Sunday, November 15, 2009
Kings catch rare break in Tampa- day after thoughts
After some time to digest last nights victory here are some thoughts.
As disgusted as we all felt after the horror in Atlanta, last nights win showed this team has a ton of heart and character. Think about it, back to back games after getting their behinds kicked and then to face what was arguably the most physically played, physically demanding game of the season so far.
Kings teams in the past would have most certainly used this as an excuse to take another night and go through the motions, as a matter of fact my memories of Kings teams on East Coast swings in the 2nd night of a back to back has always been one of losing. Come to think of it, my memories of Tampa are always of us losing dating back to Robb Stauber unable to stop a penalty shot as well as my ill-fated road trip to Florida with Sean53 after the Allison trade to see the team play both Tampa and Florida miserably.
Was Reading Kings Insider where some people commented "Im still not impressed" to which I reply with "How long have you been a fan?" Really, with all of the stars and planets historically lined up against the Kings this victory should be savored like beating the Wings at home in the Joe.
Quick- I am still not sold that this is a turning point for him but he came out and he responded. The Malone goal may have been played better but stoning every Tampa shooter in the Shoot Out was a thing of beauty considering the Kings history of mediocre goaltending.
And while scoring has been tough lately-the willingness of every guy putting it on the line and giving 110% was a fantastic display of something we haven't seen in years. From Simmonds and Handzus to Richardson-players were really giving it their all. When was the last time we saw so many Kings players taking a hit to make a play?
I still think Adam Mair would be a nice addition to the team. I still think Derek Armstrong would be a nice addition as well.
Some other thoughts...
I had memories of Montreal watching Simmonds take an elbow to the head and then get called on a penalty for having the temerity to discuss it with the Bolts player. Very poor call. Reminded me of last years call in Montreal where Komisarek went after Brown after the whistle only see Brown somehow get a double minor and the Habs get a PP.
Ivanans-he is what he is but looks like he has a bad habit of fighting down to the level of his opponent. 2 Games, 2 mediocre bouts. Not that his role but his Puck Awareness has to be one of the worst in the league. How many times does the puck have to land at his feet and his not noticing the fact?
Richardson- He had over 15 minutes of ice time and while I love his compete level he left the zone early a couple of times that directly led to some Bolts chances.
Frolov- He dodged a real bullet last night when he made the same ill advised pass into the middle in lieu of getting the puck deep. It was basically the same play that got him benched earlier in the season and the same play that got us into trouble in Atlanta. I love the guy but someone else said it best in that for this team to be successful we need every guy on the roster visibly showing effort and making the right play- I said it in my season preview post and I stand by my words that I see him wearing a Detroit jersey sometime before his career is over.
Props to Rich Tocchet. After the game he would have been totally justified to go ballistic on the officials. On the replay after Quick's final game winning save during the shootout you could see Tampa players starting to jaw at the officials before Tocchet calmly called them to the bench and into the dressing room. You could see him saying things like "its over get inside" and "good work guys lets get dressed" and what not.
“There’s nothing you can do. It happens,” Tocchet said. “We had a couple chances in overtime, but it’s a tough one.”
I am not sure there are that many coaches in the NHL who after a loss in that fashion could seem even keeled-the fact it comes from Tocchet is even more surprising giving his style as a player. One could only imagine what the reaction would have been from Marc Crawford.
Final Thoughts- A win over Florida on Monday will have us finishing the road trip 3-2 which is acceptable to me given the troubling Chicago and Atlanta games. Florida is below .500 but also a team that will probably come out gunning. It will be yet one more final test of character as previous Kings team would easily use the "last game of a long road trip" as an excuse to mail in the effort. While given the season so far I don't think we will see that monday-its still not beyond the realm of possibility. Let's hope injuries to Scuderi and Handzus are minor. It's nice to know that if Scuderi cant go that Drewiske will be able to fill his spot. Seems it wasn't all that long ago that in injury to a defenseman late on a road trip would have see us being forced to use Doug Houda, Mark Visheau, Steve McKenna, or Arto Blomsten.
As always, look forward to your thoughts.