2015 NHL Awards Show That League, Writers Still Have Serious Credibility Issues

COMMENTARY/ANALYSIS: West Coast players were shut out once again from the major National Hockey League awards, the league’s annual showcase of its best and brightest, just another reminder of how much of an embarrassing joke the NHL awards have been for years.


LOS ANGELES — The 2015 National Hockey League awards have come and gone, and once again, they have proven to be a complete joke.

Year after year after year, the NHL awards turns out to be an embarrassing knock on the league’s credibility, not to mention that of some of the writers who vote for five of the six player awards (having been a voter for these awards in previous seasons, that includes yours truly) because of the blatantly obvious advantage given to players from Eastern Conference teams, primarily due to the fact that they get far greater attention from the media in Eastern time zone cities and in much of Canada.

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LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi Issues Challenge To Doughty, Kopitar, Quick

LA Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi speaking to the media during the on-ice celebration after the Kings won the 2014 Stanley Cup Championship at Staples Center in Los Angeles on June 13, 2014.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi held another one of his patented, epic media conference calls on June 2, 2015, and during that call, he made it crystal-clear that he is expecting much more next season from his top three players, Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Quick.

Lombardi stressed that the challenge begins with their conditioning.

“I’m expecting these three to come back—they’ve never been at the top of our list, in terms of conditioning, and I think that’s going to be the first step for these guys, [for them] to say, ‘OK, it’s my turn,’” said Lombardi. “I think our top players have a chance now to become our best conditioned players. I think any great team—and you can look at the [Nicklas] Lidstroms, the [Steve] Yzermans, the [Tom] Bradys, all those teams, Kobe Bryant—the top players set the mark. It’s not the coach or anybody that gets in their ear. They show up in the top condition, ready to go for a full 82 games.”

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Dedication, Determination Continue To Drive LA Kings Prospect Maxim Kitsyn Forward

LA Kings forward prospect Maxim Kitsyn (number 13), shown here with the ECHL’s Ontario Reign.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

ONTARIO, CA — When Frozen Royalty last checked in with Los Angeles Kings forward prospect Maxim Kitsyn, who is playing for the Kings’ current ECHL affiliate, the Ontario Reign, his determination to improve was the thing that stood out the most.

As the 2014-15 season nears its conclusion, the 6-4, 202-pound native of Novokuznetzk, Russia, remains as determined as ever.

“He’s a quality person, and you like working with kids like that because they’ve got that focus, drive and determination to get better,” said Reign head coach Jason Christie.

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Ontario Reign Look Anything But Regal In Game 5 Loss To Allen Americans In 2015 ECHL West Finals

LA Kings forward prospect Maxim Kitsyn, shown
here with the ECHL’s Ontario Reign.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

ONTARIO, CA — On a night when their opposition, the Allen Americans, were on the brink of elimination from the ECHL’s 2015 Western Conference Finals, and knowing that their team was just one win away from reaching the 2015 Kelly Cup Final for the first time in franchise history, the Ontario Reign looked anything but regal.

Instead, the Reign were soundly beaten in Game 5 on Sunday night, 6-2, in front of 4,371 fans at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California.

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Win Four Tickets To Ontario Reign’s First Home Game of 2015 Western Conference Finals

Image courtesy Ontario Reign

With the Los Angeles Kings having missed the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, it has been tough for many Los Angeles hockey fans, especially after having gotten accustomed to great success, with the team having two Stanley Cup Championships in the previous three seasons.

Indeed, Kings fans now expect to see their team as, not only one of the 16 teams who make the playoffs, but as one of the teams that makes a deep run towards winning the Stanley Cup.

Even though that isn’t happening this season, both of the Kings’ minor league affiliates have made it all the way to their respective conference finals, just eight wins away from a championship. Here in Southern California, the Kings’ ECHL affiliate the Ontario Reign, opens the Western Conference Finals against the Allen Americans (affiliate of the San Jose Sharks) in Allen, Texas, with Games 1 and 2 on May 17 and 18.

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