Thursday, March 26, 2009

Winding down the Season

Only a few games left in the season so might as well milk out some thoughts while I can.

After the 1st period I thought we were in store for a rock em sock em hate filled, fight filled game-by todays NHL standards I guess I was right.

In all seriousness- For a game that had no scoring the 3rd period was pretty exciting. Thought the Kings had a couple of chances to win it then but thats alright.

I dont know if Im ready to jump on the fire Kompon bandwagon. DL traded our best scoring Dman and then traded our best pure sniper in Cammi-I mean what did he think would happen? Its like entering your Ford Taurus in the Daytona 500 and thinking you will finish in the Top 10.

Some player thoughts

Jon Quick- he look like he was tiring in the last couple of weeks but tonight looked very very sharp of course being he got the SO its kind of a stupid capt obvious type statement. That said-Quick is quietly on pace to have one of the best seasons recently for Kings goaltenders. Sure its like saying Moe was the smartest Stooge but its something. Scary to think he may set the record for best season by a Kings goalie who the Kings actually drafted. Go down the line and any notable Kings goalie was always acquired via trade.

Kopitar-Sweet SO goal. Highlight variety for sure.

Brown-Not sure whats going on with him but he is not the same player he was the first half of the season.

Williams-Im going to question the trade until he does something next season but scoring the OT winner is certainly something to build on.

Drewiske-I like the kid.

Harrold- Good steady fill in type of player who just logs way too much time for my liking.

Now some thoughts on DL- As mentioned earlier I will question the OSullivan trade big time until Williams can show something for a prolonged period of time. Same goes with the Cammi trade. That said-In goal we now have Quick, Ersberg, Bernier, and Martin Jones waiting in the wings. Funny it doesnt seem all that long ago we were hoping the russian goalie Volchov or Pauli Jaks was going to be the savior. I mean to think weve got 4 goalies in the system who are credible is a huge step in the right direction.

Looking at D its even more impressive-has this Franchise ever been in a position going into the next season with the top 5 Dmen solidified? Doughty, JJ, Quincey, OD, and Greene while not mind blowing certainly credible. The battle for the 6th spot is going to be just that-a real legitimate battle. Figure Drewiske, Teubert, Hickey, and Voynov all going to really have to step up to make the squad. This will probably be the best competition for a roster spot that we have seen as a Franchise.

At Forward-well thats going to be another story. DL said he wanted to build from the nets out and while there has been many a debatable moves one cant really say he hasnt kept his word in that area. That said barring a blockbuster move or luring a UFA scorer, I think while we will be more consistent in scoring goals-its never going to be anything thats going to dazzle. As it stands I think we will improve but whether it will be enough to make a big difference Im not sure.

Looking back on some of the preseason thoughts and predictions I made-the one that really seems off base now is Brown. I thought for sure we'd see him with a handful of fighting majors and at least 80 pims. As far as wearing the C, it really looks like it may be something that he wasnt ready for or maybe just doesn't understand what a good Captain does. To be fair-maybe hes never really had the mentor type to tell him or give him some type of example. Im not badmouthing him- he could be playing with an injury or god only knows whats going on behind the scenes and its unfair to critique him based on some over inflated prediction but some forum jockeying bloviating loudmouth like yours truly.

All I can say is Just Wait Until Next Season-which really should be the Kings official Motto.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Is the Fat Lady Warming up?

Haven't had much time to do a solid game recap so here goes.

When I heard that Calder was going to be a scratch and Westgarth would play with Ivanans and Armstrong I thought it was great. I could understand TM thinking that Vancouver outmuscled us in the last game and that hopefully he could roll four lines and establish some type of physical presence.

His plan might have worked had the refs not started the game off by calling a couple of incredibly ticky tack penalties that even the Vancouver Announcers were questioning. Once the team was down by 2 goals Murray had his roll with his scorers and abandon what may have been a solid pregame strategy.

One could second guess TM in that after winning 3 in a row he shouldnt have messed with chemistry but on that same note how much chemistry Calder contributes is debatable.

Some other thoughts-Dustin Brown was about as visible as Kyle Calder. Cant recall him throwing one check nor even getting a solid quality scoring chance. He finished the game with an assist-a gift assist coming off of Kopitar's lucky goal in the second. Truth be told that deserved an assist about as much as the two gift recipients that were awarded assists off of Quick blunder that led to the first Nuck Goal.

Contrast this to Frolov, who was simply a monster with the puck and looked to have it on a string all night. He finished off with a goal and 8....count em 8 shots on goal with almost everyone of them coming from him outright muscling the puck to the net. DL really has to get this guy signed ASAP or ASALP(as soon as legally possible) as he is really starting to develop as one of the premier forwards in terms of puck control and puck possession.

Quick- I wont really bag on the first goal though I should but Quick is obviously laboring. He doesnt look as sharp as he did during his first few games and seemingly makes one or two bad mental decisions with alarming regularity. Im not criticizing him by any stretch-for a rookie goalie to play as much as he has and carry the load for probably the most work he has ever had as a goalie and start to falter is totally expected. I am sure we'll roll with Ersberg tonight and as much as quick has posted good numbers and been solid I cant help to think if we have any chance of hell left of making the post-season it will come with Ersberg getting red hot and literally stealing our way into it. Thats not too say I dont think Quick is a quality goalie-he just looks tired.

God Bless Peter Harrold but he is really Terry Murrays version of Brad Chartrand. I know why TM plays him-he can trust him to make the correct, simple play and he trusts him in all situations but he doesnt have any scoring touch at all, not physical nor big enough to be a consistent 3rd or 4th liner, and with the Kings logjam at the D Corp not good enough to break the top 6. I like his effort-but this team will be taking the next step once guys like Harrold cant break into the lineup because the numbers of skilled players at forward and D makes him the odd man out.

Matt Greene has played very well lately IMO. The Verdict on Jack Johnson Im not so sure. He only had roughly 16 minutes of ice time compared to Greenes 20 plus. He made a not rush up ice and hit the post which was great to see but I am sure there are questions about consistency and what not. It doesnt really help he is playing with Gauthier-not sure thats the best pairing for him at this point. Truth be told you can add Gauthier's name to the list with Harrold as guys I have nothing against personally but the team will be better once they are gone. Surely I cant be the only to think Drewiske looked to be a better, smarter played then Gauthier in his short call up.

As for the Canucks-what can you say about Luongo that hasnt been said 1000 times. Arguably the best goalie in the game. And Henrik Sedin was the #1 star of the game but 14 goals on the season? Whats up with that? Stoll is on pace for 20 goals this season and Oscar Moller's goal per game ratio is roughly the same as Sedins. Great play by Sedin though...I would have liked to see that same drive from Dustin Brown.

Going back to my previous post of sunshine and rainbows-all things staying the same barring a lot of off season activity I would be very pleased to go into next season as is. You have to think Moller with a season under his belt should be able to pop 15 or so goals. Youd think a full season of Teddy Purcell should also equate to at least a 15 goal season and then with Justin Williams in the lineup I dont think its unreasonable to expect some improvement in the Goals for Dept.

Ill hang up and take your thoughts off the air.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Just wait until next season.....

No Matter what happens the rest of this there not tons of reasons to be optimistic about next season?

Eric Duhatschek- "When I look at the Kings I think they're on the cusp of greatness."

We will actually have some stable goaltending to start the season. Quick has been shaky as of late IMO but all in all do we have more faith in him and Ersberg then any goalie tandem since Hrudey/Berthiume?

Looking at the D-barring any catastrophic freak occurrences is there anyone else who thinks a Doughty, Quincey, JJ, Greene, OD, and whoever wins the last spot wont be a pretty nice top 6? Especially considering we have 3 or 4 very qualified candidates to be the #6 instead of Preissing, Gauthier, or Harrold.

Moving to Forwards-Lets Say that the big guns simply match this years stats; Is there anyone who doesn't think Moller & Simmonds wont improve on this years numbers? Not that they're burning up the league but a years worth of experience under the belt and some time to beef up a bit-these two will only get better. Moller has 7 goals in 33 games-if he can play the full 82 game schedule is 20 for him a tangible proposition?

Which leads me to Kid #3.

Purcell-if he stays in the top 6 is there any doubt this kid will put up some serious numbers? Even before he went on his scoring tear I said he manages to make one amazing pass for a scoring chance every game but wasn't playing with anyone who could finish them. Getting Top 6 and PP time-is a 20 goal/30 Assist season not a very real possibility for him? If Purcell can stay in the top 6-is there anyone who thinks he wont match what Sully did last season?

Now we have Justin Williams-there are questions on whether or not he can stay healthy and they are very legitimate. But what kind of numbers can he put up given the amount of chances Kyle Calder had this year? Calder currently has 8 goals and 15 assists on the season-If he can play 60+ games is there anyway Williams shouldnt be able to double those totals?

I tend to be an optimist sure but I just don't see us taking a step back and see nothing but players who will get better and improve with experience.

Quick didn't have a good game at all-yet the team still managed to rally and win. With earlier kings teams we pretty much depended on the goalie to keep us in the game and if he didn't have his A game that was it.

Lets look at some PK and PP numbers-if Im not mistaken we're in the upper half in both categories. Keeping the same core group is there any way we wont improve in these areas next season?

This season might be too little too late and too many missed opportunities but next season I really like our chances of taking the next step. All things being equal and working on a very conservative growth curve I think this time next season the scoring issues wont be nearly as pronounced as this years woes. I see a D core that will only improve. I see a goalie tandem that while not earth shatteringly spectacular is as solid of tandem we've seen in a long time.

Thoughts? Feel free to piss on my Wheaties...I'm taking the kids to Chuck E Cheese tonight and need something to think about other then "why do they only carry Budweiser" and "how many kids booger hands touched this same table Im currently touching."