— Eric (@Kingsgifs) February 27, 2019
So, you really want to know what Jonathan Quick was screaming at coach Willie Desjardins in North Carolina on Tuesday night?
From what we hear, it was this – “Lose for Hughes? That doesn’t mean sh*t to me!”
It’s true. Despite what some Kings fans try to spread on social media, the #LoseForHughes battle cry is not a real thing.
Well, the answer is at least two-fold.
Let’s start with the obvious. According to rules established for the NHL Draft, a team cannot simply tank their season by losing games to secure the league’s worst record – and thereby land the first overall pick in the draft. Contrary to what some seem to believe, things don’t work that way.
You see, there’s a thing called the Draft Lottery. They take a bunch of teams and give them various amounts of ping pong balls before placing them in a hopper. True, the team finishing 31st in the regular season standings gets more balls than all other teams in the giant prospect stew. However, even if you finish dead last after 82 games, your odds of selecting first in the draft are only 18.5%. Fine, so your team will pick second then, right? Not necessarily. The last place team has a 16.5% chance of selecting second. So, you’ll settle for third? Only a 14.4% chance.
We can also sum that together here and make a larger point. The team finishing in last place has a slightly less than 50% chance at a top-3 pick. Let that sink in. The last place team has a 50.6% chance of getting the fourth overall pick.
Thus, the Kings can lose and lose and lose through the end of the regular season. However, there’s a greater than 80% chance Jack Hughes will have already been taken by another team before they head to the podium and announce their selection. There’s also a 65% chance that Kaapo Kakko will be gone too.
Now, on to the second reason…
Lose for Hughes also isn’t a thing because it isn’t a strategy. Rob Blake didn’t hire Willie Desjardins to tank the season. He didn’t trade Jake Muzzin so the Kings would lose more games. The Kings want to win; from the front office down to the players. Dustin Brown is about ready to go full Bob Probert on somebody. He doesn’t take to losing kindly. He’s spent his entire career in the Los Angeles Kings organization trying to build a winning culture and wears it like a badge of honor. You think he’s losing for Hughes?
Kyle Clifford, the very definition of work ethic. You think he busts his ass every single day for a chance at the top draft pick?
Go up and down the lineup. Pick a player.
Jonny Brodzinski? He tore up his shoulder in camp after giving it his all last summer to be in the best shape possible. Then, he worked twice as hard to come back from the injury early. He’s an unrestricted free agent in a few months. He’s fighting for his future, not Jack Hughes.
The Kings are a proud organization. Sure, they’ve fallen on hard times this season. That’s still no reason for management and the players to throw everything they’ve worked toward over the past nearly 15 years to make this a winning franchise and toss it out the window. Winning is the culture. It’s embedded in every player. You either win or you work twice as hard trying the next time.
If that’s not your thought process, you aren’t long for the Kings. Blake will make sure of that in the months ahead. He’s a Hall of Fame player. He knows what it takes to win a Stanley Cup. Do you think he’s going to tarnish his legacy by being associated with anybody less than? With guys comfortable and dogging it?
Yes, there are players on this year’s roster not showing the proper level of compete on a nightly basis. There are guys gliding during certain games. From everything we’ve gathered over the past few months, that is being addressed and will continue to be addressed during the off-season.
Nobody in the Kings organization has put together a #LoseforHughes campaign because that’s not a strategy for success. Winners think about winning.
On top of all that, even if the Kings were lucky enough to win the lottery, there is absolutely zero guarantee of anything beyond that. Jack Hughes is only one player. He can’t fix the franchise with a magic wand. No different than Connor McDavid didn’t fix the Oilers. Heck, the Florida Panthers have a first overall pick on their team, along with a second overall, third overall and fourth overall selection. They’ve collected all four of the top picks.
Jack Hughes won’t fix the LA Kings. Patience and a solid plan will fix the team’s on-ice performance. Who will play goal next season? Who are the top six forwards? Which prospects will play? Who should be drafted to fill the cupboards for future years? Who is the right coach for the job? These are just some of the real questions.
Besides, if you’re going to do it, at least do it right…
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