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Bargain of the Year Helping Kings Turn the Tide

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Just one week ago, the Kings were a miserable 1-5 and it looked as though desperate managerial measures would be coming down the pipes. After a 6-0 pounding the LA boys laid down on the Nashville Predators tonight, the Kings are a far more respectable 4-6. One storyline has changed, while another has stayed the same. What's different is that the Kings have exhibited stable defending and offensive production, enough to win three of the last four. What has not changed is that the Kings have one hell of a bargain in young Michael Cammalleri.

Coming off the finest season of his short career last summer, restricted free agent Cammalleri entered salary arbitration in hopes he would be awarded significantly more than whatever Kings GM Dean Lombardi was offering. After days of arduous negotiations, arbitrators awarded Cammalleri (whose nicknames include Cammy, Squid, and by a few fans Greedy Little Fucking Gremlin during arbitration) a relatively paltry $3.1 million for this year. This figure pales in comparison to those of the NHL's top players and also to the arbitration awards awarded to skaters in the same ballpark as Cammy. Regardless of your thoughts on his award, there is no debate that a salary cap hit of $3.1 million is a steal for a player who has come out of the gates as the NHL's number one goal-scorer.

Cammy's two lamp-lighters helped the Kings bury a hapless Nashville side that could not score a goal of their own. The Predators, wallowing in the effects of ownership uncertainly and a roster sliced-and-diced by massive salary cuts, have now lost six straight. Losing often will likely become a sad reality for the franchise, which has improved its record every year since its first season as an expansion team in 2001. Barry Trotz, the only coach the team has ever known, can't expect to receive any help from the suits in the front office until they have their shit together. An investment group is making a push to buy the franchise and keep the team in Nashville, but at this point, the future of the Nashville side does not look bright.

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But hey, there's no time for Nashville blues - the purple-and-black has its own future to sort out. But with a nice little run going, and with Cammy continuing to blast goals, I'm enjoying a little break from pulling my hair out during Kings games.

AP Photo by Danny Moloshok