocking.  Honestly, your skates were about the only ones that Mike Modano could talk smack about and were an abomination to the senses.

Source: Getty Images via http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy

They looked like you took your favorite pair of found dumpster tennis shoes and slapped a runner on them with a staple gun.  The sad thing is, you never would have even had to pay for them…just hit up the CCM rep next time he’s around.  With a little imagination, you could have even had a plastic surgeon sponsor your skates, and maybe take that Paleolithic mug of yours into at least the mid-Mesolithic period.  Though, I suppose that matters not now as your carcass sits in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

We remember you Michal Handzus, mostly because every time we saw you on the ice we were trying to figure out when Scott Hartnell had been traded to the Kings, how we missed that story and when had he started to suck.  In all fairness, when life gives you lemons…or clown like Chaka Khan hair, you make hair lemonade.

You made hair lemonade Michal, you truly did.

To Anze Kopitar, thank you for sitting in the Pierre Maguire seats at Staples and playing Angry Birds on your phone all game…and, for breaking your ankle earlier too…that one was clutch.  It must have been really nice for some of your Kings teammates, covered in their own blood and sweat, to glance over at you grinning and giggling like a pre-teen who discovered that Joe Jonas just retweeted her.

To Brad Richardson, thank you for ducking and getting checked into the boards by Jamie McGinn, winding up with a head wound right out of Braveheart.  And for the lost teeth too, as there was nothing better than seeing you on your knees that time picking up your chiclets.

Freeeeeedom!

But, really Brad, that big flop you sold as if somebody in the rafters shot you when Ginner ran you…the one that led to the 5 minute major penalty that your team couldn’t capitalize on?  Well, thank you for providing the official nail-in-the-coffin moment, which immediately preceded the end of your team’s hopes and dreams.

As much as joy of their demise fills my senses, I must pause.  For even when it’s the grief of fans of a hated rival team, it’s still important that we reach out.  In these times though, endeavors of ours to sincerely console wallowing Los Angeles Kings fans on their team’s annihilation can get muddled as we battle our own frightening images of playoff mortality.  When is our time?

Of course, we are not exactly battling the whole frightening images of mortality thing right this second or anything after winning and beating the Kings…it’s kind of the opposite actually.

Still, digressions aside, mortality can at times provide an overwhelming perspective during times of mourning and remembrance.  And sometimes, it can be a fog that even totally frustrates our attempts providing any comfort at all to the grieving as hard as you try, even to a hated rival.  You attempt to convey powerful words of solace, but often, those words wind up being rendered as a clumsy delivery of whispered and stuttered speech.

Sometimes, you’re just happy to see the dead guy go and that’s ok to admit.

Source: Getty Images via http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy

Maybe it was taking glee in the sight of the Staples Center emptying out, seeing downcast Kings fans hanging their heads and shrugging the shoulders of those brand new Jarret Stoll jerseys.  Maybe it was remembering that tool in the lower bowl, wearing the MC Ren era Kings hat, who kept mispronouncing the names of  his team’s own players (HAND-Zeus) or made the “Jack Johnson has same name as singer Jack Johnson!” joke eight times in the span of about 15 minutes.

Brand new funny every time man.

But, just because the Los Angeles Kings had a 98 point regular season and seemed inspired by the loss of their best player in Anze Kopitar to beat the odds, and just because their fans may have fooled themselves into thinking that something magical was taking place, it doesn’t mean it ever was going to.  On this, to be fair, you shouldn’t really fault the land that spawned cinema and the silver screen for buying into an underdog series win story here.

Make-believe is what they do down there, but looks can be deceiving and the Los Angeles Kings and their fans deceived themselves into thinking they had a real shot.

It just wasn’t in the cards, and regardless of the Kings matching the Sharks offensive output by putting up 20 goals during the five games and chasing Antti Niemi three times.  Regardless of the Kings beating the Sharks decisively twice at the Tank, they were just not going to win this series and instead would drop all three of their home games, including twice in OT.

Still, as human beings, if your heart goes out to the Kings loved ones a little right now, that is alright.

Perhaps take them to a Quizno’s, which dot the Southland landscape like so many snowflakes during a beautiful Lake Tahoe winter.  Or it might be as simple as acting impressed when they speak of a new spec script that “Brad” and “Angelina” are looking at, or commenting that their new head shots are sure to get them noticed.

How about taking a grieving Kings fan to the beach?  I mean, if you haven’t heard, people in Los Angeles love the beach.  They love telling you how close they live to the beach.  They love sending you iPhone pictures of the beach and telling you how great the weather is at the beach.  They seriously don’t ever shut up about the beach.

I mean, maybe I don’t want to go to the beach?

It’s like…I went to an awesome Cake show at the Fillmore earlier this year, I mean awesome.  All hits, very light on the new stuff.  Perfect.  Thing is, if that show was the only thing I ever talked about, I’d just be “Cake Show Steve” to my friends who would avoid me, lest I start in about how the only album you need in your life is “Fashion Nugget.”

Still, I must remind myself that is about them, and I can do the beach if helping a Kings fan get through this pain will further the good of the NHL fan fraternity.

Yes, these gestures of kindness to the fallen opponent will be hard for Sharks supporters, but we can be the bigger fans here.  It will try you at times, just like at the memorial for the miser, when you listen to speaker upon speaker wax poetic about the deceased massive charitable magnificence.

Not speaking ill of the Los Angeles hockey dead will come out in niceties such as, “they played us tough” or “they wanted it as bad as us” or “we got lucky” and will float about in the media ether for a day, maybe two.  And just like the tearful faux tributes at the miserable guy’s funeral, it will be all made up by a team trying to take the proverbial high road.

The beauty of those statements is that if your team is the one uttering them, you are the one still alive.

For the Los Angeles Kings, may their souls find peace, may their fans show up for them next year when they are reborn anew…and go not just because David Beckham goes.

Finally, may the hockey god continue to shine their favor brightly upon the San Jose Sharks.

Condolences,

S.M. Williams

Lead Writer

Blades of Teal

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Tags: Antti Niemi Anze Kopitar Brad Richardson Dan Cloutier David Beckham Devin Setoguchi Drew Doughty Dustin Penner Greg Wyshynski Jamie McGinn Jarret Stoll Jonathan Quick Kobe Bryant Lamar Odom Los Angeles Kings Michal Handzus NHL Playoffs Pierre Maguire Puck Daddy Ryan Miller Ryan Smyth San Jose Sharks Scot Nichol Scott Parse Stanley Cup Terry Murray

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