Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Avery Trade

I know I'm a day or so late on this. I liked Sean Avery, and I enjoyed watching him play. It was nice to have a guy on the team that everyone else hated. But I'd say I was pretty much in the middle of the road on Avery. I didn't hate him after he did stupid things, and I'm not heartbroken that he's gone. I think he has a chance to be a fairly skilled player. He's a great skater, and he's shown some skill at times, but I thought that over the last 25 games or so, he looked very average to me.

My problem with Avery wasn't that he couldn't cut it on the ice. My problem with Avery was that he was a dick. Any time I saw him interviewed, he wasn't just serious, he was completely humorless. I'm not sure how you can play that style and not have sense of humor off the ice. He seemed like a guy who really disliked the media, which is stupid, because he played in the one market where there was very little media scrutiny of his antics. The last time I heard him interviewed was the morning show on KLAC when he was interviewed by Fred Roggin, and TJ and Tracy Simers. Roggin's a season ticket holder, and TJ is a known hockey curmudgeon, but he's also a known joker, and the way to react to his slights is to make fun of him right back. But Avery seemed to generally get upset. And quite frankly, he sounded like an ass. In contrast, Chris Pronger was much more laid back and much funnier when he was on the program.

Again, I really liked Avery on the ice, but the fact is the guy got a lot of ink, and for a guy who is a press magnet, I don't think he was a very good ambassador for the Kings organization.

As for the return, I don't see Jason Ward being on the next good Kings team, although he is fairly young. Marc Andre Cliche is the big return. He's a 19 year old currently playing in Lewiston of the QMJHL along with Kings goaltending prospect Jonathan Bernier. He's got a decent scoring touch, but his real value is as a defensive center who excels on the penalty kill. He's supposedly a great character guy as well, which is one of the reasons he was selected to play on Canada's junior national team. Jan Marek is the final piece, a 27 year old skilled Czech forward who's putting up about a point per game in the Russian League. Sounds kind of like a Kai Nurminnen or Jaroslav Bednar type guy, both of whom were semi-productive during their brief stints in Los Angeles. See the video below. The guy's got some skill, and if Lombardi can get him over to North America, the Kings could really have two pretty good scoring lines next season.

So the rebuild continues. We'll just have to wait and see who's next.

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