Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Year's Break

I can't believe my Kings actually won a game! The outcome looked dreary through the first two periods. The whole game was pretty slow and uneventful. Raitis Ivanans finally got into a fight but the Avs player must have taken lessons from George Parros because he could barely stand up. It's good to know that Ivanans is capable of fighting again because I've definitely missed that aspect from the Kings.

In the third period when the score was still 1-nil, Bob Miller said something along the lines of "Theodore is working on a shutout." A little while later the Kings broke that shutout and Miller excitedly said, "The shutout jinx worked!" Once Armstrong got the Kings on the board the whole team had a little extra step in them. I figured we would probably send the game into overtime but Thornton broke the tie and the Kings were able to hold on and secure the win with an empty-netter by Kopitar. Lately I haven't been that impressed with Kopi's play so it was encouraging to see him get a goal even if it was an empty-netter. Three different lines scored so Crawford must have wet his pants with excitement.

Now the Kings have two consecutive games against Chicago. The last meeting with Chicago was quite dreadful but maybe yesterday's win will spark some confidence in the Kings.

My DVR is set to record the Winter Classic but there's a slight chance I may be able to watch it live. I still don't understand why some hockey analysts think this game is a travesty. But then again, I guess if there's a blizzard it will be a disaster.

Purple Crushed Velvet will be on a New Year's Break hiatus till around Jan 2nd or 3rd. Everyone have a safe and fun New Year's Eve and Day.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Jersey Casualty

I think this story is hilarious but mainly because it didn't happen to me.

A couple years ago my brother bought a Kelly Hrudey jersey off ebay. He got a pretty good deal on it (I think under $50) and it was in fairly good condition. The only fault I could find with it was that it had some stains on the front of it. Since the jersey is white the stains were sort of noticeable if you looked closely at it but nothing too distracting.

A couple months ago my brother left his car at my parent's house. For some reason my mom was digging through his trunk and found his jersey. Not quite sure why he would just leave it in the trunk considering he's somewhat of a neat freak. My mom noticed the stains and decided to be a nice mom and try to get the stains out. She washed the jersey as directed on the label, put it in the dryer for a while and then hung it out to dry outside. Well...the numbers didn't hold up too well and below is the final product of the cleaning process.

Jersey Casualty

My poor mom was just trying to be nice but when I saw it I about died. I howled with laughter and almost started crying because I thought it was all too funny. She wasn't and still isn't sure about what to do with the numbers. First she thought maybe they should be sewn on but realized that was not the original look of the jersey. I think super glue came across her mind but she never took action. Lucky for her my brother took the news well...probably because the jersey didn't cost him too much or maybe because he recently became the owner of a brand new Luc Robitaille signed jersey. The Hrudey jersey is still sitting in my parents' house patiently waiting to be repaired. Does anyone have any thought on how the damage should be mended?

List of Thoughts

This post a bit delayed but since there isn't a game tonight I figured I could still squeeze it in. So I witnessed the Kings lose their 8th in a row. It was quite heartbreaking but here's a list of the Good, Bad, and Ugly from the Dec 26th game.

The Good
  • It was the 2nd annual "kms2's Family Hockey Night". Last year the fam watched the Kings defeat Phoenix in a shootout but this year we weren't so lucky. Going to a game with the family brings me back to my childhood when we would go to games, maybe once or twice a season;
  • My dad's a sports fan and likes the Kings but he did plug his ears whenever the music got too loud. Even my mom thought he was being kind of weak;
  • The only Kings player my mom recognized was Rob Blake. "Rob Blake is still playing? Isn't he old? Is he still good?" she asked us before the game. My brother and I just laughed...if you knew my mom you would know why that's funny.

The Bad
  • LaBarbera was pulled fairly early in the first period. I honestly didn't think it was his fault that we were down by 2 but I guess sometimes you just have to send a message. As Aubin switched places with Barbs I said to my dad, "Can we switch coaches, too?"
  • It didn't take long before my dad noted that the Kings are really good at having control of the puck in our end with no other players around them and then immediately giving the other team an opportune scoring chance. "Yes, Dad. We have honed that skill quite well this season."
  • When the Kings had a chance to tie the game and take the lead during the 5-minute major and then couldn't muster up anything, my mom said, "Wow, the Kings are really bad." My brother just smiled but I said, "I know, Mom. I get to watch this every other day."
  • I found out my brother likes John Zeiler. Hmph, I don't think we're related anymore.

The Ugly

  • Brad Stuart looked horrible throughout most of the game. He had two unbelievable turnovers, one which our goalie thankfully saved, and the other which allowed SJ to remain in our end and eventually score;
  • The MOST OBNOXIOUS Sharks fans were in attendance and completely ruined the atmosphere in Staples Center. I couldn't believe how utterly disrespectful this group was. There was maybe about 10 guys all in a box, probably getting wasted, and for almost the entire game continuously shouted shit like, "Let's Go Sharks!" "Kings Suck!" "Thank you for coming!" "The game's over! You can leave!" (because the Sharks were ahead). They were absolutely relentless and would not stop. Well, ok they were quiet during the first intermission and for maybe 5 minutes into the second period, only because they lost track of time while blowing each other. To make matters worse they were in a luxury box so we couldn't even argue with them fairly or start some shit. What kind of people do stuff like that? And of course, they were in a box just above my section so we could hear them loud and clear. The people in my section and the neighboring sections were so fed up with them about 2 minutes into the game but what were we supposed to do?? What would you do?? Everyone just tried to ignore them for most of the game but when the third period rolled around and we got behind 3-1 and the guys started shouting, "The game's over!" finally some fans started shouting back, "Then why don't you leave!?" When a couple Kings fans left the game early they gave the SJ group the double barrelled salute. One Kings fan tried to lead a cheer of "Does anyone know the way to San Jose? Just the follow the smell of cow shit." It's bad enough when you go to a game and find a fan for the road team sitting next to you, but to have a group of them sitting in a box taunting you and your team?? Utter carnival trash. And what are you supposed to do when the obnoxious group is in a box? No beer throwing can occur because they have the easier pushing or shoving will happen...I'm all for booing certain players or the road team, but causing such a scene when you go into the home team's arena?? It was absolutely classless and disrespectful. The San Jose Sharks are now my least favorite team and have fans that I hate the most.

In other news...
This afternoon ckim texted me fabulous news that John Zeiler has been sent down to Manchester. Rich and Matt over at Inside the Kings posted the news. There's a long explanation of why the move was made, including Crow saying:

"We’ve been really pleased with the energy he’s given us and the hits that he’s given us, but it pretty much stops there. And there’s more of a player there in John Zeiler that we believe he’s got to continue to develop"

ckim and I are trying to guess who is going to be brought up. I think Boyle deserves a shot but ckim noted that DL doesn't like to rush prospects. True. She thinks Klemm will most likely be moved which is probably correct but I don't think he can bring the skill we need. I asked her what trades she thinks are possible but, of course, neither of us can even attempt to make a guess. What is going on with the team? Blerg.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

My New Year's Resolution

After last night's lost I proclaimed to my brother and ckim that I would not attend anymore Kings games until Crow was fired. I slept on that thought and realized I may have been a bit harsh. I know I'm a few days early but my New Year's Resolution (which also includes these last few days of 2007) is to not attend anymore Kings games until one of the following happens:

  • Marc Crawford is fired;
  • The Kings win 5 games in a row (their current record this season is 4 games);
  • The Kings are no longer the last team in the NHL (they're currently 6 points behind the 29th spot);
  • This season ends.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Santa's Gifts for the Kings

The sneaky kidlets at Purple Crushed Velvet stayed up past midnight and caught Santa by surprise. While one offered him cookies and the other dazzled him with Christmas carols, the third one stole his List. He quickly scanned The List and found the section for the LA Kings. Here's a rundown of what Santa gave to some of our dear players:

J.S. Aubin: Personal lessons with the other JS

Rob Blake: A trio of stress balls

Dustin Brown: A gift card to Borders so he can find the best book that will prepare him for puberty.

Kyle Calder: A razor so he can just shave his head already!

Kevin Dallman: A copy of Bring it On so he can learn how to be a fantastic cheerleader

Jeff Guiliano: A gift card to a comic store so he can buy a replica of himself

Michal Handzus: A gift card to a wig store so he can buy a curly mullet wig, which will hopefully remind him of why he should grow his hair

Anze Kopitar: Hylexin may be expensive but I hear it works wonders

Ladislav Nagy: A pass to become the next contestant on Criss Angel's Mindfreak where he can show everyone how he becomes invisible

Patrick O'Sullivan: An all expenses paid visit to the dentist where he can get a new fake tooth

Brad Stuart: A private consultation with Frederic Fekkai

John Zeiler: A one-week Hockey 101 camp where he can learn the basics of hockey, such as, that there's actually a puck involved in the sport.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Spotlight On: Patrick O'Sullivan

My gameday previews and post game analyses are becoming redundant. Until things get turned around I'll be posting on topics that are hopefully somewhat inspirational, educational (to the non-Kings fan), and/or enjoyable. First up, a spotlight on a young player that most of the league may not know much about: Patrick O'Sullivan. I had planned on doing this post before the game against the BJs but got distracted. I think it's only fitting that I finally post it after the game he had against Nashville.

Patrick O'Sullivan (Sully, or as I like to call him, Patty, or how I really like to call him, Pahht-ty O' know, with that Irish accent I'm so damn good at) was dealt to the Kings in a trade during the 2006 NHL Draft. Prior to Minnesota picking the 17th player in the first round, the Kings traded Pavol Demitra to the Wild for Patrick O'Sullivan and the 17th pick. DL mentioned in interviews that they made the trade so they could pick up Trevor Lewis with the 17th pick. At the time I had never heard of O'Sullivan so I did some research on him. (Ok, I'll be honest I was more looking to see if he's hapa, because his eyes sort of make him look like a halfie and I like halfies...except Tootoo.) Anyway, my research turned up a whole lot more about his personal life than I had anticipated. I don't feel that what he dealt with during his younger years should be a part of this post so if you're interested then a quick Google search will reveal some stories. Let's just say that the kid dealt with some adversity, which may or may not have impacted when he was drafted (2nd round of the 2003 NHL Draft). Concerning his hockey career I did find some stats that impressed me: 93 points in 78 games with the Houston Aeros, including a franchise record 47 goals. I thought, "Nice, this kid can play. Maybe he won't be a career AHL player."

O'Sullivan started the 2006-2007 campaign in a Kings jersey but only played just a little over half the season with the Kings. For some reason I was always drawn to him (like I am to Fro) so I wanted him to succeed. However, at the start of the season he just wasn't that much of an impact player. He was ok, but not too noticeable out there. At the start of November he was finally sent down to Manchester to hone his skills. If I remember correctly, at the time Crow or DL said that he just needed to learn how to play smarter and know where he needs to be on the ice at all times.

O'Sullivan played quite well during the regular season with the Monarchs putting up 39 points in just 41 games. Whether it was because of his play in Manchester or because of the injuries the Kings suffered, or maybe a bit of both, O'Sullivan was brought back to SoCal in late January and stayed with the team for the remainder of the season. He definitely looked like a better player but he still wasn't one of those guys that you thought would become a mainstay on the top line. I can't remember who he played with, although considering the frequency that Crow switched up the lines, it was never easy to figure out who was on each line.

With the Kings out of the postseason, O'Sullivan joined Manchester during the AHL playoffs. He had a noteworthy run recording 17 points in 16 games. O'Sullivan is a young guy so it could be said that he's part of DL's rebuilding phase but considering the way he played with the Kings, I wasn't too sure if he would stay with the franchise or be trade fodder. When he wasn't traded during the off-season I figured there would be a good chance that he would be with the team come September. However, I did not anticipate the impact he would have on the team.

I was incredibly impressed with his play even from the very first game. It was unbelievable how much he had improved during the offseason. My post game analysis of that game included the following:
"One player that I was pleasantly surprised to see play pretty well was Patrick O'Sullivan. He had an extra step and played with more intensity today than I remember during the time he spent with the Kings last season. He played on the PK a lot, almost had a SHG, and set up the empty-netter SHG scored by Handzus."

Since it was the first game of the season it wasn't clear if O'Sullivan would remain one of the main penalty killers. It has become clear since then that O'Sullivan and Michal Handzus are the go-to guys on the PK. Once Handzus found his skating legs and realized he was actually playing hockey and no longer sitting on the IR bench, the two of them established a lot of chemistry. Handzus is typically the one blocking shots and both play aggressively on the PK. O'Sullivan is already having a career season and the season isn't even halfway over. Last season he only played in 44 games and collected 5-14-19. As of Dec 22nd, 37 games into this season, O'Sullivan has 9-9-18, including two 2-goal games, 1 SHG and 2 SHA, while last season he didn't have any shorthanded points. If I did my calcs correctly he's on par to get 42 points barring any injuries that hold him out of games, which is better than what Brownie put up during his sophomore year and only 4 points shy of Brownie's third season. So the question begs, how good is O'Sullivan going to be in the next couple seasons? Will this be his best season and in the future he'll return to the third line? Or will he continue his development and compete for a spot on the first two lines? He's currently making under a million and will become a Restricted Free Agent after this season. It'll be interesting to see if DL decides to re-sign him, trade him before the deadline, or allow a team like Edmonton to swoop in with a hefty offer sheet. The latter isn't too wild of a possibility considering during the '06-'07 season Penner and Vanek recorded 45 points and 41 points, respectively. Sure, Patty is much smaller than those guys, but at least you won't have to worry about him being slow and perhaps needing to drop a few pounds and get in shape.....oooohhh, burn...

I realize that not everyone shares the same fascination of O'Sullivan as I do, but my plea to hockey fans is to give him a chance. Jim Fox described him pretty well the other night by saying that while O'Sullivan won't lead the NHL in scoring he's a player that will have an impact for your team. He kind of has the same skating style as Avery, quick short strides with a lot of energy, yet he's not a d-bag like Aves. He'll go hard in the corners, fight every battle, and every night he's consistently one of the most hardworking guys on the ice. So next time you watch a Kings game, keep your eyes peeled for #12 Patrick O'Sullivan.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Dec 22nd: Kings v. Preds

We're both equally bad teams but at least our weather is far superior to the clothes sticking humidity of Nashville. Plus, we have a coastline. What do they have? A pond full of mosquitoes. They have something called "Honky-tonk", but we actually know how to honk our cars. The Preds have live country music during the intermissions and we have a three-person drumline that have thankfully never been close to my seats. Hmmm, I'm not quite sure which team wins that argument. I bet they have an ice girls squad that does country line dancing during TV timeouts. Our fans know that if you want to see hot girls, then you go to a Lakers game. Preds fans may think they're high and mighty because they all have a 5 bedroom house that probably cost $200K. Whatever, I could get that too but I don't want to live in Cudahy. I'm perfectly fine with my overpriced apartment. I don't need a grandiose house to let people know I'm materialistic.

Someone's losing streak is going to end tonight and it better be ours.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Dec 21st: Kings v. BJs

Unbelievable. Un-fucking-believable. I don't know who to be madder at: the refs or the Kings? Both Koharski and the other ref made questionable decisions that had a HUGE impact on the game. Yet, I hate using the excuse that the refs are the reason why we lost. Of course they didn't but they sure did have an impact on the momentum.

The Kings had 7 power play chances and only scored one power play goal. We may have at least one PPG in 9 of the last 10 games (or something similar) but that stat doesn't mean anything if we can't bury a team when they give us 5, 6, 7 chances in a game!

I'm also livid at the entire Kings team because they came out in the third period needing to play with burning intensity after getting shafted at the end of the second period, but instead they came out and played in their defensive end for what seemed like half the period. I couldn't understand why it took them so long to get rolling in the third. LaBarbera had an amazing game tonight and it's a shame that he didn't get a shutout because he deserved it.

This game is the story of our season.

I don't speak retard.

Dear Crow,

Why are you such an idiot?

In today's LA Times article you were quoted as saying

"We had a very businesslike approach to today's practice. A lot of times it was E.F. Hutton out there. And they were listening. We're gonna get through this. We're going to have to stick together and work and concentrate on the right things."

I had no idea what you were referring to when you said "E.F. Hutton". I figured it was something like "Patton" or some other military or, at the very least, literary, reference. I checked my trusty source and found out that "E. F. Hutton & Co. was an American stock brokerage firm founded in 1904 by Edward Francis Hutton". Apparently it was some big brokerage firm but further down the page it talks about how the company essentially gave itself loans without having any interest tied to them (can we say...illegal), laundered money in the late '80s, eventually lost $76 million around the time of the '87 market crash, and finally was merged with Shearson Lehman Brothers in 1988. Nowadays there is no "Hutton" but whatever may remain from those stellar days are now part of Citigroup.

So, Crow...when you say "it was E.F. Hutton out there", are you talking about the demise of the company because really that's the only comparison I can draw between the stock brokerage firm and the state of the LA Kings. Or, were there a lot of shady occurrences during the practice? Or did the practice start off being very efficient and then the players collapsed?

There are so many ways you could have described yesterday's practice. For instance, you really could have said "it was Citigroup out there" meaning you were drawing a comparison to Citigroup's CEO recently resigning and your, most likely, near future exit from the team. The fact that you made a reference to a stock brokerage company that hasn't been around since the late '80s and ended its reign on such a low and embarrassing note does not give me confidence that you know how to motivate a team. Seriously Crow, it's no wonder the team is in shambles. Seeing how you can't even get simple messages across to the fans, I don't understand how anyone from a foreign country would be able to understand your retard speak. Your players are probably still processing "motivational" comments you made three weeks ago. Let me guess, you told the guys they need to start playing like the Cabbage Patch Kids know, they're so hideous and awful that they become rare items that everyone eventually wants to have a piece of....wait... what? Oh you already told them that? it October 2008 yet?

Crow, all I want for Christmas is for you to not be with the team come January 2008.

Not respectfully submitted, (I can't stand it when people sign emails "respectfully submitted"...fuck that noise)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dec 19th: Notes about the Game

It's good to know I can still laugh about our level of suckiness.

4:30 pm: I'm still at work but I have the boxscore open.

4:38 pm: Text from ckim: "Omg. We're gonna lose."

4:39 pm: Text to ckim: "Hahahaha!! I know! This is going to be painful."

4:43 pm: I check the boxscore and notice that Cammy already took a penalty 22 seconds into the game. Only one thought comes to mind...

4:44 pm: Text from ckim: "Fuck. Hank just scored. Umm it's the first minute of the game."

4:48 pm: Oh good, we at least have 2 shots on goal.

4:52 pm: Are you serious? Another penalty?

4:54 pm: Aaahhhhhhh!!! This is embarrassing...

4:55 pm: Heeeeeey, 3 shots on goal! Now we have the same amount of shots on goal as Zetterberg!

5:00 pm: The little guys in my head are chanting, "Fi-re Craw-ford. Clap. Clap. Clap-clap-clap. (repeat)" Work is finally over and I'm heading to the gym where I can burn off my rage while watching my team continue to collapse.

7:52pm: Just got back from the gym where I watched most of the second and half of the third period. I actually started watching the game just as Detroit scored their third goal. I was stunned that the Kings had actually scored 2 goals to temporarily tie the game. I was eagerly anticipating a strong second period but that sentiment quickly disappeared as I watched my Kings absolutely struggle against the Red Wings.

The rest of the second period wasn't even close. I think I witnessed one shot on goal. At some point in the period Bob Miller mentioned that the Kings only had 10 shots on goal, which he thought was surprising since he thought they had plenty more than that. To which I thought, "Are you serious? Those phantom shots must have happened at the end of the first period because I'm actually surprised we have any shots on goal."

The Kings were undisciplined and took way too many penalties. But then again, that's what happens when you're flat-footed and the opposition skates right by you as they enter the zone. The Kings looked like they were chasing the Red Wings, hoping that the game would just end. Barbs let in 6 goals but he did face 35 shots and received very little help...again.

The third period began and immediately Detroit scored on the power play. However, the Kings did bounce back a bit and had some decent chances, but at no point did they really take control. And I bet that the only reason they had those opportunities was because Detroit was already up by three goals and could just rest on the offense and clamp down on defense. Naturally, Lubo scored an own goal to finish off the scoring. I love that guy, he should have been on the All-Star last year, but he doesn't deserve it this year. I bet Cammy's thinking, "And you gave him how much money?!?...suckers..." No, no, Lubo will bounce back. He's too adorable not to pick it up. And we all know production is based on the "awwww" factor.

This game was painful. But...Crow must have read my pregame post because he sat John Zeiler!

That's Just Gross

During the Kings/Avs game on Monday night I was shocked to see that the NHL would allow a dead ferret on someone's face. That just can't be sanitary.

Dec 19th: LA v. Detroit

The LA Times did a fantastic job expressing the stark contrast between the Detroit Red Wings and the LA Kings. Although I suppose it doesn't take much of a brain to conclude that tonight's game is quite a mismatch considering the Red Wings continue their dominance in the league and the Kings never fail to give the critics something to laugh about.

For some reason I always end up rooting for the Red Wings during the playoffs. It all started in the mid-'90s when I was utterly enamored with the Russian players. Even though I didn't quite follow them during the regular season, come playoffs I always managed to know almost every single player on the team. With the majority of the Russians gone, the Swedish players have taken control of the squad and have completely won me over. Just like Jared Leto drew me into My So-Called Life, Hank the Hunk Zetterberg has a stronghold on my attention. He's the more athletic, straighter, less creepy version of Leto and I can never bring myself to say anything bad about him. In fact, the only Red Wing I have ever been able to bad mouth has been Dominik Hasek because let's be honest, he's a freak of nature who has sold his soul to the devil; he makes saves that no goalie should be able to make.

I guess I better start talking about my team before I start sounding like an actual Red Wings fan. The Kings enter tonight's game with a pitiful overall record and an even sadder record of recent games. Just in the month of December the Kings have only won two (2) of the ten (10) games they've played thus far. They did have a shootout loss against Edmonton so we're actually averaging a whopping 0.5 points per game this month. However I am hopeful that we can gather more than 2 points in the remaining 6 games in December. LaBarbera is back in net and while he did let in 3 goals in his first game back he did look pretty good. The LA Times post game article included some quotes from him and he was quite hard on himself. He may have looked a little shaky at the start of the game but like I mentioned in a previous post, the score could have easily been 5-0 at the end of the first period if it wasn't for him. Considering Barbs hadn't played a game since Dec 1st I was surprised with his performance and am deeply grateful that he is back.

Several other players looked sharp in the third period of Monday's game. Despite his turnover as the seconds dwindled down, Kopi had some fantastic chances that by the force of God stayed out of the net. Lubi was finally applying some offensive pressure, something he hasn't done quite nearly as much as last season. Handzus and Patty continued to have a strong presence on the penalty kill. However, in order to be successful for the remainder of this month, the top line needs to up their production. Kopi and Cammy each only have 1 point in the last three games and Brown only has 1 point in the last four games. I noticed that in the last game these three did not start the game on the same line and the remaining three lines were also mixed around. The way I see it, this line has the potential to light it up and maybe they should remain on a line together. With Fro back in the mix there's another top guy who can draw some pressure off the top 3. I'd like to see Fro, Handzus, and Patty on the second line or Calder in there instead of Handzus. Regardless...for the love of God, will Crow please bench Zeiler!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Charter Cable...Are You There?

My cable better be working tomorrow night or I am going to fucking lose my shit if I can't watch my Kings because Charter can't get their goddamn crap together.

At the end of the unproductive conversation with the Charter lady, she asked if I would like for her to go over my services to which I responded, "Only if you can give me a discount because I'm this close to changing cable companies." She gave me a two day credit. Fucking carnival trash!!!

Oh and P.S., having to "speak" with the troubleshooter computer was absolutely asinine because, "Hey, guess what Charter computers, I already turned on my TV, so thank you for that helpful tip!"

Monday, December 17, 2007

Kings v. Avs: Live Notes and Other Stuff

Game Notes:
We get our number one goaltender back and suddenly the rest of the team decides they can play like shit. What did we witness in the first period? Giveaways, inability to clear the zone, inability to clear the front of the net, lack of chemistry, piss poor power play and penalty kill, John Zeiler aimlessly running into the opposition (I swear, does he even know hockey involves a puck?), guys being too soft on the puck, and poor Barbs making every attempt to prevent a blowout (how many point blank shots did he face??). The fans rightfully booed the Kings at the end of the first period.

Ok, ok, there were a couple positives from the first period. Kings players did throw their bodies around and they had at least one good cycle down low.

The guys came out during the second and as I write this they look significantly better. Maybe the guys finally figured out what the hell Crow was talking about.

9:32 PM: Handzus just scored a shorthanded goal to bring the Kings to just one goal down! Patty had the breakout pass and Handzus buried the 2-on-1 opportunity! The crowd is definitely getting into the game.

9:38 PM: Kings killed off Jack's penalty (elbowing my ass) and tempers are know who needs to get into a fight? Thornton and Laperriere. Now that would be a match to see.

9:45 PM: Oooooh, sit down, SON!!! Barbs just kept the Kings in the game.

9:53 PM: Fuuuuuuuuccccckkkkk. With the goalie pulled, Kopi turned the puck over at the red line and Colorado scored an empty-netter.

9:54 PM: With just seconds left in the game I think it's safe to say that the game is over. LaBarbera gave the Kings every chance to win this game. The team that turned up in the third period was drastically different from the team that started the game. It's amazing how well the team can play with a solid netminder and some damn intensity and chemistry. The Kings made a solid effort to tie the game but their effort came too late in the game. Washington secured a point tonight with a shootout loss so we're back to holding down the fort by ourselves. I like to think we're keeping the foundation strong... :P

Other Stuff:
  • FSN just showed a video/commercial promoting the Kings on the All-Star Ballot. Lubo's bit was absolutely adorable and I'm trying to find the clip...once I find it I'll provide a link.
    UPDATE: Found the video on YouTube:

    Awww....isn't Lubo adorable!!! VOTE FOR LUBO!
  • Every time I hear Bob Miller say Cumiskey, I think he's saying Konishiki. They're such different people but it keeps throwing me off

Oh Thank Goodness!

According to Yahoo! Sports and the LA Times, LaBarbera will play tonight against Colorado. The comments in the Yahoo! article are funny because the first guy says "Nice, looking forward to the Avs shooting his lights out again..." and the second guy says, "You mean spearing him again, of course, Mr. Cheap Shot."

I fully expect the Kings to take some cheap shots at Smyth. In fact, I wouldn't surprised if Mr. 10-min Misconduct gets himself another one. Who would have thunk it that his 62 PIM would lead the team at this point. At this point two seasons ago, if I counted correctly, Avery had 118 PIM. What a difference a player makes.

With a win tonight the Kings could tie Washington for last place overall. Of course, Washington would have to lose to Detroit tonight but that's a given, right? I mean if Detroit can't beat Washington then they don't deserve to be first.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I've purchased my ticket...

for the "Fire Marc Crawford" train.

Is it just me or has he aged about 5 years in the past month? I don't think it helped his cause that he got a haircut that now shows his glaring grey head of hair.
The Kings took so many penalties last night, 9 penalties for 18 PIM. Sure Minny had the same amount of penalties and each team had their fair chance at the power play but the Kings just could not get anything started.

I went home to visit my parents and made them watch the Kings game. By the time the Kings were down by 2 I could feel my eyes drooping. They were getting a decent amount of shots on goal but at no point did I feel like the game was going to turn around and the Kings were going to tie the score or at least cycle the puck down low and apply pressure. This game was so boring and frustrating that I actually fell asleep in the second period. By the time I woke up my dad had stolen the remote and was watching Numbers. Since I did not have a good feeling about what I had witnessed I didn't even bother to ask him to check the score.

These games are becoming ever more frustrating. Every shot of Crawford had him with this "Is the game over yet?" look on his face. Sometimes he looked lost as if he didn't even know what to do to get the Kings back on track. He didn't even have any fire in him. When I played soccer I didn't exactly love it when my coach was screaming every single second calling out every mistake we made. However, I did appreciate it when the coach got fired up and tried to envoke some reason for us to play. We need a change to get this team turned around. With the season not quite halfway over and the team 8 points behind the 8th spot in the West, a change now could have an impact. I don't know who would replace Crow but I think he needs to go...stat.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Dec 13th: Kings 1, Dallas 4

Well, this post is a tad bit late...

My prediction for Thursday night's game was Dallas 3, Kings 0. I was correct on the goal differential but the final score was 4-1 Dallas. I only saw the first period when I was at my fabulous gym that has a mini tv on each cardio machine...seriously, how sweet is that? (oh, and my gym membership is $29/month!) I will now be able to watch a least part of the early games instead of only catching the last few minutes. Watching the first period while working out was actually quite stressful considering I usually like to scream at my players and I couldn't exactly act like I have a severe case of Tourette's while I was at the gym.

The Kings started the game looking OK. They were playing smart defensively but couldn't build up any sustained offensive pressure. I think we had maybe one or two solid scoring chances before Dallas even had one shot on goal, but we should have had more. We had one power play early in the game but could barely even keep it in the offensive zone. Things looked ok for the first half of the period but looking "OK" is not going to cut it against Dallas.

As the seconds ticked off without a Dallas shot on goal I steadily became more worried. Why is it that when a team is held scoreless for an extended length of time it usually only takes a couple shots for that team to score? I thought Dallas' first shot was going to go in as Matty Norstrom fired the puck from the blueline. We may have stopped the first shot but we let in the second shot. After Dallas got one goal on two shots the Kings were never in the game for the remainder of the first period. We looked lost, tired, helpless. Quick made some unbelievable saves and Dallas outright missed the net on one chance that I thought was going to be a definite goal. When one minute was left in the first period I was just praying that we could get out of the period down by only one goal. We were lucky to have only let in one goal but I knew we were doomed for the rest of the game. Miraculous third period? Not a chance.

Since I wasn't able to catch the final two periods I can't comment for how close the game actually was compared to the final score. Looking at the boxscore it's unfortunate that Kopi wasn't able to extend his scoring streak to 9 games. With an assist Handzus is now on a mini streak (points in 4 of the last 5 games), although since I mentioned it I'm sure that will come to an end after Saturday's game. Another goalie was pulled with the roles switched from Wednesday night's game. Is LaBarbera healthy yet? Has anyone speared Smyth yet?

In other news...
Bob and Jim talked with DL during the first intermission. They discussed the recent announcement of three Kings prospects being named to Team Canada in the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championship: Baby Bernier, Wayne Simmonds, and Thomas Hickey. A fourth Kings prospect, Oscar Moller (a.k.a., Ales Hemsky's twin), will play for Team Sweden.

DL mentioned that Wayne Simmonds practically came out of nowhere to impress a lot of people. If I remember correctly he said that apparently Simmonds was playing for a team that wasn't very good (Owen Sound Attack) but was playing very well (39 points in 29 games). He was recently traded to a much better team (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) and is now getting a ton of exposure. Then DL admitted that Bernier had been "God awful" (seriously, exact quote) after he was sent back down to Lewiston. Ron Hextall went down there and spoke to Bernier about needing to step it up and now he here is getting named to Team Canada.

Oh, and as if you needed another reason to squee over Baby Bernier, recently he started a fundraising program, Bernier's Saves to Remember, to raise money to help find a cure for Alzheimer's disease. Bernier will donate $8 for every save he makes during the remainder of the Lewiston '07-'08 season. I'm always amazed when people (especially young adults) start up new programs to fund charities because even though I consider myself a nice, caring person I'm just not a huge charity/fundraiser participant I'll give money...I just don't actually take the initiative.) You're judging me aren't you? I mean, c'mon think about it. What were you doing when you were 19? I know what I was doing. I was honing my beer pong skills and perfecting the walk of shame. Whatever, don't hate.

Next up: Kirsten and her Minnesota Wild!!! ooohh, the Wild and Crazy Minnesotoans...Minnesoti? Minnesotaians? eeek...I'm confused!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Kings Get Blown Away in Chicago

Ugh. Another loss. I thought the final score would have been closer, but nonetheless I predicted we would lose tonight so I'm not terribly upset. I missed most of the game. I got home and a couple minutes after I turned on the TV, Kopi scored on a beautiful slap shot. He really is becoming a goal scorer. I thought Kopi was going to either fan on the shot or shoot it wide but instead he placed that sucker perfectly on net and cleanly beat Kafionkaler-bulin. I thought we had a shot in tying up the game but after I stopped replaying Kopi's goal and finally got back to live TV, Chicago scored and completely pissed all over my parade! How dare they!

Well...things never got back on track for the Kings so I'm relegated to basing this game analysis on the box score. I'm very pleased to see that Handzus got a goal!! A shorthanded goal!! And he also got an assist. My Patty O'Sullivan got himself another goal and Kyle Calder notched two assists and was +3 for the game...dude, we let in 6 goals and he came out a +3? Nice.

When I looked at the penalty log I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that Brad Stuart racked up 29 PIM. Apparently, Brad "Frosty" Stuart instigated a fight (when was the last time he was in a fight let alone instigated one?) and received the following penalties:

  • 2 min instigator
  • 2 min instigator - face shield
  • 5 min fighting
  • 10 min misconduct
  • 10 min game misconduct

Damn....way to go Stuart. I wonder what caused that scrum. I'm guessing it may have something to do with Ruutu receiving a charging penalty. Tomorrow I'll have to check out to see how the fight turned out.

Well...tomorrow's a new day and tomorrow we face Dallas. Since J. Quick started tonight I'm betting that Aubin will face Dallas since I doubt Barbs will be able to play. (Ed. note: Thanks to ckim for noticing my mistake. I completely overlooked the goalie stats because I had assumed that Quick would have started the game. Apparently Aubin had a shitty game and was pulled. Well, I still think he'll start tomorrow...but do I want him to?) I think Fro made the road trip and was a game time decision so maybe he'll play tomorrow. Brown finally had his 9-game points streak end tonight, but keep an eye out on Kopi! He's on an 8-game points streak!


Monday, December 10, 2007

Kings Beat Vancouver!

I could care less if my prediction was wrong because it feels soooooooo good to get a win! A lot of good things happened for the Kings in this game.
  • They played tough and had energy for the entire game;
  • They stood up for Kopi when he got hit (even everyone's favorite itty-bitty Cammy got in the scrum);
  • The power play converted on a 5-on-3...way to make 'em pay Kings!!!
  • Aubin had some pretty damn good saves to keep the Kings ahead;
  • Guys who weren't on the top line had great games - Handzus and Patty were strong on the PK, Calder was a freaking machine down low, and Army had multiple chances and finally got a well deserved goal;
  • The PK unit killed off back-to-back penalties (including an 8 sec 2-man advantage) when the Kings were up 3-1 and could have easily squandered another lead;
  • Even though Jack only notched one point (an assist) he still had a huge game and started the play that led to Kopi's goal;
  • Army had such a great speech/interview after being named the first star of the game, as he thanked the fans for being so great and supportive, and
  • Blake received another 10-minute misconduct for the second consecutive game. Damn, Blake, you're getting feisty in your old age!

Next up: Chicago.

Predictions for December

Five games into December and we're 1-3-1. Two losses to Phoenix, one goaltender lost to the owner of the stringiest mullet in the NHL, one SO loss to a former average Kings netminder, and one blowout win to make us daydream of that one game where everything seemed shiny and bright. Aaaaahhhh, is that what it feels like to win? It happens so sparingly that when we do get a win it's like we've won a playoff round, something we haven't done since...I don't even remember. I was probably in college which explains my four-year gap in lack of Kings knowledge.

While Tracy was pretty spot on with her Kings/Coyotes pregame analysis, it looks like I wasn't too far off myself. Well, except for actually thinking that Nagy would play. Note, he wasn't a healthy scratch, but rather he was sidelined with a hip pointer. I'm sorry...a what? A quick google search confirms that 'hip pointer' is in fact a real injury and in case you're as medically clueless as I am, here is a quick description of it:

A hip pointer refers to a direct contact injury to the iliac crest of the pelvis. The iliac crest is commonly known as the "hip bone", a misnomer. The term hip pointer is somewhat confusing. It can refer to a deep bruise of the muscle and bone, a small chip fracture or even a complete break. Typically, however, this term refers to a severe bruise and not a fracture.

Jeez, Nagy, lay off the belly dancing. Did you hit an old man's cane while you were shaking your hips one too many times? I was correct in stating that the Kings can't hold onto a lead unless they're up by 7 goals. Also, the top line produced again and the power play unit capitalized again for the fourth game in a row. Our valiant effort to tie the score in the third period was branded useless since we decided right off the ensuing faceoff to stop playing.

Hmm, according to the Toronto Sun (reported on Yahoo!) and Ottawa Sun (reported on ESPN), Crow is in the hot seat. I remember a month or two ago reading on the Yahoo! Rumors page that players weren't too happy about Crow. I didn't think twice about the rumor, oh no wait, I did have to answer to my boss and Finny, both Ducks fans, who were more than happy to forward me the article. However, this time around, I did give the rumor a thought since I wouldn't be surprised if Crow is actually in the hot seat, but yet I doubt he'll be fired because it's only his second season as the Kings coach, DL seems determined to build around this 'youth' movement, we have 5 new faces from the off-season, and if Crow were fired, who would replace him? I'm not too familiar with the list of available of coaches but I bet Dave Taylor is having a good laugh over the Kings' failed season (oh yes, I did just call it quits for the season). While DL is furiously poring over his notes trying to figure out where he went wrong by signing Scott Thornton, Alyn McCauley, John Zeiler, Tom Preissing, Ladislav Nagy, Brian Willsie, Kevin Dallman, Jon Klemm, John Zeiler, and John Zeiler, Dave Taylor is probably having a grand ol' time down in Texas enjoying the rodeo.

I really thought the Kings were going to fair better this season compared to the recent past. It's completely disheartening and frustrating as a fan who watches each game, forks over the money to attend games (although season ticket holders are way more financially invested than I could ever be), and invests time thinking, listening, reading, talking, and writing about the team. I feel like I'm preparing to torture myself every time I turn on the TV to watch a game or buy tickets. The only way I can get through each season with bright, cheery thoughts of "there's always next year" is by joking about how bad we are and thinking about the young talented players that continue to progress and show off their skills.

So with the sentimental crap out of the way, here's more joking to get myself and fellow tortured Kings fans through to the New Year. There are 11 games remaining in December. Here's how I think the Kings will fair against their lucky opponents.

Dec 10th v. Vancouver:
We were lucky to skate out of GM Place with a win. Was it Pyatt who clanked one off the crossbar in the third period? Hey, Jack, where are you? Your only goal of the season came against Luongo; maybe tonight Calder can feed you another beauty that you can tip in. However, I don't think Aubin will have another fortunate outing against Vancouver.
Kings 1, Vancouver 4

Dec 12th v. Chicago:
Which noob will embarrass the Kings? Remember when Robert Lang was on the Kings? Too bad we let him go before he actually developed into a decent player.
Kings 2, Chicago 3 (SO)

Dec 13th v. Dallas:
I think Dave Taylor should drop the puck with Matty and Blake at the faceoff (I know it's not possible!). I'm beginning to feel like the two wins we have against Dallas this season were a fluke. Have we ever had a goalie as good as Turco? And Vachon doesn't count because that was so long ago. Blerg.
Kings 0, Dallas 3

Dec 15th v. Minnesota:
For some reason I'm actually optimistic about this game. I miss Demitra. O'Sullivan is going to score tonight.
Kings 3, Minnesota 1

Dec 17th v. Colorado:
Someone will take a run at Smyth. Someone will cheap shot whoever is in Colorado's net. This game will not be pretty.
Kings 3, Colorado 4 (OT)

Dec 19th v. Detroit:
Haha, that's funny.
Kings 1, Detroit 4

Dec 21st v. Columbus:
There's no way we're losing another game to Columbus. The BJs were fierce on the PK so at least we'll know what to expect this time. Leclaire is no longer on a 5 shoutouts in 7 games streak.
Kings 4, Columbus 2

Dec 22nd v. Nashville:
I highly doubt the Kings will net another 6 goals against the Preds but I still think we'll win. My hatred for Tootoo only continues to grow.
Kings 4, Nashville 1

Dec 26th v. San Jose:
I'll be at this game and considering it's the day after Christmas, I'm going to be so POd if the Kings don't win or if the Kings at least don't put in a tremendous effort.
Kings 3, SJ 2 (SO)
P.S. My mom likes the SO so here's hoping she gets to see another one. Last year the family saw the Kings play Phoenix on the day after Xmas and I think my mom only came so that she wouldn't be left out. I think she was completely bored throughout the entire game. Then the shootout started and her eyes lit up and you could see her get really into it and she even looked at me and said, "Oh, I like this!" It absolutely warmed my heart to see her happy to be there and to watch her enjoy a hockey game since that was the first game she's been to in years.

Dec 29th v. Colorado:
Are Peter Budaj and Jose Theodore actually that good or does the rest of team just make them look good?
Kings 0, Colorado 3

Dec 30th v. Chicago:
I wonder if Aubin will still be healthy at this point. And what if Barbs is still recovering? Would Crow call up Ersberg or Cloutier? What do you think the reunion party would be like for Cloutier? "'re playing tonight? That's cool....I guess."
Kings 4, Chicago 3

So for the remainder of December I have the Kings going 5-4-2. Hey! One game above 0.500! And this whole time I thought I was being too harsh on the guys. You know, I'd be happy with that outcome. Ah well, a girl can dream, right?

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Getting Close to a Coyote Fan

Here's the deal – I've hacked onto Purple Crushed Velvet today to give you all a long-winded and most likely unwanted explanation of what I think you need to watch out for during tonight's game, at least on the Coyotes side.

The Kings are just coming off of a fantasmic win against Buffalo so they are ready and willing to beat the snot out of us Coyotes, we're really going to need to bring it all out tonight and not play half-assed hockey if we want to win. Hopefully Bryzgalov can keep his streak going against the Kings and we can pull off our fourth win in as many meetings.

As for our lineup, it's a never-ending question of 'who will it be tonight?' concerning Freddie Sjostrom and Mathias Tjarnqvist; who will be scratched and who will play? Will either of them make a difference? It's a vicious circle, my friends, one that I'm sure will keep winding around and around until we all puke with dizziness. If you look at numbers only, Freddie is the clear winner and should be in the lineup over Tjarnqvist no questions asked, with 5 goals and 1 assist; Mathias, with only 1 assist to his name this season, should be the bench warmer at this time. Add to that equation the fact that the Carcillo/Zigomanis/Sjostrom line has been having amazing chemistry the last couple of games and I would put my money on Freddie being in the lineup tonight. Luckily for me, I have no money to bet because TGO (Ed. note: I had to say 'TGO' over and over in my head to figure out who she was talking about...silly me, I should have known immediately) always ends up surprising me just when I think I have it all figured out.

Another thing that needs to happen tonight is scoring. The Coyotes aren't second to last in the league when it comes to goals and we need to break that trend or else we have no hope. We can't expect to just ride on Bryzgalov's (admitted) talent in the long run, sooner or later our forwards are going to have to chip in and start doing their jobs.

As for players to watch – assuming Sjostrom isn't scratched, I'd say watch out for him, he has something to prove this game. TGO isn't giving him many opportunities to play and show he's worthy so when he does he needs to step it up and let the world know how bad he wants it. Also, Vrbata, who we can usually count on to get us a goal or two, should be one to keep a corner of your brain focused on. As always, keep a sharp eye on Daniel Carcillo, he likes to run his filthy little mouth so beware of him, he's been controlling himself fairly well lately, he's bound to snap at any moment.

With all that in mind, here's to an exciting game featuring some good old-fashioned rivalry and one of my favorite squees (not of my team) Michael Cammalleri. Cheers to that and let's go Coyotes!

Looks like Tracy finally accepted my friendship request and has at last agreed to let me infiltrate her blog, so head on over to True Coyote Love to find out what you should expect from the Kings tonight.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Game Recap: Kings v. Sabres

What a game! I was a bit late in turning on the game and was pleasantly surprised to find the Kings ahead 2-0 early in the first period. I can't even remember who scored in the game so I'll need the assistance of the boxscore. Kings goals came from Cammalleri, Brownie (2), Preissing (2!), Modry (first goal in 83 games!), Handzus (first since his only goal of the season that came in Game 1), and Armstrong (first of the season). Kopitar didn't have a goal but did notch 4 assists! The Kings had 4 PPGs and 1 SHG. Brownie did most of the work on the SHG but it was Handzus who was able to tap it in.

I couldn't believe we were up 7-0 at just past the midway point of the game. Seriously, we've only managed to get 2 goals against Phoenix in 3 games yet we can score 7 goals against Buffalo in just over 30 minutes of play. Considering we lost to Buffalo 10-1 the last time we played them (during the '05-'06 season) it was refreshing to see the roles reversed this time around. Part of me kept thinking we better win this game or else we'll never hear the end of it. Lately we've had some problems holding onto leads so I was worried that we might have a meltdown late in the game.

Through the first two periods it really looked like nothing was going right for Buffalo. T-Bo looked atrocious, but yet the guys in front of him just were not playing well at all. Both teams played last night and lost their respective games, yet the Kings had a lot of energy and the Sabres struggled with the forecheck and looked downright sluggish. It also probably didn't help the Sabres that the Kings were playing a physical game and the Sabres retaliated several times.

There were a lot of positives in this game. The Kings got scoring from multiple players and several had a multi-point game. The power play looked sharp and the penalty killers were very aggressive. This was a game where most of the time we could play the puck out of the zone on a PK instead of just dumping it out. Jonathan Quick played tonight's game and was tested early in the first period on a 1-on-3. He made a fantastic glove save on the play when (I think) the Kings were still only up by 2 or 3. The save was huge because it didn't allow the Sabres to get any momentum. Quick played a strong game, but he wasn't tested that much.

Of course, not every game will turn out this way. Tonight the Kings finally played a solid 60 minutes during which they played physical, were smart, and finally held onto a lead. The real test will be how the Kings play against Phoenix on Saturday. The Kings have lost all three games against Phoenix this season and hopefully tonight's win will spark some confidence in the guys.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Five Questions with a Sabres Fan

D.O. over at Die by the Blade was nice enough to contact me about doing a 5 questions segment. With the Kings playing Buffalo on Thursday night, here's your chance to gain some insight about the Sabres from an enemy fan. And don't worry, I didn't ask any questions about Briere or Drury. If you're interested in reading my anwers to D.O.'s questions, click here.

1. I remember the last time the Kings and Buffalo played, which was during the 2005-2006 season when the Kings visited Buffalo. I was anticipating a great fast game since the Kings were just coming off a great December but instead I was clapping and cheering every time Garon or some kid named Hauser made a save. Buffalo put on a clinic and embarrassed the Kings 10-1. Do you remember watching that game and can we expect something similar this time?

I do remember watching that game and as a Sabres fan it was really fun to watch. It seemed like everything went right for Buffalo and we have grown accustomed to seeing similar games over the past couple of years. I don't anticipate this game will turn out the same way however. This years Sabres team is not the same as in the past although a 8-1 victory over Carolina on Saturday and a 7-0 win over Atlanta earlier in the season help us believe they have it in them. The biggest factor will Jason LaBarbara, he is much better than Garon and Hauser and although some recent struggles I don't think the Kings would allow that to happen on home ice.

2. Maxim Afinogenov has been one of my favorite Sabres, mainly because of his name, but also because he can play pretty well. He's not even 30 and he seems to keep getting better every season. It might be because of my location, but I rarely hear about this guy. Does Buffalo pay a lot of attention to him or he is another guy who only gets exposure when he doesn't play well?

He is definitely a guy who only gets exposure when he doesn't play well. He can't seem to find a rhythm this season and he is a player that the Sabres depend on for offensive production. I think his poor play is the reason the Sabres have been so inconsistent this year and they need him to regain his old form. recently there have been plenty of rumors about Afinogenov being traded to get a defenseman but I personally don't see that happening. If Afinogenov can pick up his game and start contributing some points the Sabres will once again be a contender.

3. Looking at Buffalo's cap numbers and salaries looks like Numminen, Kalinin, Campbell, and Thibault are all UFAs at the end of this season. Campbell has been putting up the best numbers but what are your thoughts about whether the front office should sign these guys or let them walk at the end of the season? And if you think they should return, when would you expect their contracts to be extended?

All of these situations are completely different. Campbell is by far the most important of the group and they need to make sure gets signed before the end of the season. The rumors are that he wants in the range of $5 million per season and many people don't think he is worth that kind of money, I say the guy what he wants because he is the catalyst of this team.

Teppo Numminen is a different situation because nobody knows how he will rebound from his heart surgery. (Ed. note: I completely forgot about Numminen's heart condition.) If he comes back they will wait and see how he responds on the ice before making any decision on him. I wouldn't be surprised if he retires after the season due to his heart condition and not wanting to risk his life to play hockey. Numminen was expected to be a leader on this years team and in the early going he was really missed but some guys have stepped up and lessened the blow from his loss.

Dmitri Kalinin will probably not be re-signed at the end of the season. The play of Nathan Paetsch and youngsters Andrej Sekera and Mike Weber makes Kalinin expendable. Kalinin is guy that is hard to figure out, he can be the best player on the ice at times and at other times he looks lost. I think Lindy Ruff has had enough of the lack of consistency with Kalinin and he will be allowed to test the market.

As far as T-Bo I have no idea but if he isn't the back up someone else will be. The fact remains that Miller is the guy and the back up will not play much.

4. Speaking of T-Bo, what was your reaction when you found out he was signed to back up Miller? Not quite the Biron, but the back up netminder pool was slim during the off-season. He's only played 3 games (2-1-0) this season but has he played well and do you think he should get more playing time to let Miller rest? If his contract isn't extended is there a goalie in the farm system that has a shot with the team or would you rather bring in someone else?

T-Bo has played well making the most of limited opportunities playing behind Miller. Ironically enough I wouldn't be surprised to see him start against the Kings. He was outstanding in a shutout victory over Montreal last week and was the victim of some defensive breakdowns against Florida earlier in the season. I would anticipate that the sabres will try to sign him after the season if he does well because the farm system is void of a competent backup. Adam Dennis would be the next in line and many scouts think he is alright for the AHL but will never be NHL caliber. The Sabres do have a young goalie playing in Sweden in Jhonas Enroth. Enroth is predicted to be a good NHL goalie but he is only 19 years old and needs more time to develop.

5. Afinogenov, Vanek, Tallinder, Campbell, and Miller are on the 2007-2008 All-Star ballot. Of those 5 who do you think definitely should make the team? Are there any other Sabres who were left off the ballot that you think deserves a write-in?

I think Brian Campbell is the most deserving Sabre to make the all star team. It's a far cry from last season when Briere, Campbell and Miller were all starters but Campbell is the only guy who is deserving of playing in that game. I'm not sure he is all star caliber but Derek Roy is probably more deserving of being on the ballot than any of the other four players. As a side note Campbell leads all Sabres in votes thus far proving that people are voting based on players who are deserving instead of based on their Miller and Vanek.

Kings v. Coyotes

I don't have much to say about tonight's game other than "Thanks, FSN, for not televising the game!" with a super-duper smile on my face and a thumbs up!! I guess I'll just have to watch the Freaks and Geeks DVD that came in the mail today and then Dirty Sexy Money at 10 pm and Project Runway at 11 pm. Don't get me wrong; I love those shows but I would much rather watch my Kings attempt to hand Phoenix their 5th consecutive loss. *sigh* Life is so difficult sometimes.

As I write this post the game is halfway over and Phoenix is ahead by a score of 3-1. Good news is that Cammy continues to score and the Kings got a PP goal. Their PP has been hurting lately so it's good to see them score on only their second man advantage opportunity of the game. Aubin is in net and with Buffalo up tomorrow night I wonder if Jonathan Quick will get the start; if so, he'll be getting a quick start. Ooooooh, I can't wait till T.J. Fast is called up.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Ahhhh, Garon...

As the clock ticked down during overtime I knew we were in trouble if we didn't end it soon. Two seasons ago the Kings dominated the shootout with Fro and Pavol "Mr. Automatic" Demitra scoring on almost every attempt. In goal would be Garon or LaBarbera but I was always more confident with Garon in net. As soon as the shooter touches the puck he pushes out to meet the shooter. He comes out well past the crease and slowly skates backwards, eye on the shooter and puck, rarely committing to a deke. He's always focused and his flexibility allows him to cover the ice from post to post in case the shooter pulls a move on him.

I had a feeling that Crow would go with the usual three: Cammy, Kopi, and Brownie. I felt that he should have replaced Cammy with O'Sullivan, who hit the post in OT, because O'Sullivan hardly played with Garon last season. After starting slow with the team, he spent most of the remainder of the season in Manchester. Not only was I worried about facing Garon in the shootout because he's good in the SO, but also because he knows the Kings. Cammy and Brownie have really come into their own these past few seasons, with Garon as their teammate. Garon was also around for Kopi's rookie season, when he wasn't on IR, and I thought it would have been good to have a shooter Garon isn't familiar with.

Alas, Cammy hit the post and I still can't believe the puck managed to stay out of the goal. Brownie's attempt wasn't even on net and Kopi just couldn't get Garon to open up or over commit.

I'll take the point, but in order to stay competitive for a playoff spot we're going to have to start notching wins. C'mon boys, you have the potential, just get it together and win.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Pre-Game Report: Kings v. Oilers

This will be quick.

I missed Saturday's 5-2 loss to the Avs but RudyKelly has a pretty good post-game report. Bottom line: Ryan Smyth should die. Thanks to "Captain Canada", oh wait, no it's "Mr. I hate Canada and NY but I'll give Colorado a try because the weather is so similar to Edmonton it'll be like I'm still in Canada and can be called Captain Canada but really, I can't so....whatevs", but thanks to him Barbs is out. Who knows how serious the injury is. The LA Times reports:

LaBarbera suffered a rib injury with 14 minutes 40 seconds remaining in the third period when he was hit by the Avalanche's Ryan Smyth during a scramble near the net. LaBarbera was forced to leave and his return is uncertain.

Additionally, the LAT reports that Jonathan Quick has been called up from Manchester on an emergency basis. What? No Cloots? Ahhh, is that 3-8 record unappealing? Matt Moulson has been sent back down but hometown boy, Gabe Gauthier, has been called up. Gauthier is 2nd in scoring for the Monarchs with 27 points (8G, 19A) in 21 games. Last season Gauthier played a couple games with the Kings. I didn't think he was anything special but a new season, a new kid? Let's hope so because we need the scoring.

Fro has been placed on IR. Faaaaaantastic. Cammy played in Saturday's game (19:59 TOI) but was held scoreless and was a -3. The top line will need to step it up because the Oil are on a roll after having won 4 of their last 5 games including two consecutive wins against the Ducks, outscoring them 9-1 in the home-and-home series (thanks, Giguere, I only have you in two of my fantasy leagues.)

The first meeting between these two teams was at Staples Center in late October. The Oil got on the board first but the Kings pulled through and scored 4 unanswered goals. (Funny thing, the box score shows Raffi Torres scoring a goal, but he didn't.) Patty O'Sullivan had a heck of a game as did Barbs (*sniff, sniff* poor Barbs).

Keys to the game:
Stay out of the box (which they have been doing well lately) and kill off penalties (which they struggle at).

The Kings have been sucking on the power play lately and that needs to change, stat.

Keep up the energy. There haven't been many games this season where I feel like the Kings have kept up the energy throughout the entire game.

Don't blow another lead. I'm sick and tired of the Kings going up by one or two goals and then floundering the lead. Utter carnival trash. I'm way more at ease when the Kings are down early in the game because I'm more confident that they'll come back rather than protect a lead.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

All-Star Game: Vote for the Kings!

I just realized that I haven't written a post reminding readers to vote for the Kings for the All-Star Game!

If you were like me and couldn't find the voting link on the front page of, then look no further because you can click here to be directed to the 2008 NHL All-Star voting page.

Four Kings are on the All-Star Ballot and I will give my reasons for why they should be named to the All-Star team.

Michael Cammalleri
This guy is a King because of the arbitrator who decided he was only worth $3.1 million this season and $3.6 million next season. Had the arbitrator awarded Cammy a $5 million or more salary would DL have signed him?? Who knows, but I don't think he would have. Instead of having a hissy fit, Cammy has stepped it up this season and is showing fans and critics that his career best season in '06-'07 may not have been a fluke. During October he was leading the NHL in goals; Cammy had 10 goals in 10 games. While his goal production has dropped as of late he has continued to be a huge presence and has seen a lot of ice time on the power play. In fact according to Ross McKeon's Yahoo! article dated Nov 3rd,'s the Kings' forward who has the best shooting percentage (19 percent) and he's the only one averaging fewer than 20 minutes of ice time per game. Cammalleri, in fact, sees approximately 18:30 of ice time.

The article continues the praise by noting that Cammy is not used on the PK so has to sit for good chunks of time when the team takes a lot of penalties. This 25 year old deserves a spot on the All-Star team because he is proving that he can lead a team on and off the ice.

Anze Kopitar
For a while I thought Kopi was in the midst of a sophomore slump, then I checked his stats and realized he's doing fine. With Fro and Cammy out of the lineup with groin injuries, Kopi has taken the lead in team scoring with 21 points (10G, 11A) in 24 games. Last season he had 61 points (20 G, 41 A) in 72 games and he's on par to tally just a bit more this season. I've noticed that he's been shooting the puck more this season so I wouldn't be surprised if he breaks the 30 goal mark. Kopi continues to impress me with his dazzling skills and charming, boyish personality; even though he plays with fierce determination he never fails to break out a huge smile after a goal. He's very strong on the puck, sees the ice well, and is definitely a part of the Kings long-term plan.

Rob Blake
Hmmm....well, the old man can still play. I was a bit disappointed with his play last season but I think he's picked it up a bit this season. This season he doesn't sit in front of the opposition's goalie as much as he did last season and I think he's playing smarter. He's an astonishing -12 so far this season, which I guess doesn't help my cause to get him on the team. Dude, it's Rob Blake, enough said.

Lubomir Visnovsky
Lubo's scoring has dropped from last season but that doesn't mean he's not an effective defenseman. He's incredibly smart and has a lot of skill which is evident when he skates from end to end to lead the offensive push. Lubo is one of my favorite players on this team and I don't think he gets the recognition that he deserves. He may be only 5'-8" 188 lbs. but he plays much bigger. He never shies away from taking or receiving a hit and has a great presence on the blueline.

Worth a mention:

Jack Johnson
I think Jack Johnson deserves a mention in the All-Star discussion. If you want to vote for him you'll need to write him in. He hasn't blown into this league with hard hits or fights, but rather with smart defensive plays. I'm always amazed with how he passes (no hospital passes from this kid) and plays the man. It's his rookie season so there will be plenty of seasons for him to make the All-Star team and I'm sure he'll be on the srtarting All-Star ballot sometime in the near future.

Alexander Frolov
I'm bummed that Fro is out again with a groin injury because he was really on a roll. He currently has 20 points (4G, 16 A) in 21 games and deserves an All-Star nod for his continuing stellar play. Like Lubo, I don't think Fro gets enough recognition. He has great hands and has absolutely schooled some opposing players and made his teammates look like kings (hahah, see what I did there? I'm so clever, sometimes it's unbelievable how awesome I am). Vote for Fro!! If he's not on the All-Star ballot the next couple of seasons I may need to start a campaign.

That's it boys and girls. Don't forget to Vote!