Wednesday, December 19, 2007

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!

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