The six-game losing streak is finished, but is this all part of Rob Blake’s master plan?
“All I have to say is: ‘FINALLY!’.” –My daughter
“#GiveBrownBackHisC” –My son
“Brownie, his comeback gave us a big boost today and he’s one of the true leaders of this team and he played like a true leader today and I think he was a big factor…we need to be much much better than we’ve been…” –Iyla Kolvachuk
These were the immediate three things I heard after the Kings’ comeback win over the New York Rangers.
The return of Dustin Brown saw the return of Kings hockey. You know that cardiac brand of hockey than sees the boys go down a goal or two early, fight back, somehow take the lead, only to give it back minutes later, and then somehow pull it out late for the win. It also saw the return of an effective power play and the shelving of the boo birds at the end of second periods at Staples Center.
A win. A good power play. Dustin Brown. Three points from Kovalchuk. All good things, right?
I hate to always be the antagonist, but a win over a seven-point rebuilding Rangers team doesn’t exactly give me goosebumps and warm fuzzies. I mean, at this point Alec Martinez surely gives poor Hank Lundqvist nightmares when the game is on the line. The Kings own the King. When Marty snapped that shot through Lundqvist, I fully expected the King to lay down on the ice face first for thirty seconds like he did in 2014 when “Jazz Hands” were invented.
Martinez beating Lundqvist in a tight game is a pre-ordained event. The Hockey Gods definitely favor one over the other. Don’t fight it people, just embrace it. So pardon me if pulling even with the Rangers in the Jack Hughes Sweepstakes isn’t the wind beneath my wings just yet.
Last Monday I wrote about us fans assembling their pitchforks and torches to bring down Coach Stevens. I implored the players to step up and say they haven’t quit on the coach. It was a small ask I thought.
I didn’t hear much from the players, but at least Rob Blake heard me and spoke out to Curtis Zupke of the Los Angeles Times, telling him that John Stevens is “a good coach…real good coach.”
Although the Kings are on a pace to produce fifty-something points this season, I’ll take that as an endorsement of sorts. But all of Rob Blake’s quasi endorsements and talk of understanding the frustrations of poor play in the locker room does not quell conspiracy theories in the Lloyd household.
While some have whined about Rob Blake not putting together a quality team that can thrive in the new NHL, we* think that he is the Mad Scientist with a master plan.
What exactly is the master plan of our Mad Scientist, you ask? Okay, try this three-pronged suit on for size:
- Keep Coach Stevens. Why? So the Kings can bungle their way through the season. He doesn’t even have to try to mess it up. He lacks the gift of mix and match line chemistry building, turned his back on the up tempo style that worked so well when the Kings were winning last season, and is seemingly clueless as to when to challenge a goal (I’m sure all of you noticed he wasted another in this game on the first goal of the game. What is that, three or four times already this season?). Conventional wisdom says that leaving Stevens at the helm turns potential wins into close losses, which helps point two immensely.
- With Stevens at the helm, bungling their way to Jack Hughes would appease a suddenly restless fan base that was very patient for the first four-and-a-half decades but now after two Stanley Cups expect to compete for a third every year and every game. #LoseForHughes would give the Kings the second coming of Connor McDavid / the third coming of Wayne Gretzky. Who wouldn’t want that?
- The signing of Kovalchuk is part of the bigger recruiting of the big prize: Artemi Panarin. He doesn’t want to stay in Ohio and said the Kings would be one of his top destinations. You could say our Evil Genius didn’t want to make the rumored trade of Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson for the Breadman earlier in the year so he could get him in the offseason. Salary cap issues with a Panarin signing? No problem, we have the Mad Scientist.
There are at least five more points in what we see as the master plan, but for now I’ll let the initial parts sink in to the masses. It’s a lot for most to fathom.
In Rob we trust, right?
* - Actually this conspiracy theory comes from my son and me. My daughter wants no part of this (remember, she’s all sunshine and rainbows).