TRH RECAP 37: BORN TO BEAT WILD

KINGS 3, WILD 0

Well, we thought after PumperNicholl's last RECAP that we'd give him another shot. I mean… he couldn't be any worse than Alec Martinez, right? RIGHT?!? Take it away, PumperNicholl

*THE FOLLOWING BELOW IS NOT WRITTEN BY THE ROYAL HALF, BUT RATHER A GUEST WRITER*

It was a risky move by the general manager to hang onto both goaltenders heading into the lockout shortened 2013 season. There was clearly going to be an ongoing distraction with two top-tier guys on the roster fighting for playing time. But give the Canadian and the American netminders credit. Each said the right things and insisted it wouldn’t be an issue, even though one went to the front office and made a trade request in the offseason.

The team’s GM mulled over some proposals before ultimately deciding to wait for a better offer. And whether it was visions of restocking the farm system or getting one more piece for their championship-caliber squad, the team’s fans just salivated at the thought of all the riches coming back in a trade for a goalie that any team would be lucky to have. It was uncharted territory.

I mean for Christ’s sake, the franchise hasn’t had a Hall of Fame goalie in its 40+ years of existence! Somehow all of the fans who grew up rooting for a fringe contender apparently forgot how goaltending cost them a championship during that highly contested Stanley Cup Final in the early 90s.

Today, both the diehards and new fans gained during the recent Stanley Cup run are completely spoiled. They have an All-World, Olympic Medal-winning, Vezina Finalist that they just can’t wait to run out of town. This after he took a hometown discount and signed a cap-friendly contract to stay with the team.

So I couldn’t help but chuckle during the 23-save shutout performance against that Northwest Division team last night. It was right around the time the team’s big trade deadline acquisition assisted on the goal to make it 3-0 when the Twitter comments started getting a little out of hand. As soon as that former member of the Buffalo Sabres set up the play, fans began mocking their star netminder as he sat on the bench and said how much better off the team would be with the younger option in net for the playoff run.

It’s simply ridiculous to give up that quickly on the best goalie your franchise has ever had!

Then again, maybe I shouldn’t be that surprised… I forget how irrational Vancouver Canucks fans can get.

I can’t wait to see what Jonathan Quick says at his 2014 trade deadline press conference.

I’m just glad Los Angeles Kings fans would never do the same.

 

3. Justin Williams

I would gladly put Williams in the top spot like the Kings broadcasters did if it weren’t for one thing. During his five-game goal streak(!), three of his goals have been scored unassisted. I’m tired of watching his puck-hogging game after game, year after year. Jeeze, pass the puck once in a while, Justin!

2. Keaton Ellerby

I don’t know what dirt he has on Darryl Sutter, but this man just refuses to leave the lineup. Despite the fact he played one less second than fourth liner Dwight King (really) in the game, Ellerby still was able to teach us a very valuable lesson: It was all Alec Martinez’s fault.

1. Jonathan Bernier

You were expecting someone else? No, not you, Robyn Regehr. I still believe Quick is the long term answer for the Kings, but right now this is Bernier’s time to shine. He made 23 saves while getting his first shutout of the season, putting the Kings into 4th place in the Western Conference standings. And oh yeah, something about Bernier now being second in the league in goals against average and tied in fourth in save percentage. Now, back to dreaming about who the Kings will trade him for come July…

The Royal Half has been a Los Angeles Kings fan since 1988 and a Half-Season Ticket Holder since 2002. He has seen the following goaltenders play in person for the Los Angeles Kings… Kelly Hrudey, Grant Fuhr, Byron Dafoe, Jamie Storr, Stephane Fiset, Felix Potvin, Cristobal Huet, Roman Cechmanek, Mathieu Garon, Adam Hauser, Jason LaBarbera, Barry Brust, Sean Burke, Dan Cloutier, Yutaka Fukufuji, Jean-Sebastien Aubin, Erik Ersberg, Jonathan Bernier, Jonathan Quick, Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones.You can follow The Royal Half on Twitter @TheRoyalHalf.