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Crown Conversations: Trade deadline and identity issues

Sarah joins James and Robyn to figure who, exactly, is this team and discuss Rob Blake’s moves ahead of the trade deadline and then ponder what the Brendan Lemieux trade means to the club’s new culture.

Ottawa Senators defenseman Christian Wolanin (24) warms up prior to the start of game against the Calgary Flames at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Inconsistency is the name of the game for the Los Angeles Kings, as they frustrate and falter in their attempts to make the playoffs this year. Some nights they look incredible, while other nights they don’t look like they’ve ever played a single game together.

Will Brendan Lemieux’s gritty presence help the Kings in any way on the ice? He’s great at drawing penalties, but that seems to be his only skill. Rob Blake also traded Mike Amadio for Christian Wolanin in what appears to be a minor league swap. Should the Kings look at trading their big name veterans of Jonathan Quick, Dustin Brown or Jeff Carter? These questions and more answered on the podcast!


Do you love Crown Conversations but you’re not sure when the next episode will drop? Never fear, you can keep tabs on our podcast by hitting the subscribe button down below, right there just beneath the audio. You can follow us on Spotify, Apple Music, or Google Podcasts. And as always, we’d love to hear from you so if you ever have any questions or comments, leave ‘em below! Shoot us an email at crownconvopodjftc@gmail.com or hit us up on Twitter (@crown_podcast) and we’ll be happy to include that, or better yet, include you, in any of the next podcast episodes.

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BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

INTRO: [Musical interlude plays, then VO] Are you ready for the most informative, well-thought out hockey podcast on the Internet? You are?? Sorry, it’s just Crown Conversations with your hosts, Robyn P. and James Nicholson.

RP: Hello and welcome to another edition of crown conversations. Joining me and James today is our favorite, practical third co-host, Sarah. Sarah, thanks for joining us today.

SA: You know, I’m glad to be here to talk some galaxy bReign stuff is what I’ve been led to believe we’re gonna go through today, so I’m pumped.

RP: Yes today is all about trade and you’re supposed to read that as t-r-a-e-d and several exclamation points and probably a few ones, right, James?

JN: Definitely. I’ve actually changed all my passwords to that, so please do not access my bank account.

SA: Oh, too late.

JN: Ah!

RP: I’m accessing it right now. I’m actually fighting Sarah for control, so give us one second, James.

JN: That’s fine. I can carry the podcast while I lose my identity [Robyn laughs].

SA: We’re planning a real great trip to like Tahiti or something, so thanks for that.

JN: [laughs] Yeah, joke’s on you, you can get to Des Moines. [Sarah, Robyn laugh]

RP: Wow, Des Moines! I think, actually, Sarah is closest of the three of us to Des Moines. I’m not sure what’s in Des Moines... No offense if you live in Des Moines—

JN: Corn!

SA: The Iowa Wild.

RP: At first I thought you said porn, James, and that made it very different.

SA: I mean, I’m sure that’s also there.

RP: They’re not. I live in the porn capital, thank you very much, the San Fernando Valley, shout out to Van Nuys, I don’t live in Van Nuys, but apparently—

JN: Hey, guys, I don’t feel like this is very PC [Robyn, Sarah laugh] and I, as a Millennial, am offended and you know, I feel like Brendon Lemieux would be with me on that

RP: Oh my god. [Sarah laughs] Well since the topic of the day is trades and speaking of galaxy bReigns, let’s start with the first trade which was announced two days ago. Saturday afternoon, just randomly trade happening randomly, Brendan Lemieux for a fourth round pick and it’s like “huh?”

SA: Yeah, that was my reaction too.

JN: My immediate reaction because I found out from you, Robyn, was just “oh well, this is a move” and... You know in our last couple of recordings, I had mentioned like man the Kings could use some pushback and I know that’s maybe not a super uh popular opinion, especially with the two people I’m talking with right, but in those games against Minnesota in particular when Kurtis MacDermid was on the covid list early on in the season like, man did the Kings get pushed around and yeah... I-I get it. I don’t think it’s the best move in the world. But maybe. Maybe this stay tuned, listener, and you’ll hear my theory and hopefully I’ll get to it before All the Kings Men does.

RP: Okay, yes. But, as several people have pointed out literally, Bokp Imama is within their system and he’s free and he’s cheaper than Brendan Lemieux. Like if you need somebody to punch and fight poking a mama is right there and yes, I know we talked about developing a winning mentality and-and developing a winning culture in Ontario, but like... At the same time, I’m kind of just… He’s literally 60 miles down the road instead of 3000+ all the way across the country on a terrible team doing terrible things and like... He’s not what they need! I don’t get it! Okay time for your galaxy bReign, James.

SA: Give it to us. I need to hear it.

JN: Okay. Well uh... Okay, I will start with theory one and theory one is they want to move on from Kurtis MacDermid and bringing in Brendan Lemieux, having that more traditional fighter/enforcer role on the fourth line, taking you know that Kyle Clifford/Trevor Lewis spot in the lineup that never was really replaced... We’ve seen Austin Wagner try to fill that role and not be overly successful at it. We see, I think, tried to step in, tried to be a tough guy, try to agitate and doesn’t necessarily draw the reaction that we would expect or hope for. You know in the last game when he fought he was dropped to a knee with a body punch. And like I’m not saying I want to get punched in the body by an NHL player but, that’s one that yeah, okay that stings a little bit too the fragile male ego and—

RP: Okay, wait, wait, wait, hang on, I have to interrupt here how many times have we seen Kyle Clifford like take a punch to the noggin and just like collapse?

JN: no one’s different from body it is and like Kurtis MacDermid finally showed like passion in a fight with Kurtis Gabriel which I mean, yeah, like when he throws down the helmet and is like looking like a pro wrestler after he beat the ever living it’s not out of Kurtis Gabriel, which was great, and apparently they aren’t friends anymore, but I see that like… When you lose Kurtis MacDermid for a fighting major that really puts a stReign on the rest of the defense and there’s been a lot of games this year where the Kings have had to struggle defensively. By bringing in Brendan Lemieux, you can ask Kurtis MacDermid to just play more of a regular defenseman type role or you can, you know, bench him and then maybe even call up Kale Clague and then you put Kale Clague and Toby Bjornfot into the lineup regularly moving forward. I don’t know... But that is galaxy bReign theory number one, how do you guys feel about that?

SA: I mean that’s kind of where I landed as well. I mean, if I separate out the like I probably do not like Brendan Lemieux very much as a human being stuff that makes me not like this trade, just looking at it from a hockey perspective that was sort of my first thought to was we’re kind of making Kurtis MacDermid expendable and this guy, you know, he is maybe a little younger maybe you know a little easier to to deal with in terms of contract stuff and at the end of the day too, if he doesn’t work out who cares? Like, a fourth round draft pick is a four—like you’re not gonna get too much great for that so I think he he’s a player who also would be easy to flip if you needed to but yeah, like I that was sort of my first thought was “we are finding a way to not put Kurtis MacDermid in the lineup every night and have him, you know, create three own goals every time just out of sheer ‘oops standing in the wrong spot’,” so I am with you on that, on galaxy bReign number one.

JN: Thanks for making me feel smart, Sarah.

SA: Anytime. You can pay me later from the bank account that I just ransacked.

JN: Okay good yeah, help yourself.

RP: Um, I was just gonna say um, I mean, I guess it does make sense that they’re stupidly trying to go through the grit because they’re like yeah being all skill for some reason isn’t working out and we don’t like being more heavily skilled and blah blah blah stupid old men still relying on you know, old, outdated ideas, but I just... I... That’s the only thing I can think of to make this make sense is that they’re just trying to get bigger even though they do have size throughout their lineup despite what James will tell you, um... James, can you tell me if their top line is big?

JN: The top line’s big, the rest of the lines not very big. I mean, I don’t think relying on Blake Lizotte to add size or Trevor Moore to add size is going to help…

RP: Yes, but anyway it’s you know ad size add grit add feistiness grrr... Like that’s the only reason I can think of that would make this trade make sense… Even though the rest of the trade on paper really doesn’t make any sense.

JN: Well, are you ready for galaxy bReign number two?

SA: Bring it on.

JN: This is an analytics based move. This is something that is going to make the Kings better.

SA: Tell me more.

JN: Okay. Hey, Sarah?

SA: Yes, sir?

JN: I did listen to Sunday’s episode—er, yes, he’s episode of locked on LA Kings. Can you tell me what two things Brendan Lemieux is really, really good at?

SA: Other than punching and liking Trump related tweets on Twitter?

JN: Yes.

SA: Um drawing penalties, which is a thing that I feel like has been cited by everyone who talks about him is he draws a ton of penalties. And I think I think everything that I mentioned, since I know you’re referring to my show, is like being that guy in front of the net which we don’t always necessarily have…

JN: What’s the thing he leads the league in?

SA: Ohhh! Penalty minutes because he’s that guy.

JN: Hey. Hey, Robyn. What are the two things that you situations at the LA Kings are near the top of the league in?

RP: They are actually relatively disciplined, especially compared to previous years and they are third in the league on their penalty kill.

JN: And eighth on the power play and they’re bad at five-on-five. Brendan Lemieux is going to save the Kings from themselves. He’s going to disrupt all chances at five-on-five hockey. His job is to make sure he gets off the ice and they’re like, no matter what, it’s not five-on-five anymore. He’s going to play to the Kings strength based on their numbers.

RP: Excellent. [laughs] Oh my god.

JN: I mean, hey, you know, we’re going to see a whole lot more Anze Kopitar Ice time as a result.

RP: Oh my god, they’re gonna kill poor Kopitar.

SA: His body’s gonna fall apart.

JN: It may very well, but um, you know, if he’s on the power play a whole lot, who minds you know?

RP: Yes, yes, well that worked out in the first game against the Sharks. The Sharks took like five penalties in the first period and the Kings scored bupkis.

SA: The sharks are anomaly we just ignore them.

JN: Yes. Yes, I’m with Sarah.

RP: Yes, but they’re gonna and Jones every time that they play the sharks and then Martin Jones is gonna have like 45 saves and like allow one goal and it’s gonna be like some weird fluky goal from center ice because his his predecessor was Jonathan Quick and this is what Jonathan Quick doe.

SA: Well, we can just tell people to stop shooting at like Martin Jones’s chest and then maybe we won’t have this problem anymore.

RP: Ahhh he’s so bad! He’s just ugh! Sorry, sorry, James.

JN: Going off the numbers, how many times do they play the sharks for the rest of the year? I think it’s four.

RP: I don’t know, like eight more times, right?

SA: I think it’s like four, six maybe? Four?

JN: Yeah it might be six. Um, so I’m inclined to believe, okay, you play to the bulk of the remaining things. You know, when you look at the penalty kill for the other—you know, okay, so we I think we have a bunch of Vegas games we definitely have a bunch of Anaheim games left like Vegas, okay, there’s six on the penalty kill that’s fine. Anaheim 25th, not great. Power play... Vegas actually... Surprisingly, only 21st overall in the league and Anaheim is second worst at 30th. Minnesota is actually the worst at the power play and we only have to play them one more time thank the Lord. [Robyn woos] You know, if we have a bunch of games against those two who maybe aren’t good on the power play, we’ll make them play on the power play and then take the momentum from a good penalty kill and get going. This is my galaxy bReigned opinion or theory. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah!

SA: I can... I can see that it’s not like I was expecting galaxy bReign like Brendan Lemieux’s best friends brothers cousins third wife met Rob Blake in a grocery store and was like, please trade for my person. Your galaxy bReigns are a lot more reasonable than what I was thinking.

JN: Brendan Lemieux hung out with Rob Blake when Brendan Lemieux was like six and made a good first impression. That’s why good handshakes and eye contact matter. Brendan Lemieux met Dale Carnegie at five years old, and that’s why he’s a King. [everyone laughs]

SA: My god.

RP: No, no Sarah, the galaxy bReign here is that Rob Blake owed Mario Lemieux a favor and so you know, he said “I saved your life so one day you’re gonna trade for my son”

SA: Do you mean Claude Lemieux?

RP: [laughs awkwardly] Well... Okay. So... So Rob Blake knew Mario Lemieux and-and they-they knew each other from… From years past and and this is something to do with the Penguins and-and somehow the penguins are involved with this. And and the the penguins love punchy boys too and so Mario Lemieux was like, hey, I need you to trade for Brendan and”—

JN: “So that Ron Hextall doesn’t.”

RP: Yes, exactly and-and since you know, Rob Blake and Ron Hextall surely knew each other in some capacity at some point and I’m sure they hung out because you know, they’re both in like they’re like… [laughing] Stop laughing! I can’t get through my stupid theory! [laughs more] Um, you know Ron Hextall is now GM of the penguins now, isn’t he? Yeah. Because—and he was previously GM of the Flyers, so Mario Lemieux was like, hey save Philly, I mean save Pennsylvania from itself. Trade for Brendan Lemieux.

JN: Oh gosh. I mean, it could be because… Brendan’s dad, Claude, and Rob Blake were teammates on the Avalanche...

RP: [laughing] I mean, your theory makes a lot more sense...

SA: Oh, that is the most hockey thing.

RP: [still laughing] Your theory makes a lot more sense than mine, James, but I was trying to galaxy bReign it.

JN: I know, I know. [wheezing with laughter] Oh gosh. Oh, oh that delighted my soul, thank you.

SA: I mean, we’re also missing the obvious if we’re ever going the Ron Hextall route, like he worked for the Kings for a little while... So we could simplify the galaxy bReign.

RP: Wait, but don’t but don’t forget, if we want to truly galaxy bReign this, Ron Hextall was also a part of the Broad Street Bullies and Ron Hextall was a punchy boi himself and so you know, he like—

JN: And Brian Burke loves a punchy boi.

RP: Yes exactly and-and-and Ron Hextall whispered in Rob Blake’s ear during some—well it can’t be recent because, you know, the pandemic and everything but he like slid into Rob Blake’s DMs and he’s like, “hey, bro, you’re gonna love this punchy boi” and you know—

JN: Also, “U up?”

RP: [laughs] You know, like they were both on the Kings and they both knew Dean Lombardi and Dean Lombardi love punchy bois, and-and he’s like, “Hey. Channel your inner Deano and-and get this punchy boi.” And Dean Lombardi brought two Cups to the Kings, so this is obvious that they should do this route. Yeah.

SA: Amazing.

JN: Okay, man. My face hurts. I know I laughed very hard and thank you for that, Robyn.

RP: Let’s get to the other trade from today. So the Kings traded for [trying to pronounce] Wol.. Wolahnin, Woluhnin... for Amadio. Amadio has been on the outs for pretty much the last year and a half I would say—or like since half of last season. It’s obvious that Trevor Moore has started to replace Amadio and Lizotte is comfortable up on that top line—or he was before the lines got all jumbled. I have no idea what the top line is anymore. Oh wait, I do because it’s the only line with size! [Pause] But.

JN: Oh, I-I just I like size.

RP: And grit.

SA: That’s what she said.

JN: I’m offended.

SA: No you’re not.

JN: [laughing] I’m delighted.

RP: [laughs] I’m not going to go to the obvious place that I could go and I’m gonna keep this a clean podcast. As clean as we can keep it despite all of our innuendos. But James thinks that this could be a way to shore up the Reign defense even though the Reign have like eight defensemen.

SA: Eh. I mean, I feel like you can’t have too many and they’ve also been bad so like why not add another one to see if that’ll fix it and my guess... My guess is, too, that this is probably we’re probably going to see a handful of these smaller moves and so once we hit April 13th or whatever after the trade deadline’s over, I don’t think the Reign are going to still have eight defensemen. I don’t... It’s one of those moves where like... I don’t... It doesn’t… It doesn’t do much for me either way. Like, I’m glad that you know Mike Amadio probably saw the writing on the wall that he’s not gonna get NHL time here anymore and they at least sent him to a team that needs people who are alive because I-I can’t... I can only name like three Ottawa Senators and Ottawa was probably like please take someone back and so that’s what we did. I don’t... I don’t... It-it’s-it’s a trade it was probably just a like let’s do something nice for Mike Amadio, so he doesn’t have to, you know, not do things.

JN: Yeah and I mean, I’m a guy who, I loved Mike Amadio in juniors in the OHL. You know the year he was drafted in the third round by the Kings he then like set his junior team scoring record and the knock on him had always been oh he’s only a defensive centerman and then you know developed his game. I think for me with Mike Amadio, it was the consistency. You would see games where his feet were moving, he had good speed, could make good plays. I remember even listening to the Arizona broadcast one time and, like, Paul Bissonnette, like, compared his skating to Auston Matthews, which I don’t know how great of a comparison of this is. But like, Amadio has some skill. And I was always really excited for him. And I really hope he gets his shot and he sticks with Ottawa. With Christian [pronounced like] Wolawnin Wol-ain-in (Wilanin), maybe this is something where they can literally just stick him on the taxi squad and so then the Reign can have a better... Better access to the defensemen they want on a nightly basis without having to you know, do the taxi squad shuffle, which is my new dance craze. Everybody do the taxi squad shuffle. First year up, now clear waivers.

SA: [laughs] But I think the taxi squad point is a really great important to make because some of the Reign’s problems I really kind of attribute to the fact that they have never really been able to put together the whole line up that they wanted to have and that that’s aside from guys like Kale Clague and Austin Strand spend spending time up in the NHL. But they also keep losing guys who they would prefer to have playing to this taxi squad. So yeah. I think this I think Wolanin could be another guy who you know, maybe he comes into Ontario and is amazing and cool, he is now solved a problem maybe he comes in and is underwhelming and then he just sits on the taxi squad and whatever.

RP: I’m just curi—like I’m sure that they have a... A plan with the Reign, but this is kind of the second or third year in a row where it feels like they don’t really have much of a plan with the Reign.

SA: I mean, their plan with the Reign is here’s a place for our children to play. I don’t think that the plan extends beyond “we need them to play games.” They’re not trying to win the thing. If they were trying to win the Calder Cup, they would have actually gone out and signed like real AHL veterans and real guys to play and instead they’re like cool, here’s a team. There is no plan for the Reign other than them just existing, I think.

JN: Please do not besmirch the signing of Devante Smith-Pelly

SA: I love that. That-that I do love that move. In all seriousness, I think that that was a great move and I think it was them recognizing that the whole ”let’s only play children” thing wasn’t actually working because the children still need like to be surrounded by adults and professionals and I love the fact that, you know, we also now have Quentin Byfield and Akil Thomas having Devante Smith Pelly to be there and someone who has been in their shoes of being a Black player in this league and in the NHL and who can be a mentor for them in more things than just hockey. Like I love that. Like that move actually told me like oh they’re actually paying attention to the Reign and what the Reign need. Just, you know, couple months too late.

JN: My favorite thing about the DSP signing is just if you want to motivate someone to go to the gym, just have DSP walk around without his shirt on. That man... That like... I like, I just saw that he was like, you know what I’m working out tomorrow. I—you’ve given me a goal sir, thank you. He’s huge. He’s a massive person. And like is a pretty good skater. Not exactly the quickest and yeah, like I think is a good character guy. I have never seen Ryan Getzlaf genuinely smile except for when Devante Smith-Pelly was like making fun of him. Which was wonderful to see.

RP: The smile distracted from his shiny head.

JN: Oh, no, no, it just it added another layer of brightness to the room. [Robyn and Sarah laugh]

RP: Oh my god, James. Ugh. I I know that we... I think you’re right, Sarah, that they finally are starting to kind of put together a plan for the Reign and that included like the DSP signing and I saw something interesting from… I forgot who tweeted it, but somebody was talking about a quote from the head coach—how do you say his name? I think you’re the only person who knows.

SA: [pronouncing] Roblusky.

RP: Not Reh-blew-ski?

SA: Nope.

JN: Robo Belushi.

RP: [laughs] It was interesting because after a really bad outing… Wroblewski, he said something to the effect of about the top line of Kupari—or his line Kupari-Turcotte-Kaliyev—about learning to be professionals and learning to be consistent night in and night out and I thought it was a really interesting quote. Because like yes, they had success for like three games, but then they apparently had like a really Stinker of a game and like nobody on that line was moving, nobody on that line was moving their feet and they were just kind of expecting things to happen and so you talk about being professional and it’s this DSP signing is just... It’s so interesting to me.

JN: Yeah, I mean, he’s been a professional, he’s played with good teams, he’s made playoff runs at the NHL level. I always rooted for I thought he was extremely fun on the ice, off the ice and and I mean, I’m just a big fan of-of DSP, but I... Yeah. Maybe it contributes to the culture of winning that the Kings are trying to build.

SA: Yeah!

RP: I didn’t realize that they are super young. Like, I knew they were young but they are very... They have a very young squad. They have… Six players on their entire 23-man squad/roster who was born in 1995 or earlier.

JN: Dang.

RP: Six players!

SA: And 13 of their players on their roster are still considered rookies. So... And most of them are every night guys. A handful of guys have been kind of in and out of the lineup, but you know, Alex Turcotte, Samuel Fagemo, Akil Thomas, Arthur Kaliyev, like these guys are all rookies and I would be curious… I feel like they have to be one of the teams with the most rookies to experienced players, which I think, you know, whenever you talk about the Reign struggling, I think is something that like needs to be looked at, needs to be considered of having all of these guys who are making this jump and you know, it’s hard enough for like one player to to make the jump to professional hockey and then you have 13 of them who are who are trying to do it and no wonder things are... Squishy.

RP: Heh, squishy.

JN: That’s a... That’s a great superlative for this. Yeah, no and I mean there is this thing with them... with them. They also have a rookie head coach in the AHL. I mean, this is kind of a drastic culture change at that level of the organization. Who didn’t love Mike Stothers, right?

SA: Yeah.

JN: And then…

RP: Me. I hated Mike Stothers.

JN: Um… To move on from him… [Sarah and Robyn laugh] Gosh dang it, Robyn.

SA: Anyway.

[All laugh]

RP: [laughing] I’m sorry. You left that wide open, James.

JN: I sure did. I sure did. But… Stothers was a guy who had been with the Reign for a very long time and to make that decision to just be like, “Alright, we’re changing up everything”, it was a big swing by Rob Blake. I think We are seeing that he’s taking some swings he’s making and some hard decisions and I think we can see that there is a level of principle, of carefulness to the decisions that Rob Blake makes. You know, I... I think I told you earlier, Robyn, like my brain says like the Kings won’t be very active at the trade deadline, my gut says maybe Rob Blake is going to do a huge trade that is going to shake up everything. But… I mean… We’ll see.

SA: Like that’s-that’s the crazy thing is it like I wouldn’t be surprised either way... If he does nothing or just makes a handful of minor league deals. like this one with Amadio or if he, like, trades... I don’t-I don’t know who, like I don’t even want to put that out there he would trade, but like either way I’ll be like,”Oh, yeah, that makes sense for him.” And I mean, I feel like A) that’s how mysterious he is and B) like just what a strange place the Kings currently are in their rebuild of it would make sense to be buyers and to be sellers.

RP: I want to read something. So Jeff Paul from Hockey Buzz—and I told this to James earlier—but he a hundred percent nailed the analysis of the Kings, which makes um, which makes them such a tricky team to predict this year. [Reading] “Who are the Los Angeles Kings? If this question were asked in the off-season, there’d be one answer. If asked in the exhibition games, there’d be another. Now, halfway through the season, yep there’d be yet another answer to that question. After everything that has transpired, there should be a general consensus on this club, no? Wrong! To this day, it’s hard to forecast the Los Angeles Kings. Are they getting younger and faster? Yes. Do they still rely a little too heavily on “grizzled” veterans? Yes. Are they a “great” team on paper? No. Do they have a shot at the playoffs? .....yes?”

So I mean, I wouldn’t necessarily, like, say are they a “great” team on paper. I’d say they are very good team on paper. It’s just how everything kind of shakes out on a night-to-night basis because much like James’ underwear, they have some skid marks.

JN: Streaky. [Robyn laughs] Yes, no no

SA: Oh my god,

JN: That’s a good way to, you know, I think we talked about with our last episode, looking at the analytics for this year. You know, I’ve seen some reports out of Canada like people are really surprised the Kings are as good as they are this year. I-I think they are trending in the right direction if we’re to, you know, believe the five-year plan.

RP: Kind of.

JN: And I’m... I’m good with that. I... You know, if they buy, if they sell, if they stay put... I... think they’re all good decisions at the trade deadline like that’s a really weird place to be in. Because normally you want a major trade and for things to get shaken up but… This group is sometimes gelling, sometimes falling apart and... Who knows what’s going to happen in you know, a couple weeks from now?

RP: Who knows what’s going to happen in the next game, which happens to be in 15 minutes as we are recording this on Monday March 29th right before their game to the Golden Knights. They are so capable of eeking out these super gutsy wins against teams like Vegas that are so talented on paper. And they proved that they can keep up with the big dogs. I feel like they could make almost a 2014-style run should they make the playoffs because there’s so much heart on this team and you’ve got the guys like Brown and Kopitar and Doughty and Quick who were there who remember what it’s like to go all in, have those super gutsy, and just… sacrifice everything in the name of hockey and the name of hockey gods and and winning the big championship trophy at the end of the year. Then you have things where they just… They fall apart against the Coyotes and the Sharks and somehow, Minnesota, they can’t figure out a team like Minnesota, who, while good on paper, is also another semi confusing team. And I feel like Minnesota is sort of one those… “Yeah, they’re good. But are they good? Or are they bad? Or are the middle of the road?” Minnesota is one of those teams that you can’t quite figure out and-and same with the Kings… They just can’t… The lack of consistency is, of course, frustrating and-and but it’s just like… I don’t know… I don’t know what to make of this team.

[Commercial break]

JN: Sarah, tell us what to make of this team.

SA: Um, they are chaos and… Everyone just has to enjoy the ride. Yeah, I mean, I think you’re right. I think that… I mean, part of it, too, it’s interesting seeing perspectives of people outside of the Pacific bubble because a lot of people do still hang on to that like, “oh the Kings are old and slow” and I’m like, okay that means you haven’t watched a Kings game in like three years, like okay, thanks for telling on yourself, we get it. But yeah, I mean I think that I mean part and part of it too is that like ‘re rebuilding an identity, you’re rebuilding a culture and I think that kind of also contributes to us not knowing really what to make about them. Like if you tell me they’re gonna make the playoffs. I’ll be like “okay cool.” If you tell me they’re last in the division, I’ll be like “yeah, cool.” Like, literally nothing would surprise me at this point. But I do... Like, I think that they’re at the point in their rebuild, the retool, whatever you want to call it that, like, I would actually like to see them make the playoffs. I would like to see them... Like no, they’re probably, probably wouldn’t even get out of the first round, okay I’m pretty sure they’d match up with Vegas and Vegas would destroy our hopes and dreams and whatever. But like I want those young players. I want you know, Anderson-Dolan and you know Kale Clague if he’s in the lineup and Carl Grundstrom, I want those guys to experience the playoffs and see what it’s like and then come back next year and want more of it and you know, I think that there’s something to be said for like the young dumb and hungry team that just rolls into the playoffs by accident and then wins. Like we have seen it. But I think that like, you need that first taste of it to really know okay, this is what’s expected of me and this is how it works and then you go from there, but yeah. And like I watch this team and you know some nights they look amazing and some nights yeah they put 40 shots on Martin Jones. They’re bad shots and surprise, surprise, they lose. I don’t think they entirely know who they are or what to expect on at nightly basis and that probably is a lot to do with why we’re all kind of here like “I don’t know what the Kings are doing” because they don’t necessarily know, either.

RP: So let me ask you a question, Sarah, and this is a question that James posed in our podcast last weekend, but I want to phrase it slightly differently. When do you start trading for the Matt Greenes and the Jarret Stolls, the character guys who... Like Dean Lombardi had a very specific vision when he was trading for Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene. They’re not the fastest guys, they’re not the most skilled guys, but they’re the leaders in the room and yeah, it’s it’s such an interesting thing watching this team rebuild itself as their young guns trying to come in and Jaret Anderson-Dolan has to learn how to be a professional every night kale clay, yeah, he’s been in the AHL but I mean, he’s also learning how to be a professional and what it means to be professional in the AHL versus the NHL. So where do you—when do you bring in that character trade?

SA: I mean, I think the... I mean... A) would depend on the asking price like, first off. Like I don’t think that we should be trading, you know, really crucial assets for set for a player like that, but like I-I don’t think this year, but I think next year, if it’s a guy who has a couple years on his contract like, I think of... It wasn’t quite the same situation, but when the Capitals signed Justin Williams for a couple of years. Or you know, when he went to the Hurricanes for a couple years. Like I feel like that’s-that’s when you start looking, is when you you know okay we have a window over the next couple years that we think we’re gonna make the playoffs that we think we’re going to at least start to try to make some noise and-and I think that’s when you start looking for those guys. You know, would bring someone in this year be totally crazy? No. But I think it depends a lot on what the other team wants and I guess the good thing for the Kings is that they have so much cap space that they can afford to bring in one of those “character guys” over the next two three years and and not have it too harmful to you know, re-signing other guys. But I think the moment is not quite yet. But I think that we’re kind of there. Maybe they’ll bring Trevor Lewis back this season or something.

RP: I get that sense, too. I kind of feel like they should wait for the Patrick O’Sullivan type trade which is what James said. But I feel like they’re still like maybe a year or two away to make that kind of “let’s start bringing in character guys to really solidify…” Because there’s still so many young guns, still so many young guys trying to learn how to be professional and learn how to be consistent. [Mock throat clearing] Ahem ahem Adrian Kempe. Now speaking of character guys, there’s an interesting rumor that James brought to my attention. I forgot where the source I forgot who the source was but—

JN: Is it the Elliotte Friedman thing I sent you?

RP: Yes. So, the New York Islanders could potentially—this is some weird rumor that Elliotte Friedman just decided to float out there even though there’s like absolutely no basis in reality for this—um... Dustin Brown to the New York Islanders. Like he’s from upstate New York, he... His family loves it there. I think he still has extended family out there. I know he has a house up in New York he’s such a Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello type of player. Now, he does have a limited no trade clause, but if they could get him to wave it, what would you think of the Kings trading away a character guy such as Dustin Brown, both of you?

RP: Man, you know, if you would ask me like two years ago, what-what would you think about trading Dustin Brown? I’d be like, “cool, do it.” Like anything you can get, do it. But he has been... So much the like heartbeat of this team over the past couple of years that like as he has actually been kind of given the freedom to play meaningful minutes and and to not be in the Darryl Sutter doghouse like he has really kind of rejuvenated his career and I-I feel like that trade would be a trade because Dustin Brown wants to chase another Cup than it would be for the Kings. Like at this point he has so few years left on his contract that um, I mean, yeah, I think should Rob Blake inquire like “hey, how do you feel about waving that no move thing?” And I’m sure Dustin Brown would go “No” and then conversation. But yeah, a couple years ago, I would’ve been like cool do it and now I actually kind of hesitate because he has been so important to this team over the past couple of seasons as he has re-found his game.

RP: Well what about Jeff Carter? Oh sorry, James, I didn’t get your opinion. Sorry.

JN: Oh no, no, it’s fine. I get distracted by Jeff Carter, too.

RP: He’s still so handsome.

JN: Yes, he is. Curse Duncan Keith for knocking out his teeth in the 2013 Western Conference Final. Uh, no I mean, for me... I... It seems like such a Lou Lamoriello move and that’s what-what Elliotte Friedman was thinking about and I would imagine like oh, Andrew Ladd, our captain, is hurt and can’t play for the rest of the year. I would just bring in Dustin Brown and make him wear the captain C on his sweater for the rest of the year, like to make a point to Dean Lombardi. [Robyn and James laugh]

SA: Okay that would actually be great, that would be great. I would love that.

RP: It would be hilarious.

JN: [laughs] Yeah, no, it really would be. And like, I don’t know like there are guys... There’s a lot of young guys who are contributing for that Islanders team who like... I’m just like, oh Anthony Beauvillier; um, Oliver Wahlstrom; you know, um the defenseman Sebastian Aho, not the fun scorey one; um, you know, uh Kieffer Bellows uh, because I always have an affinity for a Team USA from that year at the World Juniors.

SA: Very important.

JN: Yeah, Noah Dobson, even. Those are guys who... I think are real enticing for the Kings, um guys who’ve played meaningful NHL games, who are young and could be kind of cool. Do I think this is a trade that happens? Probably not. Would I make it if I was Rob Blake? I would seriously consider it. But I think if you are trying to make the playoffs this year, to send a message to your team that I trust what you guys are doing, I hold onto Dustin Brown. Because he’s been money on the power play, you know, he plays topline minutes… I don’t I don’t turn over the apple cart that substantially. Yet.

SA: I mean it’s like the year the Kings won the Cup where there was all the speculation of like are we gonna trade Dustin Brown and you know then you know he got the message of like no we’re not and then you scored the hat trick whatever. But like, I feel like it’s sort of the same thing of like how better to show your team that you believe in them and you believe that they can make some noise over the next couple of seasons then to keep a guy who you would otherwise trade? It’s sort of a lot like the Rangers deciding to commit to Chris Kreider and to give him a long deal when everyone thought that he was gonna be gone at the trade deadline. But the Rangers realized like, listen we are rebuilding this team we are bringing in a lot of these young players we want someone who has been around we want someone who has seen it all with this team and they decided to keep him. And you know is that contract gonna look ugly in a couple years? Probably. But it was a good message to that Rangers team of, “Listen, we’re trying to build something here and we want—we believe in you.” It was maybe a little misguided because they’re still bad. But you know, it’s that similar sort of attitude of how do you show your team that you think that they’re ready and sometimes the answer is by not trading away someone who you maybe should trade.

JN: I think this is a big thing where it it’s this idea that GMs reward their team with a trade. You know that like you’ve shown going to me that you guys are committed to making the playoffs so at the trade deadline, I traded somebody who’s going to like make the team better on paper. There’s that idea. Like I-I think... The rumor was like Kyle Dubas had a trade ready to go and then the Maple Leafs last year lost to the-the guy who drives the Zamboni and he’s just like I am not trying to make the team better. I am mad at them. I’m going to spite not make a trade.

SA: that would be me as a GM is just making spite moves. I mean, you know—

JN: I see the similarities between you and Kyle Dubas. You both have great glasses.

RP: Well, you know, the physical resemblance is there, James.

JN: Yeah. [laughs] No... Yeah. I just... You know... If you’re… If you’re sending the message to this team that like, I believe that what you guys are doing, hold on to Dustin Brown, make a different trade. If you’re saying like, you know, if they over the next couple of weeks when they play Vegas and San Jose and Colorado more, which is going to be a tough stretch for them and Rob Blake looks at them going like, I, no, this isn’t working like you guys had your chance and you blew it, time to move on.

RP: So you know, you’re speaking of spite supposedly, Dean Lombardi fired Terry Murray to send a message to his team and he blamed the players. Like he went into the locker room and he goes, “your performance got Terry Murray fired. This is your fault.”

JN: Oh yeah. No that is definitely within King’s folklore and like I believe there’s even a quote from true tally where he’s just like, “I know we can be better and I have to be because I can’t let that happen again.”

RP: Yeah, well supposedly there’s—and I I don’t know how true this is but—John Stephens in that in time that like right after Terry Murray got fired, because the Kings were in—on a road trip, they were in Boston, this just speaks to like John Stevens, like he took the players all out for ice cream to make them feel better.

JN: Aw.

SA: Because he’s just a good guy. I love John Stevens.

JN: Like John... Players will do more to make a guy like that happy.

RP: Oh yeah.

JN: Look at what Dallas did last year, right, he was on their bench as an assistant coach. Like Dallas had no... They honestly weren’t good enough to be in the Stanley Cup Final and went. And yeah, like, that’s the kind of impact John Stevens has and I love that guy and I miss him being on the Kings’ staff but I also love Todd McLellan, so what do you gonna do?

RP: Bring John Stephens back to work with Todd McLellan? Duh.

SA: I feel like returning to the place that fired you so quickly, I don’t really know... John Stevens was a nice guy but mmm…

RP: Yeah well, I mean that speaks more to the toxicity of the Kings front office than it does anything about John Stevens.

JN: I mean//. However true that might have been a few years ago... I’m okay with the way things are headed right now as a fan.

RP: With the team on the ice?

JN: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I’m... Again, like, they’re super frustrating. Like one game, they look like world beaters, the next game, they look like they don’t know how to tie their shoes. And yeah, it’s frustrating but that’s just what happens with the young team. And Cal Petersen is the real deal. Like that is what this year has absolutely shown. Like, rwe can rely on Cal Petersen for the years to come.

RP: I don’t know about that. I don’t know about that. Because look what happened to Carter Hart. Granted Carter Hart is much younger. Well, not much—”much younger” in the hockey terms being you know, three years younger than Cal Petersen. Carter Hart’s 22, Cal Petersen’s 25—er 26!

JN: Yeah, but that’s Philly. Philly turns like... They go through goalies like nobody’s business.

RP: I know it—

JN: Unless it’s Brian Elliott who will somehow always end up as their backup every other year.

RP: And somehow look like a world-beater Vezina candidate every other year.

JN: I mean, what do you say, Sarah?

SA: I mean, I feel like you can’t... Those-those are two different situations. I feel like Philadelphia is such a mess in general that I don’t really think we can apply the “Oops Carter Hart forgot how to play hockey” thing to Cal Petersen and I think that Cal Petersen having a handful of years on him and having played—I mean Carter Hart basically went right to the NHL. I think he played a couple of AHL games or maybe half a season before getting called up. You know Cal Petersen has several years of playing in front of the incredibly frustrating Ontario Reign, you know. I have a lot of confidence that Cal Petersen can handle whatever nonsense this team throws at him. But yeah, I mean, I do think that look whether you’re a numbers person or an eye test person, you know watching Cal Petersen makes me like, okay if he is not starting the majority of the games down this stretch like then, I don’t know what Todd McLellan is doing. But yeah, I mean I think that he has made very clear that he is The Guy and he can stand on his head when he needs to and frustrate other teams, especially because he is kind of an unknown commodity to a lot of other teams. I think that they’re kind of like “well, what do we do now? What do we do with this guy?”

JN: And he has that right-handed catching glove, too, which you know was so in vogue in 2002 with Thomas Vokoun and José Théodore and no one since then.

RP: Except for like actual right-handed European goalies, which seem to be really oddly few and far between.

JN: Yeah. But I mean… That also comes up to like do the Kings trade Jonathan Quick while retaining half of his salary for two years after this year at the trade deadline. You know, I watched the Capitals game the other day against the Rangers and like man did they try hard to lose that game against the Rangers when they were up like three—like they need goaltending help. You know, Pittsburgh needs goaltending help. Philadelphia needs goaltending help. Toronto is talking about getting rid of Freddie Anderson.

SA: could you imagine reuniting Jack Campbell and Jonathan Quick in Toronto?

RP: Ohhhhh!

JN: There is a rumor that I don’t know if I trust that says that is likely to happen.

RP: Yessss! I want it to happen so badly. Toronto just keep taking all of LA’s goalies. Just... We’re a goalie pipeline, goalie factory straight to Toronto. I love this idea.

JN: Yeah and I mean, I... I don’t know it’s the Kings are ready to move on from Jonathan Quick, kind of in the same way of like are they ready to move on from Dustin Brown? I think... You know, there’s some interesting things that could happen on the back end because what kind of you know ripple effect is there from Aaron Ekblad’s horrific injury last night because now Florida definitely needs to trade for a defenseman, you know, what does that end up leading to down the road? We … We don’t know yet, you know. I just yeah, they’re there’s a lot of… of... of head scratching and pondering heading into the trade deadline and all of it with a flat cap and and most teams have orders from their owner don’t take on any money because I’m not making enough money to pay these players the agreed upon salary.

SA: Yeah. I feel like the only thing that would make me pause about Jonathan Quick is what do we... What’s coming back the other way? Because, you know, while I have faith in Cal Petersen, I don’t have faith in anything behind him to come up and be a long-term. I mean maybe

JN: Troooooy Grosenick!

SA: Yeah, I mean he did very well at least one game he’s amazing in the HL like he could be at least a temporary option. But it would also I think the Kings would then have to explore the goalie market in the future for next season or whatever because I,,, you know, Matt Villalta and Jacob Ingham, bless their hearts but, they’re still babies and are not ready yet to come up. But I think that that would be, for me, like the biggest hesitation in trading Quick is that like okay, we we need someone who can hack it, especially if the Kings make a playoff run and then end up having to need another goaltender. You need one who isn’t going to be like “welp, I’m outta here, no thank you’’ which is what I would do if I suddenly had to show up to the playoffs. I’d be like “no, I’m gone bye.”

RP: Well you’re not an NHL player, Sarah.

SA: Exactly.

RP: I feel like with the Kings, depending on Matt Villalta’s trajectory, because the Ontario Reign are absolutely horrendous in front of him, but he has been so cool, calm, and collected the last season and a half that he’s been with the AHL or that he’s been in the AHL. But it’s kind of... Do you really want to bring—if Jonathan, if they let Jonathan Quick walk in two years after his contract is up, let’s say that nobody wants to trade for Jonathan Quick or they decide no we can’t trade Jonathan Quick yet because we we don’t know if the players coming behind him are ready—do you trust either 22 year old or 23 year old Matt Villtalta—23-year-old Matt Villalta or 22-year-old Jacob Ingham to come up and make a difference in the NHL?

SA: No that’s when they go get a like Anton Khudobin or whoever, you know, Ryan Miller is gonna play until he’s 45 or something probably we can just bounce him around Southern California. Like, yeah, I think that if they do get rid of Jonathan Quick in the next couple of years or even after his his um, his his contract ends, I don’t think that they’re going to be ready yet to jump Matt Villalta or Ingham or whoever because they do have a lot of other goalie prospects who could you know, also pan out. I think that [inaudible]

JN: Hey guys?

SA: and they then they just go get an old guy. Yes, sir?

JN: Speaking of goalies, Marc-André Fleury just isn’t dressing for the Knights and Oscar Dansk was just called up

SA: Yep.

RP: Oh god.

JN: With Lehner starting and Fleury was on the rink for the morning skate. So...

RP: Yes but…

JN: Is there a case is there a trade…?

SA: Is he getting traded back to Pittsburgh?

RP: Oh my god!

JN: Please, please, please let it be that!

RP: Speaking of goalies, though. I want to touch on this real quick because we are running out of time because it’s been a long time it’s been a long podcast already, um... Now the Kings have shown a propensity to just go out and get some old backup guy, like Khudobin, like Ben Scrivens—will Scrivens wasn’t that old—like whoever is available on the goalie market at the time. Speaking of the Florida Panthers, I’m kind of going back a little bit. I know that the Florida Panthers are not a cap team—ordinarily they’re not anyway—and Ekblad just had a horrible injury. But they pay, they’re paying Bob a lot of money and he is literally the worst goalie in the league. Do you... Do you make that trade for somebody like Jonathan Quick who is... He’s got... Yes, Jonathan Quick is very temperamental to put it nicely but..

JN: Really quick: Bobrovsky is ninth in the league in save percentage.

RP: No. But yeah, okay, yeah, but in like expected goals against or expected saves above average or something he’s, like way below, like he’s literally the worst in the league.

JN: Okay, sorry.

RP: Well, okay, sorry. I should say according to the fancy stats of Evolving Wild. From-from, the Evolving Wild twins, they categorize Bob as being worst in the league, but he’s being sheltered behind a Joel Quenneville defense, which absolutely makes sense—well, although that question was asked quite quite often in Chicago is it Corey Crawford or is it Joel Quenneville’s defense? Sometimes it was A sometimes it was B.

JN: Very true.

RP: Most likely in this case with Florida, it is Joel Quenneville’s system that has been sheltering Bobrovsky because he hasn’t really been good, like even by eye test. He’s been kind of bad the last two seasons that he’s been in Florida, he’s been a huge disappointment to the-the Not Fancy Cats fans, so would you go out and get… But Jonathan Quick’s kind of expensive. But do you make that trade?

SA: I mean, we’re not taking back Bobrovsky.

JN: They trade for Jonathan Quick and Olli Maatta.

RP: James really loves Olli Maatta. [James groans] Well, I think the thing is the Kings are probably just gonna hang on to Jonathan Quick. I suspect for the next five years. I mean his big contract is going to end soon and as we all knew would happen eventually over time $5.8 million really isn’t that bad yes, it’s a flat cap but the good thing about having all these children is that you don’t have to pay them that much money.

SA: I mean when his contract is up if he wants to stick around for like a million bucks a year or something because he’s made a ton of money already like, I actually wouldn’t hate that because like I said like but they’re not quite ready yet for the pipeline behind Cal Petersen. If they just give if they just keep giving Johnathan Quick like one year deals... I don’t know—I don’t know he would take it—I think I wouldn’t hate that yeah.

RP: If he, if he took it, even if it was like a two year deal, I would... Two years, maybe four million dollars each super overpaying but… I take it for a known quantity. You always know what you’re gonna get with Jonathan Quick and I hate to say this but chances are his body’s gonna break down at some point during the season and then you’ll get a good look at what the children in the AHL are doing. And see how ready they are for the primetime NHL spotlight. I mean, I don’t want it to happen but it’s been like a consistent thing over the last three years.

SA: Hey, Rob Blake, call us, we’ve got an idea.

JN: Yeah!

RP: [laughs] All right last question. He’s not as much of a character heart and soul guy as Dustin Brown, who, by the way leads the Kings in both power play goals power—sorry, he leads the Kings in power play goals and points regular, all strength and points and all strength goals this season for the Kings. But what do you do with Jeff Carter? He’s so versatile. But he’s old and he’s kind of not that good anymore.

SA: I mean the part of me that loves Jeff Carter like is like no, please don’t do the thing. But of the like veteran players who are still on this team I could... He is the most expendable and I think is, salary aside because he’s still gets a whole ton of actual dollars I think and a big cap hit which I think it would make him a little harder to trade but you know, I think that he he is someone who and again if you roll back the clock to like 2011 Philadelphia and tell a Flyers fan this, they’re gonna think you’re out of your mind. But like he is someone who is always cited as a really good mentor for the young players and he’s always being really helpful to you guys like Anderson-Dolan and and the other young players on the team and they always stick them with the young guys on his line. You know, he just is the dad for them and so like I could I could see it all of the like nonsense about like he’s going to retire if you trade him, I really don’t think that like I think that’s overblown. I think that at the end of the day, he’s a hockey player and that comes first over like I don’t want to leave LA. You can come back in two years once your contracts. Done and live on the beach for the rest of your life. It’s cool. I wouldn’t mind it as long as the Kings don’t have to like eat like also send along like a really cool prospect to make some teen take his salary. Like if the deal’s gonna suck just keep them.

RP: Yeah, I mean, it doesn’t make sense. His cap hit is basically $5.3 million, his actual dollars paid is 2 million. So a team like the Senators who are watching every dollar, I feel like they-they could take him, but I don’t know if he makes—well, actually he does kinda make sense for their team. Hey Dorion, call us, we have an idea. But no, I mean, you you look at what he did in 2014 with Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli, “that ‘70s line,” nobody thought it would—on paper it didn’t make sense but all of a sudden it just something clicked and it started working, so who’s to say that it doesn’t start working next year—or I mean, he’s only got two years left on his deal this year and next year, so. It doesn’t make... Again, like three years ago if you were going to say let’s move on from Jeff Carter. I would say okay, what are you going to give us in return? Just like Dustin Brown, but he’s kind of a quiet producer. He’s fairly consistent. You generally know what you’re gonna get out of him and... He’s easy on the eyes.

SA: Listen, I think things started to go downhill when you cut the hair and you know, he-he scored a bunch of goals and then he cut his hair and now he’s been like extra streaky, so I mean both for personal reasons and for hockey reasons,I think he should grow it back.

RP: So clearly he’s the Samson of the hockey world.

SA: Absolutely!

JN: I thought that was Michal Handzuš.

RP: Ugh, God.

SA: That, too.

RP: I will never forget losing to Michal freaking Handzuš.

SA: That day was amazing.

RP: Oh my god!

SA: That game with so good. I want like... I mean at the time obviously I was rooting more for Chicago than the Kings, I lost my mind because I had spent that entire like playoff run being like why is this guy and the lineup? He contributes nothing. And then he scored the goal to win that game and I was like holy balls. I’m so sorry, Michal Handzuš. I’m so sorry.

RP: I lost my mind that game too, but for the opposite reason. Alright, well, let’s wrap this up. You guys have any final thoughts, any trade suggestions or whatever?

JN: Jonathan Quick for Taylor Hall.

SA: Hah!

RP: I like it. Sabres, call us. We have suggestions.

SA: Trade Jeff. Carter directly to me. This wife and kids can come, that’s fine.

RP: I was like, that’s a little awkward Sarah, but okay.

SA: Listen, it’s 2021. We’re living in the future.

RP: [laughs] Okay, why not? Yeah, so any last final thoughts on the trades of Brendan Lemieux and being a Trump person and his BFF being Tony DeAngelo, who is a racist white supremacist even though he denies it and claims that white racism is a thing and...

SA: Oh my god.

RP: And that he’s always the victim.

JN: I don’t know. I don’t know. I hope Rob Blake knows Brendan Lemieux personally and like, knows something we don’t... I like... It’s just. I... Maybe I’m just speaking as. I don’t know as a white guy in his thirties, but like I’m just I’m exhausted of having to listen... of having to know what an athlete’s political opinion is because they just have to tell you what their opinion is. Like without a greater point to it, you know what I mean? I hope I’m saying that right. I’m tired. This is a long podcast.

SA: I mean, I mean hope… Now the whole thing is like Tony DeAngelo isn’t playing because the Rangers were like you’re never gonna play for us again because they had that conversation with him at some point of and you know of like “listen if you like screw it up one more time like you’re done” and then he screwed it up by having your fight with his teammate and then he’s done like I would like to think that maybe Rob Blake was like listen you can believe whatever you want that’s cool, but if you turn out to be like a... I’m not gonna say it because I don’t want you to have to bleed your podcast, like... if you turn out to be like that to your teammates like, You’re done too um I I would hope because the issue for me and this is a whole other podcast, so I’ll keep a quick is like the culture that the Kings are building of this team that is you know dedicated that is very prominent in being inclusive and they have you know, four high-profile black players on their AHL team and they have Blake Bolden in their front office and a scout and everything to them like turn around and bring in a guy who we know maybe doesn’t fly that same path, like I just hope that someone has had a conversation with him at the end of the day.

RP: That leads me to my closing thought here and you guys don’t have to answer: What does that say to players like Byfield and Akil Thomas and and all their other Black and and you know Blake Bolden and and you know Boko Imama and stuff... What does that say to them when you bring in a guy like Brendan Lemieux who, you know BFFs, with Tony DeAngelo who is okay with white supremacist rhetoric, what does that say to them? I’m not expecting you guys to answer or anything but I just feel like as you mentioned if you’re trying to build this culture and you bring in a guy like like like that and you’re just like—that’s a lot of likes. If you bring in a guy…

SA: I think... I think at the end of the day, and it’s sad but this is probably the answer ,is that they’re all of those guys are like, “well yeah.” Like I think that they are all so used to that that I I think that they might just be like, “well, yeah, of course this is hockey.“ And that sucks that sucks that they have to do that I know Devante Smith-Pelly has talked in the past about how he has felt alone on teams where he is the only Black player and that he has felt like no one has understood what he has gone through as a player because he has no one else with that experience. So, regardless of where anything ends up and is Brendan Lemieux a good teammate who’s good to all of his teammates or just some of them or whatever like I am glad that ultimately these guys have each other and you know, regardless of where things go that there is a group of them who can be support for each other, just in general even taking aside Brendan Lemieux. They can just be a bunch of guys to be like, you know to validate each other whenever something stupid happens, to be like “did that happen? Like I’m not crazy, right?” Like yeah.

RP: It just feels like such a slap in the face, like as you mentioned they’re trying to build this culture and then they bring in this guy. To me it just feels that they are kind of doing it only because they think it’s a good PR move to present on the outside that they’re building this culture and they’re hiring this Black woman, like the first woman in her type of position, it’s just kind of feels... that it’s it’s the sort of the the fingers crossed behind their back, you know? That’s just my thought.

JN: As a white man. I know the answer to this is without [trails off]... Yeah. I just hope for the best in people. And I hope for the best in this situation.

SA: Yeah, that’s all that’s all we can do as people with zero control over the situation is please prove us wrong. Like, please prove me being annoyed about this wrong and that’s all I can ask.

RP: for absolutely. All right well thank you both for joining me today. I know this podcast went a little long so sorry about that but your thoughts and feelings are so great to hear as always and hopefully dear listeners we will be back again with a shorter podcast and actually good news to report in the next week or so.