Sharks 1, Kings 0 In The Home Opener

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Kings lost the season opener against the Sharks last night (3-1), and they lose the home opener against the Sharks tonight (1-0). I guess it's not horrible to lose two games to one of the top teams in the league as of this moment. The game tonight honestly looked a lot better than last night, so I'm happy with that. My boys were actually able to keep their shots on net in the teens (19), so that was a vast improvement from the 23,457 the previous night. It was only a 1-0 loss, but it could have easily been a 2-1 victory tonight. The two disallowed Kings goals were utter trash. Was Dustin Brown really in impeding Brian Boucher's ability to stop the puck? Did Matt Moulson REALLY put the puck into the net with a "distinct kicking motion?" It's all about judgment and the refs decided to err on the side of crappy caution. Who needs a conservative ref anyway? I'd rather have refs that are consistent than retarded. Honestly, how many times did I see a King get tripped up or knocked down? Am I being too biased? Whatever, I don't care; the game was really frustrating to watch. This was coupled with the fact that Anze Kopitar got a 10-minute misconduct for slamming his stick against a pane of glass causing it to crack and delaying the game while they changed it out. Yeah, he should have kept his cool, but what does that tell you when our best player is that frustrated that he takes it out on the glass? The fans weren't the only annoyed people in the arena tonight.

As always, there were some bright spots with the Kings. For some reason, even when a game is going horribly, there will always been at least one player who is showing that he gives a damn. That isn't to say that the Kings weren't giving a damn tonight, there was effort; they were just going up against a very aggressive Sharks squad that is looking to blaze some balls out the gate. Lukas Kaspar got the lone goal of the game by taking a shot on the short side of Jason LaBarbera. I really hope Barbs can shore up his short-side glove work because I can see plenty of other teams taking advantage of that.

Once again, Oscar Moller showed why he earned his place on the roster. He, with his small frame, was taking the body along the boards and not giving any Shark the room he needed to get by. It looked like exhaustion was overtaking him by the end of the game, but he's 18 and he's still learning how much energy to expend at different points and in certain situations in a 60-minute game. The other kid, Wayne Simmonds, had a bit more difficulty getting to the puck and landing passes. He was still his scrappy self, but he definitely looked better during the preseason than he did tonight. Our pride and joy, Drew Doughty, got top minutes (23:56) and was being used in all situations. I noticed by the third period how much he was on the ice, but that was around the time I also noticed that Jack Johnson hadn't been on the ice. Because the NHL deemed it acceptable for teams to not have to disclose specific injuries of players, we don't really know what's going on with Jack other than he has a upper body injury. Hopefully it's nothing too serious because we need him out there. As much as I'm cool with Tom Preissing, I'd rather Jack gobble up minutes than Preissing get over 20 minutes a game. Going back to Doughty, when the Kings had pulled Barbs in the waning minutes of the game for the extra attacker, Drew was out there. I'm pleased to see him getting so much experience so quickly. That tells me how highly Terry Murray thinks of Doughty when he's out there for the end of a game during a critical time.

Brownie was his badass self with 3 shots on net and 6 hits. He took the body as per usual and wasn't afraid to get his nose dirty. There was really nothing bad to say about his efforts tonight. Patrick O'Sullivan came out with both cap guns firing (19:21). He was being moved around on the lines and eventually found himself back with Kopi and Brownie. I was pretty happy to see that and the fact that he was also paired back with Michael Handzus on the PK. Someone else who did better tonight compared to last night was Brian Boyle. He came out a little more aggressively and took the body a bit more. He wasn't spectacular, so there's a whole lot of room for improvement for him. Just... keep doing better, Boyle.

I was surprised that Moulson only got 12:48 of ice time tonight. But when I reflected back on the game, Sully's presense somewhat caused Moulson's ice time to diminish. It's unfortunate because I thought Moulson was getting the job done on the ice. He was getting into the corners and in front of the net (a.k.a. his disallowed goal), and he had some great hustle on the PK. At one point a guy behind me said, "Moulson! That's my boy!" And I thought, "Uhh, I don't think so. He's mine!" Yeah, I'm possessive. What are you going to do about it?

Something the Sharks were able to do tonight, which not many teams were able to do last season, was get Alexander Frolov off the puck. As you may remember, Fro had amazing puck possession ability. He could hold on to the puck for days and make everyone else look foolish. But tonight the Sharks took a more aggressive stance against him and put his body into the boards so that Fro wasn't able to buy his teammates time to set up. This is me rolling my eyes... not against Fro, but just in general.

One definite downer was the Kings PP and their complete lack of getting anything going in the offensive zone. The Sharks did a fantastic job with clogging up the neutral zone and breaking up any passes the Kings were trying to land. Even when the Kings tried the dump and chase move, the Sharks were able to get to the puck first and clear it. It was VERY frustrating to see nothing really happen on the 5 PP opportunities the Kings had. The latter half of the third period was also a bit unbelieable. It was so disorganized that it looked like neither team had any semblance of puck control or possession. It kind of looked like both teams were having trouble getting specific line combinations out on the ice, so it kind of looked like they were always changing on the fly getting one guy on the ice but realizing that it wasn't the guy they wanted out there with that line against the Sharks line, bla-bi-bla-bla-bla, and so on and so forth. It was just a bizarre ending to the game.

So the Kings lose the first two games of the season and they face the Ducks on Tuesday. I'm definitely not jumping out of my seat for that game. I'm hoping the next time the Kings face the Sharks they'll have gotten their players to work together as a more cohesive unit since the lines were different tonight than they were last night. Gotta just keep tweaking and tweaking until something works or until Terry Murray blows a gasket.


Brad October 12, 2008 at 11:08 PM  

Alright, here we go. I'm upset, and understandably so. My opinion, yes, Moulson did kick that puck in. It may not have been intended, but that's how it ended up. Or that's how it looked on the jumbotron replay. Also, across the aisle from me was a guy wearing a Moulson Manchester jersey; pretty sweet. Dustin Brown's five hits last night and six tonight, if you do the math, puts him on pace for 451. Sure, it's too late to predict on something like that but wouldn't it be amazing? Oscar Moller is a kid I'll definitely be keeping my eye on. He looked like a machine out there tonight. (Maybe that's the name I'll get on my second jersey, since he's also wearing my number.) Being that I sat on the side with none of the decent action, the highlight of the third period was Jarret Stoll's near breakaway that he subsequently blew. To top it all off, it took way longer than expected to get home tonight. Bah.

Brad October 12, 2008 at 11:16 PM  

and the (soft) Sharks goal came on the far side.

Connie October 13, 2008 at 5:52 AM  

If Brown gets 451 hits this year, I'd demand that there be some sort of kamikaze award handed out for most hits. I think Moller would be an excellent choice for another jersey, although I'd wait until he's up with the roster for a sustained amount of time.

Thanks for the clarification on the goal against Barbs. And thanks for coming to the game! Even though it was a loss, it wasn't a complete wash. They kept the Sharks' shots on to less than 20 and only allowed in 1 goal. That's a pretty big improvement over past games.

I also thought the signs held up dissing Blake during the warmups was the most classless thing to do. Thanks for making Kings fans looked like assholes, you douchebags.

KQ949 October 13, 2008 at 11:02 AM  

Look at other penalties the refs are forced to call i.e. hooking (touching a player's hands for a mili-second with a stick)etc. I think both calls to disallow the goals were correct according to the written rule. I don't think discretion is even allowed anymore in the NHL. When it goes to "big Daddy" in Toronto, you can guarantee, a literal review will be made. Moulson even admitted trying to kick the puck up to his stick to tap it in. He did the first thing, but didn't manage to touch it with his stick. BUMMER!

Not a lot of action where we were sitting either (Kings shoot twice - 113)but saw clearly how upset Fro was for whiffing on his backhander on his breakaway in the third.

I hope Jack is OK. Doughty looked a little more comfortable tonight. The only think I miss about "cheese"-Visnovsky is his ability to quickly carry the puck into the neutral/offensive zone. I hope Jack and Donut do more of that.

Still waiting to see who my new "sucky" will be. I thought it would be green...but I'm waiting just a bit longer. Mr. Face-Off King Stoll is not impressin' (droppin' my "g"'s like Sarah Palin' - an annoying habit I have right now! :) )and Brad Richards?

Looking forward to Tuesday.

Connie October 13, 2008 at 11:28 AM  

Fro’s whiff was a heart breaker, for sure. That was one of the few good chances of the game for the Kings, but he’ll get one soon enough. We were definitely missing Lubo out there a bit last night. I love that you call Doughty "Donut," I think that’s a hilarious nickname.

I’m totally with you on Stoll not impressing. Well, he’s a lot more physical than I thought he’d be, but his faceoffs are utterly lacking.

You mean Brad Richardson, who is a far cry from Brad Richards. =P But he’s not there to be flashy, so we’ll see what happens with him now that Sully’s back and Boyle has not impressed. I'm definitely hoping we can contain the Ducks a bit more than we did (or didn't do) against the Sharks.

KQ949 October 13, 2008 at 6:33 PM  

I dont need to know Brad's correct name anyway! lol He'll be playing "left out" most of the time!

Emily is NOT a happy camper she won't be able to see her "husband, Jack" for the next few months! That really sucks for Jack considering missing the last month of the season last year from his broken foot. GET WELL SOON, JJ!!

Brad October 13, 2008 at 8:28 PM  

but "Brad" is my real name

Connie October 13, 2008 at 8:39 PM  

KQ - This is QUITE a misfortune for our boy on the blueline. Hopefully the surgery goes well and he has a speedy recovery. We're going to be thinned down without him back there. Let Emily know that Kyle Quincey isn't bad looking. Actually, if you think about it, we have a pretty good-looking roster overall. Well... we do have a few that should just stand in the background for photo ops.


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