Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/26/05 at 02:01 AM ET
A sport dirtied, a season soiled, the Kings finally came clean. Officially opening the doors Monday for the first time in nearly a year, this town's perplexing little skating troupe celebrated not with confetti, but a confession. The reason they are so excited about this new salary-capped NHL labor agreement? Because they had long been operating under their own, private salary cap. The reason they think this new agreement will improve their Stanley Cup hopes? Because they had not been spending enough money to be competitive. Just as everyone thought. The Ice Charades. "Maybe in the past we have had to use marketing and cute slogans and campaigns to win people over," admitted Tim Leiweke, team president, in a televised press conference from Staples Center. "Maybe we didn't have enough of a product to be competitive, so we thought it was important to spin our assets, our sport and our organization." And now? "Going forward," Leiweke said, "things are going to change." That is, if we're not being spun again. How do we know? Everyone talks about this $39-million salary cap, but did you also realize there was a salary floor of $21 million? How do we know the Kings won't be paying closer attention to that? How do we know that they won't invent new reasons to ignore important free agents, even if that person is sitting in the middle of their locker room? What promises can they make that fans will never again be buried under an Avalanche? Suckers once, shame on them. Suckers twice, shame on us.
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