Finishers Anyone?: 1-1-0

Thursday, February 26, 2009

This back-to-back the Kings just finished illustrated their need to get a finisher. Find the guy that can get the puck in the net when it matters; not just in the game, but at this point in the season. Is this person Dustin Brown? Maybe it’s that simple; he stayed in Los Angeles for these two games for the birth of his second child (CONGRATS!). Or maybe Brownie’s not the answer.

On Wednesday the Kings were in Minnesota taking on the Wild and they actually had a pretty good game. They played smart, defensive hockey and Jonathan Quick was solid in goal. It was a low scoring game with only two goals total in regulation, but isn’t that what typically happens? The games get so important down the stretch that no one wants to make any mistakes? Old news, everyone knows this. So the game continues into overtime and then to the shootout. My “favorite” shootout player, Jack Johnson, was once again in the top three. But wouldn’t you know it, he was the only one that scored and they had to go to a fourth round. P.S. Sully, everyone knows your shootout move now; you’re not surprising anyone. So who came in to save the day? Drew Doughty. His weird stick-handling shuffle had Niklas Backstrom apparently reeling because he couldn’t stop Doughty’s accidental slip up through his fivehole.

So the rookie defenseman saved the day and the Kings gained two points, but Minnesota was able to gain a point and move up a bit in the standings themselves. Not a bad finish to the game, but more regulation wins are going to be the key for the Kings because their shootout record has been pretty bad this season and they can’t afford to be giving up a point every time to the opposition. Once again, old news.

The game against the Philadelphia Flyers last night was a bit different from their previous game. The Kings came out and played hard against an aggressive team but couldn’t get the job done, but it wasn’t for lack of effort or drive. They outshot the Flyers 34-20 but they were still shutout 2-0 with the second goal being an empty netter. It was pretty frustrating to see that none of the shots were getting past Marty Biron. Patrick O'Sullivan and Jarret Stoll seemed to have so many chances, but neither could finish! The Kings abilitly to shut down the Flyers was great to see and their efforts remain promising in that they may reach that 8th spot in the western conference.

The trade deadline is coming up and I'm not sure what, if anything, Dean Lombardi is going to do. He stated that the team isn't at the point where they're going to give up a ton for a scorer; couple that with watching the team on a game-by-game basis and I'm pretty sure the Kings aren't going to be making any drastic moves by the deadline. Brownie is scheduled to return by the next game against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday and they can still recall Oscar Moller if they need a further shake up. If they don't make the playoffs, this will still be an exciting end to the season for the Kings.


Kings World Podcast - Ep 1.29

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Marie and I are reporting this week that maybe the Kings weren’t as good as we had hoped. After a stellar week two weeks prior, the Kings failed to gain any ground in the standings going 1-2-1 this past week. The Pacific Division games are their usual unpredictable selves while the game against the Atlanta Thrashers proved to be a wild one. After 12 regulation goals and a 4-round shootout, the Kings fail to gain two points there. This next week sees the Kings playing three games away from Staples Center, which could be the remedy to their ailing. We also discuss their findings from commentors on what they thought were the most annoying lines to hear at hockey games. Please let us know if you agree or disagree.

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.


Not Terrible: Sharks 4, Kings 2

Friday, February 20, 2009

On the back half of this quick road trip the Kings went into the Shark Tank where the Sharks have been non-stop road-team killers. Obviously I’m not surprised that the Kings didn’t win, but they weren’t completely outworked either. They put 32 shots on Evgeni Nabokov and thankfully held the Sharks to 40. Yes, that is a lot compared to what the Kings had been letting on their own goaltender, but given the circumstances, it wasn’t too shabby. The game ended with the Sharks winning 4-2 and I’m kinda glad it wasn’t a blowout even though I was expecting a dog fight til the end.

This game was televised on Center Ice since FSN decided it wasn’t important enough to carry, you know, they're just a divisional rival that is in the top tier of the league. So I got to watch the San Jose feed with Randy Hahn and Drew Remenda who I actually really like. After living in northern California for a number of years, I got used to their banter and chemistry and they’re definitely not homers when it comes to the Sharks. My favorite line from Randy Hahn was, “…and the puck hit Derek Armstrong on the butt,” but the snickering from Drew Remenda after a three-second pause made it that much funnier.

The majority of the game was pretty even and I’m happy that the Kings were able to hang on as long as they were able to, but they’re gonna have to start bearing down a bit more to make sure they’re getting to the end of games without scrambling for a goal or two. If they could just start games with the same energy they have at the end of games, fans could most likely watch these contests without fear of the inevitable semi-meltdown that arrives in the third period.

Once again Denis Gauthier displays his penchant for playing the opposing player’s head instead of his body. Dude, you’re not supposed to ram a guy’s head into the glass! Okay, that’s “the type of game” you play, but can you just open your eyes a bit and think about what might happen if you smash that guy’s nose into the boards? Anyway, he received a double minor for boarding and roughing, which I was fine with. But two penalties I was not okay with were the high-sticking call on Jarret Stoll (because it wasn’t even his stick that hit Mike Grier in the face) and the interference call on Erik Ersberg. Example of why Drew Remenda isn’t a homer like Gayward is: he called this penalty “a gutsy move” on the ref’s part. Retrospectively, I guess it could have gone either way, but it wasn’t like Ersberg purposefully went after the Sharks player.

Rob Blake love: So it turns out Blake isn’t a fuddy duddy. His contributions on the blueline are pretty substantial with the Sharks and is getting ample time on the power play. His cannon of a shot hasn’t diminished at all and I’m pretty happy that he’s earning his paycheck up in San Jose.

Ending note: For your listening pleasure, James Gralin of Jerseys and Hockey Love interviewed me on his west coast swing along with Jibblescribbits and PJ Swenson on the Rink Podcast. I’m the first of three interviewees so I hope you enjoy!


Utter Ridiculousness & A Solid Showing

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

On Monday the 16th, the Kings faced the Atlanta Thrashers at Staples Center and it was a wild game. Having the emotional and physical highs and lows with 6 goals for and 6 goals against caused me sheer exhaustion. If I ever wanted to know what it was like to be bipolar, I got a good taste of it. This game was basically a must-win with the worst case scenario being the Kings getting a single point, but when the Thrashers scored the first three goals in the opening 8 minutes, it looked like the Kings were toast. But they came back, but then the Thrasher went ahead, and back and forth and back and forth with broken plays everywhere. Heading into the third period, the Kings were still down a few goals with the shots far in their favor. The goal to tie the game came with only 5 seconds left from Anze Kopitar and caused Staples to erupt.

The overtime was just as exciting and just as dominated by the Kings. After five minutes of stress, the shootout began with Atlanta's Erik Christensen getting the game winner. Once again Jack Johnson got an opportunity in the shootout without scoring. I'm sooooo curious to know why he's getting opportunity after opportunity. The Kings scruffed up one point in this game and looked like they cleaned up a bit for the next game against the Ducks.

Side note: This game was also celebrating Armenian Heritage Night and the arena was in full swing. Zach Bogosian is the first Armenian player in the NHL so the Kings celebrated that fact since there is a very large Armenian population in the Los Angeles area. Here's an interview from the Thrashers website with Bogosian. Also I met up with James Gralin, blogger of the Colorado Avalanche persuasion. He is on a west coast swing of the hockey teams and he went to two Kings games. Go to his blog, Jerseys and Hockey Love, to get an outsider's point of view and take a peek at his pictures!

(Getty Images/Victor Decolongon)
Too cute

Tonight's game against the Anaheim Ducks was a different beast altogether. The Kings never trailed in the entire 60 minutes and ended the game without having any brain cramps. Interestingly enough the Kings only tossed 26 shots on Jonas Hiller while Jonathan Quick saw 31, but I kind of see this as the Kings playing a more efficient game, especially compared to that strange game on Monday. Overall the game was a bit boring, but as long as it ended with the Kings grabbing two more points, I could be satisfied. There wasn't too much going on overall, but there was a fight (Wayne Simmonds and Mike Brown) and a scuffle at the end of the game with Quick getting mixed up in it but only because the scrum began with him getting taken down behind the net.

(Getty Images/Debora Robinson)
Wow, what a waste of space.

At the end of today the Kings have 59 points (tied with the Minnesota Wild) and are 3 points out of the 8th position. Tomorrow the Kings go into the Shark Tank where the Sharks have been tearing it up. They are 24-2-3 at home, but the Kings have been riding a hot streak on the road. Games against the Sharks are always unpredictable, so this one will definitely be exciting.


Kings World Podcast - Ep 1.28

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Here is EPISODE 28: Back To Reality!

The Kings were back in Staples for two of the three games this past week and Marie and I wonder whether they’ve been brought back to reality or not. The Kings haven’t been in the playoff hunt for a number of years and it’s apparent to everyone in the locker room, in the seats at Staples, and those viewing at home. Atlanta, Anaheim, San Jose, and Phoenix are up next for this week and the ladies give out Valentine’s to a couple of unpredictable (yet predictable) Kings players.

Question to the listeners: what are some annoying comments that you have overheard at hockey games? Let us know so we can read them on the air!

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.


Back At It: Flames 2, Kings 0

Friday, February 13, 2009

I think the Kings should move to the Eastern Conference because it's clear that they'd make the playoffs every single year if they were in the east. The Kings returned to Staples Center after a very successful roadtrip only to find that (surprise, surprise) the West smashes the East in terms of competition and quality of life (I like being warm). Not only did the Calgary Flames shut out my team, Michael Cammalleri got the first goal of the game and his 29th of the season. I won't lie; I booed. How in the hell did he only score 19 all last season. Yeah, he was out with that stupid rib injury; excuses excuses, Cammy.

The Kings threw the normal number of shots on with a bunch of ridiculous chances, but nothing happened on the scoreboard. It was definitely frustrating to watch especially because the puck spent the majority of the game in the offensive zone. One thing I liked was that Jack Johnson and Drew Doughty got more than a minute to play with each other 5-on-5. Those two are so skilled that I'm hoping they don't create a top-heavy defensive core, and I only say that because Kyle Quincey's play has been dropping as of late in that he's taking more penalties because his temper seems to get the better of him more often than not.

I'm not going to jump to any conclusions because this was their first game back from being on the east coast for a week and a half. We'll let the next two home games just play themselves out.


JMFJ: Kings 4, Islanders 3 (SO)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I don't have enough energy to write a full post, but I will say that out of these last five road games, this one against the New York Islanders has been the weakest one for the Kings. Well... you could argue that the one against the Ottawa Senators sucked too, but at least that was won without too much trouble. This game, on the other hand, was a different beast. The Islanders were forechecking the crap out of the Kings and I wasactually pretty surprised to learn that they're dead last in the league. Then again, one game does not a team make; I should know, I root for the Kings.

(Getty Images/McIssac)
Way. To. Go. You. Beast.

So this has been the second game where Jack Johnson has taken the 3rd attempt in the shootout. The first time was in his first game back from his injury a couple of weeks ago. I wondered what the hell Terry Murray was doing then, and tonight I threw my hands in the air when I saw the lineup flash on the TV screen whilst wondering where in the heck Anze Kopitar has been in the shootout. But Jonathan Quick (who was looking quite mortal tonight) made all three saves and Jack MF Johnson sealed the game with a nifty deck to the right and swinging the puck the other way. I will admit, if Kyle Okposo had made his attempt, I'd give him the sweetest shot of the night with that weird backhanded drag.

The Kings leave the east coast with another two points and come back to Staples Center for a three-game homestand before hitting the road again. It's been a pretty damn good road trip and I can't wait to see the boys in LA!


Kings World Podcast - Ep 1.27

Sunday, February 8, 2009

This week the Kings surprise the both of us (me and Marie) by getting six points out of a possible six while in the middle of a five-game road trip. They faced the Ottawa Senators, Washington Capitals, and New Jersey Devils where two out of the three have been doing very well. Marie and I have plenty to talk about from Davis Drewiske to Alexander Ovechkin to Michael Cammalleri. This is a jam packed episode so please listen and enjoy!

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.


What a Road Trip: Kings 3, Devils 1

Saturday, February 7, 2009

This Kings continued their east coast swing today and played their fourth game of a five-game road trip. They hadn't played well the last two meetings against the New Jersey Devils, but tonight turned out to be quite different. I think the biggest shock was when the Kings started out the first two shifts hustling their tails off in the offensive zone. I can't remember the last time where the Kings were in the opposition's zone to start off a game. They weren't in there for just one shift, but two! I had a feeling that the game would turn out to be a good one and they didn't disappoint. Jarret Stoll and Anze Kopitar got on the scoreboard and Patrick O'Sullivan followed through on his penalty shot. Overall, I didn't really have any complaints with this game (and I can't say that often). The forwards have really been stepping it up and getting pucks past goalies. They were a lot more controlled in that department tonight than they were in the last game against the Washington Capitals. The Devils only got 26 shots on Quick and the Kings put 32 on Scott Clemmensen.

Once again, Jonathan Quick has been quietly impressive in net. He's been making solid saves and, at the same time, been making the big impressive saves. He's stopping pucks that Jason LaBarbera just couldn't seem to ever stop, which automatically means that Quick isn't on anyone's hit list in the Los Angeles area. He's smart and shifty and I like it.

(Getty Images/Jim McIssac)
Yeah Quick!

This game gives the Kings 53 points and places them in 11th place in the Western Conference. The crazy thing is that they're two points out of the 8th seed since the 6th seed all the way to the 13th seed are separated by just five points! I'm not ringing any playoff bells just yet. I don't want that to be focus right now; the Kings need to work on their consistency within individual games. BUT if they come out and play the way they did tonight against the Devils on a more consistent basis, I wouldn't be surprised if they made a solid run at a playoff spot. It's not entirely out of the question, but they could easily crumble, which wouldn't be surprising. I'd definitely be pissed if they started going downhill, but I wouldn't be surprised.


Hot Damn: Kings 5, Capitals 4

Friday, February 6, 2009

Breakneck speed with aggressive forecheck. That's the type of game the Washington Capitals came out and played last night. And man, talk about exciting. The Caps and Kings battled it out at the Verizon Center with the latter as the victors with all the spoils in the end. I can't really say that the Kings couldn't keep up with the Caps, because they clearly could; rather, the Kings were playing another style of game to where they couldn't get the last 20 minutes to look like the first 40. After Alexander Semin scored only 15 seconds in, the Kings played like gangbusters and scored the next three goals.

I'm not exactly sure what the style-of-play identity is for the Kings. Are they a team that is slow and methodical or are they a group that adapts to whatever style of play the other team brings? I'm not 100% sold either way; I've seen the Kings play well both ways but also play horribly as well. Sometimes they play well and shittily at the same time, but that's beside the point. I'd like to have a solid identity instead of having to think every other week, "Hey guys, can you stop playing like you're in a mini-mite league?" Maybe the team's identity is being consistently inconsistent. I remember thinking that a lot last season.

I know I'm talking like the Kings did poorly last night; the true is, they didn't. The forwards were grinding it out, the defensemen were (at times) chasing the Caps forwards around, and Jonathan Quick was a stud. Absolute stud once again. The Kings let an uncharacteristic 45 shots against, but that wasn't due to them leaving their goalie out to dry. I mean, c'mon, it's the Caps. When that much firepower is looking straight at you with some pretty solid passing, I'm just glad that only four pucks got past Quick. On the other end, Jose Theodore looked terrible. What was the deal? He looked unprepared to play any team last night and completely out of position. After Anze Kopitar's second goal, he kind of stumbled backward and had to hold on to the crossbar to keep his balance. I have no idea what was going on, but I'm not going to fret over it.

One last thing: the fact that Alexander Ovechkin plays nearly all two minutes of a Caps PP is insane to me. Yeah, he's then potentially potent for a full two minutes, but at the same time he looks lacksidasical when the puck isn't near him and only springs alive when he knows the puck is going to come his way. Is that really the best way to go about it or should I just let it go because it's Ovechkin? Oh well, the only thing that matters is that the Kings came out with the two points. They've been doing well on the road, so I'm hoping that the "consistently inconsistent" thing doesn't come back on Saturday against the Devils.


Bored To Tears: Kings 1, Senators 0

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Kings played the Ottawa Senators where they won 1-0 in a shutout victory. Seriously, thank god the Kings won because I would have been pissed if I was subjected to watching this game end up in a loss to the Senators. I'm not exactly sure if I'm shocked or not over how the Kings played tonight. Yeah, they came out with the win, but their team effort was seriously unimpressive. The Kings and the Sens spent much of the game missing passes and stealing pucks and creating turnovers and being plain sloppy. I'm definitely glad the Kings got the two points because the Kings needed them and the Senators really just need to realize that it's not the coach that's the problem. You fire the guy and lose the next game, THAT'S something that doesn't surprise me.

What was a bit interesting was the fact that either team got as many shots as they did on the respective goalies. 26 for the Kings and 29 for the Senators. My god, even as I write this recap, I am bored. To. Tears.

But I AM thankful that I was able to watch this on my lovely Center Ice. Seeing the Kings on the ice with the Senators was a very different image but their styles of play were melting into each other in that it looked pretty awful. One good thing was that Jonathan Quick got a shutout by making save after save on weak shots and feeble attempts at the goal. I don't think I've seen a team have as many close calls like the Senators did with nothing to show for it. They got pucks so close to Quick with no defenders to help that, of course, I was expecting them to score. Alas, the Sens can't even score with nothing but Quick and air between them and the mesh backing of the goal. Consequently, when they failed to score, I laughed. The game was a bit ridiculous overall.

Hands down, the worst call was a tripping penalty against Drew Doughty in the second half of the second period. He had to chase down a Sen and as he was going stride-for-stride, Doughty took the inside lane to the goal mouth, did his usual splay in front of the net, and swung his stick around to hit the puck off the Sens' stick. He was successful but apparently his elbow caught the guy's foot a split second before his stick made contact with the puck. Maybe it's because I've seen Doughty do this move successfully many times that I got pissed when he was assessed a penalty! It looked clean! Wait a second, that's right, I'm biased.

Denis Gauthier was assessed a five-game suspension by the NHL for his hit on Josh Gorges of the Montreal Canadiens during Saturday's game. As a result, the Kings called up Davis Drewiske from the Manchester Monarchs. C'mon guys, was it too expensive to get Tom Preissing on a plane and out to the east coast? Really? You're gonna do that to him? Drewiske was nothing to write home about, but, then again, neither is Gauthier, so I guess it basically evened out in the end.

So Michael Handzus got the lone goal of the game by getting the puck and sending it five-hole on their goalie at close range. It was a very unassuming move and I was pretty satisfied with the win even though there were still about three minutes left in the game. Like the commentators said, you got the feeling that whoever scored first would come out the winner. Done and done.


Kings World Podcast - Ep 1.26

Monday, February 2, 2009

Tonight Marie was delayed by traffic and subsequently absent from the podcast, but Sherry of Scarlett Ice was gracious enough to be a guest this week. She comes on the show in a very timely manner seeing as how Craig Hartsburg was let go as of Monday morning from the Ottawa Senators. A very unfortunate event for her team, but she is on the show and sounding not completely cheerful but not ready to throw her team under the bus... I think. The Kings are their usual selves and hopefully on the upswing. They head into this week going up against 3 eastern conference teams. Please listen and enjoy!

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.


Oh The Pain! Canadians 4, Kings 3

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The start of this 5-game road trip looked to be a fantastic outing. The Kings were looking solid in their passing, skating, and defensive play. Last season when the Montreal Canadiens came to LA, they outworked and outskated the Kings; this game proved to be quite different. The Kings set the tone right from the start; they dictated the speed and flow of the puck and the Canadiens were the ones that had to do the adapting. The first period saw the Kings leading the way but little did I know that by the end of the game, I'd be in for shock and disappointment... and with no points to show for it.

Let's get the whole Denis Gauthier incident out of the way. I'm not going to go into whether I think he needs to get suspended for his hit on Josh Georges or not. The fact that I don't think he's a great player overrides his action yesterday. I was irritated that he was in the lineup to begin with, and watching him leave his feet to land an elbow on Gorges' head proved my point. If you want to vote on how many games he should be suspended, go to James Mirtle's post and then head over to Puck Daddy for some thoughts on it. I really couldn't care less.

Something that annoyed me: The announcer for the Canadiens. What a homer, seriously. And when Wayne Simmonds fought Max Pacioretty, it seemed like it ended almost with a tie, but I gave it to Simmonds because he landed more fists. This announcer said something like, "Both benches are cheering and I don't know why." What do you mean you don't know why? Are you a person who thinks the game should be without fighting? That comment and others put a sour taste in my mouth and I was irriated with his play-by-play for the rest of the game.

Once again the Kings held their opponents to shots-on in the mid-20s at 26 and they got 32 shots to Carey Price. But things fell apart in the third period when the Canadiens came back to tie it and got the go-ahead with less than a minute to go. The first half of the game had the Habs getting penalties here and there, but in the third, the Kings took five total penalties. I didn't even realize this until I just looked at the stats sheet, but Jarret Stoll received a 10-minute misconduct with less than a minute to go in the game. Maybe I was too upset to even realize this happened, but I still have no idea what it was for.

At this point I'm just upset that the Kings lost. The end of the game was just ridiculous and I don't believe the Habs deserved the win. Yes, I can be a homer because this is my team and they were robbed, but I'm not boohoo-ing over this loss. There is no singular player that I can hang this loss on. I'm not even sure what the problem was on the Kings' side; the Habs just seemed to get their legs back under them and finish out the game. Anyway, the only thing the Kings should do from this loss is to learn from it and move on to their next game against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday evening.


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