Faceoff Killas: Kings 5, Blackhawks 2

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Chicago Blackhawks were in town and the Kings welcomed them with open arms, which they promptly used to squeeze the Hawks into submission. The Kings opened up the game with something that happens about once every month, score a goal in the first few minutes of the first period! A bit of confusion in front of the net concluded with Jarret Stoll being awarded the goal with Michal Handzus and Alexander Frolov assisting on the play. I think I'm getting use to hearing Handzus' name being announced over the loud speaker.

Besides the fact that the Kings won the game, there is a stat that must be put in the spotlight here. The Kings dominated the Hawks in the faceoff circle. It wasn't just a beating, it was a pounding of the epic sort. Stoll won 10 faceoffs out of 14 for a percentage of 71. Anze Kopitar beat Stoll by winning 15 and losing only 5 for a 75 win percentage! The third was Derek Armstrong with a 73 win percentage by getting 8 and losing only 3.

(Images courtesy of IMDB)
Dude Stoll, it's okay if you aren't 100% in the circle...you're doing fine...

The first period seemed to promise 40 more minutes of play from two teams who seemed evenly matched, which wasn't really the case as the Kings proceeded to slowly take the game from the Hawks. That doesn't mean there weren't close calls. The Kings have been averaging a league-leading 24 shots against, which the Hawks were able to get by the end of the game. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is when it's rare for a team to get that many shots past the defenders and onto Erik Ersberg. The little one was seeing a lot of rubber flying his way, but he looked pretty great once again. He did end with two pucks getting past him, but it's not bad when you think about the 5 that got past Christobal Huet. The Kings threw their own 28 at Huet who looked a bit odd in neon-red pads. What nutjob approved that color?

After Stoll's game-opening goal, Fro notched one of his own in the second period. In the third period Army got his second goal of the season by driving the net and being the role player that he's become. Sweet action. This turned out to be the game-winner when the door was closed by Kyle Calder of all people. Here we were sitting in our section talking crap about Calder all through the game and then he scores. What a buzz kill.

What Kopi visualizes as he approaches the faceoff dot...

The Blackhawks attempted an early salvage of the game when they pulled Huet with just under three minutes remaining. With this, Patrick O'Sullivan roofed an empty net goal and the arena started to empty out. Oddly enough, Sully played two more minutes than Kopi, but when looking at the stats, I can see why. The time that Sully was on the PK shoots his number past Kopi in that aspect, which is fine. We really don't need Kopi getting hurt by blocking shots.

Army, just because you're not scratched doesn't mean you can go kicking people...

All-in-all, I thought this was a well-rounded game. The 1PM start didn't seem to hurt the Kings in any way. The minutes played by everyone seemed to work well, sans Calder getting 15:00 of TOI. Honestly, is there no one else who can play the top line left wing?? He's not creating anything and when he does get the puck he either makes a shitty pass or waits too long to take the shot, which causes him to take a no-angle shot. Hence, he sucks. P.S. He also needs to be taken of the PP. Not just on the first or second unit, but both. He should be on the bench during those minutes. I'm completely confident that Oscar Moller could eat up those minutes without any problems.

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One Down And One Up In Western Canada

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Kings played Calgary on Wednesday and basically got their tails handed to them, but the game didn't start out that way. The first period made it seem like it was going to be a good contest. The shots were even and the goalies were looking pretty solid. But once the second period started the Flames got stronger and stronger. Even though the Kings lost a terrible 6-2, it definitely didn't look like one of those horrendous losses from last season where it seemed like they stopped trying altogether. The Flames just dominated a team that was struggling in all aspects of the game. The effort was visible, but nothing was working so I'm not going to jump down their throats. I'm not suggesting the Kings needed a loss of that sort since they've lost worse in past seasons. It was just another sign that this is a team that is still learning and feeling out the lines.

The one thing from this game that had and still has me a bit worried is the fact that Erik Ersberg was pulled and Jason LaBarbera was put in. Barbs then played last night against the Edmonton Oilers. Does this mean that Barbs will play until he has to get pulled? Is that how this is going to work? I guess that's fine... I'm not sure how I completely feel about it, but I can honestly say that I'm not feeling too confident about the back end anymore. Denis Gauthier did NOT have a good game against the Flames, and I'm wondering why Terry Murray is so happy with him. Yeah, he can kill penalties, but, really, he's made some horrible plays in general. He's definitely outside the circle of trust.


(AP Photo, The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh)

Greene though the Kings were figure skating that night hence the terrible, terrible hockey

Terry Murray reunited the Patrick O'Sullivan, Anze Kopitar, and Dustin Brown trio for the Flames blowout, but, once again, the very next game, Sully gets demoted and Kyle Calder gets put back on left wing on the top line. Gross. Why is it that when this awesome line gets a chance to shine, the entire team has an off night? What's the deal? C'mon Fates! Help them out a bit here! I'll give Murray one thing though; it's blatently clear that he's not going to coddle this line. One game to show him something; if not, it's back to the drawing board. I can respect that but can you please put someone else up there instead of Calder??

The bright spot: Sean O'Donnell. I'm so freaking happy he's on the blueline. He got a 5-minute fighting major, a 10-minute misconduct penalty, and a 2-minute instigator penalty. The game was already in the bag for the Flames but O'Donnell wasn't going to take shit from anyone, and he let the Flames know that. Talk about mentorship and leadership. On the flipside, Raitis Ivanans got 10 minutes of TOI and did nothing but take penalties. Let's think about this: last season when he'd get more than two penalties or so, he'd get less than 5 minutes of TOI. But in this game he got 4 penalties (8 total minutes) and 10 minutes of ice time. Was Terry Murray hoping Ivanans was turn the momentum of the game? Well, it didn't work.

One last thing about this game versus Calgary. I was watching the Calgary feed, which was on Rogers Sportsnet. Wow, whoever the play-by-play guy and color guy were, you guys were terrible! I'm so glad I don't have to listen to that for 82 games. Their "commentary" was piss poor and didn't enhance the viewing of the game at all. What they were saying wasn't biased in favor of the Flames; rather, it was terrible because they weren't saying anything of worth! "That was a great pass." Wow... is that all you got? Really?

The game on Thursday the Kings went against the Edmonton Oilers. The Kings bounced back very nicely and won 2-1. They returned to their disciplined play out-hitting and out-shooting the opposition, but they weren't over 50% in the faceoff circle. I'm blaming this on Derek Armstrong (4 for 11) and Kopi (8 for 18) combined with Michal Handzus playing on the wing. Jarret Stoll, you keep doing what you're doing. The Kings also took only 5 penalties in this game compared to 15 against Calgary. Were the interference calls against Brownie and Barbs really penalties? I don't know, but I'm not going to dwell on it. The penalties were taken and killed; end of story.

I WILL bitch about the boarding penalty that Steve Staios took against Sully. Dude is mere feet from the boards and you're gonna give him a shove in the back towards the boards? C'mon man, can you be a bit more mindful of the head of another player? Sure, Sully may have whiplash this morning, but can you not try to give him a concussion to go with it? Another change was that Tom Preissing was back in the lineup and Gauthier took a seat in the press box. I honestly thought Preissing wasn't going to make the mistakes that he did. They weren't as terrible as the ones Gauts has been taking, but still...

A rarity: the Kings scoring first! And wouldn't you know it, it was Sully who netted it and, amazingly enough, he showed emotion!!! If you haven't noticed it before, Sully usually scores and has a deadpan look on his face. No reaction whatsoever. But this was such a change that I even cheered more! Who knew he possessed the ability to have more than just a vacant look on his face?!

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, John Ulan)
Not new: Sully scoring. New: Him reacting.

Who know who's awesome? Dustin Brown. He's just freaking fantastic and I heart him. I know I heart a lot of things, but I REALLY heart him. He's just such a great leader and is getting noticed more and more and more. He can honestly do no wrong. He's a dynamically solid player who is doing nothing but getting better.

The second half of the game didn't see anymore goals, but it was a solid game for the Kings. I'm not sure how happy Moose was though. I think the text saying "We are an AWFUL hockey team" means that the Oilers are struggling. I'm not sure, but I think that's what it meant. In any case, the Kings got back on their ponies with this game and have a break until they face the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday at the beautiful Staples Center.

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Kings World Podcast - Ep 1.19

Sunday, November 23, 2008

In this episode Marie and I review the past two weeks for the Kings. There were plenty of games to go through and there were a few games to preview as well. I discuss the Meet The Players party and Marie delves into the Kings new third jersey. The Player of the Week changes names and the shoutouts stay the same.

Please email any questions or comments to kingsworldpodcast[at]gmail[dot]com.

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Meeting Some Yahoos

I was unable to view any of the game yesterday due to my personal life, but I did make it out to Dodger Stadium for the Meet The Players "party" this afternoon. I was able to "meet" Oscar Moller, Raitis Ivanans, Kyle Quincey, Denis Gauthier, Erik Ersberg, Wayne Simmonds, Sean O'Donnell, Michal Handzus, and Jarret Stoll. My friend, AJ, stood in line for an hour to see Dustin Brown. So while I saw 9 of the players, she only saw 5. Bummer for her but she got what she wanted, so it's all good. General thoughts from the "party":

  • They should nix the word "party" and just call it a "session" or something. "Meet the Players (while we guide you through roped off lines)"
  • Handzus seriously lacks the ability to smile. This is the second time I've taken a picture with him and it's the second time where he's looked like he's in pain. Maybe it's me... but I shower everyday!
  • Kyle Quincey has the MOST GORGEOUS EYES. I was trying my best to not get hypnotized...
  • I'm not sure which line was longer, the one for Anze Kopitar or for Drew Doughty. Either way, there was no way in hell I was going to even attempt that.
  • Ivanans was totally smiling and conversing with me, but right when the camera was aimed at us, he tried to get the smile off his face. Boo.
If you're my friend or "friend" on facebook, you'll be able to check those pictures out. Good times had by all. Oh, this was also my first viewing of the third jersey. It's... fine. It's another black and white jersey. I LOVE the Gretzky Black and Silver era, which this was attempting to harken back to, so I can't be too critical. According to our little handout we recieved:
The KINGS alternative uniform is designed to give us a fond look back to glorious times for our franchise with an eye to the future to inspire players and fans alike for what lies ahead... a future that is grounded with the values, the determination, the pride and the passion that serves as the foundation for the LA KINGS franchise.
Fine, fine. I'm just glad it's not as hideous as some of the other 3rds that have been rolled out. Ahem... Ottawa. Anyway, I got some pucks signed, but I ran out so I just started having them sign the front of my jersey. The only person allowed to sign the back is Brownie. That is all.

After the day wound down and AJ and I were headed home, we drove by the Forum in Inglewood, which was looking like it was up to no good, and it totally doesn't look right without the "Great Western" up there. So I added it.

Looks better, no?

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Kings Smash Caps And Ovechkin Cries: Kings 5, Capitals 2

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Kings brought a dominating performance on the ice against the Washington Capitals. They had a great first period by not allowing the Caps any room in their zone, which translated into the latter getting only three shots on. I honestly think teams are shocked when they come to Staples and are limited to less than five shots in the opening frame because the shots total rises with each subsequent period. The Capitals fell victim to this trend, which really wasn't surprising. They were playing without Alexander Semin, Sergei Fedorov, and Matt Green. These three are definitely key players to their lineup, but, what's the saying again? Oh right, "no excuses." The Caps were outshot 33-21, which continues to amaze me and make me so proud of my boys. We also outhit the Caps 34-29. Team leaders were Brian Boyle (shocking) with 5 and Alexander Ovechkin with 7.

The top line of Patrick O'Sullivan, Anze Kopitar, and Dustin Brown was reunited and they played a great game. Respectively they tallied an even-strength, short-handed, and power play goal. But the evening's first goal came from Drew Doughty from the point. It was just perfection and we proceeded to stand up and cheer four more times after that. Later in the game, Doughty was actually almost completely undressed by Ovechkin, but Drew stuck to him and broke up the individual rush. It was nerve-wrackingly awesome.

The one blemish on the stats sheet: Kyle Calder getting 15:36 of TOI. Really? Is that really necessary? He really wasn't helping out the team with any of the shifts he took and myself and I believe everyone else in my section was experiencing the same sort of wrath.

(Getty Images/Andrew D. Bernstein)
Another blemish on the roster

Halfway through the third period, there was a rush to the Kings net and it ended with a lot of bodies in the crease. When the whistle blew, Ovechkin was the only one still kneeling on the ice. He appaently got hurt somehow, which I missed, and when he got up and skated to the ref to give him some words, Staples Center proceeded to boo his ass. I've never actually heard a crowd boo a player when he has gotten up after being hurt in some way on the ice. It was a little odd but Ovechkin ended up getting an interference penalty at the end of all that and he looked fine. He just needed to shake it off, whatevs.

The game ended two quick Kings goals in the last minute of the period, which took the game out of the hands of the Caps. We cheered. The Kings had a decisive win and we all left Staples Center happy. The end.

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Kings Face Some Caps Tonight

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sorry I haven't posted in a couple of days. The economy punched me in the face yesterday. The Washington Capitals did a bit of their own punching as well. They knocked down the Ducks with six (6) goals yesterday and we face them tonight. I was pretty nervous going into this week, but now, not so much. The Capitals will most likely be without Alexander Semin, Sergei Fedorov, and Mike Green. I think there's another dude, but the aforementioned three are the most important. Green got taken down by Chris Pronger with a clean hit knocking him into the boards. It was definitely hairy for a bit, but he's doing fine with his shoulder in a sling.

So the teams won't be meeting as evenly-matched because of those injuries to the Caps, but I'm not too bummed since the Kings need these two points.

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Boo Ducks; Ducks 2, Kings 0

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The whole crosstown rivalry with the Anaheim Ducks is something that I don't get too caught up in, but that doesn't mean that I don't hate the Ducks more than any other team in the league. I do hate them the most, and, for the second day in a row, I'm bummed that the Kings have dropped a game. But the Kings didn't get shutout by a poor showing; they displayed their usual solid play but were actually less able to generate chances when compared to the game yesterday against the Preds.

There were four PP opportunities for the Kings with one being a 4-minute penalty but they weren't able to get anything going on any of them. The 4-minute penalty was actually played better by the Ducks than the Kings, which was... mildly.. frustrating... especially since the penalty came from an incident with Ryan Getzalf's stick accidentally making a beeline for Patrick O'Sullivan's face. This boy already has lost 4 or 5 teeth, he really can't afford to lose anymore; so when I saw him spit something out of his mouth that looked like a tooth, I definitely flashed back to last year when he took a puck in the face and had to have emergency dental work. But, whatever happened didn't seem to affect him too much since he was back on the ice before the end of the first period.

Once again Erik Ersberg looked solid in net. He was doing his usual thing of not getting rattled inbetween the pipes. Both Ducks' goals were even-strength goals with the first by Corey Perry. I haven't taken another look at the goal but I remember wondering where the D was on that rebound. Oscar Moller was the Kings player that was there for the initial shot, but the rebound couldn't have gone anywhere but in the back of the net. Bret Hedican's goal came with less than five minutes to go and was the game sealer. Terry Murray didn't pull Ersberg with two minutes to go and I wanted Brian Hayward to shut the hell up. You obviously know why he's not pulling Ersberg, so shut up about it! Ugh!

(Debora Robinson/Getty Images)
Is this the aftermath of a hit? Hilarious either way.

One surprising note, Wayne Simmonds got only 8:53 of TOI! Yeah, he's an ugly, ugly skater, but he had been getting around five more minutes than that on average. Drew Doughty logging 28:27 of TOI is... just... beastly... although he didn't record any hits. Actually the Kings were definitely outhit overall, 22-14. Boo. It appears that I've lost interest in this recap, so I'm just gonna... stop and go do something else.

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Los Angeles Is Burning And Preds Win; Predators 3, Kings 1

The Nashville Predators rolled into Staples Center as Los Angeles was engulfed in flames. I was very happy to be in a setting where there wasn't ash floating through the air and where my lungs weren't taking on the smogy haze. The Kings did not disappoint as they put up a hell of an effort against the Preds. Actually, the Kings dominated the Preds. Once again, the opposition was held to far less goals than the Kings put up, 34-22.

Erik Ersberg was solid in net and make some game-saving stuffs against the Preds. At the other end of the ice, Dan Ellis was busying keeping his own team in the game. This game snaps the 4-game winning streak, but I can't be mad at my boys. They fought until the end where Shea Weber scored an empty-netter putting the game away for good. Michal Handzus scored the lone goal on a deflection from Kyle Quincey. Nothing the Kings did was upsetting to me. They worked hard, got shots on net, out hit the Preds, etc, etc, etc. They just couldn't tie it up and get the win.

The Preds leave with two points and the Kings head into the Honda Center tonight. *cue dramatic music*

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Is This Really Happening?: Kings 3, Stars 2

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Four wins in a row? I'm still watching the Kings right? According to ESPN, the last time the Kings have had this long of a winning streak was back in October of 2007. A bit lame, but, hey, I'll take it. We're on one now and that's all that matters. This game was much easier won than Tuesday's game where the Stars hung on for the shootout. Everyone has been looking really good... wait, that's a lie. ALMOST everyone has been looking good.

Good: Erik Ersberg, Drew Doughty, Dustin Brown. Doughty lead the team with 27:05 of TOI with the average shift lasting a minute long. Impressed? I think so! I absolutely cannot wait for Jack Johnson to get back to the lineup. I can't imagine what it's going to look like with another huge body back there. Ersberg notched another win on his fourth straight start. I trust and respect Terry Murray's decision not to name the Swede the number one until he's comfortable with his conststancy. I can see exactly his reasoning and won't be terribly disappointed if he waits a long time to make it official.

Not good: Denis Gauthier. I don't mean to make him my goat, but he makes egregious errors and it needs to be pointed out. He only had 11:48 of TOI in the game, which let's me know Terry Murray is seeing what everyone else is seeing.

(Matt Slocum/Getty Images)
Weeeee!!

The Kings won 65% of the faceoffs with Jarret Stoll winning 11 and losing just 4 giving him a 74 percentage!! I am very impressed. I basically have no complaints with this game. The Kings came out and worked hard at the start all the way to the finish. Well, I'll point out that the Kings scored only two (2) times on nine (9) PP opportunities. They're getting there; I'm not complaining. Just pointing it out. They ended with 29 shots on and limited the Stars to 26. I'd have liked the Kings to have at least 32 shots on, but I guess it doesn't really matter since they won. Go Kings!

A little bit of Maple
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs went against the Edmonton Oilers where the former won 5-2. I could write plenty, but I'm a bit tired and wanna go to bed soon.
  • I had my doubts about Nik Antropov. I still do; I really think he could be more of an intimidating player. He's just so large and not so nimble, but a little birdy told me to just watch and wait. I can definitely eat some humble pie tonight because Antropov's goal was pretty freaking sweet. Very cleanly put into the net and got the Leafs up further on the scoreboard.
  • Will Jason Blake need to be a healthy scratch to get it in his head that passing is a good thing? He had two great passes tonight, which lead to two goals. Simple, right? I really don't think it should come to him getting benched for him to realize just exactly what Ron Wilson wants.
  • In looking at the stats sheet, I was very surprised that none of the Leafs forwards had over 20 minutes of TOI. There are usually one or two Kings that get over that mark, but I guess that doesn't have to apply for all teams. This really isn't an astute observation or anything; it's just something I noticed.
  • Congrats to Sam Gagner for getting his first goal of the season!
Bed time!

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Oh, Captain. My Captain. Kings 3, Stars 2 (SO)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Dallas Stars came to Staples for the first time this season, which marked the end of a 7-game home stand for the Kings. This game started out on a good note, but I was a bit afraid that it was going to slowly take a downfall for the Kings. They came out of the gates at a good pace getting 11 shots on to Dallas' 8, but the Stars were the ones that stepped up their game. They got their heads' screwed on straight and made this game interesting.

Dustin Brown had a monster game. He tallied a goal, got 20:27 of TOI, had a team-high of 5 shots on, and another team-high of 6 hits. His most notable hits were (1) placing Stephan Robidas ever so gently into the Kings bench, and (2) putting Mike Ribeiro into the boards. (Note: Please see FSN's telecast of Jim Fox's breakdown of this clean hit.) Brownie left the game with a minute left in the game, and the Kings were left with a 3-minute PK to deal with that spilled into overtime. I absolutely loved Brenden Morrow coming over and fighting Brownie. Captain versus captain. Badass against badass. You really couldn't have asked for a better matchup in that situation.


(Noah Graham/Getty Images)
What the hell, Fro?! You're cheating on me with Avery?? UGH!

With everyone gushing over Drew Doughty, I feel I need to add to it. He can't be 18 years old; he just can't. He looks so good out there and he's working so well with Sean O'Donnell that he couldn't have been playing with teenage boys a few months ago. That being said, with the way this boy is playing, there is not enough adoration being sent his way. We Kings fans can get on our knees and thank the Defensive Hockey Gods for sending him our way, but that's not going to get his name out there any faster. It's too bad that he has to get points in order to get some national attention, but that's okay! His job is to help the Kings get better and, on a nightly basis, he's not disappointing. Gush, gush, gush.

Erik Ersberg gets another win putting the Kings on a 3-game winning streak. I would be shocked if Jason LaBarbera got put back in net for the next game. There really is no reason for a goalie switch right now. Ersberg is doing well and he's getting great support from the rest of the team. The team that's on the ice right now is not the team that was there last season. I'm not talking about the names on the roster. I'm talking about the work ethic and desire to work as a team. They're the fundamentals of the game and they had been non-existent. I can't say enough about how happy I am to see my boys having their shit together on a nightly basis.

But, one certain defenseman did NOT have his ish together. Denis Gauthier. Really, dude, can you stop having defensive lapses? I'm not understanding why Terry Murray thinks Tom Preissing is a defensive liability when YOU'RE the one that's mishandling the puck at the most inopportune times!! Yeah, you can hit, but you need to work on the passing. One of those pesky fundamentals, right?

The game's goals all came in the first half of the game with three (3) in the first period alone. The backhalf of the game saw the Kings on their heels doing what they could to stave off the Stars. I'm pretty sure the Kings had zero (0!) shots on net in the latter half of the third period and all of the OT frame. What's up with that? Seriously. How can you get a win with no shots on net? Answer: the shootout.

This marked the longest shootout of the season so far going five (5) rounds. The first three shooters were Patrick O'Sullivan, Wayne Simmonds, and Anze Kopitar. Sully, please get another shootout move. Marty Turco knows exactly what you're going to do; he's not an idiot. Simmonds scored on a beauty of a backhand and Kopi was blocked. The fourth round saw Doughty, but he got super fancy with the puck and wasn't able to get a decent shot off. No matter, Alexander Frolov brought home the bacon with his shot and the Stars left LA with only one point. Thursday the Kings face the Stars again, this time at the American Airlines Center. Fingers crossed.

P.S. Hey, Dallas fans. Why are you paying Sean Avery so much money again?

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Kings World Podcast - Ep 1.18

Monday, November 10, 2008

This episode marked the start of Erik Ersberg in the net for the Kings. Marie and I relive the past week and the Kings’ three games against Anaheim, Florida, and St. Louis. We then look ahead to the next three, which has the Kings going against Dallas twice and Nashville once. Marie gives the listener a bit more of her mind concerning the Rinkside View that a FSN executive producer is pressing upon the unwilling viewers. We give props to our Player of the Week and end with the usual business.

Please check us out at our respective blogs and at Kings World Podcast.

We welcome any and all feedback! Please direct any questions, comments, or thoughts to kingsworldpodcast[at]gmail[dot]com.

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You're My Boy, Drew; Kings 5, Blues 3

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Los Angeles Kings faced off against the St. Louis Blues last night and my boys got two more points to get out of 5th in the Pacific Division. They've also won two in a row, which may seem pathetic, I know, but really, it's the Kings. I have to take the positives where I can. This is actually going to be an abbreviated review since I have stuff to do today and don't have too much time here. Busting out the list format while dropping the wicked beats (...was that nerdy?....):

  • Drew Doughty got a goal and an assist while logging in 25:09 of ice time. I don't think he needs his ego fluffed up anymore this week.
  • Anze Kopitar finally scored his second goal of the season. He really needed this and it was an absolute beauty of a goal. To watch him take the put around the back of the net and beat Manny Legace before he could shift over the left side of the net was fantastic. He finished off the rest of the game getting 2 assists.
  • Alexander Frolov, Tom Preissing, and Dustin Brown all got a goal and an assist as well.
  • This was definitely a more exciting game than the last one against the Florida Panthers. The Blues were able to get on the board with 3 goals of their own, but we clinched the game with an empty-netter with less than 2 minutes to go.
  • It was nice to see Sean O'Donnell sticking up for his teammates in the middle of the third period. Peter Harrold had gotten his second hit to his head of the game and O'Donnell wasn't going to let the Blues goes quietly into the night.
  • I would also like to give the standard golf clap to Erik Ersberg. This was his third start and he's looked pretty damn good in all three games. Note (which I've already told 1/2 of KingsCast): if you pick up Ersberg as a goalie in your fantasy league, don't be expecting great save percentage numbers. The Kings have been letting so few shots on goal that every goal Ersberg lets in drops that percentage severely. That being said, he's pretty solid otherwise for the wins and GAA numbers.
  • Last thing: three of the four goals last night were on the PP. Sweetness.
This has been a pretty good week for the Kings and I can only hope they continue the momentum through to the next week where we face the Dallas Stars twice and Nashville Predators. I would like to see Kopi and Patrick O'Sullivan get on the board in terms of goals for next week. Everyone else can continue in said fashion. Wait... I'd also like to see Kyle Calder elsewhere on the roster, like say, the 3rd or 4th line.

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The Panthers Are Just Plain Awful; Kings 3, Panthers 2

Friday, November 7, 2008

Just as my title says: The Panthers are just plain awful. And, really, that's saying a lot coming from a Kings fan. Well, first off, I couldn't believe how few people were at Staples Center. A couple thousand? But, there is really no draw with the Panthers even though they're one of those teams that is tucked away in the Eastern Conference. The game started and the Kings proceeded to hold a clinic for the first two periods. They utterly dominated the Panthers in basically every facet of the game even though there was definitely a different feel to the flow of the game. All of the missed passes, turnovers, and takeaways made the movements of the players a lot more fluid as opposed to when the passes land and either team sets up shop in the offensive zones, which is a big difference (for me) between the Eastern and Western Conference, respectively.

Is it too early to have thoughts about Rookie of the Year? No, really; c'mon, hear me out.

All offseason I thought that Teddy Purcell was a shoe-in for that Calder Trophy, but when he was reassigned to Manchester (boo), I was wondering if Drew Doughty might be able to garner said attention. First off, I definitely think he can make a strong case for himself with how well he's playing and will continue to play. Secondly, I believe that Oscar Moller could also make quite a showing. Don't get me wrong, there are plently of other rookies out there who are making a loud splash just because they're playing in the Eastern Conference (a.k.a. Luke Schenn) *doe eyes* ... sorry, ummm. Oh yeah, but if Moller can maintain his presence and points production, I'd be utterly appalled if he wasn't in at least the top 5 among all rookies. The first thing I noticed when I glanced at the stats sheet after the game was how little the ice time was for him (13:52); I say this because I thought he was out there for more shifts (16) than he actually got.

(Noah Graham/Getty Imgaes)
This is basically how the game went.

I'm really glad that Brian Boyle finally got his first goal of the season. I was starting to wonder if he'd ever get his first point, but his line with Patrick O'Sullivan and Peter Harrold was definitely a noticeable one. Sully continues to be his scrappy self and Harrold... isn't falling down as much anymore. Tom Preissing's goal on the PP was so predictable. The Kings had been cycling really well and everyone was bunched up to the left of Thomas Vokoun. When the pass got to Tommy P on the left point, he wound up and I knew Vokoun wouldn't be able to slide across the crease in time. Slick.

There were some good slugs to the face with two fights to entertain the crowd of an announced 26 people. Kyle Calder got in a healthy scrap with Keith Ballard and Denis Gauthier got in a heated tussle with Gregory Campbell. I'm not really sure what sparked this second matchup, but Gauts went at him with all the heart he could muster and the fight ended in about 4.985 seconds.


The best stat was, once again, the shots on. After the first two periods, the Panthers only had 6 shots on Erik Ersberg. 6! They ended wtih 15 while the Kings put 32 on Vokoun. Annoyingly enough, the Panthers sprung to life with about 10 minutes to go in the game and Nathan Horton scored a shorty on Ersberg with less than a minute left to make it 3-2. It's not that the Kings started to fatigue and unravel in the waning minutes of the game; rather, the Panthers decided to show up and started to apply the pressure. Who knows what the outcome of the game would have been if they had come out the gates like how they finished. But, let's not live in the past; the Kings have bigger fish to fry tomorrow when they face the St. Louis Blues.


An addendum:
(panthers.nhl.com)

When I think about the supporting cast in professional sports, I think about men in suits surrounding their respective teams. More often than not, these faces are nameless and are only supposed to be a supplemental part of a whole. Last night, this man, Jamie Pringle, made an utter fool of himself seemingly without knowing it. The Panthers' television broadcast booth was empty save for one gentleman and this lunatic. The one gentleman sat in the booth and appeared to just be a calm observer. Mr. Pringle, on the other hand, stood for the entire 60 minutes and was visibly irritated at every Panthers' missed pass or failure to hold on to the puck. Everything the Panthers did wrong, this man stood there shaking his head, gesturing with his arms, and speaking with the statistician in the radio broadcast booth who was also visibly reacting to the Panthers.

I had figured that the former held some sort of position on the coaching staff who took up shop in the booth by himself. Later a friend pointed out that it could have been as simple as this guy's job being on the line, which may have been why he couldn't control himself. I thought this was a very good point, so I went online this morning and tried to figure out who this turkey was. Turns out he's the video coach, which I'm assuming is a job that causes him much internal pain. Be that as it may, act like a freaking professional! Especially when you're the visiting team! You know never know when someone's going to take an interest in what the hell you're doing.

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Heading In The Right Direction: Ducks 1, Kings 0 (OT)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

On election day my Los Angeles Kings faced the dreaded Anaheim Ducks. Freeway Faceoff? Please. The Kings went into this game on a 4-game losing streak and the Ducks have been doing... well (boo), but the latter did not leave with two points easily won. The Kings fought and grinded and did their best to get any pucks past JS Giguere's mattress pads; alas, after 61 minutes, the game was done. Overall, the boys stood up to the Ducks and did a commendable job. I was definitely wary at the start of the game since the Ducks were doing everything they could to clog up the neutral zone, which caused the Kings to take the first half of the first period trying to get their legs under them. It was honestly getting a bit boring with the Kings not being able to get across the offensive blueline without chipping in the puck and chasing after it. The puck possession was a little questionable since the passes were going all over the place.

I forgot to check the stats sheet last night, so no numbers for this post.

Things I didn’t like:

  • Matt Moulson being reassigned to the Manchester Monarchs. What the eff!
  • Peter Harrold skating as a forward.
  • Brian Boyle on a line with Peter Harrold.
  • Patrick O’Sullivan having to skate with these two yahoos.

First, Erik Ersberg looked solid. This isn’t to say that I think he’s leaps and bounds better than Jason LaBarbera. I just thought that the Swede was square on almost all of the shots that came his way. That being said, there were some tense moments when he was flopping around when a rebound was snagged by a Duck, but, other than that, he looked good. But one game isn’t going to convince me; I basically won’t have full confidence in Ersberg unless he pulls a Ty Conklin from last year. I need to know that he can stand up to teams who are prepared to face him in the net. If other teams know his tendencies in net and he can STILL shut them down, then I’ll give him my full vote of confidence. But, of course, I’ll be cheering for him to be successful for every game. I’m obviously not going to turn on him if he has one bad game.

Second, the goal to end the game in overtime basically sickened me; a slapper from Chris Pronger with a screen in front of Ersberg. Vomit inducing indeed. It was such a shock when it went in; it felt like it just happened way too quickly. But no clich├ęs here, the Ducks scored and the Kings grabbed a point. They’re still last in the standings and, of course, the Western Conference, but by no means are they out of the race. It’s the beginning of November for Christ’s sake! I’m so focused on the Kings working on their consistency that I haven’t even been watching the standings all that much.

In conclusion: keys for Thursday's game against Florida? Umm, win?

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Kings World Podcast - Ep 1.17

Sunday, November 2, 2008

This week Marie and I decided to meet up and have a dinner before recording. Once the spotlight hit our voices, we focused on how the Kings spent their last week. We reviewed the games against Detroit, Vancouver, and Calgary and looked ahead to Anaheim, Florida, and St. Louis. The topic that dominated much of the podcast was that of lineups; trying to remember them and subsequently complaining about them. After some confusion and talking about other various “important” matters, we pick the Player of the Week. If you’ve been watching the Kings this week, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Please check us out at our respective blogs and at Kings World Podcast.

We welcome any and all feedback! Please direct any questions, comments, or thoughts to kingsworldpodcast[at]gmail[dot]com.

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Close, But No Cigar: Calgary 3, Kings 2

Saturday, November 1, 2008

If games were only 50 minutes long, the Kings might have been able to win tonight. But seeing as how The Man hates the Kings, Calgary was able to leave Los Angeles two points richer.

As sure as the sky is blue, the Kings went down 2-0 early in the game, and, as sure as how LA sees some rain, they were able to tie it up with just a few minutes left to go in the game. Alas, Daymond Langkow scored Calgary's third goal and Miikka Kiprousoff decided he wanted to give a bit of effort and shutdown the Kings off their closing attempts. There were numerous scrambles and shots on at the end of the game, but they weren't able to get anything past Kiprousoff. Even though the Kings lost and are now on a 4-game losing streak, I'm not mad at them tonight. This effort was completely different than their last game against Vancouver, which was basically disgusting and deserving of withheld nookie. Tonight they looked like they were actually playing with effort and gusto and gumption, but, it's the Kings, and they end looking like their typical selves by giving up that late go-ahead goal.

On an individual focus, I'm unsure as to why there is a hype surrounding a player's return when they come back to face their old team. I mean, I buy into too, but it usually ends up meaning nothing and we all get on with our super exciting lives. Michael Cammalleri's return to Staples Center really wasn't anything to hoot over. He got some shots off but wasn't making too much of a splash. He had one recorded shot and had almost 14 minutes of TOI. ZZZ...zzzz...zzz...

The highlight of the game: Oscar Moller scoring twice in the 10th game of the season, which marked the day after the Kings made the decision to keep him here instead of sending him back to Chiliwack. He made quite a statement tonight with the only goals scored by the Kings. How can you not love that face??

(Noah Graham/Getty Images)
What a freaking cutie pie

On to everyone else, I guess. Jarret Stoll was slated to be on the 4th line at the left wing, but he was definitely not skating with those guys. I'm not sure how to gauge the lines as a whole since the game was so much better than the last. I think it'd be unfair to critique any line on its own, so I won't. On an individual note, this was another game where Patrick O'Sullivan was seemingly rubbing his nose where the Flames didn't want him to be. He got into a scuffle with James Vandermeer and there was some heming and hawing and when Sully wanted to get it going again, but the ref holding him basically body slammed him as best he could while on skates. Was that really necessary? I have to ask since he probably could have taken different measures to get Sully to back off. At the same time, I'm sure a slap on the wrist wouldn't have sufficed. In any case, the latter gets awarded with a 10-minute misconduct and Sully gets away with just a 2-minute Roughing minor.

An upside: two areas where we utterly dominated the Flames were shots on and hits. The Kings put 36 shots on net to the Flames' 21. Dustin Brown tallied 8 well-noticed hits. He was an animal out there, and the closest to him was Michal Handzus with 5 hits. Zeus is also still ridiculous with his faceoffs. Hats off to your 74% (17 wins, 6 losses)! I'm hoping the day comes soon enough to where I'm not shocked when you're above 50% on any given night. Going back to the hits, there were only two guys who didn't record a face to the glass motion, Tom Preissing and Alexander Frolov. This is fine seeing as how we're never expecting hits from these guys anyway. The most shocking stat goes to little Moller. He had the two Kings goals while only getting 3 shots on net and 14:29 of TOI! Badass or the Little Engine That Could? You decide.

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Happy Birthday to Matt Moulson

I thought I'd take the time out to wish Matt Moulson a happy birthday.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MATT!

Today he is turning a stately 25 and is officially a quarter of a century old. There are probably a ton of activities that the normal person would want to do on their birthday; for instance, riding the Ferris Wheel at the state fair with the local carnies, staring at the pandas at the LA Zoo while they slowly but surely eat and eat and eat to their hearts' delight (which might prove a difficult task since there aren't any pandas at the LA Zoo), and/or ripping up waves and getting ripped with the mangy surfers in one of the many beach cities in So Cal.

Presented with this list, he'd probably say, "Uhh, none of the above, silly girl. But I would like to get back on the top line."

Huh, what a novel idea. One that Terry Murray apparently heard because he's back on top and, really, what better way to celebrate your birthday than to be placed back on the top line with Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar! At the same time, the other three lines will be subsequently tweaked. Most notably with Jarret Stoll being moved to the 4th-line left wing position. I'm not sure what is going to happen exactly, but I'm just hoping the Kings can pull out a win over the Calgary Flames tonight who are coming in with 13 points while we have a measly 7.

Go, Kings!

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