Elliott Teaford of the Los Angeles Daily News has written an interesting piece prior to back-to-back nights of The Freeway Face-Off. The Ducks and Kings will do battle tonight at the Staples Center, then tomorrow night at the Honda Center.
Teaford thinks Los Angeles and Anaheim are “blowing it” with their lackluster starts to the season.
Blowing what, exactly?
The Kings and the Ducks could have the fall/winter/spring stage all to themselves if the NBA lockout continues and the Lakers and Clippers remain on the sidelines.
USC and UCLA aren’t going to the Rose Bowl and their seasons are winding down.
Soon all we’ll have is hockey under the palms in Southern California.
You might think the Kings and Ducks would use this opportunity to make a determined leap onto the front pages, gain a few more seconds on the local television news, lure new fans and get more people talking about them.
Sadly, however, neither team is seizing the day.
The struggles in both LA and Anaheim are well documented. The Kings were supposed to be highly competitive this season, but have been mediocre at best. The Ducks, meanwhile, have just been bad.
If you’re looking for a reason why, consider the roster makeups. Both clubs are extremely top heavy.
The Kings rely almost exclusively on five forwards for scoring: Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams, Mike Richards, Simon Gagne and Dustin Brown. (To read about LA’s lack of secondary scoring, click here.) Blueline production is almost totally reliant on Jack Johnson and Drew Doughty.
Anaheim’s even more imbalanced. Up front, scoring is done almost exclusively by Teemu Selanne, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan (Saku Koivu and Andrew Cogliano chip in, just not often enough.) And after Cam Fowler, Francois Beauchemin and the struggling Lubomir Visnovsky, the Ducks blueline gets really thin. Toni Lydman is struggling, Luca Sbisa has been a nightmare and the rotating door of sixth/seventh defensemen (Sheldon Brookbank, Kurtis Foster, Nate Guenin) has done nothing.
“So far, there’s no reason for anyone with the faintest interest in hockey to jump aboard either team’s bandwagon,” Teaford writes. “Neither team has played well enough to warrant extra column inches in the newspapers or sound bites on the evening television news.”
With the NBA locked out, the SoCal sports scene is primed to focus on the Kings and Ducks this season.
But with the way they’re going, it might not happen.