The issue has been dealt with on a number of fronts, but the Kings this season have been the most obvious example of a Jekyll & Hyde team I’ve seen in a long time (ever?). Seriously, let’s take a look at their streaky record. The Kings opened the season with an impressive 12-2-1 record, which launched them into prime position and most experts (and fans) thought that this would be the year that the Kings made some real noise.
All well and good, but then Mr. Hyde showed up… The Kings crashed to a 1-7 record over the next eight games, good enough to fall substantially in the standings in the incredibly tight Western Conference. Not impressive, and in fact quite troubling for anyone watching the team. Maybe the inconsistency had returned, and the Kings really were just another team destined to be on the bubble.
Wait a minute, here comes Dr. Jekyll again. The Kings surged ahead with a 9-2-1 record, an impressive run, and one that helped put them back into the playoff conversation. Their play was coming together with strong contributions from all aspects of the team. This was the Kings team that will need to perform in the stretch run if they’re going to make the playoffs and possibly go farther.
Uh-oh… it’s about time for Mr. Hyde to re-emerge. Also time for Kings fans worldwide to start pulling their hair out. Again. The Kings tumbled to a 2-10 record over the next 12 games, which put them on the outside of the playoffs looking in. Again. The Kings were back in the situation that most experts, and certainly most fans didn’t expect or hope would be the case. Fans that have been around for a while could no doubt feel the sense of dread creeping in. Would the Kings end up back in that “black hole” of the league? Not good enough to make the playoffs, but not bad enough to get a draft pick that will be a major game breaker?
Then again, don’t go jumping to conclusions. The Kings have won 5 of the last 6 games, and gotten points in all 6. It’s back to positive thinking. The Kings could do some real damage if (when?) they make the playoffs. It’s as true today as it was at the start of the season, but if the Kings can’t keep this going, it will be hard to see them even making the playoffs.
So which team is the real one? The short answer? Hell if I know. There is clearly potential to be one of the top teams in the league. But if they can’t put together some real consistency, it’s going to be a painful stretch run. Which team do you think is the real deal?