Kings of Vegas, and looking ahead
The celebration has continued for the Kings, who, after Thursday’s victory parade and rally, took the Stanley Cup to Las Vegas. Spotted in Las Vegas, in various pictures at the Venetian (photo above, from the TAO club) and Palms hotels, have been Jonathan Bernier, Jeff Carter, Kyle Clifford, Drew Doughty, Davis Drewiske, Simon Gagne, Matt Greene, Trevor Lewis, Alec Martinez, Willie Mitchell, Jordan Nolan, Jonathan Quick, Mike Richards, Brad Richardson, Rob Scuderi, Jarret Stoll and Kevin Westgarth. Dustin Brown is still in Southern California and Colin Fraser is driving — yes, driving — to Alberta to be with his family. The rest of them? Well, they’re having fun somewhere.
This, of course, will be the shortest offseason in Kings history. The NHL Draft will take place next Friday and Saturday in Pittsburgh, and the free-agency period starts on July 1. Due to become unrestricted free agents are Fraser, Stoll, Dustin Penner and Scott Parse, along with minor-leaguers Trent Hunter, Ethan Moreau, Patrick Mullen and Jeff Zatkoff. After that, the Kings will have their development camp in July, then it’s all up in the air. The NHL collective-bargaining agreement is set to expire on Sept. 15, meaning that the threat of a labor stoppage looms.
Things won’t slow down much here. There will be player evaluations from the season, coverage of the draft and free agency and, of course, the tracking of the Stanley Cup. I’ve had a lot — a lot — of questions and emails about appearances of the Cup. Nothing has been set yet. Remember that every player and coach, and many staff members, get to spend a day with the Cup. So that’s probably 50 days that the Cup will be spoken for, and most of those celebrations will be private. I’m certain that, when the Kings have public viewings of the Cup, they will be well-promoted, and I’m sure the Cup will be present at events such as the September “Hockey Fest,’’ assuming there is labor peace.