Sunday, November 7, 2010

Kings dominate the Preds

Didnt get to this last night and know how when I dont do it get hate mail and the world stops spinning.

Before the game was wondering if we would see a rematch between O'Brien and Wayne Simmonds. Kind of sad we didn't but credit T Murray for his ability to keep players focused on the task at hand. I wonder if Simmonds has forgotten about it to be honest....same goes with Malkin.
Nashville always plays the Kings tough but they were a beaten dejected team last night.

Kopitars goal was a perfect shot. Browns goal was a soft on the goalies part even if it did partially deflect.

Congrats to Smyth and it may have been lack of observation on my part but it looks to me like he is having tons of fun on the ice. Between his animation on his assist on JWs goal the other night and the goal he scored last night he is clearly enjoying himself.

Had a father and son moment last night when Hip Jr said mid way in the second period "Maybe Kings will get the Shut Out." I then went on to explain the "Dont Tempt the Hockey Gods" theory. He understood. Fortunately the lone Nashville goal didn't happen until much later in the game and by that point his attention was focused on Lego Star Wars so he felt little to name shame.

Justin Williams-may be playing the best hockey of his career.

Westgarth- Not bad...not bad at all. He still hasnt picked up a fighting major yet but clearly not the liability old whats his name was.

Gotta love a team that is ahead 4-0 and still laying down to block shots on the PK.

Have to say that Nashville looked like a beaten dejected team all night. Even when down 4-0 they did nothing to spark any type of energy. Maybe just an off night or they just might be the team their record shows they are. Hard to believe Trotz is still Coaching the tea, after all these years and the indifferent success of the franchise.

That said I would have liked to see a bit more energy at the end of the 3rd to try and preserve the shut out for Bernier but thats a very small criticism in the big scope of things.

Scotty Bowman once said that he felt his team could win the cup if the PK and the PP were both in the top10. Kings PP has been brutal but actually in the middle of the pack at 18th overall and in the top 5 for PK. There is room for improvement but I think I will gladly exchange a mid pack PP for the Kings record. Case in Point- the teams ranked #3-5 for PP% are ranked no better then 8th in the conference.

Anyhow-Thursdays game will be much more a challenge with Dallas in town and the divisional rivalry and division lead at stake. So far so amazingly good. #3 overall in goals against. I'll take it.

The game itself was great in that we dominated and took control early and never relinquished control but after thursdays game against Tampa was, maybe anti-climatic is the wrong word, but certainly not nearly as exciting.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Kings 4, Canucks 1-Dustin Brown 2 Goals and a great Idea

Very good to keep this ball rolling against a very tough Nucks team. Dont care what anyone says you can bet at the end of the year the Canucks will be at the top of the standings. Also keep in mind they're playing without Alex Burrows.....he makes a difference even though he is a punk.

Some thoughts-

Very surprised they didnt review the Stoll goal. It probably would have still counted but surprised they didnt at least take a look. That line is still playing very well and really all you can ask for....experience, solid d, offensive prowess, a little physicality-really all you could want in a 2nd line.

We talked during the LGK Talk Radio Show on who would be in the first scrap of the season and looks like that honor went to Wayne Simmonds. If you had money on Simmonds.....he paid 8-1 and we'll have to wait at least one more game for the payout on the daily double.

PP has got to be a concern. If there is a good element to it is that the trouble is simply getting shots on net and not entering the zone or moving the puck. Shoot the puck, crash the net, and keep it simple.

Mega Kudos to the Zeus line. They matched up against the Sedins all night and did a great job of spending the majority of the shifts in the Nucks end. And yes, the Sedins scored 1 that made it a nail biter for about 45 seconds but to be fair there are only a handful of lines in the NHL that can score that goal at the end of a hard shift.

Also some props to Ponikarovsky. He is looking much better and comfortable in his role. I am impressed by his willingness to ramp up the physical play and so far his ability to compete. And he broke up a play coming on the backcheck that warranted some props.

On a similar note though- tonight was probably the best game of the season as far as having the top 3 lines in a groove and contributing.

And another tip of the cap to Lombardi- Drewiske and Muzzin look like and are playing like NHL caliber defensemen. When Greene gets back our D is as good as any in the league. Maybe a stretch to think the best in the league but certainly in the upper percentile. Seems like yesterday we were suiting up Doug Houda, John Slaney, and Rob Cowie. On that same note-congrats to Muzzin on his first NHL point.

Have to love the fact that Doughty now has 2 highlight film plays against the Sedins breaking up 2 on 1s. Doughty finished -1 but that play and his skating is still amazing. Tonight he looked like he never got out of 2nd gear and was still one of the best players on the ice.

3rd period the Kings really dodged some bullets...there was a sequence in the 3rd that literally looked like a comedy of errors but I guess its a sign of the teams improvement that these are few and far between and not ending as automatic goals for the other team.

Brown now has 3 goals in 4 games-not bad considering the 1st line hasn't really looked all that impressive nor shown any type of chemistry. I like the salute at the end of the game and mega kudos to Brown for suggesting and implementing it. Brown has shown more wearing the C then old whatshisname who used to wear #4 ever did.

Quick is still looking very sharp. Bob Miller reported that Quick lost 15 lbs over the summer and how he hopes to will boost stamina. I am no athletic trainer so not sure how it works but don't players generally lose weight over the long season anyhow? Regardless, he looks fantastic and provided the Kings keep the shots against down and can keep a sensible goalie rotation-I am very optimistic.

What to do with Kyle Clifford? I am 99% sure Schenn will not be sent down-another year in the Juniors probably wouldn't be the worst thing for him.

Gotta wonder in tight games late in the 3rd if we might see Schenn in for Lotkionov. Something to Ponder on....

Jack Johnson ended up +3 on the night....without looking at the record book I would imagine this might be a career high for him. On that same note it also emphasizes the quirky stat the +/- is as I dont think anyone would think JJ was rock solid in his own end. On that same note-when Greene gets back it will be nice that he can spell JJ in situations that er, uh, ahr, lets say not quite ideal for JJs unique skillset.

On some other unrelated Kings notes....

Watched a bit of the Quacks game. Perry finished with 3pts-but took a really lazy, undisciplined penalty in the 3rd that led to the Game Tying PP goal. Perry is approaching Sean Avery status as a player who will never get the benefit of the doubt from the Referees. Over the long haul one has to wonder what the overall benefit is-especially considering the Ducks defense is weak. Atlanta had 3 PP goals the game and won in the Shoot Out.

I hate the Yankees, then again I hate baseball. And while i'm exploring this stream of consciousness F Randy Jones for good measure.

I cant believe there isnt another game until wednesday. The next day starts a road trip that is going to be a real test- Phoenix, Colorado, Minn, Chicago, and Dallas...the real first challenge of the season IMO.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hear me now....

Literally, here me now when I host the next edition of LGK Talk!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

LA Kings preview for August

After being bombarded with Emails and PM's asking about my thoughts on the upcoming season I finally have the time to share my thoughts. Keep in mind this is subject to change with any looming trades and acquisitions so as it stands on the overcast morn on Saturday Aug 7th here are my thoughts.

There is an old adage in sports that's tired and hackneyed but rings true nonetheless in “If you didnt get better you got worse.” I heard it a lot in conjunction with the Dodgers before the MLB season started and it certainly looks in that case to be a real truism though I digress due to the fact that baseball sucks.

Overall, I do not see our current roster as being one that will improve by leaps and bounds as there are some legitimate weaknesses and the only wild card in mass improvement comes between the pipes and the hopes of maturity and growth will parlay into the “getting better” wildcard.

Lets get to it shall we?

Forwards- I still like our Forward depth and while the loss of the enigmatic Frolov may hurt in the goal scoring dept its not out of the question that Ponikarovsky may be able to fill that void as well as maybe, just maybe show some interest in competing nightly and thus if he has any warrior fighting spirit inside his Russian heart may be an overall improvement to the Forward core given Frolovs penchant for-well lets just say you will never confuse him with Darcy Tucker or Doug Weight on the effort scale.

The Wild Card here IMO is clearly Schenn. Lest us forget Schenn almost made the team last season being one of the last cuts in camp after playing very well towards the end of preseason. Schenn only went back to the Juniors to finish the season with 99pts and wearing the C for the Wheat Kings and a couple of other Canadian teams in international tournies. Looking at his Junior stats Schenn never took a step back as his point totals improved every year. Something to Note- of the 5 leaders in WHL regular season scoring 3 are now property of the Kings in Brandon Kozun, Jordan Weal, and Schenn at 5th respectively. With good speed and a hard, honest 2 way game Schenn could be the difference maker at forward and open the door for future trades and acquisitions. Having Schenn develop into the next Rod Brindamour certainly wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. Also of note that of the Top 5 players selected in the 2009 Draft, only Schenn did not make his NHL directly team out of camp. With all of the above as a guide I would say barring Schenn punching Terry Murray in camp he has a very good chance to make the team if not an outright lock.

As for the other forwards on the roster I don't see anyone having a huge breakout season-as a matter of fact I would project last years stats to pretty much hold true this season as well with the only difference being Wayne Simmonds. Simmonds finished the season with 16 goals and 24 assists, had over 100 PIMS and +22. With only 2 NHL seasons under his belt apparently the sky is the limit with most projecting Simmonds to have a couple of 30 goal seasons ahead of him. Even a 20/20 guy who keeps up with the PIMS and energy is invaluable(think Scott Hartnell). Being able to consistently bring it and maybe officially earn a spot on the top 6 would be huge.

Other burning questions-can Smythe and Justin Williams play over 70 games? In Williams case can he play over 50?

On D I have some concerns-mainly in that the Kings only have 3 vets going into the season with the injury to Matt Greene and losing the toughness and vet leadership that OD provided. Last season at this time we were crowing about how there would be a huge battle for the #6 dman on the team with all other boxes on the roster being filled. Without question this is a huge step backward. Even with Greene you are still talking about the 5th and 6th spots on the roster hoping to be filled by rookies. As much as I hate Andy Sutton he would have been a solid pickup. Kind of funny how in todays NHL yesterdays hacks have become solid commodities. It wasn't that long ago that Sutton and Hal Gill type players were tossed around like the town tramp but recently have discovered a modicum of respectability amongst the NHL. I am still not sure why 1.5 million for OD couldn't have been matched by the Kings. In an nutshell, The High End of the squad with Doughty is elite-but until Greene gets back we really need to keep our fingers crossed that a lot of things will go right early in the season. Even with Green returning the last 2 spots are question marks and once again how hard would it have been to get Sutton or OD back as an insurance policy? I am a big support of Lombardi but the offseason work with the Dcorp may as well have been from the Dave Taylor playbook. On that same note-this will be the season Doughty will win the Norris. I still can't believe Mike Green got more votes.

Goaltending is the one area without question we will be better at. I will go to my grave wondering what may have happened had the Kings rolled with Bernier in the playoffs. Won't get into the debate but will say it will not surprise me one bit to see Bernier as the #1 goalie at the end of the season. Even if that fails to materialize it will be good to see someone be able to spell Quick and hopefully keep him at the 50-60 count of games and hopefully keep fresh for the playoffs....or even the final month of the season for that matter.

With all of the above considered the one area I am very concerned about is team toughness. We saw how Vancouver intimidated and physically dominated us in the playoffs and this off season we have not only not addresses it but certainly gotten worse in this area. While Ivanans was a mediocre enforcer, he could hang with anybody in the league. Westgarth is a question mark as far as hanging with NHL heavies. His fighting style is entertaining for sure and I have no doubt he will be more active and willing then the often times reluctant Ivanans. The question is-what happens when he gets tagged and ends up like Ryan Flinn? Its not all that unreasonable to assume the possibility. In this case scenario the Kings are banking on yet another unproven to pull the weight and should there be any unfortunate happening the team better have some type of backup plan of which right now I dont think there is. Sorry but when Westgarth is Option A-I am just not comfortable in this area given the way the season ended especially when Dallas is rolling with Burrish, Sutherby, Barch, and Ott and other Pacific teams are without question bigger and tougher. Can the Kings with Westgarth and Clune really expect to fare well in this area? I would not be opposed to us signing Arron Asham, Guerin, or Owen Nolan-not that any of these guys are a true solution or enforcers per se as much as at least we will have some additional balance in the physicality dept.

In a nutshell, I expect the Kings to get pushed around from other teams in the division. If I'm an opposing coach its a reasonable and sensible game plan. I expect that goal scoring should be roughly the same as last year barring Brayden Schenn from having a breakout rookie year in which he can score 15-20 goals. I expect the D to be the same if not slightly worse in the 4-6th spots on the roster. Those question marks may be offset by growth and maturity from JJ and Doughty. And I expect the goaltending to be better. So I expect similar results as last season with some of the losses being mitigates and offset by some of the gains. But at the end of the day at this point I can firmly say that the weaknesses of yesteryear simply have not been addresses to this point. To use a car race analogy- if a car loses a race because of a bad tire and you don't change or repair that tire you would a fool to think you would win the next race. To use a basketball analogy-if you lost a playoff series because you didn't have a big center to clog the lane you wouldn't expect to win the next series with the same center. Then again I digress because the NBA sucks.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Stanley Cup Matchup Set-Hawks vs Flyers

Ive been neglecting the blog a bit too long. Maybe a case of being upset the Kings were eliminated in such a meek fashion; maybe I'm just lazy.

Anyhow, some cup related thoughts.

Nice to see Joel Quenneville finally get his kick at the can. Truth be told I always thought he was one of the best coaches in the league and always got the most out of what he had to work with.

On the other side as much criticism as I have seen Peter Laviolette take over the years one could say this playoff run has thoroughly put him on the pedestal of arguably one of the greatest American Hockey Coaches of all time. Heck he could end up high on the list of all time greatest coaches period if the Flyers manage to win the cup. I mean to win the cup with Carolina and now have a kick at the can with the Flyers is very very impressive. And to see the Flyers not only earn a playoff birth in the last game of the season, the miracle comeback down 3-0 in the series against Boston, and now most likely playing the role of underdog-I just cant count them out.

On the Defense side of the equation-the Chris Pronger trade has paid off in silver dollars for the Flyers. I hate him but you can not deny the effect he has had on the Flyers.

For the Hawks, Duncan Keith is having a heck of a series and the Hawks first cup appearance since the Andy Griffith Show(actually since the late 80s but I wanted to use the joke) should most likely earn him a Norris. I remember the Hawks previous run and though it was years ago I can never forget the Hawks of that with Dirk Graham, Adam Creighton, Steve Larmer and others. Good Times.

Measuring the Captains....

Jon Toews has been a stalwart and consumate young professional but Mike Richards showed some moxie that I have yet to see in a long long time from a Captain. Sure you can argue Crosby or Sakic from a few years ago but those teams were very very good teams expected to win-Richards is literally carrying the team in all areas of the ice. Toews has the skill and the hands-but Richards has the heart. I am tempted to go on record with the old cliche of "Edge-Richards" but that would mean that I actually have to measure and compare all of the other areas of both teams and I am not sure I want to take that least not right now.

Goalies- I wonder what kind of odds you could have gotten in Vegas if you bet 20 bucks that the starting goalies for the Cup would be Antti Nieme and Michael Leighton you may have been looking at a retirement type payoff. Hard to even call this matchup with both goalies being wild cards and unknowns at this level. Either one could rise to the occasion or completely choke-and it literally could be either one which makes it impossible to even recap this matchup.

I won't go on record even picking a winner....I just want it to go at least 6 games and have at least one fighting major.

If the decision is based on Ex-Kings I am really pulling for Lappy over Brent Sopel and its clearly obvious these two didnt get where the are on their good looks.

Some other thoughts...

How great was it seeing the Sharks tank again? I am not really a Blake hater per se because by all accounts he is a really nice, cool guy. But I couldn't help but smirk a bit showing the bearded Blake wearing the C as the waning moments of the Game 4 sweep ticked of the clock. Will Doug Wilson get fired? Not sure and even though the GM doesn't always determine who wears the C you've got to wonder who decided Blake was the right given he never accomplished anything as a Captain.

As for Montreal-I am glad to see them ousted. Just do not like that french canadian style pomposity bloviating psuedo greatness. And in a healthy mix of "SandGate" and the screw job the refs laid on the Kings last year has never sat well with me. I will say this-Kirk Muller will probably be a head coach in the next 2 or 3 seasons.

Once again....lets hope the series goes at least 6 games and sees at least one fighting major.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Final Thoughts of the Season

Finally have some time to do my season finale closing thoughts. Its been the best of times and the worst of times and we can all take solace that with relative youth of the team and quality prospects in the system this is just the beginning and like the old Hermans Hermits song "Something Tells me I in for something good."

First I will address the playoffs. While some think we were outclassed or outplayed and 5 on 5 that may have been the case but consider that as the series went on the Kings did out shoot Vancouver. Over the 6 games the Kings outshot 3 times. The first game the Nucks clearly outshot the Kings and a 6 shot margin in Game 2. But afterwards the Kings outshot the Nucks in the next 3 games and seemed to balance the ledger a bit. The only problem was after game 2, Quicks save percentage plummeted. Blame Terry Murray for overplaying him. Its a very reasonable and apt criticism and deservedly so.

The Kings won game 3 despite Quicks .893sv% and afterwards saw Quick post an average .842 sv% over the last 3 games. Contrasted to Luongo who after a shaky start posted a .930 sv% in the last 2 critical games of the series.

Some of have mentioned how the goalies who played the most regular series games all missed the playoffs entirely or saw their teams fail to advance. Its not a coincidence and a very telling statistic. And the stat holds true provided you only use the top 4 goalies...if you look at the top 10 goalies in GP it breaks down to 3 goalies still in the playoffs, 2 goalies who missed and 5 out in the first rd.

Of the goalies out in the first rd who were Brodeur, Quick, Anderson, Bryzgalov, and Miller we can take a look at their SV% and determine where does quick fall in line with other 1st rd losers. Only a rare uncharacteristically bad performance by Brodeur saved Quick from having the worst performance of all goalies in the first rd.

Brodeur .876
Quick .879
Bryzgalov .907
Miller .926
Anderson .931

So looking at that stats of goalies eliminated-3 of them posted better the .900 SV%.

I said back in mid March "We cant take anything for granted given the history of the franchise and I am not willing to see the season slip away with the old "were standing by our #1" adage." Well upon retrospect-isnt that exactly what happened and we saw and the very result I predicted?

Dating back to the start of March through the playoffs Quick got us 6 wins in 23 starts. Thats about a .260 winning % and substandard for your average baseball players batting average. One didnt need to see Quick was faltering and laboring down the stretch. Once again you can certainly call out Terry Murray for his mishandling of the goalie situation. Its a very fair and reasonable critique of the coach especially in light of the fact that both Ersberg and Bernier played well when they got a chance to play. Basically Quick did not show up in the big game pressure situations. The 2 goals in game 6 of the playoffs pretty much said it with the softie given up to Bieska and the final GWG by Sedin where Quick wasnt hugging the post, wasnt prepared for the shot, and just plain looked shaky.

Getting merely Average play from Quick may have meant moving onto the next rd.
The good news is next year I expect Bernier to get about 30 games which should give Quick plenty of rest. If Quick falters and cant get the job done in pressure situations Bernier will be there to get his kick at the can. So far in the AHL, Bernier is 6-1 in the playoffs with a .949 SV%. Out of the top 15 goalies in the AHL playoffs-Bernier has faced the 3rd most shots so its not as if the Monarchs D is overpowering by any stretch.

Alas, and as so not to think I'm a Quick hater or bashing the goalie- it was a marvelous season and I'm a left with both good and bad feelings in that while we made a ton of progress I think it could have been so much more given how you could see the writing on the wall long before the playoffs even started.

Once again, "We cant take anything for granted given the history of the franchise and I am not willing to see the season slip away with the old "were standing by our #1" adage." And once again-isnt that exactly what happened and we saw and the very result I predicted?

Some other thoughts- I love the depth of the team and would not be surprised at all to see either Handzus or Stoll moved. Schenn is taking Brandon deep into the OHL playoffs and of the top 5 players taken in the 2009 entry draft only Schenn did not see regular NHL ice time. Given how well he played in camp last season I think its safe to assume the only thing keeping him from joining the ranks of the other top 5 2009 draftees was the Kings depth at Center. Additionally, Bud Holloway and Trevor Lewis are both putting up good numbers in the AHL Playoffs with 5 goals in 7 games...good enough for 4th and 5th best in the league. If one or both of those guys happens to take the next step and show they can play an NHL caliber game the Kings are really looking at a plethora of riches as far as young forwards goes.

On D as much as I would like to think Hickey may be ready to make the move I just dont see it as a safe bet given him being undersized, his justin williams like injury record, and the Kings D already being somewhat undersized. Best case scenario here is to acquire another big stay at home Dman to help provide some muscle. Id like to know what happened to Davis Drewiske along the way. I will end this with a scary thought that honest to goodness sends a shudder up the spine but I would not be surprised at all to see Randy Jones resigned. Why you ask? Because I was surprised to see him playing as much as he did considering how bad he played-given he is like a bad cough you just cant get rid of this just would not come as a shock whatsoever.

Oh well, another season down but brighter pastures ahead. It will be odd following the NHL draft without thinking which Top 5 pick we will be selecting this year.

For the rest of the playoffs I am pulling for the Hawks. Not so much that I am now officially a Nucks hater as I have always liked the Hawks as my #2 team. Speaking of Nucks while I do now officially dislike a great number of their players, some players I actually gained respect for. The Sedin brothers are world class and also earned my respect for their clean hard play and continually whining we saw from others on the Squad. Mikael Samuelsson gets my vote for the most underrated player in the NHL. He can play physical, has a great accurate shot, shows up to play in big games, and a proven playoff performer.

Best case scenario for me would be to have San Jose eliminate Detroit and then get Eliminted themselves in NHL playoff Survivor. Basically my hatred for Detroit is greater then my hatred for San Jose. Its the hatred trump card in all its glory.

In the East I was hoping we could have seen a Wash/Pitt matchup as to see 7 games of Ovechkin vs Crosby. Alas it was not to be. Next I was hoping for a Pitt/Philly matchup given the general dislike the two teams have for each other. That may or may not happen either. I really have no other teams in the East that I care about at all so my hopes were basically what makes the most interesting matchups.

As always, feel free to send your thoughts and I will end this with a Hockey Haiku

Kings DieHard Win/Lose
Ducks and theyre fans Continuouly lame
F Randy Jones

Saturday, April 24, 2010

On the Brink....

Ill try to bust this out quickly...

First and foremost F Randy Jones.

Next Id like to talk about Quick-I dont think its unfair at this point to say that Quick is not a pressure goalie. Think about it-he had 8 chances not only to get win #40 but clinch a playoff spot and he couldnt come up big once. If not for Ersberg and Bernier-its conceivable the Kings may have missed the playoffs entirely. Now in postseason when its undeniably crunch time-we have seen complete foldage.
Look at the save percentage...
Game 1 .932 Game 2 .923 Game 3 .893 Game 4 .861 Game 5 .808

Did the D let him down a couple of times? yes they did but being an NHL goalie means occasionally making the Big save. It was like in Game 4 when Luongo makes the great save on the Brown deflection and then stops Fro on the breakaway-right then you had a pretty bad feeling that chances are the game wasnt going to end well. Big goalies make Big Saves in Big games. What makes it even more frustrating is the majority of these goals are coming from bad angles which typically have a high save probability. I am not saying Quick Sucks-what I am saying is that he has yet to come up big in true pressure situations. Wont cry about it as next year Bernier and Quick ill probably split starts and if this season is any indicator I will bet that Bernier will be starting in goal next post season which brings me to the next point.

How great is it that our teams nucleus is young enough where a potential playoff elimination doesnt spell the end? Traditionally in years past each elimination meant a greater hill to climb as our stars and core were another year old, we had no top ranked prospects(Craig Redmond anyone?) we had no minor league system was so ever-once the season ended next season only held question marks. I said once we clinched a playoff spot-any success we have in this post season is bonus gravy.

Did I mention F Randy Jones? I support T Murray-I like his honesty and straight forward style but barring Harrold or Drewiske being hurt there is no reason either one of these guys shouldnt get be playing in the next game.

Frolov-I will not bash on Frolov and would like to have him back next season but if his Agent wants to play hard ball there is no way I shell out 5 million for him when a mil or two more can actually get someone that brings it every night and doesnt mind getting their elbows dirty. I am not sure if its just the genetic makeup of his face and I dont mind Fros Happy, Smiling demeanor-just not when its a post whistle 5 on 5 scrum in the corner.

Wayne Simmonds-You are the man. Shane OBrian is a hack. Rich Clune-Youve got huge balls but really need some tips on picking your spots better. Rick Rypien-Your tough as nails and looked like a pro doing his job without the douchbag chicanery of your cohort in Obrian or the aholery of Cody Mcleod in Colorado. For that I commend you. Judging by the way Clune was holding his shoulder I will guess Scott Parse gets in the next game via default.

I am not really a Vancouver hater-but after this series and their whining coach and fans I actually want to start hating them. Its like me and the Raiders-I could give 2 farts about any on the team and hold no love or hate for anyone on the roster-but seeing the mentality of the fan base actually makes me hate them if that makes sense.

Speaking of Vancouver- Mikael Samuelson gets my vote for the leagues most underrated player. He has got a great accurate shot, not afraid to play physical, will go into corners, has tons of experience, and a without question a big game player. You may not like him but he is arguably a bigger catalyst to the Nucks success then the Sedins.

Drew Doughty- great to see him earn a Norris Nod. Still not sure if he will win it but to be 20 and get acknowledged is a great sign. Not to pat myself on the back but before the season started I did predict this.

Kings Size- I will do a full blown analysis for next season once were officially eliminated which will hopefully be in June, that said going into next season we need more size. Sure Zues and Modin have size and use it well but we need size that intimidates. I really would have liked to see us land Owen Nolan at the deadline-his grit and experience would have proved invaluable in this series but thats life and huge what if to spend any time and energy bothering to lament. Going into next season we need to address the size issue-having undersized roster players to handle the dirty work does not cut it.

Once again though going into next season how great is it that we will improve in all 3 areas of Forward, Defense, and Goalie?

All in all watching the playoffs and the best of 7 format-the best team generally advances. There generally arent enough flukes to carry a team through a series. That said- this series has really hit the nucks fans credibility and the opposite stands true for Kings fans. Reading some assorted boards its pretty common to see other NHL teams fans throwing us props while at the same time calling out most of the nucks fans idiocy. I said in another thread that I expect that stuff out of know nothing Ducks fans but from a Canadian team I expect more. I guess in the case of most, not all, Nucks fans that isnt the case.

And to weigh in on the fan altercations-while it certainly isnt something we should be proud of nor endorse; when you carry a sign into Staples that says "Kings Are Queens" what do you think is going to happen? That guy almost deserves a beat down-not for being a Nucks fan but for being stupid. Why someone at Staples couldnt grab and tear up the sign is beyond me. CBGB-if you an idea for the next home game that is it-even if it means dressing a buddy in Nucks colors simply as a prop.

I have said enough, maybe too much, onto game 6.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Kings Win Kings Win!

Great Win and no need to get into the excitement and enthusiasm as most can feel it....Here are some thoughts.

Id heard rumors of the douche-baggery of Canuck fans but never investigated first hand until last night. Some of them are rational and knowledgable-the rest honestly seem no better then know nothing Duck fans who always feel there team can do no wrong and anything that goes against them is a conspiracy. Sadly-I expect more from Canadian fans then Duck fans. I can expect idiocy from a fan base who learned the game from Brian Hayward....whats the Canucks fans excuse?

All of the whining over officiating is comical. When Kelly Hrudey goes over the slow mo on the HNIC post game and shows it was a good know you have no leg to stand on. I thought the call a no brainer personally and maybe this is complete self flagellation but I couldnt imagine if the roles were reversed Kings fan blaming anyone but A)Terry Murray or B)the offending player. Them arguing this call would be like us arguing the stick rule in 1993.

Listening to Canucks fans youd think we got away with robbery. Robbery IMO-would be the officiating in the Montreal game of last season or the Avs game years ago which actually saw Stu Nahan write an open letter to the LA Times about the game. I can understand the frustration with the Smyth High Stick-but why no debate about O'Brian roughing Brown in the 2nd? Brown follows up his shot-stands in front of Luongo as he covers the puck, Obrian comes in and grabs brown by the head. Somehow in the ensuing Fracas Moding and Erhoff get the only penalties. The non calls for Goalie Interference? Comical.

What really surprised me is out the numerous post game threads I read from the Nucks boards not one of them mentioned the injury to Kesler at the end of the game? he looked as bad as Vanek trying to get off the ice at the end of the game. Odd that officiation would garner several 40 plus page threads but an injury to their best checking center and emotional catalyst warrants nary a mention. Seriously, I want an update a kesler if anyone has one. What I wouldnt give to see an all american line of Kesler, Brown, and Backes one day.

The benching of Jones and Williams was the right move. As others mentioned-I wouldnt be surprised to see Williams back sometime....Jones maybe not so much.

Vignier(sp) vs TM- If post game comments effect the future officiating of the series I like our chances. Vignier complains about the officiating and points fingers will not bode well. Refs arent supposed to be biased and not let post game comments effect the game but-its not too different then the player who dives all of the time not getting the calls even when legitimate. Contrast to TM whose stoic demeanor rarely sees him blaming outside factors. Heck even when Bobby Ryan ran Moller- TM defended Ryan and said there should be no suspension. How many other NHL coaches would have said that?

I though Harrold play decent enough-he still made some of the mistakes that Jones may have made but showed the effort and gumption to not like those mistakes end of as goals. I was cringing at the multiple icings late in the 3rd though.

Quick-without question he is back on his game. The 2nd goal was iffy but as others have mentioned, he showed mega character but not letting him it affect him the rest of the game. That said-how sweet will next season be a Bernier/Quick tandem?

Forwards-Thought all of the forwards played very well. I like being able to roll all 4 lines. You can see the inexperience of Parse and Clune though. The flaw in Parses game is always going to be neutral zone decision making and we saw that once or twice. Clune had good speed but was having some troubles deciding whether to go in the forecheck in aggresive attack mode vs being responsible defensively. To Clunes credit he is a good enough skater where that hesitation stands out like a turd in a punchbowl like it would with Ivanans. Simmonds was solid and Modin and Halpern for that matter show the value of getting vets a playoff run.

Dmen- Jack Johnson played a whale of a game and Doughty is a god. Scuderi and ODonnell bring tons of experience...Scuderi in particular plays a playoff type game where he can generally always be counted on to make the right play. A pretty good combination on the D core.

I would like to think this may be the turning of the tide as far as momentum goes. As bad as they played in Game1 to think they almost won that is a very positive sign. And to think 2 of the 3 goals allowed were basically 2 bad plays made solely by a couple of players-it wasnt as if the goals were complete team breakdowns as much as it was a comedy of errors caused by each player is once again a great sign.

Wont go into fist pumping yet as its a long series with a long way to go but lets make some noise on monday and just keep the wheels rolling. Very proud of the team so far in both games quite frankly.

Some other NHL thoughts- Please let the Caps play the Pens sometime this playoffs....I really want to see Ovie and Crosby do battle for 7 games. On that same Caps related note-Green has been horrible and got called out by Keith Jones. Green looked like Randy Jones out there-bad enough play where I do not think he will be nominated for Norris. Oh yeah-I know post season awards are based on regular season play but thats a rumor...they say that simply to keep fans for non playoff teams interested. Bob Mackenzies tweets about Doughty can serve as exhibit A.

Cant wait to watch the Devs Flyers....watching Kovalchuk play physically and putting it on the line is really what the NHL is all about.

Pitt-Ottawa has been a brutal series as well that is turning into a must watch series. if only Pitt still had Gary Roberts to challenge the entire Sens team.

Mega Props to Mark Recchi-42 years old and still bring it!
You have to think how hard it is to play in the NHL or NFL for that the time you are in your mid 30s those are hard, hard years that physically take a huge toll. My hat goes off to anyone who can still play after 35 years of age in either of those sports.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

And so it begins?

I wont kid you, much like I spoke about a week or two ago I still am taking the playoffs for granted. This loss was a painful loss...and at the same time a stupid loss. Our guys couldnt have mustered up another 4 minutes of scoreless play to at least give us a point?

Some Thoughts....

Not counting the Chicago OT the other 3 losses Quick has let in a soft/questionable goal. Quite frankly I was hoping they would give Bernier another start. Not bashing but-If Im the coaches I have Quick on a short leash and get ready to call back Bernier in a moments notice just to be on the safe side. Quick made some great saves but also got a lucky a couple of times and is really overplaying the puck IMO. We cant take anything for granted given the history of the franchise and I am not willing to see the season slip away with the old "were standing by our #1" adage.

Wont comment on the non allowed/allowed goalie interference calls. I will comment on the numerous non calls late in the 3rd. I am not a conspiracy theorist and one who says the refs are out to get us-but in the 3rd there were at least 3 penalties I thought should have been called.

Randy Jones played a solid game. Wont go to the box score to see his plus/minus but watching from home on the tv he looked like half the train wreck of previous games. That said-when Quick isnt looking confident and I see on Jones it tends to make me shudder.

I really like the addition of Clune. Hes got pep.

The more I watch Modin and Halpern the more surprised that Halpern fetched so much more then Modin did. Its all a moot point but I still would rather used that 3rd to get Staios from Edmonton.

Frolov has really played well lately. Someone mentioned in another thread and I cant agree more that right now I would rather see us use the Kovalchuk money to land another solid defensemen and resign Frolov.

One thing I noticed today that bothered me-Nashvilles forward were allowed to enter the zone and given time and space. Even when they bobbled the puck and didnt quite have puck possession there was no pressure to capitalize. I am not sure why our D isnt occasionally standing up when they've got forwards coming back to help. It was apparent tonight when Nashville came in waves and out only response was to capitulate and go into damage control/scramble mode.

Still surprised Barry Trotz is still coaching Nashville. Even more surprised he is not a basketball coach-he just looks the type.

Ive got a ton of respect for Jason Arnott. I remember him as a rookie with Edmonton thinking he was the next messier. He has had his ups and down but in the games Ive watched he always gives a solid effort and a pros pro. Tons of respect for players like that who can bring it for so long.

I am sure Ill think of some other items later but thats it for now and as always look forward to your thoughts.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Same Recap-2 Games-Same Result

I am really glad I didn't write a recap for the Nashville game as this recap can be used interchangeably for the last 2 games. They were so similar in that the reasons the Kings lost last night were the same reasons they lost against Nashville.

Here is my thoughts.

New Players- No problems with Halpern or Modin especially considering we really gave nothing to get them. If and when the Kings make the playoffs(will address this a bit later) you really want vets in key situations. Oscar Moller is a good young player without question but in tight situations late in the 3rd of a playoff game you do now want to put your Swedish prospect or any young unproven player on the ice. Halpern has leadership, Modin was key in Tampas playoff run. Getting vets who have been there before is crucial. That said-a bit confused why the Kings didn't make a play for Steve Staios.

Quick- 2 games in a row where he lets in a bad/soft goal. Not sure if he is getting tired or what but he is not looking solid by any accounts. Believe it was goal #3 for the Habs last night where quick looked to be doing his best Kelly Hrudey impression with him spinning/flopping around the ice. Given Quicks record against Nashville I completly support giving Ersberg the starts against Nashville and maybe even the next start against Columbus.

I am a scoreboard watcher but at this point all I care about is Detroit, Calgary, and some extent St Louis losing as often as possible the rest of the year.

CBGBs Article- I am sure some read this and said "look at the attention whore" and "not this Kings team" but historically....I agree with him fully. The Kings have given so many kicks in the nuts over the years that anyone who thinks this cant happen are truly blind. Anyone who doesnt have this in the back of their mind somewhere is either kidding themselves or not have been a fan that long.

For you stats lovers....Teddy Purcell had a goal and an assist in his first game with Tampa. Then again he had 3pts in the first 6 games this year as well. Good for Teddy...good guy but not enough room for another forward on the Roster. Even my first point about vets in the playoffs rings true here as well.

Watching from home you knew it was going to be one of those nights when Jim is doing the play by play and the other team scores on the first shift. It is a testament to us being a good team though when much like Nashville, we almost pulled off a win when we didnt have our best stuff and Quick as previously mentioned let in one or two questionable goals.

From the Credit where Credit is due dept....Randy Jones hasn't been a complete disaster on the ice. From the polar opposite side of the same coin dept...Jack Johnson was a beast in the Olympics but now hasnt really shown the same snarl. Making matters worse-he really needs more accuracy to get his shots on net. He is starting to look like Joe Corvo out there and if he is not playing physically....he may as well be Joe Corvo.

How bad has it sucked to watch the team unable to simply get the puck deep at the end of the game trying to tie it up with the goalie pulled? They have got to be better at the fundamentals of the game and in this area it rings especially true. At least make the one last ditch solid play to give your team a chance.

Oh well, this season we have a few bumps in the road and this just another one of them hopefully we can overcome and roll off another nice streak of Ws. That said...I really have to think Ersberg should maybe get some starts if Quicks trend of soft goals continues. I would even be ready and willing to call up Bernier if neither can show us their A games in the next 10 games as the last 2 losses were very winnable games.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Dustin Brown Olympic Sized Observations of our misunderstood Friend

Watching the US Olympic team, mostly on tape delay or Tivo’d, has given me a bit of extra time to focus specifically on Dustin Brown and what he brings to a team and what he brings as a player.

Often criticized for not scoring enough or not being a true leader, watching Browns Olympic play has made me realize that while not being the scoring machine we would have hoped for-Brown has a couple of assets that while often misunderstood are invaluable to any team he plays. While not putting up big numbers during the Olympics it would be a falsehood to say he’s been invisible or not contributing. Here is what I have noticed in the Olympics and how it relates to Browns play in the NHL.

1) Skating Ability/Fundamental Play
2) Clean Hard Play Draws Penalties
3) Willingness to Drive the Net

Skating Ability/Fundamental Play

There are critical times during a game where simply being able to corral the puck, skate it up and dump it in could be the difference between winning and losing. This is the combination of skill set and hockey smarts that pay dividends when the game is on the line. While Brown will never be described as a world class skater like a Doughty or Niedermayer, he has the speed, power, and moves needed to deke when he needs to and power through when called for as well. How many times late in the game in both the NHL and the Olympics have we seen Brown take the pass from a Dman, find the open lane and either attempt to take the puck deep in the zone or simply dump the puck deep all the while maintaining control without the risk of a bad pass or risky play.

To me-this skill is a lot like having a good strong Dman on the PK who can consistently clear the puck. Think Matt Greene-on the PK he is strong enough to muscle players off the puck and 9 times out of 10 when he gets a chance to clear he can bet the puck will be cleared. Brown brings that same type of philosophy in that late in the 3rd defending a lead he as a forward can be counted on to consistently get the puck into the opponents zone-invaluable asset.

Clean Hard Play Draws Penalties

There have been all types of debates whether Browns hard hitting style should be backed up by dropping the gloves more often and getting more chippy in his approach to the game. I understand the argument but disagree.

Brown’s clean, but hard play means he is not going to be assessed the borderline penalty the way a Jerome Iginla or Corey Perry would and to a more brutal extent Sean Avery. Think about it-Brown is not known for dropping the gloves and he is not known for taking a stupid minor penalty when the whistle is blown. You don’t see talking trash, you don’t see him giving a facewash, you don’t see him going out of his way to shove someone with his stick.

Now while I find all of those things entertaining-Brown not taking part in these type of extracurricular acts mean that Officials will often give Brown the benefit of the doubt they would never give other players associated with that type of play. How many times on the Kings did Avery get called for a borderline penalty or given the second penalty to make matching minors even on the rare occasion he didn’t take a penalty? Like it or not Refs know players and players have reputations. Browns hit are for the most part clean-and we would see earlier in his career where he may have been assessed a charging penalty that we really don’t see as much.

Once again, it’s reputation-think Scott Stevens in his last couple of seasons. He was known as a clean, hard players who generally always got the benefit of the doubt as opposed to a player like Chris Pronger who is the polar opposite in the minds of officials. Not to say Brown is without his faults-his penchant for the occasional dive will work against him the same way for the same reasons.

Willingness to Drive the Net

We saw it during the first US-Canada matchup when Brown made a nice move on Doughty and tried to bring it strong to the net. Brown has just enough skill to make the move and give opposing Dmen something to think about while at the same time not going to the well with it every time in which the Dmen are expecting it. For comparison-think how many skilled players will bring the puck over the line and instead of driving to the net, opt for a curl move and wait for the forwards to catch up with the play. Think how many players will enter the zone and simply stay on the boards only to get rubbed out and cough the puck up to opposing team.

Having the ability and skill to go either way makes Brown unpredictable. Using Frolov as a comparison-we all remember Frolov’s sweet backhanded wraparound in the 2002 or 2003 Frozen Fury that beat Roy. We loved it, we thought it was great. Sadly, that was Frolov’s sole move for the nesxt couple of seasons that was so predictable Bob Miller called it regularly well before Frolov even tried it. I’m not criticizing Frolov, simply pointing out having a couple of different tricks up your sleeve and using them randomly is a valuable tool in itself.

As for the Olympics-Brown is his lines token goalie disturber. We have seen it before on the Kings, not to the extent of Ryan Smyth, but we know Brown will stand in front of the goalie and take abuse in attempting to distract the goalie. While Brown was held off the score sheet I counted at least 2 goals that he directly aided and abetted for lack of a better term.

In Summary, while Brown doesn’t bring the high flying skill set and point prowess of a consistent All Star, while Brown doesn’t have the true power forward build and willingness to fight aka Brendan Shanahan, and while Brown doesn’t have elite credentials and hockey smarts like a Pavel Datsyuk; Brown has a combination of all of the above that makes him an invaluable player and more importantly; a key contributor to any teams success.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Drew Doughty-The not so well kept secret is out

What a strange feeling it is reading Canadian Hockey fans finally giving the respect that Drew Doughty deserves. Not that he’s been criticized or lambasted, but to see others finally echo the thoughts Kings fans have been espousing almost from Day 1 is …..well an odd feeling.

For the majority of his short NHL career, Kings fans opinion of Doughty have largely been discounted or discredited…mainly since being Hockey Fans in California means that our opinions and knowledge of the game can’t ever been as credible as those in Canada or on the East Coast.

I’ve read fans from opposing eastern and Canadian teams continually pound the drum that Doughty was overrated and everything from him being a one dimensional offensive player to that of being inferior to Tyler Myers to that of being a train wreck on the Power Play. Ok that last comment was from a Kings fan once upon a I will begrudgingly admit the Canadian depiction of California hockey knowledge does carry some clout on rare occasions.

Flashback to a midseason game of the 2009 season while watching the game with my brother; we see Doughty make one amazing defensive play to break up an oncoming rush, we watch Doughty play the oncoming man in perfect defensively sound position and take the forward hard into the boards as the forward futilely attempted to drive wide; we then watch as Doughty breaks up another play at the red line while at the same time gaining puck possession, instead of dumping the puck out of the zone he decides to bring out the puck on his own, cutting and slicing up ice as the opposing teams defenders and forwards alike struggle to get back into position only to see Doughty make one final pivot that allows him to move in cold on the goalie. Doughty didn’t score but at that point my brother looked at me and said “If Doughty doesn’t improve one bit from where he is at now he will still be all-star for years to come.” Doughty was 18 at the time.

Flash Forward to this season; Doughty picks up where he left off and is clearly the best young Defenseman in the Western Conference if not the league. My mind recalls my preseason prediction of the BOLD variety that stated Doughty would be a Norris finalist. I also predicted that Wayne Simmonds would finish the season with 20 Goals and 20 assists but I digress.

Doughty has been compared to Ray Bourque as well as Scott Niedermayer. Comparing some stats show that Doughty, currently with 45 pts on the season with 20 or so games to go needs only 2 pts to eclipse Niedermayer’s total season numbers that Niedermayer didn’t best until he posted 56 pts at the tender age of 24 back in the 97 season. Technically one can make the argument that Doughty is putting up numbers at 20 that Niedermayer did at 24. Comparing Bourque however is a different animal given the different time period and different overall skill level of the NHL . That said-if Doughty goes a point a game the rest of the season he will match exactly the average point production of Bourque’s first 4 nhl season with 65 pts. That’s some mighty select company.

Now those who pooh pooh’d the west coasts praise of Doughty are not only seeing him first hand but also on the biggest world stage and spotlight imaginable. One widely circulated quote was “the bigger the game the better he plays.” The Kings sadly, haven’t had too many big in recent years so we haven’t really been able to see that quote in glorious splendor. The medal round in the Olympics however will unquestionably be the biggest test for Doughty in his young career so far. Canada’s record in the Olympics is surprising given they have only brought home the Gold one time since 1952.

Without question a gold medal game will be Doughty’s biggest challenge of his young career and it will be interesting to see his level of play given his play will be magnified the likes of which he has never seen.

It is one thing to think about playing for his Kings teammates and the Fans of Southern California-it’s quite another to think the entire hopes of your country is riding on your shoulders.

A Good Performance means an almost certain Norris nomination as the Canadian Media will finally start to focus a bit more on Doughty’s play. A poor showing could be met with a handful of “I Told Ya So” and a surefire lambasting and second guessing of Doughty’s inclusion entirely.

One thing if for certain, the LA Kings not so well kept secret is on display for all to see and likely to never be ignored, downplayed, slighted, or second guessed again by the Canadian or Eastern media-or any other media itself for that matter.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Kings Beat Ducks; and tie franchise win record as well

Once again the Kings showed rolling 3 solid lines playing as a team buying into the system and not abandoning that approach will win a lot of games. Given the overall youth of the team in conjunction with the young talent in the minors.....its a great time to be a fan. Dean Lombardi if you are reading this.....Thank You!

Jack Johnsons play is much improved but Im curious as to why theyre pairing him with Randy Jones. Jones was responsible for at least 2 of the Ducks goals. I was ready to write about goal #4 solely until I saw the recaps and I think it was Ducks goal 2 or 3 he had botched as well. Honestly I would rather see Harrold as a #6 dman and Jones benched. Are the Kings a better team with Harrold at D and Parse back on the Wing? I think so. Drewiske cant come back fast enough for my liking. And if the Exelby rumors are true Im all for it-provided Exelby is the 6 or 7 Dman and it means Jones gets no more time at all.

IMO, the most important goal of the game was goal #1 at the end of the 1st period. Hiller was amazing the night before against the Wings and looked to be on that same streak before that goal dropped in. It may have been one thing had it been a clean wham bam type goal in which Hiller had no chance but to have Hiller get a piece of the puck and still go in at the end of the period was huge.

Segal played a great game but I would love to see us get Owen Nolan in that role. He can play the boards better the Segal and has not only the veteran savvy but leadership as well. Segal has been great and tonight he was good-but in the playoffs in that Role I would love to see Nolan.

I surely wasnt the only guy surprised TM didnt call his timeout after Ducks goal #4. Had the Ducks scored to take the lead, and at the point it wouldnt have been surprising, he would have been criticized without question and berated unmercifully. Given the team won, chances are it wont be mentioned. I guess sometimes Hockey 101 isnt always right.

God I cant wait for tomorrow mornings "What theyre Saying" Ducks edition. That will be golden.

Bob was very diplomatic regarding the Ducks comeback and heaped a lot of praise to them. Jim not so much. I can only wonder what the Ducks crew would have said in the same situation only the Ducks on the winning end.

On that same note-the ducks crew last night talked about the home and home series against the Kings saying its a rare Thursday-Monday home and home. I guess they didnt bother to check the Kings schedule that showed we play saturday. Dont home and home series normally refer to Back to Backs?

On that same note; Saturdays Game is not going to be easy. On one hand I was kind of hoping the Kings could play a patsy to get the record for consecutive wins and hope the schedule could have landed us Edmonton or Columbus. Then again a win against Detroit to get the record will mean the club really honest to god deserved it 110%.

Did I mention how much I love the Depth on this team? Case in point-without JJ or Simmonds and with a Kovalchuk in this game do the Kings still win?

I am not a Patrick Oneal basher. I like him actually and think he does a good professional job-that said he looked "tired" tonight with bags under his eyes and what not. I know he covered last nights ducks game and all but Im pretty certain he wasnt attending a post game victory party in OC.

Im excited about the Olympics but on that same note hate to see this run interrupted. Im also afraid of seeing Dustin Brown running Doughty. I hope they have a gentlemens agreement-if not Lombardi should force one out of them.

On that same note Brown had a couple of chances to run a couple of Ducks and didnt. Not sure if he was not trying to stir the pot or he is concentrating on becoming a better 2 way player. Either way I found it curious.

Its late and Im out but look forward to reading your thoughts in the morning as well as the Pre Game Happy Hour Tail Gate Monday in Anaheim. I will be there and look forward to hanging with all the LGKers for pregame drinks and hopefully seeing the streak stretched to 10 games. Caps are currently at 12 wins so its possible.

Some other things I forgot to add...

Was Kopitar final goal in the game, along with his razzle dazzle shootout move, making him look more and more like Jagr?

Stoll finished -2 on the night but I love how for a non pest/antagonizer type player he consistently goes right to the opposing teams goalie at the whistle. He doesnt chirp or spary them with ice but he is always the one guy who will stand right over him or be in his field of vision.

Jon Quick is now 5-0 against the Ducks. As if you needed you more reasons to like him.

Jonas Hiller has given up 14 goals in 3 games against the kings. Without doing the actual math thats like an avg of 4.6 something per game. I like.

A win over DET on saturday will give the Kings an 11 pt lead over the Wings. Same can be said for Calgary provided they lose against Florida today.

Pacific is the best division in hockey right now.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Food For Thought

Just some random passing thoughts on the season, stats, players and other NHL musings.

With 17 road wins....the Kings are 2nd best in that category. Remaining schedule has 16 at home and 13 on the road; 12 technically after this trip. Kind of weird to see the remaining schedule and lament the large amount of [I]home[/I] games.

People who were ready to run T Murray out of town might be eating some crow. In recent games I'm very impressed how we can roll 3 solid lines in almost any situation. I know the team will say 4 lines but lets be honest.

I know its been asked before but I would love a Justin Williams update. If the team continues its winning ways though Im not sure I play him even if he is ready sans the odd game in which we dont need Ivanans. Yes, Im aware there is a golden opportunity to hit the quote button on that last sentence. On that same note a Drewiske update would be great as well.

Peter Harrold....youre ok in my book. Dont know where that came from but there it is.

I was ready to say how amazing it was the West playoff race is so tight with so many teams still in the hunt until I checked out the East....8 teams only separated by 2, yes 2 points. A 2 game win streak could conceivably move the 13th place team into 6th.

While Id like to think the Kings are in good shape for the post season how many times have we been heartboken in the late season? Calgary, Dallas, Minnesota, and Anaheim are all fighting for the last spot and while Im glad we dont see Calgary any more this season we play Anaheim 4 more times, Dallas 3 more times & Colorado 4 times as well. Basically, we cant let up against anybody. The Good News-Colorado has lost their last 2; the bads news is their next games are against the Rangers and Columbus.

Anaheim appears to be playing a bit better and bad for the Kings that Selanne will probably be back in time to face them for all 4 games. Not sure if the Ducks are dirty or ultra gritty but it amazes me that almost every game against the Eastern Teams has an all out melee.
And watching Hayward its amazing how its always someone on the other team who starts it. I really think given the standings and what happened last game against the Ducks the Kings would certainly be warranted to recall Westgarth or Clune. While the hype around the next game will be huge Im actually interested in seeing how Oscar Moller plays. I recently watched the new Witch Mountain Remake with the Rock....cracked me up that the boy character and Moller shared such an uncanny resemblance.


Really happy for Quick but what really surprises me is that while he is having a good season by NHL standards & a great season by Kings standards...I really dont think he has been dominating. Using a couple of Masons for example-remember how good Steve Mason was Columbus during their run a year or two ago? Same with Steve-while he didnt get his team to the post season he was very very tough to play against. Maybe its a case of the grass is greener?

Of the Top 10 goalies in Wins, Quick's SV and GAA is 2nd worst out of the top 10....that said #10 is Marc Andre Fleury so maybe its relative.

Once again, you will see it a lot of times where the young team rides a hot goalie to the playoffs. Heck its what the Kings did their last playoff appearance with Potvin. But with Quick its not really like. He is certainly solid-godlike by Kings standards but to me he has not reached his peak. I guess Quick will officially be the Kings #1 goalie when Yahoo can actually get his picture.

Kings PK seemed to improve but looking at the stats we're still in the bottom 10. Boston is #2 in PK, lets hope we can see a reversal of fortune tomorrow.

Im way too lazy to do it but I would love to see what the standings would like without the shootout with ties simply ending up with each team getting a pt and moving on like in the good old days.

I predicted that Simmonds and Doughty would have good seasons....but I never though Doughty would be #2nd in scoring on the team. If Doughty played on any East Coast team he would be the NHLs media darling. I'll go on record and say that will all change during the Olympics. Call me nuts but I think a strong showing in the Olympics accompanied by a playoff appearance by the Kings will almost surely spell a Norris bid for Doughty....which I predicted before the season started as well.

Nice to see Kevin Westgarth starting to score. Dont look now but as long as Moller is with the big club Westgarth is tied for 4th in goals for the Monarchs. Looking at the AHLs website I have to say the Monarchs logo is one of the best in the league.

What ever happened to Randy Gilhen? Or Francois Breault for that matter?

I may as well weigh in on the Kovalchuk debate. If atlanta is prohibiting teams from talking contract extension....I say screw it. Depth and young talent is a beautiful thing and something we as Kings fans have never experienced. Through the history of the LA Kings the phrase "great young talent pool" pails in comparison to the usage of the phrase "miss the playoffs yet again."
I would like to see us perpetually build the pipeline giving players time to develop and bringing them up when theyre ready.

Case in Point is when Forsberg was traded to the Predators. Forsberg was near the end granted but-Preds gave up Scottie Upshall & Ryan Parent plus a 1st round pick & a 3rd round draft pick. Upshall is 1st in goals for the Coyotes, not sure about Parent, and not sure who the picks were spent on. Regardless- Forsberg didnt help Nashville out at all and they lost core players and potential depth as well. Given Dean Lombardi's knack at getting good players in the 2nd and 3rd rds Id rather roll the dice at getting another Wayne Simmons then roll the dice a flashy hot shot russian on a UFA contract will somehow lead the Kings to glory. If Atlanta gives a Sweetheart deal maybe-but anything less then that I would rather simply wait and try to get him for nothing as a UFA. Purcell, Moller and a 2nd or 3rd? Why not but anything more then that I pass. Too risky when the fruits of our patience are finally being realized.

May think of somethings later but that's it for now. Go Kings and as always look forward to your thoughts.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Video Review

The video of the frolov goal. Sorry about the porous quality.

Kings Blues Minute by Minute

Changing the format a bit here and doing a minute by minute recap of my thoughts straight from the notes as the game transpired.

7:38- Blues score already? This cant be a good sign of things to come.
7:51- Why cant we control the puck? The start of this game doesnt look good at all.
7:53- Good old Armstrong. I wont be surprised if he scores tonight as ex players generally always score against their old team. Wasnt Brian Boyle's 1 goal he scored this season against us?
7:55- Wow, what a perfect setup by Brown. Bob Miller said it was Kopitar but it was in fact Brown. You can ask for a better set up and scoring chance.
7:57- Frolov is cold as ice. Moller looks like a far superior player right now. Frolov's read on coverage is simply awful. How can he have the puck at his feet and still not manage to gain control?
7:59- Greene/Winchester with a scrap. Greene simply grabs and falls which is ok I guess. If Ivanans doesnt fight tonight he never will.
8:00- Armstrong calls himself the Armpit? Why was LGK not informed of this?
8:03- Zeus boarding penalty? Ouch-this really doesnt look good for us tonight.
8:04- Huge Save by Quick. Early in the game but could be potential game saver.
8:07- Cool seeing the clips of LA Kings Alumni poker tournie. My question-why isnt the legendary Steve Finn invited to these things?
8:15- This game is really starting to look like it will end up like thursdays game.
8:17- The Rock as the Tooth Fairy? Why is the Duane Johnson taking rolls Rob Schneider turned down?

Between the 1st and 2nd I switched over to the Nucks/Flames game.
8:25-Prust/Rypien with a great toe to toe battle. I really have to see a game in Canada between 2 Canadian teams that hate each other.

8:37- Period about to start, With Det loss still fresh in mind I must remind myself is the NHL archives are littered with teams down 1-0 at the end of the first who came back to win 4 or 5-1.
8:47- Ivanans....UGH. Wont fight and gets plastered by the other teams goon. If not for the Segal goal this series of plays would have seen Ivanans run out of town.
8:48- Game tied.....please dont give up a quick goal. Can we finish the 2nd tied 1-1?
8:50- Game is now wide open....I dont like it at all. Brown just drew a penalty as Kings go on PP. That should help ease the wide open game style for the rest of the period.
9:02- Please god let us get out of the period tied 1-1.
9:04- Blues Score with 1:04 left in period.
9:06- How many quality chances tonight have ended up in shots that miss the net?

Back to the Flames/Nucks.
9:13- What this? A new Kids in the Hall series on the CBC? Must watch.
9:16- Just watched the commercial for the Kids in the Hall new series-I wonder if any channel here in the states will have or will need to go the net and get by nefarious means?

Back to the 3rd
9:26- Frolov-just awful play, outright unequivocally awful. If you miss the net by a mile and that shot leads to an outnumbered attack-you have to get back and break it up-not turn away from the man you are supposed to cover and run into your own goalie. My god-this is by far the worst game Fro has ever played.
That sequence may be the symbolic last straw for Frolov-who can argue with a change of scenery trade?
9:28- O'Donnell vs Winchester....if Ivanans doesnt fight tonight he never will.
9:33- Goodnight Henrietta this game is toast and maybe the season as well. We have scene this over and over again more times then the episode of I Love Lucy where she works at the chocolate factory.
9:35- Ivanans Penalty. Worlds weakest penalty in the world compared to what theyve been doing in the Nucks/Flames game. I really should try to start posting Video Clips of lame penalties on my blog.
9:40- Kovalchuk.....lets do it. Frolov, Hickey, Moller, Purcell, Ivanans, hell I may even give JJ and a 1st.
9:42- Crombeen fights Greene. If Ivanans doesnt fight now he never will Pt3. Ivanans was scene at the bench texting his wife to make sure the Fox Family Channels movie of the night was Tivo'd.
9:48- Brown with a fantastic play and goal. He has maybe been the best forward tonight.
9:55- Once again, Can we manage to hit the net...even occasionally?
9:56- Kopi makes it close with a nice goal as the Kings pressure. Can we do it?
9:57- How many 1 goal losses do we have this year?
10:03- Frolov again bungles the play and maybe costs us a chance. How can he not get the puck to a teammate when we have the extra attacker? Why did he blindly pass it directly to a blues player?
10:04- Another Loss and while I hate to single out players Frolov was the consistently the rally killer. Guy couldnt pass nor hit the net nor proved to play much defense. Really, I like Frolov but this was his worst game ever.

Final Thoughts- Weve seen this before. Cant really blame quick per se-the 3 of the goals he let in were 2 on 1s or the offensive player had time. I do wonder why Terry Murray messed with line combos at all given how well everyone played in Detroit. I also cant help but wonder who would have thought at the beginning of the season that Matt Moulson would be outplaying Frolov at this point. Basically for the Kings to play good hockey they need everyone giving 110% and Frolovs play along with the Invisible Ivanans has us playing with a shortened bench as those two add nothing. Its one thing to bag on an enforcer who plays less then 5 Minutes a night but Frolov is expected to log quality minutes-his diminished play is really have an anchor effect on the forward units. On a positive note-I didnt really make any notes about Jack Johnson and have yet to check his +/-.