Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The Kings put a great effort on the ice last night. It’s no secret that the individual talent on the Kings’ roster has seldom translated into a winning formula as a whole, but last night showed us a glimpse into what that’s supposed to look like. There are positives that I could talk about with every player on the Kings bench; that is, except for one lone soul (if you were watching the game, you should know exactly who I’m talking about).
This game was to see who would have to occupy that unfortunate spot of dead last in the Pacific Division, which is where the Kings were for much of last season. I came into the game fully content with the possible result of the Kings being slotted in that 5th position. None of my daydreams yesterday had the Kings winning 6-3 over the Ducks. Then again, I wasn’t expecting the Ducks to look like a group of disorganized high school kids. They continued their physical brand of crap while taking 13 total penalties. Two were fighting majors and two were coincidental minors (Ryan Getzlaf and Denis Gauthier canceling each other out). So the Kings had 9 PP opportunities and converted on 3 of them. The Kings took 9 total penalties with 5 being actual PKs. Once again my boys killed all of the penalties against them and haven’t given up a goal while being shorthanded yet! They’re 14 for 14 and I’m loving that stat. They looked solid last night and I was very much impressed. Jarret Stoll has continually impressed me with his scrappy efforts, and he definitely improved on his faceoff percentage going 60% (won 9, lost 6).
Another notable on the PK was Michal Handzus. He looks so much stronger and looks less afraid to get his nose dirty. He’s actually taking the body now, which he rarely did last season, so I’m pretty happy with how he’s been doing on an individual level. He registered an assist and had 18:18 of ice time. Going back to Stoll, he had plenty of TOI at 20:39. At first I was wondering why he always seemed to be out there, but then I realized it was basically a game of specialty teams with all the penalties that were being called.
The awesome thing about the goals by the Kings was that the 6 goals were scored by 6 different skaters. I think Matt Moulson had the prettiest goal while Patrick O’Sullivan had the slickest goal. I honestly didn’t think Moulson was going to gain control of the pass from Dustin Brown and have time to get the shot off before the angle to the net got too sharp. But gain control he did where shot it from the left side over J.S. Giguere’s left shoulder far side. If that goal doesn’t make Kings fans notice my boy, I don’t know what will. The shot was so pretty and perfect that he couldn’t have made it any better. Giguere literally followed the puck with his eyes all the way to the back of the net. Perfect. Sully had a fantastic game last night. He had a bit of the time on the PK, more time on the PP, and ample time at even strength so it seemed like he was everywhere on the ice. He was so effective in everything he did that I believe he’s earned his spot back on the top line with just one game. I knew he had it in him; it was just a matter of when.
With Sully on the top line, the subsequent shift of players was unexpected for me. Moulson was moved to the 2nd line left wing, which I was stoked about, but that meant Alexander Frolov was moved to the 3rd line left wing. As much as I didn’t expect that, I think that just gets our 3rd line moving that much more to have a big body that is always searching for ways to get the puck to the net as opposed to shutting down the opposition. I thought that all four lines the Kings rolled out looked great together. The defensive pairings were a bit of a different story. With Jack Johnson out, the pairings obviously changed and after some time in the second period I noticed that Peter Harrold was getting an ungodly amount of minutes (17:55) with almost four minutes coming on the PP. This fact coupled with Drew Doughty not having been out on the ice for quite some time, I voiced my concern. Whereupon, ½ of KingsCast and I tried to get some information from people watching the game on TV at home, but there was nothing until the 3rd period when we found out that Doughty was having “flu-like symptoms.” I was so relieved that it wasn’t a substantial injury because we would have basically been screwed if he AND Jack were out. But the flu isn’t bad, he just needs some shuteye and he’ll be back in no time. Going back to Harrold, for how much he was fumbling and bumbling around, he had way too much time on the PP. None of his passes were landing; he couldn’t outmaneuver past Ducks or even clear the damned puck at some points. It was so frustrating to watch Harrold stumble around while the rest of the roster was working smoothly. He definitely stuck out like a sore thumb when he was on the ice.
I must take a minute to address the fight between Raitis Ivanans and George Parros that occurred less than two minutes into the game after the first Ducks goal. I’ve never seen anyone land that many kidney shots in succession as Ivanans dished out to Parros. It was fantastic and got the crowd amped up. Conversely, Chris Pronger had 4 hits in the game, which all seemed to be against Oscar Moller. Hey, D-Bag, you’re an ugly monster and Moller is an 18-year-old kid who you are twice as big as. There’s really no need to plaster his face against the glass whenever you can. Stop being a prick. And I saw you raise your elbows while skating by Moulson. You elbow him and I’ll shankify your ass.
I could honestly go on and on and on about how great this game was, but I won’t. I will end by saying that I’m glad the Kings now have a decisive win under their belts after losing two games against a solid Sharks squad. This performance is very promising for the Kings as I’m sure Terry Murray knows the boys have it in them to not suck on a game-to-game basis. Good job, guys!