Thursday, November 24, 2011

Last But Not Least: Have You Chosen a Favorite Yet?

Before we get to the fifth and final NHL team for Kansas Citians, let us first look at a few that did not make the cut but still hold some connection to Kansas City.

Honorable Mention: Other teams to enjoy because of some KC connection

Vancouver Canucks
The Missouri Mavericks are the CHL affiliate of the ‘Nucks AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves.  Also, the Blades acted as their IHL affiliate in 2000-2001.

Chicago Blackhawks
Location, I guess.  If you don’t like the Blues, then there are fewer cities than Chicago that dislike St. Louis more. 

New York Islanders
Because, you know, all of that stuff that happened recently, and junk.

San Jose Sharks
Blades affiliate from 1991-1996.

New Jersey Devils
Kansas City Scouts begat the Colorado Rockies, whom then begat thrice time Holy Grail coveters the New Jersey Devils.

Now, on to your (potential) favorite team (maybe)!


(It's hard to type how that would be phonetically yelled without writing in IPA)

Village West Best Potential Award:  Player that brings the most to the team

Defenseman Keith Yandle, only because Jason LaBarbera and Mike Smith are the Coyotes goaltenders.  Yandle is not specifically known for his defense, but he is a +12 overall coming into the season.  On offense, Yandle will have to do a lot to duplicate his 48-assist output of a year ago.  The Coyotes added a scoring option this year in Raffi Torres, but other than Shane Doan and the usual cast of characters, Yandle does not have many options to pass to in the offensive zone.  That being said, he will need to prove his worth this year.  And who knows, I could be totally wrong.  He could bring absolutely nothing.  I offer you this picture as a token of my forgiveness.

Sorry Harrison Mooney, this is only racially insensitive if this is as well. 

Union Station Biggest Burden Award: Player with least upside and carries a big financial burden

Daymond Langkow.  $4.5MM this year for a player who played four games last season.  And, he only had 30 points the season prior to that.  It’s tough to lure players to an unorganized franchise without over-spending (*cough* Royals *cough*), but GM Don Maloney could have gone after a few mid-range free agents without worrying about Langkow’s bloated salary and questionable production.

Eric Hosmer/ 2004 2008 2012 Royals Hope Award: Reason for Optimism

No ownership prospects.  Poor goalie situation.  Less depth than previous years.  It’s hard to pull anything positive out of this organization.  But, if you look at what head coach Dave Tippett has done with this team after the LEGEND Wayne Gretzky resigned before the 2009 season, there is reason to believe Tippett will bring out the best in his players.  He has gone 93-51-20 in two seasons at the helm, losing in the first round of the playoffs each season.  The team had not been to the playoffs since the 2001-02 season.  Give this guy some players and stability and let’s see what happens!

Katie Horner Scared-Sh!tless Award:  Reason to Worry

There is no way to know where this franchise will be when next season starts.  It feels like the Thrashers sale/purchase/move all happened within about a week, setting precedence for any future relocation.  This franchise could be in a new city by the end of the night after the last game of the season.

Buck O’Neil Positive Attitude Award:  Reason to cheer them

This.  A million times this:

Also, the 4,000,000,000-to-1 shot they could end up in KC in the next three years.  Those are the best odds we have!

Oh, and the partially censored Paul Bissonnette twitter account.  Follow it, with extreme prejudice.

Mark Funkhouser Memorial Trophy:  Reason to Hate Them

Simply put, if you have a hang-up about “non-traditional” hockey markets.  Which means you probably don’t like Kansas City hockey.  So, go away.

Worlds of Fun Ride that Best Describes the Franchise:  Zambezi Zinger

Wait, that’s not there anymore.  Oh... actually, it’s been relocated.  Huh, never mind then.

Number of Floating, Disembodied Jack Harry Heads:

Four out of five

Look, would Jack care about this team?  No.  Are the Phoenix Coyotes, with all of the baggage and lack of real history (most of it left in Winnipeg), what Sly James would call the “right situation?”  No.  But, as a Kansas City hockey fan, can’t you feel for the Coyotes just a little?  I mean, as an NHL fan all I can say is “screw them” and “screw Bettman” for allowing this Glendale/ lack of ownership thing to drag out, but think of those fans in the city.  No, I’m not trying to pull at your heartstrings like Greg Wyshinski (because seriously, screw that.  Where are the sad kid photos in Atlanta, Greg?  Where are the sad kid Kansas City Scouts photos?  So you are saying, if a team is financially inept it’s wrong to move them because people will be upset about it?  And underreported, what does that mean?  Now media outlets have to interview children about their thoughts on relocation?  I bet if their team moves they might be upset.  It sucks, but, I mean, I get it what you are trying to do, but, ya know, yeah...), but I’m want to relate this to the feelings of a city that doesn’t have an NHL team and the constant claim by much of the hockey world that KC is not a hockey town.  The Phoenix metropolitan area is better for having a professional hockey team.  It would be unfortunate for the NHL to have them move.  But, like Mizzou moving away from historic rivalries in the Big 12, the sun will come up tomorrow, we will run faster, stretch out our arms further... And selfishly, maybe that means a hockey team in KC (but I wouldn’t count on it).

The next best thing would be the Mizzou-Kansas Border War hockey game at the IEC January 20th, 2012.  Buy tickets to this if you enjoy hockey.  You will not be disappointed.

So, what is my process in selecting the teams that I did?  Well, here you go.

Lack of Notoriety:
I did not want to suggest Kansas Citians follow any traditional powerhouses because they have their followers.  We here in the Midwest can feel left out sometimes, so why not support one of the many franchises that struggle to market themselves.  Yes, the Blues are fairly established in the region, but they have never won the Cup.  That brings me to my next criterion.

Lack of Success:
If I have not already pounded this into everyone’s head, Kansas City has not won a major sports championship (sorry Sporting KC Wizards and the Blades) since the mid-1980’s.  That’s troubling.  If you go by the “top four” mantra of major professional American sports (football, baseball, hockey, and basketball), Kansas City has had franchises at the highest level of all of these sports since the 1950’s.  The Chiefs have two AFL championships, and one NFL championship.  The Royals have one MLB championship, and the A’s had zero.  The Scouts and Kings combined for zero NHL and NBA championships, respectively. 
Chiefs: 48 seasons in KC
Royals: 43 seasons in KC
Athletics: 12 seasons in KC
Kings: 13 seasons mostly in KC
Scouts: 2 seasons in KC

118 professional major sports seasons in the history of Kansas City, and two major championships.  Sorry to go off on a tangent, and I'm not saying anything that we don't already know, but do you see why Kansas Citians can identify with these Cup-less franchises?

Hope for the future:
The Royals have hope year in and year out.  That is our nightmare as Royals fans.  Every now and then, we poke our heads out from the last place hole, and say “well, there are some solid guys in the minors that will change things!”  And sometimes they do for a season, and then go to the east coast.
These five NHL teams are meant to have some kind of hope to build on in the coming future.

KC Connection:
Well documented: the Kings are owned by AEG, and thus we see them play exhibition games every now and then.  It’s proximity with the Blues.  The other clubs have been mentioned in relocation, but we all know they aren’t going to be relocated here.  But, couldn’t you totally see yourself supporting those clubs if they came to KC for some odd reason?  No?  Then you must be waiting for the “right situation.”

The Jack Harry thing:
It really has nothing to do with anything.  Jack Harry just exists, and it’s hard to not acknowledge that fact.  Also, it is a vessel to further compare the franchise to other sports in our fair city.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, and impending Christmas music on the radio.

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