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Updates, Questions, & An Introduction

1) Jason LaBarbera was activated on Monday in time for the home game against the Avalanche.
2) Jonathan Quick was sent back to Manchester.
3) The Aves rolled through town and handed the Kings their 4th loss in a row. Just one more loss and they're gonna match their season high of 5 losses a row. Not a record you want to be breaking, guys.
4) Jaroslav Modry apparently has started his own blog! Well, on THN's site. His first entry is about his pairing with Jack Johnson. Man, with all these articles out on JJ, you'd think this guy was some stellar athlete or something! =P

I must address the recent piles of excrement the Kings have been producing that they call "games." With the Caps getting a point in last night's game against the Red Wings, they have moved 3 points higher in the standings. The Coyotes have been on a tear lately. They handed the Rangers an embarrassing loss beating them 5-1. This win puts them 4 points ahead of the Kings.

So, tell me, how can a team look decent and promising on paper, but look like lost little boys on the ice? What’s the deal? I read an article a little bit ago where Jack Johnson said that he'd never played on a losing team before. (Sorry, I'm usually pretty good at citing where I read stuff, but this was probably more than a week ago.) So we have to step back and remember that individually these players shined while growing up on their respective teams. There is a verifiable reason why each of these players is on this roster. Everyone knows the role they’re supposed to be playing for this team for this year. But it looks as if Crawford is trying to fit squares together to make a circle. Something is not right in Hollywood, well, more like downtown LA. But I’m not here to argue logistics. Or maybe I AM.

Since this post on my thoughts on coaching, the Kings have played 8 games and they have gone 2-6-0. What’s the plan here, Crawford? Where are you leading these players? Like your lines, are you tweaking your long-term plan? You’ve gotten zero points in the last 4 games. What are you doing differently from 4 games ago to prepare for Detroit at The Joe tomorrow? Yeah, they were sent to the shootout by the Caps, but what is one mediocre game by the top team in the West? They will just wipe their brows and move on since they were able to leave that arena with two points.

I mean, take a look at this line during a practice; Frolov, Cammalleri, and O'Sullivan. Tell me how bad ass that line looks. They look solid, but something happens between here and a game where the meshing doesn't continue. What's the deal?

An Introduction:
But let’s take a deep breath and look somewhere else for some inspiration. The story of this player I’m going to talk about is what makes me love this sport even more. Chicago Blackhawks’ Jake Dowell is on IR with a broken foot. But recent events following this placement absolutely warm my soul. On November 22nd he was recalled from his AHL team in Norfolk to Chicago and scored his first NHL goal short-handed against Calgary. A couple of nights later against the Oil, he took a puck off his skate and brushed off the effects like a man on a mission. His mission? To get back to Chicago so that his parents could see him play on NHL ice in person.

There have been a couple of articles written about Dowell recently. Here is an excerpt from The Hockey News.

Jake’s father John, a former small college offensive linesman and a fitness buff, was diagnosed in 2003 with Huntington’s disease, an incurable genetic brain disorder that leads to a steady regression in mental and physical capabilities. With each passing month since the diagnosis, Jake has watched his father lose ground to the fatal illness. Those stricken with Huntington’s disease gradually lose control of their voluntary muscles until they’re almost immobile. At the same time, the ability to process information deteriorates. Death typically comes 10 to 20 years after diagnosis.

Now, the slap-in-your-face part of this reality is that this disease is hereditary, which means that Jake Dowell has a 50% chance of having this disorder already flowing through his body.

Everyone who has the gene develops the disease, which rarely strikes before age 35. Jake, and his mother Vicki, decided that he wouldn’t get himself tested until he turns 35 or when he gets married. The likelihood of negative news would be absolutely crushing.

"With the progress of stem cell research, hopefully they can come up with a cure before it even affects me," Dowell told Baggot last February. "Besides, I think with the way I am, I don't think it would go too well for me if I knew (the test result) and just had to carry on. I don't think I'd be able to do it."

Stories like Dowell's are necessary, yet tragic, because they cause you to sit back in your chair and reflect. Reflect on what you're doing in that instance. Everyone needs a cause to look inward and Dowell's story hits you in the face like a pail of cold water. I, most definitely, will be following up on Jake and his future in the NHL.

Oh, why is he on IR? Because the puck he took off his skate in Edmonton broke his foot. He was playing on a broken foot for not just that game in front of his parents but also for however many practices the team held as well. (Here is a more recent article written about this game his parents attended. Please scroll down about a third of the way.)