Earlier this week, news started to leak that Rob Blake planned on retiring after the Cup Finals. For hockey fans in California, it’s feels like the end of an era of sorts. I sat down and thought about the guy who broke into the league with the Los Angeles Kings over two decades ago. I wanted to write a piece that glorified his 21 year NHL career. But as we all know from real life, it’s never a good idea to fake it.
Here are 20 things I’ll miss about Rob Blake—one for every one of his NHL seasons.
- The overwhelming feeling of nausea when people talk about how happy they were when he got to lift the Cup in Colorado.
- The feeling of camaraderie when 18,118 people booed in unison.
- The man who helped provide me with the inspiration for one of my very first blog posts here at VFMS.
- Watching every team in the league skate freely through San Jose’s crease whenever Blake was on the ice.
- His wife’s WONDERFUL “Blueline” clothing line that I’ve compared to the visual equivalent of nails meeting a chalkboard.
- The reminder that not everyone deserves a 2nd chance.
- The guy who told the Kings $9 million wasn’t enough for a flawed defenseman.
- Laughing at Sharks fans when they had to deal with his stupid plays.
- Him running out of position to deliver hip-checks with his abnormally high ass.
- How no one really realized that he’s been a BAD defenseman since the rules changed after the lockout.
- The wonderful mentoring that has led Jack Johnson to fill all of his potential so quickly.
- How much I liked him before I learned more about hockey and watched him every night.
- Casual fans telling me how great he was when trying to strike up a conversation about hockey.
- The rookie that said, “If you dont know who I am, I’m not going to sign your hockey card” to my best friend when he was 10 years old.
- The later years, when he looked less like a Norris Trophy winner and more like Jaroslav Modry.
- Seeing him side-by-side with Jeremy Roenick in San Jose.
- Cringing every single time he was on the ice at the end of games (on the rare occasion that the Kings were protecting a lead) because he was like pouring gasoline on a car fire.
- The “C” on his chest in San Jose knowing how much better it would have been for the team if Dan Boyle or Joe Pavelski was wearing it.
- The crooked smile on his face after he takes a bad, lazy penalty.
- The arguments with my friends when we discussed the respective douche bag levels of Blake and Pronger.
Ahhh! That was cathartic! Now that I’ve let that go, I can move onto much more juvenile jokes about him that aren’t so mean—because, that’s how we roll around here.
But now that his successful career has officially come to an end, the debates will really heat up. Will he be a Hall of Famer? Will he have his number retired in Los Angeles? Hell, will he have his number retired in Colorado?
So tell me—what will you miss as Rob Blake steps aside? I’m sure fans in Los Angeles will have a few lasting memories…