It’s been just over two months since the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup and the only disappointing part of this is that because of the all-too-likely lockout approaching, the Kings’ banner-raising ceremony will be delayed. How long it’s delayed obviously depends on the status of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement but to point out the obvious, fans everywhere would rather just a half-season if that’s the only alternative to no season at all.
Should there be a delay to the coming season, it would leave a significant void in our lives. Saying that may seem a tad extreme but it’s accurate. For the last few seasons, I have, for all intents and purposes, scheduled my life around the Kings. Being that I live on the east coast, I would take a two- or three-hour nap before the game would start (usually at 10:30pm). On every game day, my mind would be set to just one thing: the Los Angeles Kings. Of course, that’s not to say that if someone says hi to me, I won’t answer by saying, “What’s that about Kopitar?” For the routine I set along with the excitement I feel during the regular season, that excitement grows exponentially come to the playoffs – and I doubt I’m speaking just for myself.
But with the impending lockout, what are we to do? I’m not insinuating that the end of the world is near. We all have our own lives and can manage without hockey for a little while but with that said, there’s just such a void that nothing else but hockey can fill. This year is especially tough because the Kings are the reigning champions and what will it mean if Los Angeles should have to wait until 2013-14 to see the team begin defense of their title?
While it can be comforting to know that a lockout will not only give the Kings players more time to recuperate from their Cup hangover and that Kings fans were able to see their team win it all instead of having to wait however long, no fan is looking at the bright side of a lockout – and rightfully so. While the cancelation of the 2004-05 season infuriated fans, Kings’ fans could take some comfort knowing that their team’s on-ice product was pretty abysmal. With that said, though, they still wanted to see their team and the lockout took that right away from them. It’s the same this time around only that the Los Angeles Kings are a much better team who shocked the entire hockey world just months earlier, winning it all when very few predicted them to avoid an opening-round sweep much less winning a single round.
As angry as I am with both Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr (moreso with the former), I’m in no mood to go any tangents. While I’m disillusioned at how the two sides can be so far apart on a deal when just a few months ago, the overall attitude was a positive one, that there would definitely be hockey in 2012-13 and no one will have to worry about anything, I’m just in that mood anymore. Mostly, I’m disappointed that it’s come to this. While we have not yet reached the September 15 deadline, most are skeptical of a new deal being reached in the next three weeks. What’s even more disappointing is how the collective attitude can go from positive to negative so quickly (that’s how I see it, at least).
While we don’t have to wonder when the Los Angeles Kings will win their first Stanley Cup anymore, it’s hard not to feel let down by these circumstances. While the lockout isn’t a personal shot at the Kings organization, it really is too bad that we will likely have to wait to see the Cup champs not only defend their title but do so with their core still in tact, which is more than we can say about the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks, for example.
It’s three weeks and counting until the current CBA expires and at this point, all we can do is hope. Personally, I’ll be popping in my Miracle DVD because, with the way things have gone, everyone involved in hockey right now needs nothing short of one.
Photo: Courtesy of Chris Young/The Associated Press, AP Photo