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.