"I'm Not A Puck Bunny" Podcast - Episode 17

Friday, May 30, 2008

Episode 17 is up and is obviously a little late. Finny and I start off with giving our condolences to Luc Bourdon and his family and friends. We continue on with other league-wide updates, some Kings and Ducks updates, and some good-natured laughter for the Memorial Cup and its "presentation" to the Spokane Chiefs. We then review the first three games of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins. We had sound bytes edited in from Steph (Wings) and Elly (Pens) from No Pun Intended since they were unable to come on the show. We end with the usual shoutouts and then sign off. Enjoy!

Check us out at our respective blogs and at http://imnotapuckbunny.podbean.com/

You can listen from the player under my picture to the left, subscribe to it on iTunes, or you can go to the above link and either listen from the site or download it.

As always please direct any questions, comments, complaints, thoughts, ideas, or rants to: imnotapuckbunny[at]gmail[dot]com.


Year-In-Review – 9 – Rob Blake

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Moving along to JJ's mentor through his first season with the Kings, Rob Blake. Blake definitely had an up-and-down season in terms of numbers, but then again, so did everyone on the roster. I think the only ones that weren't in such flux were Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. One could argue for Patrick O'Sullivan, but we're not discussing forwards at this moment so let's get back to Blake.

Blake played in 71 games this season getting 9 goals, 22 assists, for 31 points. His +/- was obviously poor at a -19, and he collected 98 PIM, which was second only to Raitis Ivanans. He missed some games in the middle of the season due to a fracture in his foot that moved him to the IR for a time. It was during the 8-game, east coast swing when this occurred, so he had to fly back to LA and get evaluated. This put Kings nation up in arms about what was going to happen to him at the trade deadline. Surely he had to go; what use was he to the Kings now that he was slow and old, right? Wrong. We don't know what was going on behind the scenes; there have been stories tossed around about things that may or may not have been said regarding JJ, trade issues, etc. We just don't know the whole story. I think the fact that a no-trade clause was in play soured Kings fans even more on this whole situation. But there's a reason they are there. God knows that veterans have earned that privilege of having them, and I don't think people should waive them whenever the fans want the player to do so. (I think if anyone takes a close look at who on the Kings has a no-trade clause, he or she would be surprised.) They're not there for the sole reason to waive. They have their function but they have also been the cause of much distress on other rosters (i.e. Toronto Maple Leafs).

What could we have realistically gotten for him? A prospect? I'm not sure that would have been so cut and dry as a Demitra-for-Sully trade would have been (although that did also involve a pick, which turned out to be Trevor Lewis). What about a pick? How many did we need?? We have 15. Did the idea of having one more really appeal to the masses? In the end Dean Lombardi said that he wouldn't approach Blake unless an offer worth the consideration came up on the table. DL apparently didn't see any great substance with any offers sent his way, so Blake spent the rest of the season with the Kings. And really, thank god. After Jaroslav Modry (trade), Brad Stuart (trade), and JJ (injury) were off the roster at the end of the season, who ELSE would we have had to recall? Another rookie? Manchester had 17 rookies this season! That's ridiculous! They were having their own struggles in trying to make it to their own playoffs.

Three awesome guys in one shot

Bottom line: I saw Blake as a positive this season. I know there are many Kings fans who saw him as being overpaid, old, injured, and being someone who didn’t bring anything to the team. Yes, he didn't play like he used to and didn’t put up great numbers for the first half of the season, but he bounced back and hit more milestones this year and helped in JJ’s development both on and off the ice. And didn’t he come back to LA saying that he wanted to help this team get better? If you don’t think JJ’s better now because of Blake’s influence, I’d say you were nuts.

At the beginning of the season he was paired with Lubomir Visnovsky on the left while he was on the right (also on the power play). From around the time when Mo was sent packing, he was paired with JJ. He rounded out the season manning the blueline with Jon Klemm. There was one game where he was sent out as a forward for one shift. I was listening to this game on the radio and was unable to see this, but I wish I was able to... to see how much the team was floundering.

It's been stated by the Kings brass that they're looking to bring Blake back for another year, which I'm very happy about. Obviously he's gonna need to take that hometown discount since he's 38 now and shouldn't be taking as many minutes from game-to-game when there are rookies who need it more (Peter Harrold). It's definitely time for the newbies on the blueline to start munching some minutes. I feel like they won't go above $3.25 million for this upcoming season. They can always go with $3 mil and add some incentives throughout the year for him. He obviously doesn't need the money, but you can't insult the man. But please guys, hurry up and sign him so you can get all of those other UFAs and RFAs signed!

P.S. For all those people who think Blake's number shouldn't get retired by the Kings, look at his stats and accomplishments and then SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE.


Year-In-Review – 8 – Jack Johnson

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Now that all the goalies have been reviewed, it's time to move to the defensemen. It might get a little hairy for these guys, but I think there's been enough time from the end of the season to now where I won't be too hard on them. So let's get to it.

If you said that the Kings’ defense had more holes than a block of Swiss cheese, you wouldn’t be too far off the mark. This is obviously the area where the Kings have struggled the most. It's hard to chastise the goaltenders when the Dmen have been lacking themselves. We had 9 defensemen dress this year; 2 of which started the year with the Kings but ended the year on different rosters and 2 that started the year in Manchester but were recalled to close out the year with the Kings.

Might as well start with the cream of the crop, Jack Johnson. One huge positive that we can take away from this defensive unit is the growth of Jack. I feel I was privileged to watch him grow into his role on the blueline. At the beginning of the season, I was unaware of who he was but very aware of his hype. Even though he wasn't drafted by the Kings, he is a cornerstone for this club, one that we can definitely rely on. His comfort level to the end of the year was also bringing out cheeky moves on the ice that I didn't realize he had I him. I'm hoping that he soon accompanies all those head fakes with some sassy finger-snapping. He was paired with Jaroslav Modry for the first half of the season. Since I was away at college for a couple of years, I obviously had difficultly following my team; so when I came back I found this collective fan-hatred for Modry and frustrated people questioning why JJ was being paired with him. Marc Crawford had Rob Blake and Lubomir Visnovsky paired together and it seemed to me that Modry was the logical pairing for JJ. The other options were Tom Preissing (Free Agent), Brad Stuart (Free Agent), and Kevin Dallman (sucks). With DL wanting “homegrown” players, wouldn’t you want to go with Modry too? He’d been with the Kings, knew the system, and was a veteran to whom JJ could learn from.


Hopefully we'll see more of this next season

JJ played in 74 games this season scoring 3 goals and 8 assists for 11 points and amassed a respectable 78 PIM. He ended at a -19 but I'd rather give him a hug than yell at him for this. He won two awards at the end of the season (as voted on by the media): Best Newcomer and Outstanding Defenseman. JJ was understandably tentative in his offensive rushes at the beginning of the season because, at the NHL level, it's much more important to learn how to play your position than to try and rush your offensive output. He kept his offensive movements beyond the opposing blueline to a minimum, which caused me to wonder if he was actually the same Jack Johnson that was so cherished by the Michigan fans. He even stated in an interview that when his college team was down by a goal with a couple minutes left in the 3rd, he'd play the right wing. That hugely dominant player in the college ranks was not the same player here trying to protect our goaltender. But as the games and weeks went by, he got more comfortable in what he could and couldn't do; he also threw up a bunch of big hits while he was at it. The memorable one being the riding of Ryan Smyth that resulted in Smyth lying on the ice. Definitely not JJ's fault and you, sir, should tighten your helmet strap.

At the tail end of the season JJ dropped down to a knee and took a puck of his foot, which ended his season prematurely. This was unfortunate in that he was one of the last big bodies on the back end and I'm sure people were thinking that this put the final nail on the coffin for this season. But Blake and the recalled Jon Klemm were the last two Dmen over 6 feet and they made their presence known. This just reaffirmed that Klemm should be a defenseman and should never be put as a forward again, but I digress.

I'm very excited for JJ's continued growth with this club. Watching him take down opposing forwards and showing flashes of offensive brilliance makes me beyond happy that he's back there constantly learning. Because, really, where would we have been if he wasn't there? Hmm, we could have actually ended 30th in the league, gotten the #1 overall pick, and then could have had full control of who got Steven Stamkos (a.k.a. not the Kings). It's really funny to me to randomly stumble upon commentors from other teams talking about trading with the Kings. The names that usually come up are Dustin Brown, Michael Cammalleri, and Jack Johnson. Dude, you can have Cammy when his value goes up, but when we talk about untouchables in any trade talks, JJ and Brownie are at the top of the list.


"I'm Not A Puck Bunny" Podcast - Episode 16

Thursday, May 22, 2008

This week, Finny and I were joined by southern California-native Brad Meyers formerly of the Deseronto Storm in Canada. We first go over some quick updates, review the rest of the Conference Finals, and then preview the Stanley Cup Final round. We were able to get a player's perspective on certain things that we (as fans) were wondering about throughout the first portion of the episode. In the latter half, we interview Brad and get his take on life as a hockey player trying to make his way to the NHL. There are serious questions as well as silly questions, so please don't miss out!

He will be returning periodically throughout the summer, so please email me or the podcast with ANY questions or comments and we'll be sure to send those Brad's way. The email is: imnotapuckbunny[at]gmail[dot]com

Check us out at our respective blogs and at http://imnotapuckbunny.podbean.com/

You can listen from the player under my picture to the left, subscribe to it on iTunes, or you can go to the above link and either listen from the site or download it.

As always please direct any questions, comments, complaints, thoughts, ideas, or rants to: imnotapuckbunny[at]gmail[dot]com.


Random Excursions & Scary Russian Men

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It's funny what happens when you take random excursions during a lunch break. Especially on a random Tuesday, which happened to be today.

My friend, we'll call A. until she can think of a nickname, needed to go to this place to buy an item associated with one of Will Ferrell's many characters. So we took our lunch break and made the drive over to said place. Now on a Tuesday at 12:30 PM this place was definitely NOT hoppin' with the trendy LA crowd because (a) we weren't actually IN LA and (b) I don't make enough money to hang out with the "trendy crowd." But I digress.

We took a turn into the awesome (read: shady) parking lot and made our way inside. As we walked in, I looked to my immediate right out of habit to scope out the scene and to my surprise, there was someone in there that wasn't an employee. (As you might have guessed this wasn't an eating establishment.) So this person was standing there with his back to me and in my head I thought, "That... kinda... looks like Dustin Brown." I then took a couple of very conspicuous steps forward to get a better angle, and yes, and it was definitely Brownie.

I turn to my left to tell A. who the only other customer in the store was and we proceeded toward the merchandise. After spending some time perusing, she made the purchase and we walked toward the exit where Brownie was standing and all A. said was, "I'm gonna talk to him. Watch this." She walked right up to him and said, "Hello. I just want to say we're looking forward to next season and see you in Vegas." (Frozen Fury reference) His face turned into one gigantic smile and he said, "Thanks!" As we turned to walk out one employee said to him, "Next season? Do you play sports?" Whereupon he said, "Yeah, I play for the Kings."

Signed, sealed, delivered.


Interestingly enough, I got back to work and immediately let my homie Cat know that I just saw my Power Forward at the store. About 30 minutes later, I get a text from her saying, "sergei zubov is at best buy. what do i do???" After much texting and waiting, I finally get her story, which is summed up quite nicely below.

What do you do when you see a totally awesome, very Russian, very frightening hockey player at Best Buy? I'll tell you what you do.

You run away.

I was at Best Buy today, heading to Geek Squad to get my iPod fixed. The line at Geek Squad was exceptionally long for a Tuesday afternoon at 4pm. I turn to look at the entrance (I'm one of those people that can't look in one direction for too long, I like familiarizing myself with my environment), and I see one Mr. Sergei Zubov step towards the carts, carrying...An iron? Okay, that's cool.

I spent some time meandering the store, debating on whether or not I could afford to purchase a 1TB external hard drive when I'm trying to save up for a trip, and also debating whether or not I want to walk up to Mr. Zubov and congratulate him on an incredible run this season. Connie had just told me about Dustin Brown, and right before I walked out the door I said "I hope I run into some Dallas Stars today to congratulate them!"

Yeah, I should have been more specific.

It could have been anyone else. Anyone else, I would have no fear walking up to them and congratulating them and thanking them. Sergei Zubov? Is too frightening. He seems like the kind of man who appreciates his privacy and the ability to walk around without people freaking out. I wanted to respect that, but I also wanted to respect him as a player and thank him for a wonderful playoff run.

I left Best Buy without an iPod (Geek Squad had to send it off for fixage), and sort of regretting not speaking to Mr. Zubov. Why couldn't it have been Marty Turco?

Cross-posted to HLOG


Year-In-Review – 7 – Jonathan Bernier

Monday, May 19, 2008

Here we are talking about the last goalie on our list even though he opened the season for the Kings. The apple of my eye, Jonathan Bernier. He started the pre-season and first 4 regular season games with the Kings before being sent back to his Junior team, the MANIEiacs, out in Lewiston, Maine because he was actually too young to be sent to the Monarchs. In the four regular season games he posted one (1) win, three (3) losses, a 4.03 GAA, and a .864 save percentage. We all know that these numbers weren't his fault; at least I don't. I blame these loses on the weak defense that floundered about in front of him. In that opening game in London, he was stellar in net and I remember thinking to myself that this could be The One. Silly, I know. But, whatever, you know you're thinking the same thing.

That save was probably really sweet.

While he was in Lewiston he ranked 2nd out of 22 goalies in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He recorded 18 wins, 15 losses, with a 2.73 GAA, and a .908 save percentage. His numbers are actually better than the goalie ranked number one, but Bernier played in just 34 games while the other played in 46 games. The reason he didn't play more games was because he was invited to be in the Russian Super Series for Team Canada where he was one of 3 Canadian goalies and played in 2 games (and replaced Steve Mason, CBJ prospect, halfway through the 2nd period in another) in that rotation. He was then invited to be on the World Junior team, which was held in the Czech Republic for 2008. He played on this squad with Thomas Hickey and Wayne Simmonds. They moved through the tournament only losing once and faced Sweden in the Gold Medal game where they came out the victors in overtime while facing other Kings prospects, Oscar Moller and Niklas Andersen. Bernier was not in net for this last game. He and Steve Mason had been splitting the time and for the medal rounds coach Craig Hartsburg went with Mason. It was interesting how much buzz this situation created in that both goalies were equally capable of being the #1. I'd rather not talk about that because, in the end, it didn't matter. The Canadian boys won the gold medal and they're all better for it.

(Team Canada Roster)
Way too cute

Going back up to Lewiston, Bernier finished out the rest of the season getting the Defensive Player of the Week from March 3rd to March 9th. He then got Player of the Month for March 2008. But I think the coolest thing about his stay in Lewiston was that he started his own fundraising program for the Maine chapter of the Alzheimer's Association called Bernier's Saves to Remember. Through this program (starting from November 30, 2007) he donated $8 for every save that he made while in a MAINEiacs jersey for the remainder of the 07-08 season. At the end of the season he ended with 758 saves and, with an anonymous donation of $100, the total came out to $6,164.

Update: Please check out the first comment by Q-Girl with her explanation of Bernier of the Russian Super Series and check out her blog Of Moose and Men talking all things QMJHL.

After his team was taken out of the QMJHL playoffs in the first round, he was sent to Manchester to help them in their push for the playoffs and in the first round. The Monarchs ended up being swept by the top AHL team in the league (Providence Bruins) with 3 games going in to the OT frame. You can check out his Monarchs stats here.

As we are all aware, Dean Lombardi is all about “homegrown players” and I wholeheartedly agree with him, which is why my Baby Bernier Watch has been up since the inception of this blog at the beginning of the season. I’m not sure if Bernier is aware just how much he is being counted on to be this franchise’s goaltender for years to come. I feel like the pressure is building even before he’s even found a solid place on the Kings’ roster. I’ve already seen Bernier (#45) jerseys being worn at Staples Center. But I won’t lie; I’ve been one of those fans who is placing much hope in his play between the pipes. The question for next year will be, will Bernier be cultivated some more and find that top spot in Manchester or will he fight his way onto the Kings roster? I would absolutely love to see him with the Kings next year, but only if the defensive core gets their collective asses together. To conclude, I eagerly await his permanent arrival under the California sun, but I definitely don't want my highly touted prospect to be questioned a la Carey Price.


Kings In The 2008 World Championships Part VII

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Last Kings Ousted In The Championships

(Team USA Roster)
Brownie is so freaking adorable! Sully looks like... a nerd.

Dustin Brown and Patrick O'Sullivan of the US were officially taken out of the IIHF World Championships on Wednesday, May 14th by Finland 3-2 in overtime. Despite having the most ice time of all the US forwards at 21:21, Brownie didn't make too much of a splash on the score sheet. He had 4 penalty minutes (interference and slashing), had 3 shots on net, and was even in the plus/minus column. Sully had only 14:20 of ice time, 4 shots on, and was a -1.

Going into the 3rd period, the Finns were up 2-0 and with about 5 minutes to go, Phil Kessel and Drew Stafford scored and tied the game up sending it to OT. But at 3:59 of the OT frame, Finland scored to win and advanced to the medal rounds while the US was sent home.

On Sat. May 17th, Finland played Sweden shutting them out 4-0. With this win, the Finns earned the Bronze Medal in the World Championships. Canada and Russia will play on Sun. May 18th for the Gold Medal. For coverage on that, check out Scarlett Ice.

The coolest #23 EVER


"I'm Not A Puck Bunny" Podcast - Episode 15

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tonight we were joined by Steph from No Pun Intended, Cat from the Untypical Girls, and Sherry from Scarlett Ice (for a short while). We are well into the Conference Finals where I find myself the only one really interested in the Eastern Conference, which is a shame. Sherry helps out a little bit with the Eastern series, but I don't really get too much else from the other girls because of their west coast affinity. (Finny keeps herself busy during recording with updating the Squee Cup) Then Cat and Steph talk about their respective teams in the west. We discuss the appearance of Fabian Brunnstrom and what I now call him. I then touch a bit on momentum and how it's changed in the 3rd round of the playoffs.

We then end with some shoutouts and a preview of our guest for next week, Brad Meyers, a hockey player from So Cal who has been playing in Canada with the hopes of making it to the NHL. Please email me or the podcast any questions you may have for him as I will be grilling him for any and all answers and random opinions on whatever I feel like asking. =) P.S. He's a Kings fan. So send some questions!

Please check us out at our respective blogs and at http://imnotapuckbunny.podbean.com/

You can listen from the player under my picture to the left, subscribe to it on iTunes, or you can go to the above link and either listen from the site or download it.

As always please direct any questions, comments, complaints, thoughts, ideas, or rants to: imnotapuckbunny[at]gmail[dot]com.


Kings In The 2008 World Championships Part VI

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sully & Brownie Spank Norway

Team USA romps Norway 9-1 in the final game of the qualifying round. The players notching goals were Dustin Brown, Phil Kessel, Patrick Kane, Paul Martin, Zach Parise, and Brandon Dubinsky with a hat trick. For this showing, Brownie actually doesn't dominate the US in ice time. The player with the most ice time was Patrick O'Sullivan! Brownie got 13:12 of ice time (0:52 average) compared to Sully's 18:48 (0:59 average). But from here Brownie dominated Sully in all other aspects of the score sheet. He got 2 goals, 1 assist, 4 shots on net, ended at a +2, and had 2 penalty minutes for slashing. Sully had 1 assist, 4 shots on net, was even in the plus/minus column, and had 2 penalty minutes for tripping.

Something else that I can't quite understand in looking at the stat sheet was this. These are the stats for the top line for the US. Why the freak do the Dmen have shifts that are 10 seconds LESS on average than the forwards?? Shouldn't it be the other way around? I mean, I know I'm not watching the game, but c'mon, what's going on here?!

The US blasted Norway with 48 shots while Robert Esche faced only 18. The Norwegian captain Tommy Jakobsen said, "Simply, today we got spanked."

The US currently sits in 3rd place in the Qualification Round in Group F. They will play Finland (2) on Wed. 14th and the winner will go on to play either Canada or Norway in the Gold Medal game. If the US losses on Wednesday, they will play for the Bronze Medal.

Lost On The Score Sheet

Just like the heading says, Raitis Ivanans had another no show in terms of numbers produced, but that doesn't mean he wasn't contributing in other ways. I can attest to this notion being that I am (and most likely the reader is) a Kings fan. What's on the ice isn't always reflected on the stats sheet. Although, when it is... I just want to bury my head in the sand. But I digress. On Monday, May 12th, Latvia lost to Germany 5-3 and there were penalties galore. Maybe this is why Raitis had only 4:45 of ice time since he's not a special teams guy, by any means. But the game was sprinkled with penalties until the end of the game when an apparent melee broke out and one guy got 2 minutes for "Illegal or Dangerous Equipment." Again, not sure what that is. (I would like to see what causes a ref to make that call and for "fisticuffs").

This was Ivanans' (Latvia) last game of the tournament as they did not place in the top 4 of the Group (F).

Ivanans taking care of business

Lubo and Kopi

So where are Lubomir Visnovsky and Anze Kopitar now that the tournament has gone further into its rounds? After checking out the stats sheets, it appears that since Slovakia was ranked last in Group C after the Preliminary Round, they were sent to the Relegation Round. Same thing happened with Slovenia in Group B and was sent to face Slovakia in the Relegation Round (best of 3) where Slovakia won in 2 games. This means that Slovakia gets invited back to the Championship tournament in 2009 in Switzerland while Slovenia is relegated to Division I.

Slovenia played 5 games in this tournament and lost.... 5. I recommend telling Kopi he's awesome and will kick ass next season the next time any of you see him. Guy can't catch a break! So both Lubo and Kopi are officially done in the tournament.


Why Ticket Master Sucks

Monday, May 12, 2008

Today marked an important day for all LA Kings fans. The pre-sale tickets for Frozen Fury XI opened today at 10AM. What’s the Frozen Fury, you ask? If you don't know, let me enlighten you.

For the past 10 years, the Kings have held a pre-season game in Las Vegas against the Colorado Avalanche at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. I attended last year and made a pact with my brother that we would go every year from now on. The energy was beyond electric and everyone was having a great time. The Kings won in the shootout with Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, and Michael Cammalleri scoring for the Kings. This was the first time I had seen the Kings’ future in net with Jonathan Bernier making a fantastic opening. In a bar afterward I met a guy who randomly had gone to my college and we both whipped out our ID Cards, whereupon, my brother pretended like he didn’t know me.

Bottom line: the Frozen Fury is AMAZING.

So, why is my post titled as such when I’m doing nothing but talking up the Frozen Fury? Well let me explain how this worked. I needed a total of 10 tickets and since I’m a new season ticket holder, I was able to get in on the Kings VIP pre-sale discount through Ticket Master. So I went to the site, and lo and behold, I was only able to get 8 tickets. So my friend and I were thinking of buying 7 and then going in and buying another 3, which meant that we wouldn’t have all been sitting together. When we took a closer look, we saw that the Convenience Charge was $8 FOR EACH TICKET. So for $28/ticket + $8 multiplied by 10 equaled $360!!! I immediately called my ticket guy and asked him what he could do for us since we wanted 10 tickets anyway. He said that if we went ahead and bought the Group deal (15 tickets), it’d be cheaper AND the service charge would only be $10 TOTAL.

So I had to choose 10 tickets for $360 through Ticket Master or 15 tickets for $385 through my ticket guy. Can you guess which one I went for??

cross-posted to HLOG


Kings In The 2008 World Championships Part V

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Kopi versus Lubo

On Sat. May 10th, the Slovakians faced the Slovenians again in the relegation round (best of 3) where the Slovaks won 4-3. So Slovenia has been officially relegated to the lower group in next year's tournament, whereas, Slovakia can remain. Even though both Lubomir Visnovsky and Anze Kopitar had showings in this game, I'm giving the edge to Lubo. Kopi got 1 goal, 3 shots on net, was even in the plus/minus, and had 26:48 of ice time. Once again, he puts the Slovenian team on his back and is unable to lift his team above the Slovaks. Lubo got 2 goals, 1 assist, got 9 shots on goal, ended at a -2, and had 25:13 of ice time. This game actually went into the overtime frame and eventually made its way to the shootout. From what I read, the international shootout format follows the NHL except that instead of shooters only being able to shoot once, the 3 shooters go again but in reverse order. Can you guess who the 3rd shooter was for Slovakia? That's right, Lubo!!!

(IIHF/HHoF/Mika Kylmaniemi)
Top shelf!

Listen up, Crawford! The next time you're finding yourself in the 6th round of the shootout, don't go with Brian Willsie. Lubo was put in to score in the shootout and he did, which got him the game winner!

Latvians School The Norwegians

The Latvians got 4 goals past the Norwegians while the latter only tallied one goal. For Raitis Ivanans there wasn't much for him on the score sheet or the game recap. He got 1 shot on, was even in the plus/minus, and had 7:37 of time on the ice. So...yeah...

Major Drama with the US and the Finns

The Finns beat the US 3-2 in a ... game I wish I could have watched. So I'm not exactly sure what the difference is between a penalty for "roughing" and "fisticuffs." There were 10 penalties given out at the end of the game, two of which were for "fisticuffs." That actually sounds pretty damn cool. But what doesn't sound cool is Dustin Brown getting 2 minutes for "Checking to the head and neck Area" and getting a 10 minute misconduct. Brownie got a total of 24 minutes (he had 2 minutes in the 2nd period for roughing), had no goals or assists; he also only had 2 shots on net but had 22:31 of ice time. Patrick O'Sullivan didn't have much of a showing except for 9:54 of ice time and ended at a -1.

Something interesting that happened in this game was that Finland's first goal was allowed, but after the game, replays showed that it shouldn't have counted. ESPN.com:

The IIHF agreed that Finland's first goal entered through the side of the net. The IIHF wouldn't identify the goal judge who missed the call on replay but said he was fired from the tournament.

"I've heard about these horror shows as far as international refereeing. I have finally lived through one," Tortorella said. "But not even that play there, the whole game. It's just ridiculous as far as how they're calling the game when you have two pretty competitive teams willing to go toe-to-toe. Let the teams and players decide."

In total, the Finns had 96 minutes in penalties and the US had 106 minutes. The US was also severely outshot only getting 22 shots on Niklas Backstrom while Robert Esche faced 45 shots. Both teams will face off again Mon., May 12th.

"I don't even know what to think anymore," U.S. forward Phil Kessel said. "It was one of those games. It was hard fought. It was a battle. A lot of hitting."

I couldn't find an embeddable player from TSN, but here are some links:

Highlights from the game

After-game reaction from coaches and players


Kings In The 2008 World Championships Part IV

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Lubo Workin' It

On Wednesday, May 7th, Slovakia faced Finland where the Fins won out 3-2. Lubomir Visnovsky end the night with a respectable 1 shot on net and at a +1 in this loss. One cool thing for Lubo was that he logged more ice time than any of his teammates at 25:16. The next closest was a fellow Dman at 22:12.

As a side note, there definitely looks to be more NHLers on the Finnish team than for the Slovakian team.

Brownie & Sully Are Too Cool For School

On Thursday, May 8th, the US team went up against zee Germans and won out 6-4. In the first period Patrick O'Sullivan netted one with assists going to Phil Kessel and David Backes. In the third period, with about a minute and a half left, Dustin Brown scores his empty netter from a pass from Zach Parise. Brownie finishes the game with 1 goal, 7 shots on, even in the plus/minus column, and had 19 minutes of ice time. The only other forward with more ice time was Parise. Sully ends the night with 1 goal, 2 shots on, at a +1, and had 14:12 of time on the ice.

Something to note, since I couldn't watch the game, but apparently the US team scored its first 3 goals in the first 3 minutes of the game!

Bummer For Ivanans

On Friday, May 9th, Latvia faced off against Finland where the Fins won 2-1. I was actually surprised that this game was so low scoring seeing as how Finland boasts a number of NHL players while Latvia is a little lacking in that department. There appeared to have been a number of penalties in this game and Raitis Ivanans only recorded 2 penalty minutes for interference. He actually ended the game with a -1 and only had 5:44 of time on the ice. I really think the Latvians could use Ivanans on the ice more. I mean, I know I'm not watching the game (which I wish I could...for free), but seeing how Raitis is one of the few NHLers on their roster, you'd think they'd use him more, right? I dunno, maybe they...wait a second... a lot of the penalties were actually against the Latvians, and Ivanans is not penalty killer. Maybe that's it?

Kopi Versus Lubo!

On Friday, May 9th, Slovakia played Slovenia (Lubo vs. Anze Kopitar). Slovakia won soundly 5-1. The Slovakians blasted 50 total shots (on 2 goaltenders) while the Slovak goalie only faced 11 shots. Kopi did NOT get the lone Slovenian goal, which was a first in this tournament, but he did get the first assist from it. He ends up with a -1, which I think is his first time not even or in the positive for this tournament, got 4 shots on net, and racked up 24:41 of ice time. Interestingly enough, Kopi's average length for each of his shifts was 10 seconds LONGER than anyone else on his team, including the defensemen. Talk about carrying the team on your back! Kinda makes me feel (really) bad for him. He went from a crappy season with the Kings to going to a weaker team internationally. This kid needs a break. Maybe he should change his nationality and become a US or Canadian citizen so he can be on a winning team. Just a thought...

Things were looking a little better on the other side of the rink as Lubo got 2 assists in the 1st 2 frames with 4 total shots on net. He got a respectable 18:12 of time on the ice and was a +3.

(iihf.com) Kopi! You still rock!


"I'm Not A Puck Bunny" Podcast - Episode 14

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Here is Episode 14 for you all. Finny is actually pretty sick at the moment so she's the silent partner for this session but she's working the mixer so she's still there. You might actually hear her say a word or two during the hour. We are joined by Teka of Talk Hockey To Me and we were also supposed to have Steph from No Pun Intended, but Steph was experiencing technical difficulties so we pre-recorded her talking about her team the Detroit Red Wings and spliced them in at the appropriate times. McP joined the party via email where she talked about the Sharks and her WHL team, the Tri City Americans.

Teka and I discuss the news around the NHL and touch on the IIHF World Championships, then she fills the listeners in on what's going on with the AHL playoffs, which includes her Hershey Bears being taken out of the race for the Calder Cup. We then return to the NHL playoffs and review the 2nd round and preview the 3rd round match ups. We end with some shoutouts and call it a night.

Please check us out at our respective blogs and at http://imnotapuckbunny.podbean.com/

You can listen from the player under my picture to the left, subscribe to it on iTunes, or you can go to the above link and either listen from the site or download it.

As always please direct any questions, comments, complaints, thoughts, ideas, or rants to: imnotapuckbunny[at]gmail[dot]com.


Kings In The 2008 World Championships Part III

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

USA vs. Canada

Canada wins this game 5-4 against the USA. Canadian goals were scored by Brent Burns, Dany Heatley for two, Jonathan Towes, and Derek Roy. For the USA it was Patrick O'Sullivan, Dustin Brown, Zach Parise, and Jason Pominville.

Side note: Pierre McGuire mentioned he spoke to Parise the other day about losing his front teeth during the playoffs. Apparently Parise's learning how to talk without spitting. Cute.

Sully's goal was a nice break across the blue line with the pass from Drew Stafford. After that, it's just him and Cam Ward and the puck hits the mesh for the second US goal in the game. Sully actually shows some emotion on this goal and cheers!

Patty O making a showing!

On a rush by the US, Gord Miller totally calls them the Latvians. Good job.

Brownie's goal in the 3rd period was pretty much perfect. During a power play it was Brownie, Sully, and Parise on a line. Sully passed to Parise who passed to Brownie who was on the doorstep.

Tip: Keep your head up around Brownie or you might get smashed.

I've noticed the music selection of the Canadians at this rink in Halifax is... interesting. They don't play the traditional American music between plays and before the periods begin. No rock, no electronic music. So far I've heard folk, Irish rock (which is awesome), and I just heard "Thriller" by the King of Pop. I'm not sure how well that'd fly at Staples. I'd wonder who took over the music selection. Oh wait, "Start Me Up"... I guess that's not too bad... oh wait, there's "Eye of the Tiger."

It was a pretty exciting end in that Heatley scored with 45 seconds left in the game, which made it 5-4 Canada. I was happy to see that on the ending rush for the Americans, Brownie was out there helping to get the puck to the net. I guess that's expected seeing as how he's on the top line with Sully on the 2nd line.

Sully ends this game with 1 goal, 1 assist, 3 shots on net, at a+3, and with 12:16 of ice time. Brownie gets 1 goal, 1 assist, 4 shots on net, 2 penalty minutes (roughing at the end of the game), even in the plus/minus column, and got 18:30 of ice time.

Latvia Demotes Slovenia

Latvia (Raitis Ivanans) sends Slovenia (Anze Kopitar) to the relegation round where they'll be in a lower group next year. Latvia won 3-0 leaving Kopi with no points in this game. Even though Slovenia had 3 goals against them, Kopi was even for his plus/minus meaning he wasn't on the ice for any of Latvia's goals. This was similar in the USA vs. Slovenia game where Kopi wasn't on the ice for ALL 5 of the US goals. For this game he ends with 2 penalty minutes, 3 shots on net, and 26:49 of ice time. His ice time was 5 more minutes than any of his other teammates, and, after looking at the rest of the roster, it looks like Slovenia shortened its bench pretty severely. Wow.

Ivanans only gets on the stats sheet with 2 penalty minutes and only 3:44 of ice time. I guess this makes sense since Slovenia appeared to be attacking for much of the game since their shots on net more than doubled Latvia's shots (36: 17). So Latvia moves on with a win in this game. I'm not exactly sure what's going to happen with both teams at this point. I'll do some research on that...


Kings In The 2008 World Championships Part II

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Canadians Own The Latvians

But is this surprising? Of course not. On Sunday, May 4th, Team Canada played keep away with the Latvians while scoring 7 goals in the process. Pascal LeClaire held off the Latvians to zero goals. The thing that bugged me the most was that Gord Miller kept referring to Raitis Ivanans as "E-van-ness." Incorrect, my friend!

This game against Canada is obviously not the game the Latvians are looking to win. Their main concern is the against the Sloveians. A.K.A. Raitis Ivanans against Anze Kopitar! Whichever team losses that match up gets sent to the relegation group, which is NOT what you want to end up in this tournament.

Some points in the 2nd period:

The Latvians are wearing their throwback jerseys. Each team will wear their throwbacks once during this tournament. The Latvia jerseys had no names on their backs or numbers on their arms.

Pierre McGuire mentioned that Canada's top line of Dany Heatley, Ryan Getzlaf, and Rick Nash was basically going to be unstoppable this tournament. Seriously, it's honestly not even fair. But hey, if your country can field that kind of team, more power to you.

They were talking about Dustin Brown and Kopi playing against each other (USA vs. Slovenia) and they said that Brownie was warning Kopi to keep his head up. And Gord called him Mr. Brown, which really is too funny to me.

In the 3rd period:

Ivanans makes himself heard by getting a 5-minute spearing penalty along with a game misconduct equaling 20 minutes. He ends the spirited evening at a -4 while getting 8:08 of ice time. Is it bad that his stats make me smile? It's so hard to not like Raitis!

This is where Ivanans yelled, "Fucking bullshit" at Getzlaf =)

Brownie and Sully Versus Kopi

The US played Slovenia where all three players had a showing. The score was USA 5, Slovenia 1. As you can surmise, Kopi had the only Slovenian goal. He finished the game with 1 goal, 3 shots on net, was at a +1, and had 19:03 of time on the ice. Patrick O'Sullivan ends with 1 assist, 1 shot on net, was even in plus/minus, and got 12:09 of ice time. Brownie's stats were the exact same except that he had 14:12 of ice time. This is one game I wished I could have watched.

Special mention goes to Phil Kessel because he scored a hat trick in the game and to Slovenia's goaltender Robert Kristan for facing 37 shots while Tim Thomas faced just 12.

Lubo On The Move For Slovakia

On Monday, May 5th, Lubomir Visnovsky and his Slovak teammates battled it out with zee Germans. Unfortunately zee Germans won 4-2. Lubo ended the game with 2 assists and 4 total shots on net. He was even in the plus/minus column with 20:19 of ice time. There was really nothing else I could get out of the stats sheet than the numbers. =/

A very blue Lubo being pursued


Kings In The 2008 World Championships

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The World Versus Kopi

Anze Kopitar
is getting much deserved attention at the World Championships because, let's face it, to the North American audience, he's the only player on Team Slovenia who is close to being a household name.

On Friday, May 2nd he faced Team Canada with their juggernaut roster including the likes of Rick Nash, Martin St. Louis, and Jason Spezza. The last time Slovenia played Canada was in 2002 where Kopi was 17 and wearing a full face cage. Canada lit up the Slovenians 8 times and that was all she wrote. For this game in 2008, he told the press:

"If we can keep it down to maybe five goals that would be good," he said, adding it was still going to be a blast for his tiny nation of unknowns to play Canada. "We've got nothing to lose. We're just going to go out and have fun."

True to form the Slovenians were able to hold the Canadians to only 5 goals, which were scored by Dan Hamhuis, Martin St. Louis, with a hat trick by Dany Heatley. The lone Slovenian goal was scored by Kopi, which shouldn't really surprise anyone. Team Canada coach Ken Hitchcock lets people know:

"He's an awfully good player. A lot of people talk about a lot of young players in the game, but he's the real deal. He's the perfect mix of finesse and strength. He has great feet and great hands. And he has size and poise to go with it."

TSN is awesome and streams their international games online, so I was able to watch it in the comfort of my home. In this game Kopi makes a huge offensive push (by himself) in the 1st period into the Canadian zone. But the thing that annoyed me was that Pierre McGuire was talking about Canada while they were showing the replay of Kopi displaying his sweet moves! His goal came on a 5-on-3 advantage where he was positioned on the goal line to the right of Cam Ward. He stopped a pass with his foot, got it on his stick, and put it top shelf on Ward. To be honest, he actually looked a little bored on that play. In the 2nd period, leading up to Heatley's second goal, Kopi played almost the entire shift without his stick since it was knocked out of his hands. He did a good job getting his body in the way of the Canadians, but the Canadians bombed as many shots on the net as possible and Heatley's goal ended up being one that weaseled its way in off the short side. He ends with 1 goal, 3 shots on net, and 23:27 of ice time.

Cute note: Kopi said that he made the Slovenian team because his dad was on the coaching staff.

Canada's Cam Ward faced 23 shots while Slovenian netminder Robert Kristan faced 65. Impressive both on Canada for firing that many shots and even more so for Kristian for turning away 60 of them!

Brownie and Sully versus Ivanans

Dustin Brown and Patrick O'Sullivan are representing the Kings on Team USA and they make themselves known by each notching a goal in the opening the game against Latvia. Because I'm not willing to pay to watch these games online, I'm going off the scoresheet and game recap for this one. In this game the US wins 4-0 with Brownie scoring in the 1st period and Sully scoring in the 3rd; both goals were on the power play. Brownie's goal is the first of the game and the game winner; he also gets an assist off a Zach Parise goal in the 3rd as well. For Latvia Raitis Ivanans gets on the scoresheet as well, but with 2 penalty minutes. =) Did you think he'd have it any other way?

Goalie Tim Thomas faced 24 shots while Latvia faced 49. I'm giving props to Edgars Masalskis because he made 45 saves.

Lubo Reppin' Slovakia!

Lubomir Visnovsky is playing on the backend of Slovakia for this World Championship. On Saturday, May 3rd, Slovakia played Norway where the former won 5-1. According to the stats sheet, Little Lubo got 2 assists, 1 shot on net, ended at a +3, and logged 19:38 of ice time. After taking a closer look, I noticed that Lubo was on the ice for 4 of Slovakia's goals and was NOT on the ice for Norway's lone goal. So shouldn't that make him a +4? Anyhoo, Lubo rocks!


Year-In-Review – 6 – Erik Ersberg

Friday, May 2, 2008

He looks good in purple and black.

With how many goaltenders we had in net this season, it’s a little surprising that Erik Ersberg was the first ever Swedish tender to play for the Kings. It seemed like we were rolling them out one-by-one and even overlapping sometimes. Next thing you know we’ll have an Asian kid in there! Oh wait…

In 14 games played, he recorded 6 wins, 5 losses, and 3 OT losses, with a 248 GAA, and a .927 save percentage. Even though he only played 14 games, Ersberg impressed me and the rest of Kings nation. His calm demeanor in net really allowed for the rest of the team to relax and just play hockey. I thought the team looked more like a cohesive unit in front of Ersberg at the end of the season. I'm not sure if that was more due to them having nothing to lose (since they were in the cellar anyway) or if it was because Ersberg gave them a chance to win every game. The squad definitely looked better together for this ending stretch of games than in any other run of wins. Although, the 8-game roadtrip out to the east coast wasn't too bad. Although that one against New Jersey wasn't so fun... or that one against St. Louis, but whatever.

Going back to Ersberg, he definitely provided me with some drama and laughter, I’ll admit that. The whole Jason Spezza popping Ersberg’s helmet off his head was definitely a scary incident, and I think that was the only type of occurrence that happened. But I definitely enjoyed seeing him make the occasional funny face, which I’m sure he wasn’t intending to do. Even though he’s a little older than me, he looks so young, which completely endears him to me. I wanna stick him in my pocket and perhaps occasionally pull him out and feed him a protein shake.

He is actually a Restricted Free Agent this summer, and I'm wondering when he will be signing another contract since I'm pretty sure that the Kings want to keep Ersberg around. If he doesn't make the team, then they have a solid option for the top spot at Manchester. He made $575,000 this past season and I could see him inking a 2-year contract, which would take him to Unrestricted Free Agency. I see the Kings signing him for a relatively cheap price since he hasn't REALLY been tested so he won't need the whole arbitration dealy (*ahem* Cammy...).

14 games in the NHL definitely does not make me want to proclaim him as the number one just yet. He needs to be in net for more games to prove that he’s ready to play for the majority of the season. Plus, he is one of many tenders who are going to be fighting for a ticket to the big kids’ playground at training camp at the end of summer. At this point, it's anyone's guess as to who will man the pipes next season. All I know is that I want to see some consistency with whoever is in net. I don't want to see another 7 goalies next year. Well, 6 since we all know that Clouts is out of here and, actually, 5 since Aubin is wearing orange now. If Ersberg actually makes it as the #1 or #2 and if he can stay healthy then I could see him making a big name for himself. But before I get too far ahead of myself, I have to remember that Good Ole Barbs and Baby Bernier will be fighting like hell for those two spots.


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