So, today the HHOF released the first picture of the Kings’ names engraved on the Stanley Cup. Imagine my ecstasy when I saw that the picture did indeed include the name of Andrei Loktionov! There it was, tacked onto the end of the last row, the only player’s name to be out of alphabetical order, just as the name of Ed Roski (team co-owner) appeared to have been tacked onto the end of the first line of names, also out of alphabetical order. I was surprised and relieved. As I previously implored everyone involved, it’s not too late to do the right thing. And — what do you know — they listened. They did it. My faith in Dean Lombardi was restored. The one blemish on his superlative record had been corrected. No harm, no foul.
It was a fucking photoshop.
That’s right. A fan, obviously as outraged as I and many others are, had added Loktionov’s name. Now, the Roski addition, that turns out to be real. That is, a real after-thought that was really added to the end of a real line of names on the real Stanley Cup after some real person or persons really realized his omission, like Loktionov’s, was really unfair.
It has been noted (I forget where) that Roski is opposing Anschutz in his bid to build a football stadium in LA. So, his initial omission was spiteful. Got that? Spite. In other words, fuck you, Roski. But never mind, un-fuck-you.
Which brings me (back) to Andrei Loktionov. What possible reason could there be to leave him off the cup while including Davis Drewiske, he of the 93 healthy scratches?
It’s interesting that the name of forward Andrei Loktionov was not added, even though he played 39 regular-season games and two playoff games. He wasn’t on the original list and a team spokesman said Loktionov didn’t qulaify based on the criteria the team had set internally.
I would like to know, Dean, what these internal criteria are. Actually, strike that, JUST ADD LOKTIONOV’S NAME TO THE LAST LINE. There’s room. If the league can make an exception for Roski (exceeding the 52 name limit), they can do it for a player who actually played in 41 games.
When you explain why Loktionov didn’t meet the internal criteria, I would like to know:
- If Davis Drewiske, who played nine games out of 102, had played zero games and had been a healthy scratch in every single game, would he still have met the internal criteria? Or is there no internal game minimum?
- It has been suggested by some commenters on blogs (attempting to find some kind of rationale for this irrational and/or spiteful and/or arbitrary decision) that the reason Drewiske and Westgarth are included is because they were healthy scratches all season and therefore had dutifully attended all team practices and (presumably) had a good attitude?
- Aren’t team practices mandatory?
- Did Loktionov dutifully go to Manchester when assigned and attend all of those games and practices in the AHL? (hint: he must have, because he wouldn’t have been recalled if he showed a bad attitude in Manchester; see Bernier circa 2009).
- Is there some reason that going to Manchester when assigned is somehow less valuable as a contribution to the team than going to the press box when assigned?
- Since the Monarchs are, in fact, part of the Kings, and since Loktionov was acting as a member of the Los Angeles Kings when he was “loaned” to Manchester following the instructions of his coach in LA and his GM in LA and his GM in Manchester who happens also to be the assistant GM in LA, since he was there, presumably to get valuable ice-time that he could not get in LA, how is it that playing and practicing in Manchester is LESS of a contribution to the Kings than being a healthy scratch for the Kings?
- Since Drewiske and Westgarth are on the cup, there obviously isn’t a games-played component to the team’s internal criteria. Doesn’t it strike anyone as strange that, had Loktionov played in just two more regular season games, he would have gotten his name on the cup because it would have been mandatory under NHL rules, but apparently without having met the Kings’ own internal criteria?
- If Simon Gagne had not suited up for two games of the Finals, he would not have met the NHL criteria. Would he have met the Kings’ internal criteria?
- Given that Drewiske in particular was not even close to meeting the NHL’s criteria for inclusion, doesn’t that mean by definition that the Kings internal criteria is a judgment of character, or some other qualitative measure of a player’s value, a measure of the player’s so-called intangibles?
- Whose name would have been left off, had Loktionov played two more games?
My guess is that something bad has happened here behind the scenes. The “exclude Roski for spite” interpretation sounds pretty likely to me, and it follows that something like it occurred with Loktionov. As I said in a past post, if Drewiske, Westgarth and Loktionov had been left off the cup, no one would have thought it was unfair or odd or mean-spirited. It would have been sad for Loktionov, who came so close to the NHL criteria, only to be denied. But no one would have said there was something untoward going on here. The rules are the rules.
Only now the rules are not the rules. Imagine Loktionov’s shock and devastation. All summer, knowing he was two games shy of the 41 game limit, but hoping against hope that the Kings would get him on there anyway, and then seeing Drewiske’s name on the list and seeing the Kings did go to bat for players.
Just not for him.
Didn’t we all, we we saw Drewiske’s name, just assume Loktionov was on there, too? And didn’t we all, when we saw Roski’s name added, just assume they did the right thing by Loktionov, too? Yeah, we all did. Because it’s so obviously the right thing to do. And because Dean Lombardi has always walked the walk. We expect him to do right by people.
I must be naive, because I expect it, even now.