To be forbid from Figueroa
The red light’s on.
This time, there’s no goal to be celebrated en signal of that red glow. We’re five days from a pending lockout.
In fact, the only goal worth celebrating at this point would be an agreement between Gary Bettman, the NHL owners, and the NHLPA. That goal needs to be attained by September 15th, a mere five days away, a day that could impact the sport in a presumptuously most definite negative fashion.
Unbelievably, and astonishingly so, we’re headed in that direction.
This isn’t to say I expected the owners and the players to come to terms in time, it’s just sad that the NHL will likely be seeing a delay, or to stretch it, an entire season cancelled for the second time in eight years. It’s pathetic.
And I know it’s easy for me to say; but it’s all for greed. You can’t argue it.
There are both pros and cons here when it comes to the Kings dealing with an NHL lockout, and it’s a much better set of cards to have than most, if not all of the other clubs in the league. This Kings roster could use the extra rest a delay to the season would bring. They’re coming off of a year which saw them play the most games in the NHL, a season that stretched to June 11, and with Jonathan Quick coming off of back surgery.
Extra time is something I can accept from the labor negotiations this year, but that’s as far as I’ll go. The Kings could benefit from a season delay, and it’s certainly better than axing the entire season.
Regardless of any outcome, the Kings will likely have to put their Stanley Cup celebration on hold. The only question is, for how long.
Up in the Rafters
Leave us hanging: There was an interesting note brought up by Rich Hammond a few days ago, one that regards to the Kings’ scheduled season opener on October 12th against the New York Rangers, a date that is now seriously threatened by the stalemate in NHL labor negotiations.
The home opener is going to host the final celebration of the Kings’ Stanley Cup victory, presenting the players’ rings and the raising of the championship banners. Key word here – ‘raising’.
For the first time in franchise history, the Kings plan to hang their banners from the rafters of Staples Center, as opposed to posting them on an upper-deck wall, a tradition started by the Kings and Lakers that dates back to the days of the Great Western Forum.
As well as this year’s Stanley Cup and Western Conference championship banners, the Kings plan to hang both the Smyth Division banner from 1990-’91 and the Campbell Conference banner from 1993-’94.
Hammond also hinted at the chance to see the Kings also move their retired player banners to the rafters as well, but we’ll just have to wait and see if that comes to fruition, and maybe a bit longer than we expected to.
The Vegas Strip
Danger Zone: The Kings nixed their plans to host their annual preseason Hockey Fest fan celebration this year with the league’s stability in such limbo. If the NHL fails to restructure itself appropriately between the owners and the players by September 15, then real events start to get pushed to the side.
Kings players are expected to report to El Segundo on September 17, just two days after the bargaining deadline. The day after, September 18, is the Kings’ first scheduled practice.
Then the preseason games hit the club on September 24, the Kings scheduled for their annual split-squad simultaneous two-game tilt with the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, AZ, and at Staples Center.
There are five other preseason games scheduled for the Kings after the opening series with the Phoenix Coyotes, most notably the 15th annual Frozen Fury matchup with the Colorado Avalanche at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
If you’ve purchased your plane ticket to Las Vegas for Frozen Fury XV on September 29, you may want to consider making different plans for your trip.
There’s always gambling, but don’t place any bets on this NHL season starting on time.
You hope they’re bluffing, we’ve got five days.
Get something done.
When you cancel preseason hockey in Vegas, you cancel that.
Let’s balance our priorities here.