Moving On Up

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Today is the day!!! This is my final post here on A Queen Among Kings, but I'm in no way halting my writing of all things Los Angeles Kings hockey. This is actually the big change I mentioned a few weeks ago. As of you reading this post, I have moved over to SB Nation to manage the Kings blog there. I round out their NHL family of bloggers and hope everyone will move there with me to join the large hockey community that already exists.

Another fun announcement is that the name of my blog is changing too! I will be operating under Jewels From The Crown. I hope everyone follows the link over there and continues the discussion.

Thanks so much to everyone for visiting this site since its inception! I truly appreciate it! I'll definitely miss this blog, no doubt. But I hope you see you over at Jewels From The Crown!


Extra! Extra! The Kings Are Mortal!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

After watching the Los Angeles Kings throw everything at the Detroit Red Wings including the fixtures on the toilet on Thursday, it was hard to get up for the game against the St. Louis Blues last night. There was basically nothing the Kings could do to match the intensity and desperation they showed on Thursday, but I faithfully watched the second game wondering what was going to happen. Let's just say the number of hits to Blues' faces matched the number of shots on Jimmy Howard.

I can't remember the last time I was brought to tears from the result of a Kings game, but my mascara was definitely being smeared from under my eyes after Darren Helm spun away from Sean O'Donnell in the corner only to beat Jonathan Quick through the legs after a poke check loosened the puck from Helm's grip. The remaining 17 seconds had my hands occupying my eye space from the sheer output of effort and sustained attack from the Kings, which is usually the complete opposite in these games. I couldn't believe how quickly I was brought to my knees after Ryan Smyth had me running down the hall screaming with his power play goal late in the third period. I was expecting nothing other than overtime to come around after the tying goal. Maybe next time I shouldn't be so expectant of an outcome.

When one is given the task of following a great act with his or her own, the pressure to "bring it" is as heavy as an anvil on the chest of the performer. For the Kings, it's a rare occurrence to have an insane effort result in a loss knowing they will have to follow it up with a game against a team possessing a boring yet (arguably) similar style of play to their own. This was definitely the case against the Blues at the Staples Center on Saturday night. The slow start let me know it wasn't going to be anything like the Red Wings game a mere two days earlier. The biggest difference was the underwhelming performance of Quick. Perhaps the sheer number of games has caught up with this young pup, but the goals against were ugly and he was yanked after letting in four unsightly ones. Erik Ersberg stepped in with a little over 13 minutes to play, which was about the time where the Kings decided they wanted to try and win. Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown notched a goal apiece, but it wasn't enough to get the tie and at least one point.

There are a few things from the game I wanted to mention because I found them fascinating. The first is that apparently the Blues have one of the highest penalty killing percentages in the league. Where did that come from? The other is the annoying fact that Raitis Ivanans doesn't fight. Sean O'Donnell and Matt Greene scuffled against Brad Winchester and BJ Crombeen, not respectively, while Ivanans did nothing. The roles of the aforementioned Kings players are obvious and need not be explained. Let's fix this picture, people.

The next game for the Kings will be tomorrow against the San Jose Sharks. I'm not sure the outcome here since I predicted the Kings would go 5-2 during this seven-game home stand and that they would split the two games with the Sharks. They're already two down and another loss wouldn't look very good to the misty-eyed Kings fans who were hoping this squad could actually make the post season.


Ringing In The New Year!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The new year festivities brought exciting news for Los Angeles Kings fans, a team that's back on the winning side! After a four-game losing streak, an eight-day hiatus, and the start of a new decade, the Kings find themselves in the middle of a three-game winning streak with the Detroit Red Wings coming into Staples Center on Thursday the 7th. There has been a ton of news for the Kings and I've been neglecting this space for a few days, but I'm back on the horse!

Here are some updates with a bit of my hundreds and thousands served up to you, the faithful reader:
  • Drew Doughty makes the Team Canada Olympic roster as the 7th defensemen in a pretty exciting announcement ceremony on TSN with Twitter all abuzz. There were plenty of skeptics with this final choice, but after last night's game against the San Jose Sharks, Stevie Yzerman is looking very dapper with this decision. Doughty notched 4 assists in the 6-2 romping of the Sharks in their own house, no less!
  • Three Kings were named to Team USA's Olympic roster; Dustin Brown, Jack Johnson, and Jonathan Quick. The presentation of this roster after the Winter Classic was pretty awesome. I was expecting Brown and Johnson to be announced, but to see Quick's name included sent a rush of happiness down my spine. Quick has had a great season so far and this inclusion into the Olympics proves his worth.
  • Much has been said of the Dion Phaneuf hit on Anze Kopitar on December 30th; it was dirty, it was clean, and Phaneuf is a douche. This last part is true. For my two cents, the play was dirty because he was no where near the puck when he hit Kopitar, the hit was clean in that his leprous limbs were tucked in and that Kopitar did not suffer a mortal wound, but the hit was also exceedingly, disgustingly, and horrifically excessive and has no business being doled out by anyone. Glad he was ejected from the game. That is all.
  • The Kings on the World Junior teams are rounding out nicely and getting some recognition of their own. The Gold Medal game is tonight between Canada and the US making me wish everyday that I had the NHL Network.
  • This Thursday's game will start a seven-game home stand where I'm hoping the Kings pull a 5-2 record. They'll probably split the two games against the Sharks, blowout either the St. Louis Blues or Anaheim Ducks, and get shelled by the Buffalo Sabres. The contest with the Boston Bruins will be intriguing enough with the battle of the Team USA goaltenders marketed against each other.
Lastly, go Kings!


Drew Doughty Makes Team Canada Olympic Roster!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

For Los Angeles Kings fans, today's announcement of Drew Doughty being named to Team Canada in the Olympics was fantastic. Doughty was the under dog to get named to the Canadian roster with the likes of Mike Green, Jay Bouwmeester, and Dion Phaneuf possibly making the team. I am absolutely ecstatic and cannot wait for the Olympics to start!



I Was Happy For 12 Seconds

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Los Angeles Kings have played two games since Christmas and have zero points to show for it. They've lost to the Phoenix Coyotes (3-2) and Minnesota Wild (4-3); both were one-goal games and both were heart breakers. The Kings had a 6-on-3 to end the game against Phoenix with a flurry of pucks at Ilya Bryzgalov but the clock wound to 0:00 and my adrenaline died. The game last night against the Wild was played at a pace that I wish the Kings could maintain at all times. Alas, they were outmatched in the last few minutes of regulation as the Wild shut the door on them.

Drew Doughty showed up by attacking the offensive zone for a goal that the team desperately needed. The Kings have been taking one too many passes for their own good. (Scott Parse, when you're in the slot with the puck, take the goddamn shot!) So I say "thank you" to Doughty for getting his behind to the net and putting the Kings on the scoreboard. The goal by Parse to tie the game at 3 apiece was great, except for the fact that Eric Belanger slapped them in the face 12 seconds later. The Wild got their go-ahead goal and gained two more points.

You can't deny the effort and drive is there for the Kings to get as far up the standing as possible. At the same time, they're meeting teams just as hungry as them, which makes for high-paced drama at every turn. They could have been floundering at the bottom of the standings like in the past few seasons, but they're fighting every game and I can't fault them there. I think they're doing as well as they can while trying to stem the injury floodgates at the same time.

How do I feel about Teddy Purcell being on the top line? I'd call it a work in progress. Having Justin Williams out of the lineup is bad, but losing him to a broken leg is worse than people realize. He was the solid player on the top line while Anze Kopitar was struggling to find his game after Ryan Smyth left the lineup. Now that Smyth is back and Williams is out, we'll all be sitting on our hands waiting for Terry Murray's next move. I'm not sure how this is all going to shake out, but check back in for more thoughts and opinions about this topic.


Michal Handzus has been names to the Slovakian team for the Olympics. Awesome. I'm looking forward to whom from the Kings is named to Team Canada and the US team.


KingsCast Holiday Podcast

Thursday, December 24, 2009

KingsCast is out with a brand new episode! Keith, Chris, and I give thanks and well wishes along with some thoughts on the Kings. It's the usual fare with a Christmas twist, so if you have a free moment, please check it out!

Please let us know what gifts you'd like to receive from the Kings or give to the Kings!


Another One Bites The Dust; Kings 3, Oilers 2

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Los Angeles Kings lose one in Vancouver last night and win one tonight in another back-to-back. With Jarret Stoll, Wayne Simmonds, Ryan Smyth, and whoever else out of the line up, the Kings had to lose another key player in tonight's game. Jack Johnson "took one off the ankle" in the first period and was basically out for the rest of the game. Just great. It's no secret the roster has been slowly picked off by the injury monster, and tonight was no different. The Kings faced the Edmonton Oilers with a win to go into Thursday's game against the Calgary Flames still atop the West.

The rock for the Kings has been Jonathan Quick all the way. Erik Ersberg sat out this back-to-back but I felt quite comfortable with Terry Murray going with the number 1 goalie for these important games before the 8-day rest. On a personal note, I missed last night's game because, for some reason, I was recording the "wrong feed." Apparently there were two feeds coming through from Vancouver and I was on the one with horrible audio and no video. I don't even want to go into the logistics of what in the hell was going on there, but I ended up not watching the game at all. Just as well; all reports led to the conclusion that the Kings laid a rotten egg in a 3-1 loss. Gross.

On the other side of "gross," Brad Richardson had a great game notching a goal and an assist with a line mate who was equally having a great game in Dustin Brown. Speaking of, it definitely looked like Brownie was hurting after he scored his goal. Slamming into the boards when you're horizontal usually doesn't produce a good result, but he got up and was back on the ice as soon as he could. He had great chemistry with Richardson and I'm starting to see a glimpse of maybe why the Kings traded a second round pick to acquire the latter.

I'm glad Raitis Ivanans went at it with JF Jacques, but, man, a 2, 5, and 10? See ya later, Raitis. Hope that locker room keeps you company. Someone who actually stayed on the bench the entire game was Corey Elkins making his NHL debut. The consensus? He's a rookie kid. No one should be surprised by this non-revelation and I'm positive he'll be better in his next game. With having so many kids in the lineup, the shorthanded roster spread out the minutes with Matt Greene making a big showing with six registered hits and seemingly getting under the skin of Dustin Penner. Sheldon Souray and Ryan Potunly tied up the game with one goal each, but veteran Sean O'Donnell closed out the game with the winner from the point.

This current swing through Western Canada isn't breaking down doors; one win and one loss is decent and I'm content so far. The Kings were due for a loss and having it come against the Vancouver Canucks doesn't break my heart in the least bit. They always find a way to stick it to the Kings, so I'm fine with just moving along. They have one more game before this long Christmas break and I'm thinking that I should take a screen shot of the standings because you never know how long something like this can last.

Go Kings!


Kings Are Tops In The West

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Kings are currently sitting at the top of the Pacific Division and, more importantly, top of the Western Conference. This is a rare feeling for me that hasn't really set in. I can't remember the last time I felt this feeling of bliss. That being said, I will definitely loathe the day when the Kings are no longer at the top, but for now I am happy as a clam about how the Kings are performing game in, game out.

They play tonight against the Vancouver Canucks, tomorrow veresus the Edmonton Oilers, and the Calgary Flames are up on Thursday. Any evening of games could surely alter the standings, and these next three will definitely be a big test for the Kings in all aspects of their physical and mental play since they will not face another team until after Christmas on Saturday, December 26th against the Phoenix Coyotes.

The big question for this week is, how will the Kings hold up with Ryan Smyth still out of the line up along with Wayne Simmonds?


Jack Johnson's Got Skills; Kings 3, Phoenix 2 (SO)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

So I'm starting to get sick and can't focus for long stretches, thus I will keep this short and sweet. We all love bullet points, correct?

  • The Los Angeles Kings gain another two points over the Phoenix Coyotes in a 3-2 shootout victory on Thursday night. As of this morning, the Kings are a mere two points shy of the Pacific Division-leading San Jose Sharks. The Kings play the Dallas Stars tonight and another victory will bring the sort of happiness to the hearts of Kings fans that is not very often felt.
  • Oscar Moller scored his first goal of the season on the sweetest shot over Ilya Bryzgalov's left shoulder. Just to illustrate how awesome Moller is, he wasn't on the ice for more than 7 minutes the entire game! 6:49 to be exact.
  • Jack Johnson's goal from the high slot was almost a heart breaker, but he got the lucky bounce back right to him to get his third of the season (once again) over Bryzgalov's left shoulder.
  • In the longest shootout in Kings history, only two Kings scored while Jonathan Quick was the wall on the other side of the rink.
  • I must admit, Alexander Frolov is making himself noticed on the first line creating his own chances and grinding it out, but I will also say that the first line lacks the spark from the beginning of the season. I think everyone sees that, but there's no mistaking this current first line can notch some points.
  • This has to have been the most exciting game against the Coyotes in recent memory. I wasn't bored in the first 10 minutes of the game and it was a nail biter to the end.


Ersberg is a Bit Rusty; Kings 5, Sharks 4 (OT)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Los Angeles Kings were in San Jose last night to face the Sharks. The game was wide open with both goalies playing in a subpar fashion; Evgeni Nabokov was unimpressive and Erik Ersberg was quite rusty. The game ended 5-4 in OT with a sweet spin move by captain Dustin Brown who desperately needed a goal.

Come back for a full game recap tomorrow after they've also played the Phoenix Coyotes tonight.


I Love Consistency: Kings 2, Flames 1

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Los Angeles Kings had a great showing last night in their 2 to 1 win over the visiting Calgary Flames. The action was great and I can't say I've been disappointed with any one particular player as of late. Although there was one surprise from my point of view; I felt like the Kings dominated the Flames in virtually all facets of the game (except for the PK, which the Flames attack more aggressively than any other teams I've seen so far this season), but there was one particular stat that I found quite surprising. It was that the Flames outshot the Kings 27 to 16. Only 16 shots? That is pretty amazing considering how much time the Kings had possession of the puck.

Stream of consciousness to follow: Did anyone else notice that Justin Williams had a ridiculously fantastic game? He was definitely the standout for me registering the primary assist for Jarret Stoll's GWG in the second period. Stoll has also been strong on every shift; he played 19:25 last night and I think he has deserved every minute. Speaking of more minutes, Brad Richardson has been rewarded with more and more time and has been effective on all shifts as well. His hop has been pleasantly surprising along with Scott Parse's continued production. It's fantastic that these guys are utilizing their short amount of minutes, and I've been very pleased all around with everyone's play.

There's obviously the elephant still in the room with Anze Kopitar's lack of scoring. It has been quite a while (I'll admit), but I personally am not panicking. I'm sure everything will smooth itself out in the near future (a.k.a when Ryan Smyth gets back in the lineup).

Oscar Moller was called up for this game, and it's looking like he will stay for awhile. Awesome for him and for the fans. Once again, no complaints here.

Final thought on the game: Raitis Ivanans actually dropped the gloves and scraped it out with Brian McGrattan. Finally! Ivanans is doing what he's supposed to be doing.


I've been a little behind on the updates, but the best one of month is that the 2010 NHL Entry Draft will be held in Los Angeles!!! I'm incredibly excited for the entire event and will be counting down the days the closer it gets. Click here for the logo, which I think is sharp.

Drew Doughty's birthday has come and gone. He is now a ripe 20-year old. Crazy.

Don't forget I'm on Twitter! Follow if you'd like.


A Game of Shinny; Kings 6, Senators 3

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The win tonight against the Ottawa Senators marks the third win in a row for the Los Angeles Kings. The difference from this game to the past two was that tonight it felt like neither team was in control from one shift to the next. Even Jim Fox described it as a game of shinny, very wide open with not too much dominance overall. I was neither impressed with anyone on the Senators just as I was unimpressed with any one player on the Kings. Obviously different players had flashes of elite play, but nothing toooo impressive. Even Justin Williams seemed lackadaisical about his two goals at the end of the game. Awesome for him, but everything was all over the place!

A great stat from the night was that Michal Handzus and Anze Kopitar both rocked it in the faceoff circle with 81% and 80%, respectively. Also, Wayne Simmonds has continued to impress everyone watching. Tonight he drew a penalty shot where he faked out Mike Elliott and slide the puck between his legs getting the lead back for the Kings. I'm so pleased with his entire game and development so far this season. Go Simmer!

The most surprising part of the game was the goal by Randy Jones in the first minute of the game. In the past that would be the kind of thing the Kings wouldn't be able to do. I seem to recall a game against the Detroit Red Wings two seasons ago where the puck dropped and I could feel it in my bones that the Kings would utterly fail. As predicted, Henrik Zetterberg scored about 51 seconds into the game. Someone can check that number, but I don't think I'm too far off since that memory is seared into my memory bank.

The power play still needs some work. The Kings had two 5-on-3 opportunities back-to-back. That's all I need to say about that. My apologies for the short post and the fact that I'm jumping around a bit, but life is getting in the way for now. There will be some changes coming in the next few weeks around here, which I'm very excited about. I'll let you all know what's going on when it's time.

Until then, go Kings go!


Shootout Gloriousness; Kings 2, Blackhawks 1

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Los Angeles Kings defeated the hottest team in the NHL with a win in overtime. The Chicago Blackhawks came in tonight with a record of 8-1-1 in their last 10 games and brought with them a style I wish the Kings could play with on a regular basis, which is an up-tempo, puck-moving mentality. It took until the second round of the shootout, but the Kings pulled through for the W. Regulation had a lot of open play geared more north-south than anything else, and Chicago far outshot the Kings (33-22) especially in the third period. All of the excitement during regulation was transferred to the overtime frame and continued into the shootout.

Wayne Simmonds scored in the second period to put the Kings up, and it would have been epic if he had notched the game-winning goal in OT. He played a great game and his rise in the past few games has been very impressive. He played only 15:24 tonight but it seemed like he was all over the ice. He was popping up in the correct places and times and was definitely making his presence known. A return for Jarret Stoll was also made very aware with the faceoff numbers for the entire team above .500; 59% to be exact.

While the 4th line is playing more minutes, I definitely didn't think Brad Richardson deserved ice time in OT. He didn't have any business being anywhere away from the bench outside of regulation. I could be a bit over critical here, but let's be serious. One player who actually made the most of his 11:53 of TOI was Teddy Purcell. I noticed him pouncing on pucks and getting in the corners. I think he may just be coming around! One thing to note is his reluctance of getting the puck to the goal on the power play. He's getting minutes there but is like a deer in headlights when he has an open lane. Granted the open lanes only appear for just a second at a time, he should have the confidence to not hesitate when he can see them.

All of the wide open play made for a ridiculously exciting overtime frame with a shootout result left to the goaltenders. Cristobal Huet did not fare so well as Anze Kopitar faked him out and let the puck slide through his legs. Jonathan Quick stuffed both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane for the win, and Jack Johnson adds another shootout goal to his numbers, which are now 3 for 5 (60%) this season. Quick's confidence is ticking up with each game and the Kings are looking strong as the league passes the quarter mark of the season.

This gives the Kings another 2 points to keep them 2nd in the Pacific Division. They trail San Jose by 6 points and the Kings don't play until Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks who are still last in the Pacific. The team is fighting through every game and the best update of the morning was that Ryan Smyth was on the ice for light practice.


Another Rise and Fall

Saturday, November 28, 2009

In another back-to-back the Los Angeles Kings win one and drop the other over the American Thanksgiving holiday. On Wednesday they won against the Edmonton Oilers (3-1) but lost to the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday (4-1).

Since this weekend has altered my schedule a bit, I'm going to go back to the quick bullet-point style that I find so useful on this type of occasion. I hope everyone has had a great 4-day weekend because I definitely have.
  • Matt Greene got his first goal of the season, which was also the game-winning goal against the Oilers. It was a pass out to the point and a lob to the goalmouth that beat Jeff Deslauriers over his shoulder.
  • The Andrei Loktionov experiment halted to a standstill with a dislocated shoulder at the end of the game against the Oilers, which is completely unfortunate for him and the team.
  • Thank you, Patrick O'Sullivan.
  • The Kings were atrocious in the faceoff circle at 42% and 38%, respectively. A certain number 28 needs to get back in the lineup ASAP.
  • I've actually liked Teddy Purcell's play in these two games on the top line. He's not the greatest replacement but I think he'll be an adequate stand-in while not adding too much in terms of offensive production. It's a shame Terry Murray is changing it up again by putting Alexander Frolov back on the left wing.
  • Michael Handzus took out Ales Hemsky and he is now out for the rest of the season with shoulder surgery.
  • The other rookie experiment of Brayden Schenn took only one game as well. He was signed to a one-game contract and will not be returning to the lineup for tonight's game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
  • The Vancouver Canucks presented a much harder challenge to the Kings than the Oilers on Thursday and they fell 4 to 1. Roberto Loungo was the wall for the Canucks and Jonathan Quick was playing well until the third period with a collapse of three goals against. The last goal was by Kyle Wellwood who is such a great player he hit the post before scoring in the empty net. Great job, guy.
  • The player of these two games was definitely Wayne Simmonds. He had the most jump of everyone and was the only to get a goal in both games.
That's all I got, folks. Thanks for stopping by. I truely appreciate it! Also, please check out the new episode of KingsCast titled Injury Bugged.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I know it's an American corporate holiday, but what can I do? I'm just in it for the food. The Kings beat the Edmonton Oilers last night and are in Vancouver today for a 7pm faceoff. I'll have game recaps up tomorrow, if you'd like to check those out. I hope you do!

Off to eat myself silly!

[Update]: New KingsCast Podcast - Episode 3. Check it out!


Kings Fizzle At Home; Flames 5, Kings 2

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Los Angeles Kings dropped another game and upped the number in the loss column on Saturday when the Calgary Flames and their fans came to Staples. The ending score of 5-2 basically described the play on the ice especially the first goal of the game by Jarome Iginla just 13 seconds in. Fantastic. The two goals scored by Drew Doughty and Alexander Frolov were the only real highlights of the game. They were scored with less than a minute in between them, but other than that, once again, the scoreboard reflected the play on the ice.

Overall there's not too much to say about this game since there wasn't any improvement in any aspect really. Frolov was put back on the first line and absolutely nothing changed. Surprised? I think not. Ryan Smyth is probably gnashing out his teeth with every game he's sitting out. With Justin Williams still playing solidly and Anze Kopitar's play at a standstill, no one here is questioning the x-factor. C'mon Captain Canada!

I'm sure that was nice.


Matt Moulson!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Here is your obligatory post on Matt Moulson for this season. I was asked to give my two cents on why I thought Moulson was shining so brightly this season and I hope you go check it out!

Please go to View From My Seats and read his great article on the mighty Matt Moulson!


Kopitar needs Smytty: Flyers 3, Kings 2

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It is very clear that Anze Kopitar needs Ryan Smyth. The Los Angeles Kings hosting the Philadelphia Flyers was one I knew would be a feisty battle to the end. I can retrospectively say this was probably the worst game for Smyth to be out of the lineup because the Flyers came to Staples Center and left with a bashing victory. This game was wide open due to missed passes and subsequent turnovers, and the Flyers were all over the place pouncing on loose pucks and misreads by the Kings.

The first 10 minutes of the game were north-south to the max. The feeling out process for teams in different conferences takes a bit of time, and thankfully the Kings were the first to gain control. Jarret Stoll was able to score off a sharp angle on Brian Boucher for the first goal of the game. (I seem to remember Boucher letting in a similar goal last season when they faced the San Jose Sharks.) The second period went back to neither team dominating causing an overall manic feel and the third was flat out frantic. The 5-on-3 advantage the Kings had should have slowed the game down drastically in their favor, but it was just about the worst man-advantage I have ever seen. The Kings couldn't get the puck past the offensive blueline let alone set anything up. The Flyers were aggressive all around and the 2-man advantage expired with nothing to show for it.

Let me make it clear that Alexander Frolov doesn't belong on the top line. I'm not saying he played terribly; I'm merely saying Frolov is best served on, at most, the second line. He was supposed to up his game and compliment Kopitar and Justin Williams on the first line, but nothing changed for Frolov. He looked the same and I'm not sure what to say other than there will be a different left wing on that line Saturday against the Calgary Flames. Williams, on the other hand, had a strong showing with 8 total shots on net. Kopitar had 6 shots while Frolov had only 1. As a team, the Kings landed 39 shots on the Flyers goaltender with Jonathan Quick seeing just 20.

This was a high hitting game and I was mildly impressed with some players and not with others, as is usually the case. In this particular game, Teddy Purcell stepped up his visibility a touch while Davis Drewiske did not. I'm not going to strategically analyze their play for this one game; rather, I'm just going chock it up to playing in modified lines against a team they are unfamiliar with. (Let me know when that line gets old.)

The incredible high/low light of this game was the rolling puck parallel to the Flyers' blueline that could have led to the Kings tying goal with just seconds left in regulation. The insanity at the end of the game could have tilted just one degree in favor of the Kings, but it predictably didn't and the large "L" loomed upon them on the stats sheet. That, my friends, is the definition of heartbreak.


Thank You Jack Johnson; Kings 4, Panthers 3 (SO)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Once again it takes a shootout but the Los Angeles Kings pull out another win in the Southeast. They faced the Florida Panthers who were looking quite different from last season. I remember the Panthers to be a team on the brink of shambles, but this season has definitely been much kinder to them. They aren't... last in the Southeast Division, so there's that. The Kings, on the other hand, have another two points to their name bringing them up to 28 points. They have surpassed the Colorado Avalanche (27 ) and only trail the San Jose Sharks (32) in the West.

Like the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, this contest was a physical battle with one pretty significant difference, the Panthers are more organized defensively than the Lightning. They had a much more aggressive defensive mindset, their forechecking was harder, and their defensive box was much bigger than what the Kings are used to. The extra pressure put the onus on the second D to accept that first pass out of the zone, but missed pass after missed pass put the stress on their own shoulders. In the end, it was another hard fought victory that was less physical than the last game but still saw the shootout. This time around the Kings only needed Anze Kopitar and Jack Johnson to stand at center ice, and Jonathan Quick was his beastly self in stopping all shots taken by the Panthers.

Ryan Smyth left the game twice with an unknown injury. There haven't been any updates released by the Kings so we can only sit and wait... nervously.

Lastly, something that's bugging me: is it legal for a player to sweep away a goaltender's stick when it's laying outside of the crease? I'm talking about moving a goalie's unbroken stick to the boards so it's completely out of his reach. That's exactly what happened to Quick on the weird bounce ending in a goal against with a massive scramble at the goal mouth. It definitely would have been illegal if the opposing player picked up the stick and tossed it away toward the boards, but c'mon, that's so cheap to clear an unbroken stick away like that giving your team a lame advantage. (Replace "cheap" with a harsher word and you'll get what I really mean.)

Next up are the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday back in Staples Center; they have 23 points and are third in the Atlantic Division. I'm definitely looking forward to this game and grabbing two more points in the standings. I realize I'm getting more and more greedy for these precious points; I can't help it. It feels so great when the Kings rack them up because it means the Pacific Division is looking more in their favor and those in the Eastern Conference are noticing more and more. Having a winning team is creating an almost (but not-yet) insatiable lust for more points!


A Dismal Outcome and Another Lease At Life

Sunday, November 15, 2009

In another back-to-back stint, the Los Angeles Kings had one fail and one lucky night. I missed the game on Friday night where the Kings faced the Atlanta Thrashers and I'm glad I did. I was fully planning on watching the game when I got home, but accidentally seeing the score caused bile to rise up from my stomach. Consequently, I did not watch the game and ended my night on a happy note. A score of 7 to 0 is plain ridiculous and there's no reason to waste my time watching a contest like that. Plus the Chinese food for dinner mysteriously put me to sleep by 10 pm. Go figure.

The stats sheet showed an insane slew of penalties, which leads me believe it was a chip-fest to the end. I saw a few highlights, but not enough to make logical conclusions from the stats sheets. I seem to remember the Kings game against the Thrashers last year ended in a 7-6 OT victory. So two years in a row prove to be strange games. I'll let this one go for now.

On Saturday night the Kings were in Tampa Bay to face the Lightning in their Bolts jerseys; gross. Overall this game was surprisingly even. The shots, hits, and faceoff percentage were virtually identical. Both teams had big opportunities and both also had flubbed chances. The game could have easily gotten boring at multiple times, but they were fighting for possession and control every single shift and neither goalie had too much downtime at any point in the game. Case in point, Antero Niittymaki and Jonathan Quick had identical saves robbing the other team of sweet, sweet goals. (If I can find a decent highlight package, I'll update.)

Steven Stamkos was definitely the standout from the oppostition, but it was a joke the way he cross checked Drew Doughty. I'm not being defensive about the situation; Stamkos took his shot from the point, Doughty blocked it like a man without falling to the ice, and Stamkos cross checked him in the chest for no apparent reason. Perhaps there were words exchanged but, really, Doughty is the better player here. Thank you very much.

By the way, Wayne Simmonds getting a roughing penalty after taking an elbow to the head was complete BS. That is a joke to have something like that get by the refs when there are two of them on the ice. I find that unacceptable and the Lightning color commentator sure acted like he didn't see it either. Where's Jim Fox to not be a homer and tell it like it is? I hate watching a telecast run by homers; makes me sick.

On the flip side, the game went into OT and the battle continued 4-on-4. A Lightning goal was scored and it seemed to be over. But, but, but. The refs huddled and then went to take the call from Toronto. It was deemed not a goal and play continued. Here's where I pause and give credit to the refs who actually had the balls to call back the entire Lightning team after they had flooded the ice and the coaching staff already left the bench. Quick could have possibly stopped the incoming shot were it not for the deflected-Andrej Meszaros shot. Paul Szczechura passed in front of Quick inside the blue paint and the puck was in the back of the net, but an interference call brought the teams back to reality.

The Kings got a second chance at life. They literally got a second chance to change the outcome of the game, which they were able to do. After a stressful rest of overtime, the teams went into the shootout with Anze Kopitar, Jack Johnson, and Dustin Brown taking the shots. Kopitar was his usual awesome self but the other two tried glove-side, which didn't result in goals but Quick was the wall at the other side of the rink to shutdown all of the Lightning players who took their attempts. The game ended with the Kings getting two more points and another win the the W column.

The Kings are still second in the Pacific Division and are in a three-way tie for third in the Western Conference. I can't do anything but smile at those numbers. I'm definitely not waiting for them to falter down the standings anymore. They are at the top not because of a fluke; they're there because they are working hard every night and getting the effort in. There is very little to be disappointed about in these first two months of the season and I'm expecting the rest of the season to pan out that way. Tomorrow they play the Florida Panthers for the last game of this road trip. The Panthers have won their past two games but have only 15 points so I'm hoping this will be another well-fought win for the Kings.


Back in the Game; Kings 5, Hurricanes 2

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Los Angeles Kings faced the Carolina Hurricanes in the second game of this 5-game road trip. They broke a 2-game losing streak by tweaking the lineup a touch and facing a team on its own 12-game losing streak. The 5-2 victory over the Canes was indicative of the latter's play, which looked beyond rough and the Kings exploded out of the gate with a great first period. Ryan Smyth did his job getting his 9th goal of the season in front of the net, and that's basically the bottom line. He's playing his role to a T and I have zero criticism going his way. Jarret Stoll's goal was a bit odd in that I'm not sure he could do it again if he tried. It seemed to be 90% luck and 10% skill. Either way it put the Kings up 2-0 and Randy Jones got his first point as a King. He then went and got his first goal in the third while looking very comfortable in the line up. I'm very pleased with this whole situation of Jones and am hoping it turns out to be a Kyle Quincey-like occurrence.

Of course Anze Kopitar had another good game. He didn't notch a goal last night but did get two assists, so thumbs up to him and keep it going! Another roster tweak was that Erik Ersberg got his second start of the season with Jonathan Quick sitting on the bench. Ersberg got the solid win, and yes, he let in two "interesting" goals but I'd rather he shake off any in-game rust against Carolina than any other team right now.

As a team, the Kings had a great first period, began to falter in the second, but were able to finish in definite fashion in the third. Manny Legace was Carolina's best player of the night and gave his team as many chances as he could to get back into the game. Unfortunately, the deal was essentially sealed after Wayne Simmond's goal in the middle of the third period and Justin Williams capped of the night with an empty netter.

This was a good win for the Kings, which they will continue through the Southeast Division, but there was one slight blemish on the stats sheet from this game. Teddy Purcell. 4:02 of ice time and a -1. I'm in no way angry about how he has completely disappeared the farther into the season they go; rather, disappointment accompanied by raised eyebrows comes across my face every game when I look at his play. His production is almost nil and I'm not sure how much longer he'll stay up with the team. Maybe he needs to be sent back to Manchester for a stint?

On the other side of this NHL/AHL coin, Scott Parse is making a point. He only had 11:44 of TOI but you noticed when he was on the ice. His spark on the forecheck is very noticeable and he's slowly earning his ice time from the coaching staff every game. Parse is how one should make an NHL showing when you're leading the AHL team in points. I'm not saying Purcell won't get there, but for now, he seems to have been pushed to the background for a bit while the rest of the team continues to sort itself out.


Beware of National Coverage: Blackhawks 4, Kings 1

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

On the only day of the season that the Los Angeles Kings have face time on Versus, they decide to dilly dally about on the ice losing to the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1. The game began with a promising first period as the teams battled it out, but the Kings regressed into last season's form and they slowly deteriorated with no chance of saving themselves. They faded in the second period and were virtually non-existent in the third. On paper the sum total of 2 shots on Cristobal Huet in the third was the leading indicator that the Kings were drowning, but visually it was much worse. The team had no connection with each other, but thankfully this has become a rare occurrence this season so I'm hoping this is a slight downhill trend that will right itself soon enough.

A positive for this game was Anze Kopitar who scored his 14th goal of the season putting him in a tie for the league-leading scorer, Washington Capitals' Alexander Ovechkin. This was basically the only highlight of the game. It was pretty abysmal overall, which is such a bummer seeing this was the only shot for the Kings to be seen on a national (+ Canadian) scale seeing how it was the only game of the night. Alas, they couldn't transition their first period momentum into the rest of the game and Kings fans were left disappointed.

I'm getting a little Negative Nancy, but one more thing. Jonathan Quick was not in his best form either letting out big rebounds and not covering his posts. He definitely had minimal help from the defensemen who were having plenty of difficulties of their own.

This was the first game of a 5-game roadtrip with the rest of the games in the Southeast Division. Moving forward, the Kings face the Atlanta Thrashers tomorrow and all I'm hoping for is for them to get themselves back to where they were so I can breathe a sigh of relief.


Los Angeles Kings Versus Nashville Predators

Saturday, November 7, 2009

In about an hour the Nashville Predators will be on Staples Center ice against the Los Angeles Kings. I was looking forward to chilling on my couch and watching the 1:00 pm PST start; alas, FSN West is not airing the game. This would be okay except for the fact that Nashville isn't airing the game either. I think this has happened every year against the Preds. One of the games with these two teams is never aired and I get angry every time. I have an hour to decide if I'm going to find the radio feed or just watch the box score. Either way, it's pretty pathetic.


Kopi-Star: Kings 5, Penguins 2

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Los Angeles Kings hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins last night and proved they deserve to be at the top of the standings. Things are clicking for the Kings and they show no signs of slowing down. Anze Kopitar is on FIRE and his line mates are providing support for him all the way. He is dominating the games the way he should have been doing last season.

Last night his first goal was scored less than 30 seconds in was the best wake up call the Kings could have given to the Pens who have been doing very well for themselves so far this season. Sidney Crosby looked mortal and ended the night with a -1. This game wasn't won on pure luck but hard work by everyone on the roster.

I'm not sure what was more surprising: both teams scoring on their first shots on net or the 23 seconds between Jarret Stoll's goal and Michael Handzus' goal in the third. Actually, the latter was more surprising for me because no one is doubting Kopitar's production. I absolutely loved Stoll's exuberance from scoring on Marc-Andre Fleury. This was his 4th goal of the season and his faceoff percentage was back to normal at 83%. I'm not sure how Fleury was feeling last night, but I was sure how all Kings fans were feeling; total excitement and happiness. Two things Kings fans have finally been able to experience beyond a game-by-game basis.

Jonathan Quick had two of the sickest pad saves and led the Kings to their victory. The San Jose Sharks sit two points higher for the Pacific Division lead and the Kings are vying for that spot. At this point in time, the Kings don't need to look at those in their rear view mirrors anymore. The focus is forward for every game.


Kings Saturday Notebook, Oct. 31

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Earlier this week I was asked by the Los Angeles Kings to write their Saturday Notebook. I accepted the invitation and attended practice this morning. Afterward I had access to the locker room and left with a number of quotes. The Notebook is up on the Kings website right now so you can take a look! Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.


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