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Off-Day Watch 1/23: It could always be worse

NHL: Los Angeles Kings Press Conference Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Over the course the Kings’ bye week, we’ll be taking a look at Rob Blake, what he’s done for the team, and what he needs to do next, but right now, we’ll just leave it at this: it could always be worse.

Peter Chiarelli, who made onlookers anxious from the very day he was named Oilers GM, has finally been cut loose, but not before he gave a big contract with a NMC to a backup goalie whose numbers have gotten steadily worse as the season has progressed. The list of head-scratching trades and signings is very long—hey, look at that bullet the Kings dodged when Dean Lombardi decided not to re-sign Milan Lucic—and, speaking purely as a hockey fan, watching Connor McDavid toil away the early years of his contract is beyond frustrating.

Blake’s patience to make changes, even when it’s clear the Kings roster is going nowhere fast, is vexing to fans, but at least we’re not sitting back and reading quotes like this about our team today:

Rob Blake will be judged by how he handles the trade deadline, the off-season, and the search for the next Kings coach. (If it somehow winds up being Willie Desjardins, please, by all means, judge away.) But at the very least, we can feel relief that we’re not Edmonton.

It’s the little things in life, right?

Kings Things

Dustin Brown and Jake Muzzin break down a great play from happier times in Colorado:

Sean Walker and Austin Wagner have been assigned to the Ontario Reign while the Kings are on their All-Star/bye week break. [Kings Insider]

There are lots of players who will likely be available at the trade deadline, including some Kings we know and love. [ESPN]

Elsewhere

Goodbye, Peter. [The Copper & Blue]

In case you need a run-down of Chiarelli’s awful moves, here you go. [Deadspin]

Hey, look at that, Jordan Weal getting a chance to be an important player. [The Athletic]

The NHL’s latest player rankings for the 2019 Draft are out. [NHL]

The New York Islanders are sitting atop their division. How? [Lighthouse Hockey]

The life of the NHL schedule maker seems terrible. [The Athletic]

The Ottawa Senators are bad, folks. [Raw Charge]

How did the Blackhawks fix their power play? [Chicago Sun-Times]

The Boston Bruins could use some help at the trade deadline. [Boston Herald]

Slowly but surely, Barry Trotz is changing the culture around the Islanders. [AP News]

An assignment to the AHL has helped Montreal Canadiens defensemen Victor Mete grow in confidence. [Sportsnet]

So fast????? How????

Lake Erie Monsters defenseman Doyle Somerby went above and beyond to recognize a fan battling cancer. [The Cannon]

Evening Entertainment

So many actual good games to pick from but heck, go for the funniest option and watch the St. Louis Blues take on the Anaheim Ducks. The only reason anyone will win this game is because the rules dictate there must be a winner. That one’s on at 7:00 pm Pacific on Fox Sports West.