Give a kid a shovel, he’ll dig a hole. Let a kid dig a hole long enough, he’ll ask where the hole will go. A smart ass parent, like I hope to be one day, will answer ‘China’. It’s a sound theory. China is technically below us, we’re below China. Or are they above? If you subscribe to the theory that the earth is round (not all do), then this snarky retort to your child is a nice segway into teaching your kid about the sphere we call home.
So the kid digs and digs and digs. Down, down and down. Eventually, just like in all the cartoons, he comes out on the other side. What was once down is instantaneously up.
How does this relate to the Kings?
Well, if you don’t want to trade for Rick Nash, Jeff Carter, Ales Hemsky or whoever else the rumors fancy, then you essentially believe the Kings are digging their way to China.
Over the last 3 years, going back to when the Kings turned the corner from high drafters to low berthers, the offense has dug itself a hole so deep it seems without end. So what do you do? Do you try and climb out, trade for someone above ground, hope they can pull you up? Or do you bury your head and keep on digging, keep going as you’ve been going and hope you break through to the other side?
There is some sense in this line of thinking. The Kings do have a plethora of proven goal scorers… They just aren’t acting like it this season. We know Brown, Kopitar, Williams and Richards can all score. We know Penner can, as can Gagne when healthy and even Stoll. Richardson has been able to pot a respectable third line amount in the past, Clifford has shown flashes of a nose for the dirty ones around the net. If you don’t know that Doughty is a lot better than he has been this season, then you don’t know Jack, who is the only player not having a career worst offensive season. We have three snipers in the wings in Toffoli, Kozun and Weal. We have Loktionov who will one day regularly score and set others up to do the same. So what the hell, this team isn’t the Nashville Predators of seasons’ past, when David Legwand was the premier forward on the team. The Bruins won a cup without a dominating superstar at forward.
Keep on digging. There’s pockets of air along the way. Penner and Stoll are gone and money can be thrown at Parise, Ruutu, Hemsky, Langkow, Grabovski, Semin, Kostitsyn, Boyes and Samuelsson. Keep on digging and trust the guys you have to do what they have done in the past once again. Keep on digging and trust the youth you have drafted and developed will only get better.
If you are Dean Lombardi, your only choice should be to just keep on digging. A significant trade at this point can only be an abandoning of the journey he started many years ago. I’m not talking about sending a pick away for Ruutu or something. I’m talking about the big trades, Nash or Carter. He always spoke about just needing to add one or two big pieces through trade. Dean’s added a lot more than that already. Richards was his big splash, the trade he had been waiting for, and just because it has coincided with the darkest hour on offense, does not mean it needs to be outdone.
Then again, perhaps the dig does need to be abandoned. He may have dug himself directly against an impregnable piece of rock.