Bye Bye Barbera
As reported on Inside the Kings, Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jason LaBarbera has been traded to the Vancouver Canucks for a 7th round draft pick in the 2009 Draft.
LaBarbera burst onto the Kings scene in 2005, winning a club record 5 in a row. And then in mid-November, Jason learned his girlfriend had cancer. He took a leave of absence and in the process, Mathieu Garon took over the starting job. LaBarbera would never be the same player again.
The next season Dean Lombardi traded for and signed the disaster known as Dan Cloutier to a multi-year contract. LaBarbera spent the season in the minors, tearing up the AHL with 39 wins. This should have been the warning sign… Jason LaBarbera excelled in the minors, but couldn’t get it together in the pros. The Kings were unable to call him up from Manchester because of the fear of having another team pick him up on waivers. Yes, Kings fans, there was a time where the Kings were in fear of losing Jason LaBarbera.
He was all but handed the #1 job last season and struggled with injuries and a shitty defense in front of him. This season, he was also handed the #1 job by Coach Murray with a much improved defense… and within 2 weeks had lost the job to Erik Ersberg. When Ersberg went down with an injury, LaBarbera lost the position to Jon Quick.
Through it all… with fans cursing his name and screaming for his head (including me and the Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy)… Jason LaBarbera always kept a smile on his bobblehead–esque face. When Ersberg took over this year, Jason was very supportive, especially after a victory. With him gone, I only wonder what the folks over at Let’s Go Kings will have to talk about… probably about how bad Denis Gauthier and Peter Harold are.
Sending LaBarbera to the Canucks could be the best thing for him. From Burnaby, British Columbia, Jason always seemed to excel playing in Vancouver against the Canucks. Although, this is most probably a stopgap solution for the Canucks as they have an elite NHL goalie named Roberto Luongo manning the pipes for them… once he gets back from his groin injury. But if they are trading for LaBarbera, maybe Luongo isn’t coming back as quickly as thought. Kudos to Vancouver for taking LaBarbera off the Kings hands… it’s the least they could do for us taking Dan Cloutier.