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November 18, 2010 // 1:45pm ET
Live in the Moment
By Matt Reitz, TheFourthPeriod.com

LOS ANGELES, CA -- I recently got a dog. I went to a rescue, found a dog, brought him home and named him Kopi. I would have named him something like Fowler, but I have other allegiances.

I never really was a dog person – for that matter, I've never really been a pet person. Even though he wakes up way too early in the morning and I need to walk him a couple of times a day, my life is better with Kopi than it was without. I finally get it.
 

Here's the thing with a dog, they live in the moment. I leave him for 12 hours every day when I go to work, but when I get back he's as happy as can be.

Life is perfect because I'm home. When he sees me grab the leash, you'd think he'd just died and gone to fire-hydrant heaven. When he's on the couch on his blanket with a bone, he's happier than just about any human I've ever seen.

Even though I'm the master and he's the pet, I've learned the important lesson of living in the moment. It's a lesson that a lot of Kings fans might want to learn, as well. Stop and look around at the hockey world. Things are pretty good.

Even though the Kings are at the top of the Western Conference, I'm starting to hear a few whispers of negativity from Kings fans. We'll hear that they're only 4-4 on the road. We'll hear that they're having problems with consistency on the powerplay. We'll hear that they still don't have a legitimate top line left wing.

We'll hear that Willie Mitchell's injury is really going to hurt the powerplay and that Peter Harrold shouldn't play in the NHL. Some fans will talk about how the Kings haven't really faced that tough of a schedule thus far and could be set up for a serious fall. Even though they are in 1st place in the Western Conference, we're still hearing the pessimists doing what they always do.

But all Kings fans should stop, take a minute, and look around at what's happening. They're off to the best home start in team history. Their penalty kill is tops in the NHL, as is their team goals against. They're 12-5-0 overall. Their second line is playing better than anyone could have possibly imagined, and Jack Johnson is playing like he wants to be put in the same class as Drew Doughty. Jonathan Quick is playing better than I've EVER seen a goalie play at any point in the last 30 years of following the Kings.

Things are golden in Los Angeles right now. Are they destined to win the Stanley Cup this year? Maybe, maybe not. Do they need to make a move at the trade deadline if they want to make noise in the playoffs? Probably. But none of that matters right now. The fact of the matter is that the Kings are one of the best teams in the league right now—and quiet possibly could be one of the league's elite this season.

Let's put it in perspective: things are so good, the Kings can afford to send their former 1st round pick Brayden Schenn, currently in the AHL for conditioning, back to juniors as to make sure his develop isn't unfairly rushed. When have the Kings ever been in the position to have that kind of luxury?

For those people who are questioning how far the team can go and resist the urge to enjoy the ride, stop and think about where the Kings were three years ago. If someone came up to Kings fans three years ago and said, "You're going to break a record for best home start ever, your goalie is going to break franchise records for best start ever, and you'll end the first month of the season on top of the NHL," would anyone complain about road records? The Kings have come a long way in a very short amount of time—I hope people remember where they came from.

These are the good times. Don't waste time or stress on what could be or might be, just enjoy what's going on right now. Kings fans have waited a few decades to have this kind of team. We're talking about the kind of team that, no matter who the opponent is and no matter where the game is played, fans feel can win. Gone are the days where there were a few games a year that were just going to be losses and fans just hoped weren't embarrassing. Of course, there will still be games like that this year—but they'll be aberrations. And they won't be expected.

Enjoy it. Because before you know it, the ride will be over and the Kings will be trying to get back to the position they're in right now.

Matt Reitz covers the Los Angeles Kings for TheFourthPeriod.com



 
 
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