Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I had a feeling something was going to happen between Monday's game against Columbus and this Saturday's game against the Philadelphia Flyers. To say that I knew there was going to be a trade going down would be a total fabrication; rather, I just thought four days was too long for a team to sit idle especially with this elephant in the room called "a ridiculous logjam of goalies."
For those that don't know yet, Jason LaBarbera was traded to the Vancouver Canucks for a 2009 7th round draft pick. On the upside there have been some high-quality picks coming out of the 7th rounds in past draft years: Henrik Lundqvist (2000), Johnny Oduya (2001), Joe Pavelski (2003). So not... too disheartening, but only time will tell. Vancouver, on the other hand, is dealing with their own goalie situation with Roberto Luongo still out, but I'm not going to look at that since the Kings have their own problems. Barbs was on the lower end of the pay scale this season and I had just assumed that he was going to be allowed to walk when his contract was up because I really didn't see anyone taking a chance on Barbs, even through waivers. So high five to Dean Lombardi for getting SOMETHING in return. That being said, I'm a huge Barbs fan because he couldn't be a nicer guy.
The start of the season saw Terry Murray name Barbs the #1 during training camp; you could infer that this was because Erik Ersberg was ill during part of the camp. After 10 straight starts, Ersberg FINALLY got his own set of starts and played very well. It was clear to the fans who the number one was but I'm sure Murray kept saying Barbs was the number one to save face and not seem like a flip flopper to whichever goalie was on a decent streak. That's fine, no one likes a flip flopper, but it was hard to ignore the raw numbers the guys were putting up and the sense of confidence or lack thereof that was displayed by the rest of the team depending on who was in net.
Ersberg went down with a temporary groin injury and the Kings were able to recall Jonathan Quick on an emergency basis. Quick proved that he deserved some starts... or was it that Barbs couldn't prove he belonged there? Either way, Quick has been lights out in net and we (I'm sure) were all hoping that Quick wouldn't be sent down when Ersberg came back. I didn't want to face the situation of Quick being reassigned to Manchester and having Barbs as the other goal for the rest of the season, but I didn't have to face that music because of Barbs getting shipped off to Vancouver. Now we have one less goalie and another pick for next year's draft. Lombardi, how do you do it?
To Barbs: I hope you find some success in the NHL in Vancouver or perhaps in the AHL. Either way, happy holidays and now you get to start a new year with a new team! Thanks for your hard work the ast few seasons and good luck in Canada!