Hey, Jealousy

Truth be told, I don’t have much to complain about. All told, I’ve been dealt a pretty fair hand. I was never much of an athlete while young, but I move around without pain while all my jock friends are nursing their old sports injuries that prevent them from living a complete life. Financially, I am better off than some, worse off than others, but there are no possessions that I covet, no property I wish I owned. For the most part, I never experienced the most pernicious of the Seven Deadly sins, that of envy.

That was before I watched Simon Gagne skate. Always partial to winter sports, I am an above average skier who has no problems hurtling my body down a mountain. Ice Skating has always presented more of a problem even though I started at a relatively young age. Despite many lessons, a decent pair of skates and plenty of ice time, I am reconciled to the fact that mediocre is the best I can ever hope to achieve on the thin twin blades. So, when I see Gagne make it seem so effortless, as if the ice is merely a personal conveyor belt rapidly taking him wherever he wants to go, I am actually jealous.

Admittedly, my expertise resides in many of the off-ice aspects of the sport. Scribe has actually played the game and knows more about the nuances that allow players to excel. But, I have been a fan for a long time, and there is a player that Gagne reminds me of, another Canadian of French descent. Yvan Cournoyer, ‘The Roadrunner’, was a mainstay of the great Canadiens teams of the 1970s. Cournoyer was vertically challenged, but he was a blur whose skill on skates was a marvel to behold. Who needs to forecheck when you can always beat the defender to the puck?

Gagne and Cournoyer play in different eras, and it is unreasonable to expect Simon to put up similar numbers to the Hall of Famer. Yet, it is clear that the former brings an element to the Kings that we have lacked for a long time – a player that forces defenders to back off when he has the puck. Take a wrong step with Gagne bearing down on you, and he will be in solo on your goaltender before you can even react. Hopefully, he can remain healthy, but I was thinking last night I would much rather have Gagne at $3.5 mm a year than Brad Richards at $7 mm plus. Sometimes, the best deals are the ones not made. Welcome to Los Angeles Simon, and damn you for making it look so easy.

Categories: L.A. Kings News

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8 replies

  1. Well said.

    Not to toot my own horn, but during the offseason I was telling everyone and anyone who would listen we should go after Gagne over everyone else. There were a lot of skeptics, but I knew from watching him play on various teams he would have the capability of bringing something that this team lacked.. a speedster with a knack for finding open space and scoring.

    My only concern was injuries, but a lot of them were kind of flukey in nature and most weren’t to the same body part per say.

    Being sound defensively doesn’t hurt either.

  2. I have to admit, I was hesitant last season when it was rumored that the Kings might be coveting him. It actually pissed me off that DL couldn’t lay off Philly players (also because of the wounded animal factor that DL often tries to land, in the hopes that he’s getting a good value for a player who won’t ask for a lot, for a chance to play).

    As we hit the summer, and I got my hopes up about Brad Richards, I found myself thinking of Gagne as a responsible choice if we couldn’t land Richards. Once we didn’t land Richards, I thought “how lucky are we to even land this guy?”. As the summer went along I started to see the wisdom that DL had the year before, and that if he’s healthy, we’re gonna be scary good.

    Now that the seasons started, I can’t believe I even said “maybe”. The guy is everything he promised to be, and all those hopefull thoughts about him coming in and adding scoring punch, are coming true. Love this guy so far.

  3. I was among those who said, “Back away! Gags is an LTIR waiting to happen.”

    Now I’m biting my tongue, praying I’m as wrong as wrong can be.

    DL’s wonderful habit of taking big-money chances on guys who’ve been hurt may pay off again. As long as Richards keeps drawing some of the checking heat away from Kopi’s line, we have the luxury of dreaming that Gagne will produce the way he did five or six years ago.

    So far, Penner is the only top-six guy who hasn’t scored a goal — and even he has done a coupla things in the games he’s played to justify our faith in him.

    If there’s one thing we can’t crab about in the first five games, it’s that our big guys aren’t doing the job.

    All the same, we sure looked like mice out there alongside those big Blues forwards.

    Size, Horatio. Size. The funeral-baked meats doth coldly furnish forth the marriage tables. It’s so nice to have at least one humongous zhlub around the house.

  4. I love this article…and now, I want to go skiing. Nicely done, Howard.

    • Any time you want to go skiing, just say so, I am in. Thanks!

      • Enuffa dis shit!

        Is you is or is you ain’t usin’ an alias?

        Is “Howard Roark” legit or just another bullshit pseudonym, like — like — “Bobby Scribe” or “Surly Jacob”?

        (Yeah, I know. “. . . or like ‘Tuan Jim'”.)

        • If his real initials are HR, would it make him legit? What if his first name, like Howard, has 6 letters and ends in a D? Although he is not a character in Ayn Rand’s book, the fact he has been a fictional character in another book under a name other than Howard Roark but that character also bore the initials HR? That he has been mistaken more than 5 times but less than 8 for a philosopher or that he answers to the names Frank or Lloyd even though neither is Wright? There is more to legit than just a name. It’s not a rose for goodness sake.

  5. Actually, my real name is John Galt


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