Over at LAKings.com, they are breaking down the best Kings players of the decade by position during this 8 day break for the Los Angeles Kings hockey club. But over here at The Royal Half… we are doing it a bit differently. Yesterday, you saw Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy’s list of his 149 favorite Los Angeles Kings from the past 10 years. Today… I present the 10 Worst Kings of the Last 10 Years as we continue with….
The Royal Half: A Decade of Futility in Review!!!!
Check out the top 10… after the jump!
I’ve been a dedicated Los Angeles Kings fan since 1988, but I’ve spent most of the 00’s (we never did come up with a clever nickname for the Aught’s, huh?) as a Half Season Ticket Holder, from the 02-03 season until the current season. So since the Kings have not seen the post-season at all during those years… that makes me, ChrisKontos (not this Chris Kontos) an authority on all things that suck related to the Kings.
#10. BRIAN WILLSIE – RW
134 games, 15 goals, 18 assists, 33 points
In 2006, at the start of his first season as Kings GM, Dean Lombardi signed right winger Brian Willsie to a 2 year, 1.7 million dollar contract. It seemed like a nice little grab as Willsie was coming off a career season with the Washington Capitals scoring 19 goals and 22 assists in 82 games. But Dean Lombardi must have not looked at the fine print… as Willsie was Alex Ovechkin’s linemate for most of that season. I could have scored 19 goals on a line with Ovechkin. Check that… I could have scored 25. Hell… Teddy Purcell could score at least 5 on a line with Ovie.
Brian Willsie was the Whipping Poster Boy for Dean Lombardi’s first 2 years of futility as Kings GM. I’ve never heard such a collective groan from the fans in the Staples Center every time his name was mentioned. (Actually, I hear that groan for Teddy Purcell now.) Not big enough to be an agitator, not talented enough to be a consistent scorer… Brian Willsie was just really a giant pile of shit in terms of a hockey player. I’ve seen some bad, bad player jerseys being worn by fans at Staples Center… but I’m yet to see a Willsie one. If you see one, send the photo my way.
I despise Brian Willsie. There is no one in the world who could like Brian Willsie except for maybe his mom, and even she probably thinks he should just pass the puck instead of shooting so damn much.
WHERE IS HE NOW?: Currently in the AHL skating with former Kings Tom Preissing for the Lake Erie Monsters. 13 points in 26 games.
#9. SEAN AVERY – C
218 games, 35 goals, 64 assists, 99 points, 667 penalty minutes
I don’t hate Sean Avery so much for what he did on the ice as a Los Angeles King. In fact, Avery was the type of player that you love to have on your team… but if he was on an opposing team you’d do nothing but hate him. He was cocky, aggressive, loud and loved to mix it up on the ice. No, the reason Sean Avery is on this list is because when Dustin Brown was a rookie… Avery would tease him
about Brown’s lisp. And that’s just bullshit.
So, let’s review. The Kings trade Avery to the New York Rangers. Dustin Brown — Avery’s whipping boy — blossoms into a quality NHL player and team leader, as the Kings begin moving forward. The Rangers allow Avery to leave and immediately zoom to the top of the Eastern Conference. And the Stars? Well, they wallow in last place in the Pacific Division.
WHERE IS HE NOW?: Back in New York, opening nightclubs and apparently playing hockey for the Rangers.
#8. JEREMY ROENICK – C
58 games, 9 goals, 13 assists, 22 points
Before the start of the 2005 NHL Season, the Philadelphia Flyers had stacked up their payroll by signing free agent Peter Forsberg. So something had to give. And it was Jeremy Roenick and his $4.94 million salary. The Flyers traded Roenick AND a 3rd round pick to the Kings for future considerations… just to get his salary off the books. For Kings fans… it seemed like a perfect fit. Sure, Roenick was 35 and on the tail-end of his career, but he was a consistent 20 goal scorer, a great veteran presence and would surely provide a great role model for fellow American bruiser Dustin Brown, right? RIGHT?!!?
Pretty sure you can get a good deal on a Roenick Kings figurine this Christmas.
Not even close. Roenick showed up to Kings camp way out of shape, blamed his skates and scored a measly 9 goals in 58 games. He was the type of player that earned former GM Dave Taylor the nickname “Dumpster Dave”; just another over-the-hill hockey player who had come to Los Angeles for sunshine and surf. (I’m looking in your direction Rob Blake.) His time spent in Los Angeles was a complete disaster and a total embarrassment for one of the greatest American born hockey players of all time. What was his best hit during his time in LA? Some show called Leverage.
Given that the Kings also signed Pavol Demitra they might focus on defense instead of signing another winger such as Palffy. In either case, Roenick said he believes Taylor has put together “a team to be reckoned with” and Robitaille said he now considers the Kings to be championship contenders.
WHERE IS HE NOW?: Retired and waiting for NBC to call him to be a color analyst.
7. BRIAN BOYLE – F/D/TALL
36 games, 8 goals, 2 assists, 10 points
It’s not so much the player that Brian Boyle is that infuriates King fans… is the player he could have been. The Los Angeles Kings had 3 #1 draft picks in the 2003 NHL Draft. They took current captain Dustin Brown with the #13 pick, current Islanders cast-off Jeff Tambellini with the #27 pick and 6’7′, 250 pound beast of potential Brian Boyle at #26. Drafted directly after Boyle and Tambellini at #28? Current Anaheim Duck stud Corey Perry.
Yeah, this guy totally wouldn’t have looked good skating with Kopitar and Williams.
Brian Boyle never had a fighting chance. The Kings wanted him to use his size as a defenseman… and he struggled at it. They wanted him to use his size as a power forward… and he started off his NHL career scoring four goals in his first seven games. And then he stopped using his size again. This is the curse of people that have big frames and don’t have the mentality to use it… how exactly is a coach supposed to make Brian Boyle fierce? The Kings never found a way and shipped him off last summer to the New York Rangers for a 3rd round draft pick.
KINGS’ BLOG THOUGHTS THEN:
After Brian Boyle lost his spot in the starting line-up to Derek Armstrong, The Royal Half (the old-school edition) had these thoughts
I had high hopes for Boyle, based on his size, his college career and the scoring he did during his brief call-up last season. He’ll show a flash of brilliant puck handling skills once or twice a game, but overall this season he has seemed completely lost out there. I hope some time in the minors will do him some good.
WHERE IS HE NOW?:
Playing 4th line center for the New York Rangers and starting fights with teammates
6. MARC CRAWFORD – COACH/HAIR MODEL
59 wins, 105 losses
(Yes, an OT and shootout loss is still a loss)
Just the wrong guy at the wrong time. Sure, Marc Crawford was coming off 4 consecutive 40+ wins as the coach of the Vancouver Canucks and he even won a Stanley Cup with the 1996 Colorado Avalanche… (never mind that was a team that you and I could have won the Stanley Cup with.) Crawford was handpicked in 2006 by brand new GM Dean Lombardi to lead the young Kings to the playoffs. And he failed miserably.
Honestly, Marc Crawford is used to being handed a team that is already moderately successful and then improving upon it or keeping it at status quo. (Just witness his “success” in Dallas so far this year.) He is not a patient, teaching type of coach… he’s the complete opposite of current Kings coach Terry Murray. Sure, Anze Kopitar burst onto the scene under Crawford’s watchful eye… but look at the type of hockey player he has become under Coach Murray. Crawford could never find a line combination he was comfortable with… constantly changing players around within a single game. And I couldn’t even imagine what Drew Doughty would have been like last year with Crawford as his coach. But remember… without the complete inefficiency of Crawford as a coach… the Kings wouldn’t have finished in 2nd to last in 07-08… enabling them to draft Doughty. Thanks, Marc!
KINGS’ BLOG THOUGHTS THEN:
When Marc Crawford was hired to take over for former Kings assistant coach Dave Tippet in Dallas, A View From My Seats
had this to say
Most Kings fans will tell you exactly how they feel about Marc Crawford. Under his guidance, very few of the Kings prized prospects developed as hoped. While they were strong offensively, there was nothing resembling a defensive system for the entire tenure in L.A. The fact is he was using the same coaching strategy that helped him win a Cup in Colorado and multiple 40+ win seasons (4) in Vancouver. But the stay in Los Angeles proved that his past success probably had more to do with the incredible talent on those Avs/Canuck teams and a little less to do with his Crawford’s expertise.
WHERE IS HE NOW?:
Coaching the hated division rivals the Dallas Stars
5. CLIFF RONNING, ANSON CARTER AND MARK PARRISH
All 3 of these forwards were Trading Deadline Acquisitions by the Los Angeles Kings in an effort to make the playoffs. And to say they failed… would be putting it lightly. There is NO coincidence that the only 3 photos I could find of these 3 players in their Kings uniforms involved them falling down.
14 regular season games, 1 goal, 4 assists, 5 points
4 playoff games, 0 goals, 1 assists, 1 point
Cliff Ronning was a consistent 20 goal scoring journey-man that stood a mighty 5’8″ on skates. The Kings finished 2nd in the Pacific at the end of the 01-02 regular season, just a mere 4 points behind the San Jose Sharks and faced with a first round playoff matchup against the Colorado Avalanche. And Cliff Ronning promptly got a concussion and only played 4 games of the 7 game playoff series that the Kings lost.
KINGS’ BLOG THOUGHTS THEN:
Blogs weren’t invented in 2002, so something called the Los Angeles Times had this
On Sunday, Coach Andy Murray had Ronning’s playoff statistics posted on a bulletin board: 76 points in 101 games. Ronning, though, hasn’t participated in the playoffs since 1998. He’s looking forward to making his return next month. “There’s still, obviously, some work to be done,” said the veteran forward, who will make his King debut tonight against the San Jose Sharks. “But this team’s played great and if I can help out in any way, I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
WHERE IS HE NOW?:
According to Wikipedia
, Ronning “has participated in the research and development of a better hockey stick” Well, good for him.
15 games, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point
Anson Carter was the kind of Trading Deadline pickup where a team was kinda close to making the playoffs and felt like they had to do something… anything… to make it seem like they wanted to make the playoff to their fans. On March 8th, 2004 when Carter was traded to the Kings from the Washington Capitals, the Kings were 26-19-16 and fighting for a playoff spot. Once Carter joined the team, the Kings won 3 and lost 12… including an astonishing 11 straight to finish the season… and any hope of making the playoffs. Carter had 1 assist during those 15 games. And then next season Carter went on to score 33 goals playing with the Sedin twins in Vancouver.
KINGS’ BLOG THOUGHTS THEN
: From the HFBoards, user “skolgoar”
to say in regards to Carter coming to LA: (You should really read this forum, some fans were thinking Mike Cammalleri or Alexander Frolov should have been traded for Carter instead of Jared Aulin!!)As far as Carter, he is a 5-time 20 goal scorer. He has struggled some in the East, but playing for the Rangers and the Caps can do that for a lot of players. With his skating ability, Carter will fit in well in Andy’s system, since he can get in quick on the forecheck, and while Carter does not lay out big hits or take a lot of abuse in front of the net, he is pretty good in the corners and drives well to the net. Most of all, the Kings are hoping that bringing Carter to LA will give him a sense of comfort, so that he can be productive again. Anson has been very streaky in the past, hopefully he can get into a hot streak and give the Kings the push they need as they head into the playoffs.
19 games, 5 goals, 3 assists, 8 points
By now, it’s a classic Hollywood tale. Talented potential 30 goal scoring forward is acquired at the trade deadline for some young talent in an effort for that team to make the playoffs. And that goal scoring forward does nothing… the team falls flat… and fails to make the playoffs… yet again. When Parrish was traded to the Kings, they were 35-24-5 and in solid competition for a 7th or 8th seed in the playoffs. The record with Parrish? 7-12. Andy Murray was fired, John Torchetti was hired… and once again the Kings didn’t make the playoffs.
KINGS’ BLOG THOUGHTS THEN: From HockeyFights.com… oh just read the stupid line where everyone is SO happy Parrish has been traded to the Kings::
“We feel the addition of Mark and Brent will strengthen our team down the stretch as we battle for a playoff spot,” said [GM Dave] Taylor. “Mark is a proven NHL scorer and will be a boost to our power play.”
WHERE IS HE NOW?: Living it up in Norfolk, playing for the AHL Admirals.
4. VALERI BURE – RW
0 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 points
One of former GM Dave Taylor’s last signings before he was fired, Valeri Bure was inked to a 1 year, 1.5-million dollar contract and then never skated 1 game with the Kings due to a back and hip injury. The picture you see above is the only proof he ever wore a Kings jersey.
KINGS’ BLOG THOUGHTS THEN
: Nada… zip…zilch… zero. Hard to say anything about a player WHO NEVER SKATED ONE GAME.
WHERE IS HE NOW?: A winemaker. Of course he is.
3. ROMAN CECHMANEK – G
Let’s say you are an NHL GM. And your franchise has a horrible time
finding an elite goaltender to take it to the playoffs. A rival GM offers you a goaltender with a career record of 92 wins, 43 loses and 22 ties with 20 (!) shutouts and a 1.96 goals against average over his 3 years in the NHL. (Oh and that 1.96 GAA is the lowest among goaltenders with at least 150 regular-season games since 1943-44.) And let’s say that rival GM says “you know what… all I want is a 2nd round pick in the 2004 draft for this goalie.” Well, if you are that GM being offered that deal… do you make that trade? Well, do ya?
18 wins, 21 loses, 6 ties, 2.51 gaa, .906 save %
I forgot to mention… the reason why that rival GM was willing to give up that goalie for so cheap? It’s because that goalie was run out of town
for being incredibly inconsistent during the prior season, especially during the 2nd round of the playoffs. As we all know, the mind of a goalie is an incredibly fragile one and Cechmanek was no exception. He had dominated at every level of hockey he played… but he was no match for the boo’s from those tough Philly fans. I once saw Roman Cechmanek bend over at his waist to cover a puck with his glove. That was all I needed to see.
KINGS’ BLOG THOUGHTS THEN
: From a CBC article
on the trade that brought Cechmanek west:“Going into the off-season, one of our top priorities was to address our goaltending situation for next season,” Kings GM Dave Taylor said. “After looking at all the options we had available, we felt that making a trade and acquiring Roman Cechmanek, in particular, was our best course of action. Roman will help stabilize this position for the Kings as he has proven to be one of the NHL’s top goaltenders for the past three seasons. His track record speaks volumes,” Taylor said. “We feel our coaching staff will be good for him to work with.”
WHERE IS HE NOW?
: As recent as the 08-09 season, Roman was playing with the HC Trinec
of the Czech league.
Years with a ‘0 that the Los Angeles Kings were in the playoffs: 3
Years with a ‘0 that the Los Angeles Kings were NOT in the playoffs: 6
KINGS’ BLOG THOUGHTS THEN
: Oh pretty much every single Kings Hockey Blog has something to say about not making the playoffs the past 6 years. Some blogs
even wear it as a badge of honor.
WHERE IS HE NOW?: We’ll probably see him in April. (Careful… careful… there is still a lot of NHL season left.)
1. DAN CLOUTIER – G
33 games, 8 wins, 18 losses, 3 ot losses, 3.71 gaa, .873 save %
So many bizarre moves. Forget the fact that Cloutier was traded to Los Angeles for a 2nd round draft pick in 2006. For new GM Dean Lombardi why wouldn’t you trade for the goalie that had so much success under new Kings coach Marc Crawford in Vancouver. But then there was the 2 year, $6.2 million contract extension for Cloutier before the season even started… with Cloutier still having 1 year left on his Canucks contract at $2.55 million. Then there was the switch from his old-school birdcage helmet to a modern goalie helmet. Then there was the hip injury. And then next season being outplayed by Erik Ersberg. And then there was the contract buyout. And then the accusations of being mistreated by the Kings. But most of all… there were the goals. Man, were there a lot of goals.
KINGS’ BLOG THOUGHTS THEN: From the always dead-on RudyKelly at Battle of California:
Dan Cloutier was not good last year. In fact, some of the more hot-headed among us might describe him as a “miserable sac that deserves to die.” (Easy…) He had terrible positioning, he couldn’t get down into a butterfly in less than 3 seconds (he looked like a 70 year-old trying to do pilates), and he basically ruined my life because he sucks and is probably a pedophile. (Count to ten…1, 2, 3…) He finally ended his season in the end of December with a hip injury brought about by extreme shame BUT NOT BEFORE HE RUINED THE ENTIRE SEASON, LEARN HOW TO STOP THE PUCK YOU MISERABLE BASTARD GOD DAMMIT I WANT TO PUNT YOU! (Okay, I need to go take a walk and pet a dog or something. I’ll be right back.)
WHERE IS HE NOW?: Trying to mount a comeback with the AHL Rockford Ice Dogs. Oh… and getting suspended his first game back.
Well, there you go. The 10 Worst Los Angeles Kings of the Past 10 Years. Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments Kings fans! Tune in later in the week for the 10 Best Los Angeles Kings of the Past 10 Years as The Royal Half: A Decade of Futility in Review!!! continues!