It's (finally) the last week of August, which brings the rest of the NHL to the end of hockey's long off-season and us here at Defending Big D to the end of our series where former Pacific Division rivals say goodbye to the Dallas Stars.
We have a bit of a guest artist this week, as the fine folks over at The Royal Half took on the challenge of saying goodbye to the team that gave their Los Angeles Kings so many, many fine memories over the last few years. At least we can always smile about that first game after the 04-05 lockout, where the Kings roared out to a 4-0 lead before eventually losing 5-4.
Those were the days, eh?
Goodbye, Dallas Stars
By The Royal Half
Let's be honest here. As a Los Angeles Kings fan... I don't really have any animosity toward the Dallas Stars. And besides, even if I did... it's not like any of the Dallas Stars fans would hear me out.
Because they can't hear you if they aren't there.
So now that the Dallas Stars are moving back to a NHL Division that better reflects their state's time zone... I thought I'd point out that the Dallas Stars should be sad they are leaving the Pacific Division. In fact, if anything, Dallas Stars fans should be thanking the LA Kings for giving them the one person who has achieved success with their franchise in the last 10 years.
To be fair... any photo that has Ladislav Nagy in it tends to lose its connection to the word "success."
That's right, Dave Tippett was an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Kings from 1999-2002. Tippett was hired in Los Angeles after spending 5 seasons coaching the IHL's Houston Aeros... including a stint in 94-95 as a Player/Assistant Coach!
In the Summer of 2002, the LA Kings let Tippett go to Dallas where he made the playoffs for 5 straight seasons. After Dave Tippett's departure, the LA Kings fired their Head Coach, Andy Murray, and didn't make the playoffs for 6 straight seasons... just like the Dallas Stars are doing right now!
Even HockeyReference.Com can't believe the Stars hired Lindy Ruff.
Dave Tippett has since moved on to coaching the Phoenix Coyotes where the atmosphere in the building is just like it was in Dallas!
The exact same atmosphere... except for the fact that the Coyotes have actually made the playoffs in the last 5 seasons.
The Dallas Stars should also be thankful that they paid attention when the LA Kings made their issues with agitator Sean Avery public in the Spring of 2006.
PHOENIX — Sean Avery's brief and volatile career with the Kings came to an end after an argument with assistant coach Mark Hardy during practice Wednesday, a source with the team said. A spokesman for the Kings said that while Avery was not suspended, he will not play in the final three games of the regular season or the Stanley Cup playoffs, should the team manage to qualify.
The incident occurred while the Kings went through a workout before flying to Phoenix. Avery was asked by Hardy to do a drill, refused and was told to leave the ice. The two exchanged words, but it did not become physical. The incident is believed to have amounted to the final straw in a controversial season for the 26-year-old forward who revels in being an instigator on the ice and voicing his opinions off it. More often than not, both got him in trouble.
In September, the NHL reprimanded Avery for comments made about French-Canadian players after then-Coyote defenseman Denis Gauthier hit the Kings' Jeremy Roenick in an exhibition game. Avery issued an apology.
In October, during a game against Edmonton, the Oilers' Georges Laraque -- who is black -- accused Avery of using a racial slur. Avery denied the charge. In November, the NHL fined Avery for diving in a game, then fined him again for criticizing the first one.
In January, Avery was benched by then-Coach Andy Murray for disrespecting teammates, though many stood up for him. But last week, King players were privately saying they had had enough after Avery's obscenity-laced tirade at Brian Hayward, the Ducks' color commentator.
I'm just glad that the LA Kings had the courage to go public with this information about Sean Avery... so that no other team in the NHL would make the same mistake.
Well, at least the Dallas Stars management was well aware of what a disaster Marc Crawford was as Head Coach for the LA Kings from 2006-2008 so that they wouldn't make the same mistake they did with Avery and hire Marc CrawfOH MAN I CAN'T EVEN!!!
But enough of why the Dallas Stars fans should be so thankful of the Los Angeles Kings. I mean... there has got to be a few things that Kings fans should thank Dallas for, right?
Only the greatest LA Kings game to occur before June 11th, 2012, that's what.
Oh, and the Dallas Stars gave us LA Kings fans 6 glorious years of the full-on douchiness of Mike Ribeiro.
And let us never forget that the Dallas Stars and their awful goaltending were helpful in creating the Legend of Slava Voynov. But probably most importantly... this past NHL season... the Dallas Stars gave us here at The Royal Half tons of material.
Honestly, the only reason for a LA Kings fan to be sad about the Dallas Stars leaving the Pacific Division is that it means there will no longer be an awful team to beat up on and use to gain an easy playoff spot.
No... instead there will be *TWO* awful teams to beat up on and use to gain a playoff spot!
Now that they've left for the Central Division... I'm just upset that the Dallas Stars didn't even consider our suggestion for their new logo.
Over the past 15 years of the Dallas Stars and Los Angeles Kings being Pacific Division rivals, we've had a lot to argue about. But I think we all know that there is one thing that fans of both teams can agree on.
The San Jose Sharks will continue to be the laughing-stock of the Pacific Division.