Having lived in Toronto, I've had the displeasure to listen to Steve Simmons for too long now. Steve Simmons, if you do not know, is a sports columnist for The Toronto Sun. In my eyes, at least, he's been notorious for being off-base about many hockey issues and his take on the Los Angeles Kings drama involving Drew Doughty is certainly no exception.
In an article written yesterday, Simmons suggested that the Kings are playing a risky game with Doughty and, furthermore, calling general manager Dean Lombardi petty for threatening to cut Doughty's contract offer each day he misses camp. But that's not all.
Simmonds went on to say that this "dangerous game" the Kings are playing with Doughty could negatively impact their franchise for the rest of the decade. For the rest of the decade? Seriously? The decade's not even two years old! Oh, and Simmons also threw in the notion that without Doughty, the Kings have "no chance" at winning the cup.
First of all, how is what the Los Angeles Kings are doing risky? If another team wants Doughty, they'll have to sign the defenseman to an offer sheet and have to wait seven - count 'em, seven - days for the Kings to match the offer when, in that case, Drew Doughty will have to sign a contract whether he likes it or not. But Kings fans shouldn't even have to worry about that because none of the other 29 teams have made an offer to Doughty - a point I heard from none other than Steve Simmons himself.
As far as I'm concerned, how Dean Lombardi is handling this situation couldn't be anything further from petty. Who has held out for the last three months, asking for a ridiculous amount of money for having one - count 'em, one - Norris-caliber season? Furthermore, who, despite all that, consistently lied through his teeth by telling everyone that he loves LA and wants to play there? Who was it? That's certainly the act of someone being petty and here's the kicker: it wasn't Dean Lombardi.
I'm not denying Drew Doughty's immense talent but to say that the Kings are screwed for the next eight years because they won't re-sign him? If Doughty's so upset about being alienated by the Kings then let him take his dolly and go home. This is a two-way street and Drew Doughty had all summer to sign on the dotted line and now he's the one who has to spend time at the back of the line.
I'm sorry, Mr. Simmons, but this is what makes Dean Lombardi such a great general manager and such a shrewd businessman. If the Kings were stuck with any of their previous GMs, they would have forked over a bunch of money to Doughty with no questions asked only to watch him played a few half-assed seasons before finally playing to his full potential in his contract year which, in today's NHL, would have meant the year 2024.
I'd also be remiss not to say how I feel about Simmons' suggestion that without Doughty, the Kings have no chance at the cup. So, what would you call Kopitar, Brown and Richards? Chicken feed? Nevermind them - what about the defensemen? Johnson? Scuderi? Even Martinez?
I'm sorry but Dean Lombardi didn't exactly catch lightning when he drafted Doughty. When he was hired as the team's GM in 2006, he vowed to make the Kings a better team defensively and that's just what he did - and now, the team is stockpiled with defensive prospects in the AHL, college, junior and even in the East Coast league. It's not as if Doughty is all the Kings have.
Drew Doughty is not Rob Blake and this is not 1998. Times have changed, Steve Simmons. And you can give us the old eastern time zone excuse about how the Kings start their games too late to watch. Well, if that's the case, then I'd suggest investing in a PVR and, if that's still too hard to do, why don't you do what I do and take a nap so you'll be wide awake when the Kings do play? And if you're worried that you won't have time to clean all the egg off your house, we'll send up a bunch of Ducks fans to do it for you because, let's face it, they won't be missing much anyway and then tell you that as petty as he is, the culprit was not Dean Lombardi. But I finally (and mercifully) digress.
In another article, Simmons suggested not to expect the Toronto Maple Leafs to make a playoff run this year. That's essentially the equivalent of telling everyone not to expect Man O War to come back from the dead and win The Preakness. That's not even news! That's just ludicrous!
As far as Steve Simmons is concerned, he should stick to what he knows. Since that isn't hockey, it's anyone's guess where that ends up.