Loktionov omission is unconscionable

Andrei Loktionov played 39 regular season games for the Kings, and 2 more in the playoffs. The cut-off to qualify to get your name on the cup is 41 regular season games, or one game in the Finals. Loktionov didn’t dress in the Finals, so I was prepared for the news that his name wouldn’t make it onto the cup, along with the other Kings who didn’t meet the required minimum 41 games: Kevin Westgarth (25 games), Davis Drewiske (9 games), Scott Parse (9 games).

Except, when the names were announced by Rich Hammond this afternoon, Drewiske and Westgarth were included, which means the Kings lobbied the league to have their names included. The rule, as I recall it, is that the league will consider putting other names on the cup if the players did not meet the minimum because of some extenuating, special circumstances.

Apparently that includes “the coach didn’t want to play him.” But it does not include “the player is injured” (Parse). And, inexplicably, shockingly, it somehow doesn’t include Loktionov.


One rationale was proffered by Matt Berry: Drewiske and Westgarth were with the team all season. Loktionov spent time in Manchester. That kinda sorta makes sense, if you squint and don’t think about it. Because it’s not as though Drewiske and Westgarth were with the team all season out of choice, or moral fortitude. They were here all season because (1) it’s their job, (2) the coach didn’t think they were good enough or useful enough to put them into very many games and (3) they weren’t waiver exempt.

Loktionov was waiver-exempt, so he got sent down. And then got called up, because Lombardi and/or Sutter believed he was needed to play in actual games. Loktionov, like Drewiske and Westgarth, did everything that was asked of him. And he played more games than Drewiske and Westgarth put together.

Loktionov, with 3 goals and 4 assists, had more points than Drewiske (2-0) and Westgarth (1-1). The team had a better winning percentage with Loktionov or Westgarth in the line-up (.561, .560 respectively), than with Drewiske (.333).

So what is it, exactly, that puts Davis Drewiske’s name on the cup, and not Andrei Loktionov’s? Is it that Drewiske was a healthy scratch more than Loktionov? That he got to attend more practices?

I like Davis Drewiske. When my son got the chance to stand in the hallway with a bunch of other kids and wait for Kings players to walk by and sign autographs, Drewiske was one of the few who stopped by, and he was the first, and he stayed the longest. I get that he was a good sport, continuing to work hard and maintain a good attitude despite being a healthy scratch in 73 regular season and all 20 playoff games.

I just don’t see how that contribution is more deserving than that of a player who played 41 games.

If they had left off all the players who didn’t qualify according to the rules, that would have been harsh, but fair. When I say harsh, I mean harsh to Loktionov. I don’t think anyone would have thought it was unfair to Westgarth or Drewiske, who weren’t even close to the required games-played.

But if you’re going to make exceptions for some of the players who didn’t meet the requirement, but not all, it is in fact and by definition a value judgment. It’s no longer quantity we’re talking about (games played), it’s quality (you deserve it for some reason, despite not technically qualifying, while this other guy, while actually a hair away from technically qualifying, doesn’t deserve it as much as you).

Loktionov completed 95% of the requirement, and made up the other 5% in extra credit (the playoffs). Drewiske completed only 21%. But he’s such a trooper. 

How about giving Loktionov some points for giving his word that he would come to North America if drafted, for keeping his word, for playing in the AHL for several years when he could have been making exponentially more in the KHL, for working hard to learn the language, for busting his ass to recover from two devastating shoulder reconstructions, and and and, but but but.

I’m not going to get into the fact that the owner’s wife gets her name on the cup. That’s not the first time that’s happened (there are several Ilitch family members on the cup, too — just to pick a name). And I also have no clue how much the fact that the owner’s wife is a huge Kings fan actually affected the destiny of the team (for all I know, she’s the secret to the Kings success, the hub, the linch pin — probably not, but hey, we could have had Frank McCourt. It’s hard to argue the Anschutz family hasn’t been great for the Kings). Nor am I going to compare contributions of the several deserving staff and support guys who also get to become a permanent part of the most famous trophy in sports. That’s apples and oranges. But comparing Loktionov to Drewiske is apples to apples.

And I think what they did to Loktionov here is rotten. Not to mention: given that he’s one of our two or three best prospects, treating him this way is stupid. He’s in the KHL now, waiting out this stupid avoidable lock-out, and what exactly is motivating him to return to the Kings when this is all over?

Just trade his rights to the Wings already. I’m sure they would love to have him. I mean, when you get around to hockey again.

Note to Jimmy Neutron:

We love you. We loved you on the Spits. We loved you on the Monarchs. We loved you on the Kings. We hope you come back to the Kings and take Jarret Stoll’s job. But if that doesn’t happen, we know you will be a force to reckoned with in the future. And your name should be on there with the rest of the team.


  23 comments for “Loktionov omission is unconscionable

  1. USHA#17
    September 22, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    I think all fans (or season ticket holder) that have followed the team since 1975 should submit their names, along with that of deceased season ticket holders. One name should be drawn and placed on the cup to represent the die hard fan base.

    • September 22, 2012 at 5:51 PM

      If I had one sentimental addition to make, it would be to have Bavis’s and Bailey’s names on the cup.

      • Dan H.
        September 26, 2012 at 12:49 PM

        Hell if you’re going that route, Bob Miller should be there before any other sentimental favorite.
        Lokti got hosed. I don’t know the reason but if there’s a legitimate one I’d love to hear it. I can’t think of any why the other two made it but he was left out. Leave all three or DD2 goes.

  2. KingsFirstCup
    September 22, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    Ha ha, we finally win the Cup after 45 years and some people still find something to bitch about. Give it a rest already. You’ve been reading too much of that other hack Berry.

    • September 23, 2012 at 2:18 AM

      Welcome. I’m not sure what you mean by “already.” This just happened in the last 24 hours, and I committed all of one post to the topic.

      (I like Barry.)

  3. BringBackTheShieldJersey
    September 22, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    I was surprised Loktionov was omitted, too. I think that too many equipment guys made it, and sorry, no Nelson Emerson either.

  4. Jack
    September 23, 2012 at 4:33 AM

    I could guess at some possible bizarre logic that led to them keeping Loktionov off the cup, two reasons to be specific.

    One, Drewiske is much less likely to have another chance at a cup, whereas Loktionov has more of his career ahead of him and has not yet reached his prime.

    Two, they figure the team’s in a great position to get another cup in the coming years and as Loktionov will be a part of that he’ll get his name on it eventually. Drewiske won’t as he’ll have moved on.

    Honestly, even though I made them up, I don’t buy into either reason. I’m guessing they don’t see Loktionov as being a crucial part of the Kings in 2012 and with the resigning of Stoll don’t see him as being a part of it moving on. They’ll trade him if they can, cut ties and move on if they can’t.

    On a sidenote, it’s actually a credit to Hockey that you can have discussions about who should get their name on the highest award the sport offers. What other team sports actually put individual’s names on championship awards? I can’t think of any.

  5. Tyfighter77
    September 23, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    Thanks for writing this. It’s been simmering inside me ever since I read the list. I know they wont ‘fix’ it. I hope Loktionov get’s his name on the cup multiple times in his career – with or without our Kings.

  6. jewelsfromthecrown
    September 24, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    I was very surprised at this. Loktionov barely missed the qualification, and he was injured in a playoff game. If they were going to lobby for someone, what kind of argument can they make for Drewiske?

    I wouldn’t mind if every player’s name was on it, but this is baffling.

    • September 25, 2012 at 11:55 AM

      Baffling is a polite way of putting it. For me, it’s the first action under Lombardi’s watch that is reprehensible. The Drewiske argument is the “he’s a good sport” argument. It’s bullshit. Did Loktionov kill someone’s dog? Was, as someone suggested, the KHL signing the thing that caused Lombardi to punish Loktionov by taking his name OFF the cup? If so, that would be taking Lombardi’s “tattoo on ass” team-loyalty credo to a new, ridiculous, petty low. At this point, I resist believing that. Even the tempting “Mrs Anschutz insisted her name be on there, so we had to bump Lokti” excuse doesn’t make sense; they could have bumped Drewiske and literally no one would have cared, or would even have raised an eyebrow. The guy played nine games, in which the team won three, and he figured into the outcome of — maybe — one.

      • jewelsfromthecrown
        September 27, 2012 at 1:55 PM

        I thought about it, and it’s bothering me the longer I contemplate it.

        This is an org that is supposedly all about “We love each other, there are no egos, everyone respects everyone else’s role” — and going to bat to waive the game limit rule for Drewiske and Westgarth would fit with that, but ONLY if you include Loktionov too. He made contributions to the season, and was injured in a playoff game. Heck, he was IN a playoff game. It’s a terrible lack of respect.

        What kind of message does that send? You don’t matter, everyone else does.

        I’m ashamed of them. There is no excuse.

        • September 27, 2012 at 9:07 PM

          I agree. It’s disgusting.

      • September 29, 2012 at 11:52 PM

        Maybe I missed it, but is any of this DL’s call?

        • September 30, 2012 at 1:24 PM

          Most of it, with meddling from above (AEG).

  7. uvgt2bkdnme
    September 29, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    late-comer to the party

    if the Red Wings acquired him. it’s basically be the same situation because we’re just oozing centers in the top-6, Darren Helm is locked into third line center, and i’m not sure Loktionov would be served playing 4th line center.

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