Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 01/25/14 at 01:18 PM ET
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
Oh how the times have changed. There is no arguing the fact that all three of California’s National Hockey League teams are ahead of all seven Canadian teams in the standings. Or that California has hosted two Stanley Cup parades (2007 and ’12) since the last time a Canadian team (Montreal in ’93) hosted one.
And you could make a strong argument today, that not a single one of Canada’s seven teams would beat the Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks or L.A. Kings in a seven-game series. This, however, is a more disturbing talking point: What if it is always going to be this way? Like, from now on.
There was a time when players like Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton would have tested the free agent market for one, last big contract. But they did not, signing three-year deals in San Jose Friday for two reasons: The Sharks are a Cup contender, and living in San Jose wine country qualifies as somewhere north of awesome.
Here in Los Angeles, the Kings and Ducks players—by and large—want to stay where they are, and GMs Dean Lombardi and Bob Murray can make a pitch that none of their seven Canadian competitors can. “There are so many reasons,” Kings winger Jarret Stoll begins when asked why players enjoy California.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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