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Rob Blake Watch: Mad Scientist Update

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An open letter from Michael to Rob Blake.

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

Hey Rob,

How’s the early summer going? Pretty good I hope. My hockey eyes are telling me that things are looking up in the Kingdom, and why not?

Everything has settled down in the fan base. With the run the St. Louis Blues have been on since they were in last place on January 2nd, it’s proving to us all that the right coach can reverse things in a hurry. Despite the Sharks hate we all feel, most of us are warming up to Todd McLellan and his accountability system. (I mean you all have a “plan” don’t you?)

When you couple that with Tyler Toffoli’s “pathetic practices” comments, we all see that Willie Desjardins was the reason this past season stunk to the high heavens. Your poor coaching selections have validated my Mad Scientist theories of what you’re up to and how you are going to rebuild reset the Kings on the fly.

Okay, okay, I hear you that dropping to fifth in the draft was a real buzz kill because we all covet Jack Hughes and Kappo Kakko at this point, but this draft is so deep, that it looks like you’re going to be able to pickup Cole Caufield who’s supposed to be the next Yvan Cournoyer, Alex DeBrincat, and Johnny Gaudreau all rolled up into one. I mean 106 goals in two seasons for USNTDP? Number five might be something special, amirite, Rob?

For all of the Ilya Kovalchuk bashing I’ve heard lately, a tournament with his Russian buddies sure has gone a long way to restore his reputation as a force in the room and a contributor on the ice. I mean, the oldest guy on Team Russia was named captain when there there were so many captain types in that room—Alexander Ovechkin, Nikita Kucherov, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Evgeni Malkin—yet they chose our ice-cream snacking forward to lead the charge.

Then this come out at the IIHF and you sent your ravens out to spread the news. Bravo!:

I mean how can you go wrong with sentiments like this?: “He’s huge inside (the room),” Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov said. “He’s one of those types of guys you want to play with and you want to always be around him.” Even Malkin gave up his beloved number 71 so Ilya could wear that sweater.

Speaking of Malkin, have you heard the latest?

Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford seems to be “meh” about Malkin and him remaining with the team: “I’m not at the point where I’m making any decision on that at this point,” he explained. “I just can’t answer that kind of question right now.”

Uh, that sounds like an invitation to call Big Jim and see what you can work out with him doesn’t it? Rumor has it that all it’s going to take is a first round pick, a scorer, and a prospect. I think at 32 years old, you could pry Malkin away with your 2nd rounder this year (it’s practically a first anyway at 33), Tyler Toffoli, and one of those semi-high ranked prospects that shuttled back and forth between the NHL and AHL this season.

Yeah, yeah I know Malkin has a full no trade clause in his contract, but you have something better. Not only do you have the Russian Forward Whisperer in McLellan, but you have Kovalchuk on the ready to convince his comrade to join him in Beverly Hills where you never have to cry into your pillow because the sun shines 300 plus days every year.

It wasn’t long ago I seemed to be the only one on Twitter imploring you to get Kovalchuk to work the back channels to recruit Artemi Panarin. With the Breadman spending his entire off-season in South Florida and rumored to be wanting to sign in tandem with goalie buddy Sergei Bobrovsky, you might have to move your Russian plans to plan B. Or you can get creative and find a way to ink both Malkin and Panarin. Wouldn’t that be something?

Anyway, you do have Jim Rutherford’s phone number don’t you?

As I said previously, if you want a reset and not a rebuild, it’s time to get super aggressive. Signing a Kevin Hayes won’t quite do the trick, will it? Also, I’m hearing that you are interested in Patrick Marleau? Really? $6 million dollars plus for that former Shark? And you have to dump another contract to make it happen? Hard pass!

Seriously, I mean, if you can’t convince Panarin to come to LA, then Malkin can’t really mess up the make up of this team. Our Kings finished 30th, so you can’t really do much damage unless you trade away number ones like Dean Lombardi used to.

You’re the GM, but remember the best lesson of being one in times of crisis: Build around your core guys, dump everyone else who doesn’t matter, clear as much cap space as you can, make some smart signings.

The time is now, Rob.

Seize the day.

All my best,

MICHAEL