Monday, December 22, 2008

12/22 Looks like a night with Potential

Mondays are generally a little bit slower fight wise for the NHL but there are some very good matchups tonight. Before I get to it-I would love to see if there were certain days that statistically have more fights or a higher fight percentage. Seems like Saturdays always tend to have more fights but thats just my perception and based on nothing at all. It would be interesting to see but I digress.

To the games....

Toronto @ Atlanta- Normally I wouldn't have even picked this one if not for the Ian White/Kovalchuk dust up in the last game. You can find the you tube clip and see for yourself. There was a story about it you can find here. /22/7824216-sun.html

Phoenix @ Edmonton- 50 combines FMs between the two teams. Not sure if there is any history and Zach Stortini is the worst excuse for an enforcer in the league. Nonetheless, you always have to love the perseverance and dedication shown by Todd Fedoruk and its always fun watching Gretzky get agitated behind the bench.

Game of the Night bar none is........

Anaheim @ Vancouver-The #1 and #2 teams in the league for Fighting Majors battle each other tonight. Literally a dream matchup for fight lovers. With Selanne out the Nucks won’t have to worry about him on the Power Play and other more physical Duck players should benefit by getting more ice time.
Nucks have Hordichuk, M Brown, and Davison all willing and not sure of the status of O'Brien. Regardless, this is a must watch game. Too bad Sundin likely wont be playing, would really set things off if the million dollar swede got ran early in the game to set the tone.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Two Great Games Tonight

Apart from the Kings-Sabres matchup, there are 2 pretty good games tonight that should be very physical.

Chicago Blackhawks at Calgary Flames- 58 Total Fights between the two teams and I just got a feeling about this one. Chicago plays a wide open style but can really dish out the hits and the Flames are always tough at home. Brandon Prust is on the IR sadly but Rene Bourque, Cory Sarich, and Andre Roy amongst others can all drop the gloves. For Chicago- Ben Eager is always willing. Once again just got a feeling about this being a barn burner.

Anaheim Ducks at Edmonton Oilers-Over 60 FMs between the two clubs and since the heated playoff series a couple of years ago these games always seem to be rugged. Stortini is a complete hack for an enforcer and I doubt he'll open up with Parros or any of the Ducks for that matter but maybe we can hope for Souray or Moreau to answer the bell. I would love to see someone clean Perry's clock but then again who wouldnt?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hips Thoughts- Close but no Cigar

Plenty on the platter this AM so lets get right to it shall we?

Where else can one start when dissecting last nights game then the man between the pipes. Some refer to him as LOLbarbara but I think I will elect to go with Jason LaCloutier. Honestly, his performance last night as the game went on continually disintegrated and to be honest, with him obviously laboring I felt the Kings lucky to get into the OT.

So at the end of the 1st how disappointing must it have been in the locker room to out shoot the Rangers 14-3 and still go in tied at 1-1. Once they Rangers scored that goal you almost felt it in your bones that this was not going to end with a victory. It was the same feeling I got when Gauthier made that ill advised pass in the Detroit game. I mean-you just "knew" the outcome was not going to be in the Kings favor. And the Penalty Shot? Once again-you almost knew 110%.....hell 1110% that there was no way JLB was going to make that save no matter how good or bad the shot was. And the coup de grĂ¢ce in overtime-how can a goalie be in the right place positionally and still miss a shot from the blue line? It was a well placed shot but much like the first goal, JLB was positionally sound to make the save yet didn't.

The Rangers were going to win, you knew it when JLB couldn't control any rebounds-even the shots that trickled towards him he couldn't control. I can't recall that last I saw a goalie who was so poor at picking up the puck and yet being so poor at controlling the puck. It was literally the text book definition of the term "fighting the puck." Once again, the vision of JLB sprawled on the ice with Rangers circling will forever be ensconced in my memory. I'm sure I can go write paragraphs further about the level of goaltending but who bother because A)its not news and B)its very apparent to all who follow the team. Some say Ersberg isnt that much better then JLB-I point out that Ersberg actually won a game in OT in the shootout which means the Ersberg has actually stopped a penalty shot or two this season. This alone proves he is better.

One last kick in the nads for you- rangers goalie Stephen Valiquette was a draft pick of the Kings having been drafted in 1996 - 8th round (190th overall). Not that Valiquette is Lundquist but how sad is it that he clearly outplayed JLB. Is there anyone who wouldn't almost take any goalie in the NHL over JLB at this point?

The Rangers are a very good team and my pick to make the Eastern Finals if not make the Cup. You could see where they were well coached, had good size, could skate, and have great goaltending. They really have a good well balanced team this year. I personally hope it ends up with Boston and the Rags in the finals-how great would that be?

Was I the only one a bit disappointing the Kings seemed to be pushed around last night? When Voros was roughing Doughty-where was the help? Also seemed like there were a lot of borderline crosschecks and boarding calls then went unnoticed by the Ref. Maybe just a textbook case of homer bias on my part?

Some player thoughts....

Zherdev- Why couldn't the Kings have landed this guy? He was acquired for Fedor Tyutin and Christian Backman. Talk about a sweetheart trade. This almost looks like a trade some of the Old Kings regimes would have made and one we would forever cringe at the thought of. On the other hand, nice to see other teams can make colossal blunders and in this case-it wasnt a Pacific division rival who landed Zherdev. For that we should all be grateful.

Ivanans, Zeiler, and Purcell all saw almost no ice time at all. Out of the three Purcell had the most Ice time with 7 plus minutes. Zeiler didn't help his case any with a bad decision at the blue line that led to a scoring chance. Kind of surprised Purcell didnt get more time but Murray made a move in the 3rd to get Moller time on the big line. Ivanans may be a top 10 fighter-actually fighting wise but hes got to be one of the worst "enforcers." I would almost like to see him replaced by a Middle Weight whose not a liability. Chris Neil anyone?

Calder-Cant believe he was awarded one of the games stars but Calder is very consistent in that he cant handle the puck cleanly on the breakout, he cant cycle the puck and doesnt have the strength/size to win the battle on the boards. I called him the rally killer in a previous post and my thoughts on that haven't changed.

Terry Murray has a very tough decision over the next 2 games. Quick will probably get 1 start. Question is-do you play him in Buffalo and almost assure a loss against Detroit with JLB in nets or do you give JLB the start in Buffalo to show him some confidence and maybe pray to god he rebounds? Of course this is very unfair to Quick since he would get the start in Detroit which is never an easy task. Quite frankly at this point, I really agree with someone who posted yesterday that said the Kings should call up Quick and Bernier and send JLB to Manchester. I am not sure if it was said in jest or what not but really- I am sure regardless of what the players say, none of them has faith in JLB.

I am sure I'll think of some addendum's but I will leave this on a positive note.

The Kings aren't that far away from being a very good team. They have been in almost every game they have played this season. In my opinion the team is 3 players away from being a very solid team.

Obviously starting between the pipes the Kings need to get a clear cut solid #1 goalie they can run with. The good part here as well is they dont really need a Luongo or a Brodeur. Just a solid #1 guy who makes the saves he supposed to and make the occasional big save. Once again, it would be nice to have an All-Star but with the current Kings style even someone of the Tomas Vokoun or Dwayne Roloson caliber goalie will put this team at the next level. Let us pray and pray hard that Bernier, Quick, Zatkoff, or Martin Jones can step up and be the first Kings drafted goalie in the history of the Franchise to be the man in goal. How sad is it that since 1967 the kings have yet to develop 1 quality goalie?

The next 2 positions are both that of 3rd and 4th line forwards. Sure it would be nice to get a Kovalchuk on one of the front lines but think how much better the team would be if we could replace Zeiler and Calder with a couple of Mike Peca or Todd Marchant caliber players. It is not really asking that much to fill these positions with guys who can simply make the smart play, when the occasional battle on the boards, make a nice head man pass or receive and cleanly play a breakout pass. How much do we miss Ian Laperierre now? Steve Kasper-Where are you? Pat Conacher-come on down!

This is really a blessing in disguise as the pieces that will make this a better team of semi easy to acquire or fill. Its not like they need a 1st line center and winger and a #1 Dman. The hard pieces of the puzzle are pieces we already have which is a true blessing given the relative youth of the team. If one of the 3 goalie prospects can pan out along with the economic issues of some teams with Cap Space and what not-the Kings are in a very good position right now. Arguably the best position the franchise has ever been in. Which once again begs the question-How sad is that?


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hips Thoughts-passive subtle reflections

Felt a bit poetic this morning hence the unusual title.

Was thinking about this last night before the game even started no less that if we can get 4, count 'em 4 points in the next 4 games wouldn't be a bad thing and 4 OTLs would be OK in my book. Games against League Leading SJ and Detroit-both team so far ahead of us in the standings there is no way in hell we'll catch them and 2 eastern teams we could care less about since an extra point to them doesn't make any difference in the Western Conference standings. Thus-an OTL in these 4 games is really no different then ties of a few years ago. Once again-if we can get 3 pts in the next 3 games no one should complain...especially with Ersbergs uncertain status.

The Kings are 10-6-4 in their last 20 games. Anyone want to do the math and see where this would put the Kings point wise over the remaining games of the season?

Oddly enough-I voluntarily declined to watch the shootout. I was trying to get the kids to bed and having flashbacks of Labarbaras previous Shoot Out effort against Detroit just didnt sit well with me. I figured Id check the scores this AM and be pleasantly surprised or take solace in confirmed suspicions. Looks like item B proved correct.

On that same goalie note-If Ersbergs groin does look to be semi serious I would think Bernier would be the first to get the call up. If you thought Labarbara looks bad compared to Ersberg wait until he starts splitting time with Bernier. If Bernier can prove he can play at this level and is ready-is there anyone who wouldn't feel very comfortable with a Bernier/Ersberg tandem? I thought Bernier was the best goalie out of camp last season but with the team hemorrhaging shots against it was a good idea to send him down. With this years team focusing on minimizing shots against you can start to get excited for the kids chances. On that same note-SJ was held to 25 Shots on Goal. Pretty Impressive Considering SJ is 3rd overall in Shots.

Purcell-What a sweet goal. I really like this line as Teddy P has the skills to play with Kopitar and Patty O. Calder on this line stuck out like a turd in a punchbowl. Not really a knock against Calder but his relative lack of skill really really stands out playing on the side of Kopitar. I am not bashing Calder because there has been plenty of that in the last couple of weeks but no doubt about it upgrading this winger position will be critical. 2 pts in 3 games and I cant be sure but I dont think he has gotten any PP time. That will probably change once Moller goes to play in the WJC(see more about this below).

Doughty-There is really nothing more to say about this kid anymore. Time will tell but it looks like he may prove to be the best player in the draft. To be making plays and moves against not only NHL players-but Highly skilled top caliber NHL players at 19 is uber impressive. Once he can fill out a bit more I really think the Ray Bourque comparisons are valid. The future is very very bright for this Kid.

The WCJ- For those of you at the game, Jim mentioned that Moller is the favorite to wear the C at the WJCs for sweden. Hickey has already been named to wear the C for Canada. You can maybe complain about Lombardi about some things-clearly drafting guy with character is not one of them. Anytime, you have a young player that gets names Team Captain for his junior team or international Team is never a bad thing.

Blake still pisses me off. His nice "I want to stay and help the young guys line" cost us a pick if not a player from the Sharks. He must be a really nice/cool guy off the ice because no one runs him or bad mouths him and everyone talks of him respectfully which is great-but at the same time I cant help but think why he didn't agree to get traded to the Sharks last season? Was it to simply F the Kings or was he simply undecided?

I am sure I may think of some other things later but that's it for now.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Oh What a Night- Kings Blues Recap

Actually had the treat of attending last nights game, my first of the season. I brought Hip Jr with me so I guess we were the good luck charms the team was looking for. Before I get to the recap, it was great seeing some old faces and friends in CBGB and Adgy and meeting some of the new folks as well.


The Blues first goal looked to me like a high stick. It was close enough where I won't call for a march on Washington nonetheless; with the Kings luck historically had the foot been on the other hand that would have been a goal that never would have counted.

Doughty- Every time I watch this kid I cant believe he's only recently turned 19. If you know nothing about but him and found out the Kings mortgaged the farm to trade for a 25 year old Dman-you would watch his play and think it will worth it. To be 19 is literally jaw dropping to think what he'll be like when he starts entering his prime. The Tripping penalty in the first was complete BS. Doughty had perfect position on the forward, and when the forward tried to jump around Doughty the forward simply couldn't do it-thus falling to the ice. Note to Refs-Because a guy falls to the ice doesn't necessarily mean a penalty occurred. Place anti-Bettmann rant here.

Purcell- Got a 2nd assist but you could see where having someone with talent with Kopi and Sully really makes a big difference. He made a couple of nice passes and one or two saucer type passes just to lead the rush that was pretty impressive. Barring a sensational lapse in play or prolonged scoring slump I'll call it now-Purcell has played his last game in the AHL.

On that note the new line combos for the most part make a lot of sense. With Brown on the 2nd line it looked he really got back to his game of driving to the net as opposed to trying to make the perfect pass or maybe be a little too fancy. Same with Kopitar on the 1st line in that Kopitar looked to simplify his game as well. Another item of note is now with two semi-talented scoring lines teams wont simply throw out a stopper line against the Big 3 which has been effective for opposing teams. Maybe its due to my first game in a long time but how many times was a Kings forward able to do a little toe drag move and bring the puck right into the scoring area and get a shot off?

Calder-well he's still Calder but at least on the 2nd line his role isnt quite as prominent and he can maybe serve as as effective decoy or screen. A true sniper in this position would be a real benefit to the team.

Quincey- This guy has a unique ability to seemingly get the puck on net on almost every shot. While other guys shots get deflected of miss the net entirely-he seems to have the magic in getting the shot on net. In the colorado game there must have been 10 shots that would have been a quality shot but missed the net entirely and last night we saw it a few times but nearly to the degree of the Avs game. I mentioned this last night but I am positive Quincey will set the new NHL record for most points in 1 season by a defenseman claimed off the Waiver Wire. Quincey is 12th in NHL scoring for Dmen, only 3 pts behind old whats him name who used to wear #4 for us back in the day.

Gentle Ben Ivanans-I give him his due in that he at least tried to start something and I wont blame him that no one dropped the gloves but I can only shake my head that late in the 3rd there where matching roughing minors handed out for what was in essence a large group hug. Remember the days when McSorely would lose his jersey and Gino Odjick would challenge the entire opposing team. Ah, how I long for the good old days. Place Second anti-Bettmann rant here.

Future D Corp- I am literally salivating over the prospects of out future D lineup-Doughty, Quincey, Johnson, Teubert, Hickey. We basically have 1/2 of the Canada's World Junior squads D Corp with Quincey and Johnson in there just to providing some balance. I know we have a lot of candidates for the #6 role but when your top 5 are those guys whoever play at #6 is almost irrelevant.

Finally, mega props to Dustin Brown-not for his Hat Trick but for giving Hip Jr his stick during the 3 star selection. Truth be told I was probably more excited then Hip Jr but all in all it was certainly a night he'll remember. Walking out of Staples holding the stick a lot of fans were walking up giving him high fives and what not and he was literally beaming. On that same note, if anyone Tivo'd a HD copy of the 3 stars clip and send it to me please let me know as Id love to have it for posterity sake and historical purposes once Hip Jr gets drafted in the top 10 for the 2020 NHL draft.

I'm sure I'll have more later to add but that's it for now. Thoughts?

Late Edit-Someone from LGK pointed this out to me and Ill be darned....Alex made the HighLight Reels!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Kings Recap-the Horror

Very few things to be happy about after last nights crap fest. May as well start with the only 2 notably positive things.

Zeiler- Yeah...this game stunk so bad that Zeiler gets the unofficial #1 Star for the Kings. Most thought he would duck Lappy and not throw down if issued the challenge but quite the opposite-he was willing to go and did surprisingly well. He got a right hand free and looked to get in a couple of good shots and post fight looked none the worse for wear as opposed to Lappy who was sporting some marks. Then again with Lappy those marks may have always been there and I just never noticed. Congrats to Zeiler though for giving us one small moment of happiness pie.

Moller- He scored the only goal so he gets Star #2 via default. Some food for thought though with 6 goals on the season Moller should probably finish around 10-15 goals on the season. Hardly Roookie of the Year material but also nothing to sneeze at given his tender age.

The Rest of the Story

Jason Labarbara-When he looks bad he looks really bad and almost conjures images of Dan Cloutier. The Avs first goal almost looked like a comedy routine. Between this play and Ersberg bungling a few games ago we've got a couple of new hilight clips for the ever expanding "Great Moments in Kings Goaltending History."

Kopitar- What happened to the energy from this guy? He showed more moxie and drive his first and second seasons then he has so far this year. Honestly, I really like the guy but where is the determination?

Brown- I am probably the biggest Brown fan there is but the Captain has got to step up. Did he throw 1 hit in the first 2 periods? If he did I certainly didn't see it. When the chips are down take the body Dustin! A young team is supposed to be resilient and show drive and spirit-I almost expected to see a white flag tied to a hockey stick on the Kings bench. Disgusting effort.

Gauthier/Harrold- Seems like the Kings always have 1 defense pairing that sends shivers up your spine; I give you this years model.

Calder- I mentioned it a post a couple of weeks ago when it comes to the player who cant handle the puck cleanly on the breakout, who cant make the pass down low to keep the cycle moving, who cant get his stick down to get off the shot-it will be Calder. End the experiment. Its over. Call up Purcell and play him in that spot. I know Calder once scored over 20 goals in a season....who the hell was the guy who was centering him because whoever it was must have been a miracle worker. Calder is Craig Johnson without the speed and about a pinch more grit. Problem with Calder-there is no NHL team that would want him so a trade is out of the question. Hopefully he has some character and might be a good influence in Manchester but Ive never heard him compared to say....Derek Armstrong in that dept.

Jack Johnson-Please come home all if forgiven. Seriously-if there were ever a case of "What If" to be made with this team this is it.

Ivanans- A long time NHL enforcer once said "you dont ask a guy to fight you, you make him fight you." If he can't pick up a fighting major in last nights game he is not an enforcer. When an opposing player showboats and openly mocks you during an ass kicking and you can't somehow manage to drop the gloves-you are NOT doing your job.

Simmonds-I still stand by my comments that he would be better served playing in Manchester but I give him his mad props for being the only guy on the team who finished the game without earning a - on the +/- finishing with a 0.

Lots of blame to go around but I am thinking maybe this is a good thing as I will be attending the game Thursday and maybe somehow by the grace of god they will decide to show up. I am thinking about making a sign "This is my sons first game-can we at least play hard for him?"


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

12/9 Games of the Day

Sorry for the layoff.....maybe a bad choice of words there but sorry for the fail to update. Only 4 games on the Docket tonight with one potential doozy.

Vancouver @ Nashville- 50 Combined FMs between the two teams and Hordichuk facing his former team. I really like the looks of this one. Hopefully Bettman wont suspend someone before the game and kill all chances of something interesting happening. Almost a guaranteed fight if not more in this one.

Isles and Philly has some potential but even though the Isles have 17 FMs on the season theyre a team I find boring as heck and seldom watch any of their matchups. Between the Isles and the two Florida teams I really dont bother.

Kings and Avs may be a good one as well with John Zeiler probably being public enemy #1. Pretty good shot that Lappy will go after him and go after him hard. The question here is-Will Ivanans take the bull by the horns and try to actually "enforce" or will he simply try and be a peace maker?

Anyhow, the Nucks and Preds is the game of the night with the Kings/Avs not all that far behind simply based on the previous games shenanigans. I love it when I get to use the word shenanigans.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Kings-Yotes Review

The December swoon is in full force. Funny how you can almost set your watch by it. Like the Swallows returning to Capistrano or Old Faithful or Haley's Comet.

Wont even bother going into player details but watching the game its pretty easy to see whats wrong with this team. You know on the Hockey Video games how they give player ratings? The Kings are a team that has 3 or 4 forwards that are just 1 or 2 points below where they need to be to be effective and contribute on a daily basis. I am not knocking Simmonds or Moller-I am sure they will be fine NHLers but imagine where the team would be if these two players were actually bonafide NHL wingers and not rookies with some promise? I am not singling these two out specifically other then to make a point that we just don't have the depth at forward to compete night in night out. The red wings are the red wings because they don't have any players of this ilk. Throw in the fact our star players are Ice Cold and you've got a recipe for a losing team.

Won't even mention Calder the rally killer though I am pretty sure I just did. When his linemates start to cycle-he'll be the guy to make the bad pass or lose the one on one battle. On the breakout, he'll either be the guy who cant cleanly handle the breakout pass or the one to try and make that one extra pass that gets picked off. There is no reason Richardson shouldn't be given a shot or call up Purcell. Something, anything.

I predict the swoon will continue. We'll lose more games then we win...probably at about a 2 to 1 rate. Then with about 3 or 4 games to go before the All Star break we we will get hot and win every game-only to have that rhythm and momentum squelched for the week break. Its the Kings...its the way it is.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

NHL Suspends Avery....

And misses yet another great marketing gimmick.

My Thoughts- Being the Stars/Flames was my pick for Game of the Night I am rightfully upset that Avery was Suspended. Given Avery's pre-game quotes, is there anyone on the Planet that wouldn't want to see Iginla or Phaneuf pummel him? Honest to god. I am no Phaneuf fan but this is one time I would have relished seeing him in action.

On that same note-not only should Avery not have been suspended but the game should have been picked up on the NHL network and advertised everywhere. The NHL misses on yet another great marketing opportunity.

I always bring this comparison but NASCAR is great with this driver runs another off the road and within the hour its featured on the commercial for next weeks race. Two drivers have to be separated in the pits? Great, run the clip to advertise next weeks race in Kansas with a huge large font graphic of "BAD BLOOD" flashing across the screen.

It never ceases to amaze me that in a time where the UFC is widely popular the NHL continually chooses to ignore the one aspect of the game that could draw NFL and MMA fans to the sport. Its like choosing not to reach the demographic that most likely would love the NHL. Go Figure.

12/2 Games Picks

Some good match ups tonight.

Los Angeles @ Phoenix- 32 FMs on the year and with the Kings losing last night hopefully may be in a bad mood against their division rival. How can you not like Danial Carcillo? Probably my favorite player for an opposing team. Yotes also have McGratton but I am not sure he'll dress tonight as Gentle Raitis Ivanans isnt the type to go picking on people....sadly.

Toronto @ San Jose- No Rivalry or anything but Deveaux on Toronto badly wanted to scrap last night and only the Kings ineptitude prevented it. Someone on the Sharks will take him up on the offer tonight though....Shelly or Murray most likely.

Game of the Night
Dallas @ Calgary- 43 Combined FMs on the year this one should be a dandy. Barch has been very active for the Stars and the Flames never turn down an offer to scrap. Barch and Prust almost a lock and I would also think Iginla and Avery has a pretty good shot at happening. Regardless this is game of the night bar none. Set the Tivo's for this baby!

Kings-Leafs Recap

Short and sweet like as there was nothing all that compelling about the game to warrant a long discourse.

We now know the Kings issues will be in the scoring dept and have known for some time. Last night that were at least 5 great scoring chances that for whatever reason didn't go in the net. Cost us the game and it sucks but its nothing that should come as a surprise to anyone.

Labarbara-Cant really blame him for the loss but the first Leafs goal he looked really really lost on the play. You just dont see good goalies lose track of the puck all that often. When an air born lands square in the middle of the crease and the goalie has no clue its even there-thats just bad goaltending mmkay. Cant fault him on the second goal...they dont get much cleaner then that but at the end of the day when you're a team thats not going to score a lot of goals, questionable goals will result in losses. Not blaming the loss on Larbarbara once again but goals like that dont exactly inspire confidence. Contrasted with Toskala's cool demeanor (or 80% of the other NHL goalies for that matter) this stands out even further.

Refs- Maybe Im just biased and wearing the homer glasses but doesnt it seem like the Refs tend to give more breaks to Canadian teams then non Canadian teams?

Ivanans- Ive tried to support this guy but he should have pummeled the Leaf who was messing with Kopitar. One of the old school goons was interviewed one time and said "You dont ask a guy to fight-you make him fight you." The point being is if the guy wont drop with Ivanans then Ivanans needs to go to any Leaf and start roughing him up. Eye for an Eye. Back to the previous note-how does the Ref not call a penalty when the Leafs thug gives Ivanans a face wash? If only this was the mid 80s this story would have a totally different and much more entertaining ending.

Richardson-I still like his there any reason we shouldn't try him at wing with Brown and Kopitar as opposed to Kyle "The Rally Killer" Calder? Calder reminds me a slower smaller Craig Johnson these days with only a touch more grit.

O'Sullivan- In another thread someone mentioned that Sully can play on any line and immediately help that line without hurting them defensively. Truer words were never spoken and though we may complain about Sully being misused and what not Sully in the last couple of games has been the Kings best player. We need to get him a linemate who is at Sullys level ASAP though. It would be a nice complementing 1-2 punch with Kopitar/Brown.

In summation-this game sucked. Looked like the Kings were handled physically, didn't know how to respond, and didn't get any breaks. On the bright side-if they win tonight no one will give a frogs fat ass about the loss and all will be wine and roses for a couple of days. If we lose I predict a CBGB post titled "Hate to say I told you so."


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Hips Thoughts-The Thanksgiving Edition

Always nice to see a win around Thanksgiving. My memory but hazy and eclectic at best but it seems like the Kings generally lose around the holidays so this win was refreshing. For the record-I put Eggnog in my oatmeal as well as my coffee this morning. Would have probably thrown some baileys and rum as well if not for the fact I have to drive in a little bit.

Some Thoughts-

Labarbara played well enough to get the Win, but I wouldn't by any means call its performance that inspires confidence. Especially in the waning moments there were a few chances that really should had been goals for the Oilers. On that same note...

Losing to the Kings must be feel like rock bottom for Oil fans. They've lost 5 of their last 6 games with 4 of those losses coming at Home. The people over at are probably on suicide watch.

I probably wasn't the only one who thought Ray Ferraro does great color commentary. He said some very complimentary things about the Kings and called out some gaffes by Kings players as well. Ferraro has a bright career ahead of him in this field IMO as that was probably one of the most well balanced color commentaries I've heard. Funny as well commenting on Ales Hemsky how Ferraro could praise and criticize in the same sentence. Props to RayFer though-the Kings probably should have never have gotten rid of him all those years ago but once again thats a pretty long list.

Back to the Goalies- I'm not yet going to give a grade on Terry Murray's line combos but his system of focusing and concentrating all energy on limiting shots against is one of brilliance simply based on the talents of our goalies. Its quite simple-if you're not sure about your goalies ability to stop a shot you damn well better minimize those shots against. Its like having a NFL QB who cant throw and makes bad decisions so the Coach via defualt decides to run the ball 95% of the time.

Some more player thoughts....

Kopitar looks like he is starting to turn it on. Is there nothing more amazing then seeing a guy score by hitting the puck out of mid-air?

Sully- Was it me or did it look like there were a couple of shifts with Kopitar and Sully but no Brown. Crazy thing was it looked like it worked. Maybe putting those two together and putting Brown on another line might give a more balanced attack?

Brown-Held off the score sheet but his one on one moves are amazing. When the Kings can get some other legitimate scorers so opposing teams cant key in on him he will should have a couple of 40 goal seasons IMO.

Doughty was once again amazing. 1 assist and +1 he looks like a veteran out there at 18 years old. His confidence nad patience with the puck is amazing. Cant imagine what he'll be like at 22 or 23. Just for comparison sake-Doughty has 7pts and is +6 at 18 years old; Jay Bouwmeester has 10 pts is a -6 and is 24 years old with 6 full NHL seasons under his belt. For the record, Boumeester's rookie year he finished -29.

Richardson- I thought he played well, he had a nice combo of speed yet looked to work hard and finish his checks. There is no reason IMO he shouldn't be playing over Zeiler or Ivanans.

All in all it was a good win over a struggling team. I'm happy to be back at .5oo and doing a bit more research we're currently 9th in the standings 1 pt behind Nashville and 1 pt behind Columbus. Still very early in the season but being we're picked by many to come in Last not sure anyone should complain.

Have a great thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Post Game Thoughts-the Avs Edition

Going to keep this short and sweet as Ive got cinnamon rolls in the oven.

Basically this was a game the Kings should have lost. Let's face it they looked terrible. As many times as they had opportunity to clear the puck out of the zone and failed to do so I amazed they walked away with a point. This is a game they certainly would have lost last season. I guess it can be considered progress when you are at least getting points in game you should be losing outright.

The Zeiler Incident- What I find funny about this was the fact the Ref was not going to call a penalty at all until the ensuing scrum and then throws Zeiler out of the game. If it was indeed a major penalty-why was it not called at the time it actually happened? For those with center ice there was a similar play earlier during the Hawks/Leafs game with Ben Eager. You never like to see anyone hurt but short of it happening to Ryan Smythe, Adam Foote is not a bad choice. That said-I always felt come crunch time I would rather have Adam Foote then the guy who used to wear #4 for us.

Doughty is still a prodigy in spite of his -1 on the night. From the "GO Figure" dept Matt Greene was a +2.

Ersberg certainly didn't have his best game though I wont blame his as most of the team as a whole wasn't playing the smart hockey they need to play in order to win games.He is still clearly better then LaBarbara but the GAA is starting to rise and Sv% is starting to dip for what its worth.

Dustin Brown is getting better and better. His one on one moves are impressive for sure and looks like he gets more and more confidence every game. Kopitar looks like he's stepping it up a bit as well. When we can finally land a bonafide 2nd line Center(or a bonafide 2nd line for that matter) it is going to be very tough for teams to key in on our top line. Not saying our current crew sucks-but upgrades in this area will be key to future success.

With this Shoot Out win, the Avs have now won 8 Shoot Outs in a row. They certainly looked confident for sure.

I still like Lappy, His face looks like its been sandblasted and then used as a Dart Board but he does what a good character guy does-more importantly he does it consistently. Ive got a tons of respect for him-is there a harder role in the NHL that the role Lappy plays?

I am not going to got hating on the New Jerseys. They are what they are-the Fashion Show idea is one that should never be brought back and if not for Flaming Wild Wing would go down as one of the worst all time promos.

Anyhow my rolls are done, and Im drinking Coffee with Baileys and still need to check my fantasy football lineups so that's it for now. Piece Out!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Kings Preview-Games of the night 11/22

Well what can I say but I am really looking forward to tonight's game and get a glimpse of the new 3rd jersey. I loved the old days of the black and silver chevron although I may be in the minority. As for the Game itself, Ryan Smythe should still pay for last years spearing of LaBarbara. On that same note, I still hate the Avs. Hope we can keep the shots against down once again and maybe keep the physicality flowing.

Other Games Tonight...
Anaheim Ducks at Dallas Stars -Almost 40 FMs between the two teams and the Ducks, as much as it pains me to say it, are always a must watch. Dallas is without Brendan Morrow for the year, what factor that plays as far as fights go I am not sure. Ducks fought 3 times in the 1st period against the Blues last night so their already warmed up and ready to go. My Long Shot Prediction here says Avery and Perry will go as will Barch and May/Parros.

Phoenix Coyotes at Philadelphia Flyers -Inter-conference game for what its worth but the teams do have over 30 combined FMs. Truth be told it looks to be a bit on the lean side for fights tonight. I probably wouldn't have even mentioned this game on a night with better match ups but here we are.

Boston Bruins at Montreal Canadiens- Statistically I wouldn't normally have posted this game either but there is some heavy bloggin' going on that says Laraque is going to challenge Milan Lucic. Lucic is one of my favorite players in the Eastern Conference and a great draft pick. We'll have to see what happens here. If I'm not mistaken this will be the HNIC broadcast. On a side note-do you think Canadian players give it an extra push when they know the game is a HNIC broadcast? Kind of like playing in the NFL with the marquee game being played on Monday Night. Just some speculation there and if anyone has some thoughts shoot em to me.

I remember back in the mid-90s when 3rd jersey first reared their ugly head....I dont think there is any fan here who fondly remembers these as "the good old days."

Friday, November 21, 2008

Kings/Caps Recap and 11/21 Matchups

Back at the .500 mark and oh what a feeling! For you fans of other NHL teams reading this you have to understand that after years of being perpetually kicked in the nuts by this franchise us Kings fans have to take pride in the little things and get our kicks where we can.

Game Thoughts

I cant say any better then Dustin Brown did at the post game interview that when the Kings play with energy and stick to their game plan they can beat anyone. To play the Devils Advocate though I cant only help think what might have been had the Caps not played the not before and had a full squad. Ovechkin is a monster. And while I thought his hit on Brown was cheap I guess the gods of hockey Karma prevailed. At this point as well I don't think we need to be talking about Brown's ability to take a hit as he was absolutely leveled. Wish I could post a clip...I'll try and get one later.

Yet another game the Kings held their opponent to under 24 shots. With Ersberg in net and provided we get consistent scoring there is no reason that if that stat holds the Kings could be in the playoff hunt. On that same Ersberg related note- 1.96GAA and .909SV%.

Player Thoughts-

Doughty-The great players tend to make things look easy and seem to get breaks other players dont. His shot and his play overall is a great example of this. If it were Denis Gauthier taking the same exact shot the puck would have hit Ovechkins stick, landed perfectly flat on Ovechkins blade and allowed him to move up ice ending up in an outnumbered attack. But with Doughty-hits Ovechkin's stick and changed trajectory just enough to miss the Goalies Glove hand by an inch or so. Doughty finished the game at +2 and is now a +8 on the season and on pace for a 13 goal 31 point season.
The Ray Bourque comparisons continue to scream. The +8 is amazing as well in that it's not like Doughty is being spotted situational ice time or getting cherry picked spots. When your 18 year old Rookie can stop Ovechkin on a one on one speaks volumes. Granted he got beat by Ovechkin once as well but at the same time did force Ovechkin to a bad angle. Cant say enough about this kid. He's a future Superstar.

Zeiler- Call me crazy but I thought that line played very well. Zeiler does exactly what you want your 4th line winger to do-he brings tons on energy and tried to finish consistently. I noticed as well that his ability to cycle the puck game Ivanans a couple of chances to throw his weight around as well.

Boyle-While I think Boyle is being misused on this line getting him in the lineup and finding a role to contribute day to day isn't the worst thing that could happen. He has quietly created a couple of scoring chances for himself the last couple of games as well.

Simmonds- I like the kid but I cant help but think Armstrong's veteran Savvy would be better served in Simmonds role and getting quality ice time in Manchester will be a great thing for Simmonds development in the long run. Remember Manny Malholtra? He probably could have been a much higher caliber NHL player had he been able to cut his teeth at the AHL level as opposed to being thrown to the wolves.

Brad Richardson- I don't know what is going on behind the scenes but when Zeiler gets bumped in front of the line ahead of you is never a good thing. I'd like to see Richardson get a chance but for whatever reason it aint happening. Maybe he doesn't bust his ass in practice? Maybe he's an ahole? I do not know but once again he has managed to lose his spot to Moller(no shame in that), Simmonds(moderate shame), and Zeiler(great profound shame in that). Reminds me a bit of Pavel Rosa years ago who scored in almost every NHL game he played in but was a routine scratch. When 3 coaches all say the same thing about work ethic what else can you think but there must be an issue with work ethic?

Finally, was it me or did the broadcast almost seem like a Washington Caps telecast? They certainly went out of their way to feature a lot more Caps related stories then when other teams. It was cool to see and I am not complaining just something I found a bit unusual. On a similar note-getting inter conference play again is refreshing. I wasn't at the game but watching on TV seemed like there was a bit of a different vibe. And not that I am picking on Bettmann but who decided that fans wanted to see more conference and divisional games? I am glad they went back to what worked but think this could have been a game that we would have been playing the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Games of the Night

Looks like it could be a slow night so truth be told I will probably be watching Kung Fu Panda with my 5 year old and Tropic Thunder once he goes to bed. A couple of matches with some promise though.

Philadelphia Flyers at Buffalo Sabres- 26 combined FMs. Looks like Flyers Heavy Riley Cote is injured so that really minimizes odds for a scrap.

Anaheim Ducks at St. Louis Blues -For Rough and Tumble hockey the Ducks are always a must watch. Cam Janssen is always willing to go as well so this probably will be the best bet for the night.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

11/20 Games of the Night

Before I get to the picks I have to say the Kings better show up and give %110 tonight for if they don't they will be looking at a serious beating. The Caps showed tons of talent and energy against the Ducks and if they bring that same game tonight I wouldn't be surprised if they hang at least 4 or 5 goals against us. Hope I am wrong and I guess we'll find out soon enough.

Some great Games tonight.....

Chicago@Dallas- Game of the night IMO. I'll bet a nice black cashmere sweater and a matching European grade high quality leather coat that Avery and Ott will be mixing it up while Burrish and Eager will more the oblige them with a hard cold clinched fist of a response. This one should be good. The Odds of Jonathen Toews having back to back fights are about as good as me having back to back fights in the NHL.

Calgary@Colorado- The second part of a home and home with both teams combined for 36 FMs on the year. Lappy fought with Nystrom in the last game and the Flames threw 51 shots on goal. Best Case here is the Flames jump out to a big lead early and Colorado resorts to cheap attempts of thuggery. Both of tonight's matchups have a ton of promise.

And one of my daily posts just wouldn't be complete without me posting some kind of picture so here is one from the "where are they now file."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

11/19 Games of the Day

Only 3 games tonight. Before I get to them though I have to pat myself on the back and hopefully wont suffer a sprained shoulder because of it but the Hawks/Yotes game was very entertaining. Anytime you can get non-fighters picking up majors you've got a winning recipe for a successful game. Jokinen decided to scrap with Fraser and Jonathen Toews picked up his first NHL fighting major going after Hanzal. Hanzal gets the win but props to Toews for going after him.

Tonights Games

Vancouver @ NY Rangers- 35 combined FMs on the year. Inter-conference game be damned this should be a good hard hitting game.

Caps @ Ducks- Washington only has a puny 6 fights on the year so that's nothing to write home about but the Ducks can always be counted on for playing a rough and tumble style. Let's hope the Ducks try and go after Ovechkin physically, that may set off some fireworks but even if it doesn't a hard hitting, physical game will help the Kings when they play the caps tomorrow.....or at least in theory as the Kings can lose to any team on any given day no matter what the circumstance.

Buffalo @ Boston- I will be honest I have no clue what happens here. Neither team is leading in PIMS and I dont think there is any history between the two. My gut feel says it will be a snoozer but you never know. Am I the only one who misses Adam Mair?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday Nov 18th

3 Pretty good matchups tonight; before I get to it though I really made the call on the Sharks/Preds game last night. 3 or 4 good scraps and maybe the most entertaining game of the year from a fight fans perspective. Some real good matchups tonight as well that should pair nicely with the weekly dinner of Taco Tuesday 99 cent tacos served here locally. Only question there is do I go with Rubios Fish tacos or the Shredded Beef tacos at Jalapenos?

The Matchups-
Edmonton Oilers at Columbus Blue Jackets- 32 fighting majors between these two teams. Not sure if there is a history but the numbers point to some action.

Chicago Blackhawks at Phoenix Coyotes- 31 fights combined here. Man its great to see the Hawks fielding a tough team. The NHL just doesn't seem right without the Hawks fighting. On the Yotes side how can you not like Dan Carcillo? On that same note, I wonder whatever became of Dirk Graham?

Colorado Avalanche at Calgary Flames- Should be some good action here as well. Hope the flames suit up Andre Roy and it will almost be a lock for a scrap in this one. Maybe even a chance to see Iginla throw down. Prust leads the league in fighting majors. For the Avs, poor Lappy can always be counted on for the middleweights and the Cody Brothers are always active. I am having a hard time posting clips here but if I could this would be the perfect spot to post the clip of Tony Granato hitting Neil Wilkenson over the head with his stick. Ahhh the good ole days. a bad way.

Florida Panthers at Tampa Bay Lightning- Yeah they're interstate rivals but their also the most boring teams in the league and between have as many fights as Brandon Prust. If the Kings and Ducks game from the other night didn't have much emotion then this game will be played with all of the intensity of a preseason inter-squad baseball game. Anyhow.....3 great match ups tonight for sure.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Kings Recap- Games for 11/17

Hard to win when you don't score. 1 Goal in 2 games is not going to get it done no matter how well your goalie is playing. Ersberg still the only bright spot. What has happened to Kopitar this season?

Games for Monday

Game of the Night

San Jose Sharks at Nashville Predators- Statistically there are some other games that may look better on paper but this is just a gut feel.

Vancouver plays the Isles but the Isles dont have a lot of spunk and while the Nucks can lay the smack down I dont see it happening here with the inter conference matchup.

Edmonton Oilers at Detroit Red Wings- I think there will be a better chance of seeing fighting majors handed out during tonights NFL game between Cleveland and Buffalo then in this match up.

I guess the dont call them monday's for nothing....Lets pick tonights theme song.

Boomtown Rats-I dont like mondays


Carpenters-Rainy Days and Mondays

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Preds Recap and Games of the Day

I do not have enough time to do a full recap but here are some quick thoughts.

Sometimes in sports there are games that you are just not going to win in spite of everything. In this case- Preds goalie Dan Ellis really stole the show. He has been red hot the last 3 or so games it and it showed. The Kings peppered him with the goals in the first and got turned away every time.

On that same note you can't really blame Ersberg as all of the Preds goals were about as honest as it gets. He really had no chance on any of those shots at all. Once again while you can recap some specific players or a specific play that can swing a game one way or the other this was really simply a case of the Kings coming up against a hot goalie.

If there is one bone to pick-seemed like shots from the points were all high and off target-the one Kings goal that scored was kept on the ice and on target. Whats with all the high shots from the Dmen?

Lets hope we can regroup and get at least a point from tonight's game but quite frankly I'm a bit dubious. One thing that may help is Ducks lost Francois Beauchemin for the season with a severe knee injury. That is certainly going to hurt their D Corp.

Some Games to Watch-

Montreal Canadiens at St. Louis Blues-On paper this looks like it may have some potential but the inter-conference rivalry factor may offset the numbers.

Atlanta Thrashers at Philadelphia Flyers- Call it a hunch.

Kings at Ducks- Kings have been quiet on the fight front and this rivalry should bring out the worst from both teams. Parros vs Ivanans is almost a lock and Im sure Brad May is going to try and start something. I really envy the Ducks team toughness.
Will be interesting to see who the Kings start in goal as well. Lots of sub-plots in this one.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I finally decided to get a bit organized and create a couple of different blogs for each of my hobbies and figured that the Hockey addiction should probably come first so here we are. The main thing I'm going to focus on here is doing the recaps of all of the LA Kings games, maybe even the occasional Ducks game(time permitting make of that what you will) and posting daily picks on NHL games of the day. Hopefully I can make this a spot you can come to everyday to get a bit of a Kings fix and help guide the casual NHL fan as to which games are must watch's versus those games that have the potential grade of "can do better" or "make better use of your time with a good book."

That said here are my picks for Tonight's Games.

Game of the Night
Colorado vs Edmonton-Teams have a combined 30 fighting majors on the year and its going to be the 2nd half of Hockey Night in Canada. You cant top that! Zack Stortini has a lot of fights but he is no fighter as much as he hugs and cuddles. Look for him and Lappy to go...Maybe the Lock of the Night. Edmonton also just acquired Jessie Boulerice so he may be looking to make some noise. Colordado's 4th line with the Cody's are always fun to watch as well so this looks like a Dandy.

Games with Potential
Philadelphia @ Montreal
Dallas @ Phoenix

Gut feel Game
Boston @ NY Rangers- Lucic destroyed Komisarek the other night and the Bruins haven't felt this big and bad in years. Orr and Voros love to throw their weight and at home probably wont take much to get something started.

Kings vs Preds- Great chance of something happening here. If the Pred's play like they did against the Ducks last night there is a great shot to have some action. On that same note if Dustin Brown throws one of his text book big hits there could be fireworks. Ivanans hasn't fought in a while so there is a great chance of him and Nashville's palooka Tarnasky throwing down. Look for O'Donnell or Matt Greene to go after Tootoo if he starts running people.

Ottawa @ NY Islanders- Sens are without the always entertaining Ruutu due to suspension and the Islanders are the worst team in the NHL-if not in the standings at least as far as entertaining hockey goes. There are some teams that outright suck but at least can provide something on the entertainment scale-the Isles aren't one of them.

Look for my Kings vs Nashville recap tomorrow and I look forward to getting this thing started. If anyone has any suggestions on ways to make the blog better or any ideas at all please feel free. On that same note since Im not exactly Johnny Internet Blogger guy if someone wants to give me some tips on Google Adsense or other traffic generating ideas please email me or post as a comment.