Saturday marked the final game of the season for the Los Angeles Kings. Jenn and I made our way down to the Staples Center to say goodbye to the team, which has become something of a tradition since I moved here — this is our third consecutive home finale (!). Alas, it was another year for the Kings without a playoff spot, but they definitely improved this year, and sent us into the off-season with an exciting 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks. The Kings goals came from Handzus, Harrold, and two of our favorite players, Alexander Frolov and Wayne Simmonds.
Provided our general manager doesn’t do anything stupid, like trade Frolov (which sadly seems possible right now), the Kings should take another step forward next season and challenge for a spot. They’ve finally got a promising goaltending tandem with Quick and Ersberg, and for skaters they’ve got a solid core with Kopitar, Brown, Frolov, Handzus, Stoll, Simmonds, Moller, Doughty, Johnson, Greene, and some up-and-comers like Purcell and Boyle who should fill out the roster next season. A couple more pieces could really help them get in. Everyone’s talking Marian Gaborik from Minnesota, which would be exciting if he could stay healthy. (I personally think we could use Ales Kotalik to help us with shootouts, where we really struggled this year.)
I also said goodbye to my hometown team, the Buffalo Sabres, whose season also came to an end this weekend. No playoffs for them either, and looking back I’m still wondering what happened to the shockingly good club of a few years ago — and why their GM decided to hang the future on Roy, Pominville and Connolly instead of Drury, Briere, or even Dumont. This team fell apart without Miller and Vanek in the lineup, and I’ll be very curious to see what they do in the off-season to get the team back on track.
I must not be a complete die-hard hockey fan, because now that both my teams are out of the playoffs, I could care less who wins the Cup. The playoffs make me grumpy, anyway, so maybe it’s just as well. 🙂 Meanwhile, better luck next year — until then, here we are in our team colors!