Thursday, March 27, 2008

Swede Secures Second Shutout

Thank goodness I didn't pass up the opportunity to attend this game. It may have taken me 2 hours to get from work to Staples Center (I traveled 45 miles in case you're wondering) but it was all worth it.

After stepping foot in an older, less classy arena (*cough* Ponda Center *cough*) it was such a relief, quite relaxing actually, to be back at Staples Center. There are so many things that I love about Staples Center and check back during the weekend because I'm going to do a post comparing the two arenas.

Yesterday I thought Cloutier was going to start against the 'Yotes, but after finding out today that he has some injury (hah, is that what they're calling "benching Cloutier" these days?) and that the Kings called up AHL netminder Danny Taylor, I had a feeling that we may see the Swede for the second time in as many nights. Even though he faced 40 shots the previous night and looked down right tired (see pic below) I still had faith that he could do it for the Kings.

Ersberg was one solid player tonight. The Kings did a fantastic job of limiting most of the 38 shots on net to the outside, but Ersberg came up HUGE at times to preserve the shutout. I like him more and more everytime I see him play. However, I kind of want to see this Taylor kid. In the warmups he was stickhandling the puck all over the ice. He was one of the last players off the ice when warmups ended. He looked eager to be out there and I want to see him in action. So I'm a bit torn: do I want to continue seeing solid goaltending from Ersberg or do I want a glimpse of Taylor?

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

So this is what it feels like to have solid goaltending

This pic of Ersberg is from the Ducks game. It was taken before the shootout began. He looks awesome. Actually, to quote an LGK reader, he looks like an anime character! He always has this "What's going on?" look on his face. And for some reason, P always asks, "Is the hot Swede in net tonight?" Hmmm...I'm not quite sure I would call Ersberg hot and no, I do not know why my fiance is calling Ersberg hot, but I'll deal with that later. Regardless, Kings fans are really warming up to him.

(AP Photo/Mark Avery)
Ersberg...where were you in October?

Blog Pimpin'
If you haven't already, check out ckim's rant about attending the Kings/Ducks game. I say 'ditto' to everything she wrote. Also, I fully support the use of calling random female idiots 'hobags'. What a great word.

If you don't feel like going to the Kings game on Saturday but you want to watch the game with a bunch of other Kings fans, then head down to the LBC watch party that Mateo at Life in Hockeywood is putting together at Smooth's Sports Grill on Pine Avenue. For the details, check out his post: Kings v. Stars Watch Party. If I can get my hiney out of bed before noon and have enough time to make myself look presentable before puck drop, then I'll be there. Otherwise, I'll be slummin' it in my tiny LBC apartment in my slightly ghetto neighborhood.

Sidenote, P was trying to convince a friend to hang out in Long Beach (instead of LA) and he said, "No, I'm not poor." FYI to all you Long Beach haters, not ALL of Long Beach is super ghetto...only about 85%. 10% is decent and the other 5% is actually really nice. Get your heads out of your asses and come find the awesomeness in this beach community.

That's it folks. I have another early morning tomorrow so a more detailed game review will come another day.

Edit: Regarding the "Watch Party"...the idiot in me only read the "Kings v. Stars" part, not the actual date of the event. Big thanks to reader 'chinde35' for correctly pointing out that the event took place last Saturday when the Kings played Dallas on the road, which makes a lot more sense...hmpf...if I ony I started reading every word instead of skimming things. Anyhoo...I guess I'll just be watching the game by myself.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Marc Crawford Hates the Kings

I hate Marc Crawford.

The transitive property says I should hate the Kings, but no, I still love them. Well, I love about 80% of the team.

I have an early morning start tomorrow so this "game review" won't cover nearly half of what I want to discuss. The full-blown game review will come later this week.

What I want to discuss (or, rather rant) about is WHY IN THE WORLD BRIAN WILLSIE WAS THE 6TH SHOOTOUT SHOOTER?!?!!

Finally Crow placed O'Sullivan third in the shootout but unfortunately he couldn't go 5 for 5. If the Kings had lost after three shooters, I would have been fine with the loss. I would have held my head high and said, "We used our best three shooters but just couldn't come out with the win."

I would have been ok with the loss if we had lost after the 4th or 5th shooters since I thought Cammy and Frolov are respectable shootout choices.

As soon as #21, Brian "How am I still in the NHL?" Willsie, stepped onto the ice as the 6th shooter, my heart sank. I felt sick to my stomach. I wanted to vomit. I wanted to cry. I wanted to head towards the exit. There was no point in even watching if Willsie could get the puck past Hiller and force a 7th round because I knew there was no way in hell he would even have a chance. I looked at ckim and she had the same expression on her face that I knew was on mine. We both knew the game was over and, of course, like fucking clockwork, Willsie made a pitiful shootout attempt, Hiller made an easy save, and I went to pull out the knife that Marc Crawford had stabbed in my back. Thanks, Crow. Thanks for throwing in the towel in the 6th round. Thanks for saying "F YOU!" to every single Kings fan.

With the lineup we had tonight, here's the order I would have used after Frolov's attempt was saved:

Michal Handzus
Derek Armstrong
Lubomir Visnovsky
Rob Blake
Matt Ellis
Tom Preissing
Peter Harrold
Jon Klemm
Jeff Giuliano
Kevin Dallman
Raitis Ivanans
Brian Willsie
John Zeiler

Notice where I placed Brian Willsie. Second to last...where he belongs. Brian Willsie only recorded 5:54 of ice time tonight and no, he is not one of those sleeper shootout secrets who can come out and win us the game. We don't really have one of those guys so I'm trying really hard to figure out why Marc Crawford passed over guys like Lubo, Handzus, Armstrong, and even Blake. I was absolutely speechless after the game. If the Kings lost more shootouts in this manner I would definitely vote to remove the shootout from the NHL. Tonight's loss was an awful one to take and is just another reason why I cannot wait for this season to be over.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


I had absolutely zero expectations as this game started today but I was filled with frustration. I was annoyed that the game was at noon, smack dab in the middle of the day. I was annoyed that the freakin' gardeners were back for the second day in a row. I was annoyed that the season is still going on and my Kings have no hope of making it to the post season....again. I was annoyed because I did my taxes last night and things are NOT looking good. I was annoyed because Crow severely mixed up the lines in the last game and I was dreading what was in store today.

I let out a sigh of relief when the game started and I saw the lines. Finally, the top line is actually a number one line: Kopitar-Brown-O'Sullivan. The second line was just fine as well: Frolov-Cammalleri-Armstrong. The remaining two lines were just...there.

Let's fast forward to the third period. Dallas 2, Kings 1. I had to run an errand and didn't want to wait till after the game (again, I HATE games that start before 3 pm.) I had every intention to record the game just in case the Kings got down by 4 and then won the game in OT. However, as I drove away I realized that I completely forgot to record the game. I turned the game on the radio and eventually heard HANDZUS score a goal! I was so excited that my boy ZEUS finally got another goal. The last time he scored was Dec 17th! Lubo immediately put my boys up by one goal and then I reached my destination. I had a good feeling about the game since there wasn't that much time left so I figured the Kings won 3-2, maybe 4-2 with an empty-netter.

I checked the score when I came home and saw we won 4-2, but the last goal wasn't an empty-netter! And to make things even better, HANDZUS scored again!!! WTF?! All season long I've been his biggest advocate. I don't know why I like him but I've been saying this entire time to just give him some time and he'll come around. But, I'll be honest. During today's game, feelings of disappoint came over me when I saw Handzus on the ice. It was like I was disappointed in him for proving me wrong, disappointed that he couldn't be that third line presence that scores and enforces the whole "scoring by committee" philosophy. I finally began to doubt Lombardi's reasoning for signing him, especially to a multi-year contract. But then, as if Handzus had heard my thoughts, he came through and helped the Kings defeat the Dallas Stars. I hope this game doesn't become like Nagy's hat-trick game, an ultimate high followed by some lows and a great disappearing act. I hope this two-goal game sparks Handzus's confidence and scoring touch even if it is for just a couple more games. He'll finally have a full healthy season behind him and if anything, I hope this is just a preview of what we'll see next season.

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
I love you, Handzus!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

4 for 4

If you have a player who is 3 for 3 in the shootout, where would you place him in the shootout lineup? First? Sure, not a bad position. I would probably place him second.

Marc "This season has turned my hair all grey but at least I'm not bald...yet" Crawford chose to have Patrick "3 for 3 in the shootout" O'Sullivan, shoot FOURTH!

First Kings Shooter: Kopitar (3/6)
Second Kings Shooter: Dustin Brown (3/6)
Third Kings Shooter: Michael Cammalleri (1/3)
Fourth Kings Shooter: Patrick O'Sullivan (3/3)

Does that make sense to ANYONE?!

Thank God, Ersberg saved all three attempts to even give O'Sullivan the chance to shoot AND SCORE! It's about time we beat Phoenix.

And guys, how about some defense in the next game?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Cloutier Deserved a Win

I can't believe I'm saying this but Cloutier had an amazing game tonight and it's really unfortunate that he wasn't able to get the 'W'. He did everything he could to keep the Kings in this game. He made 38 saves and some of those were really unbelievable but the Kings could only manage 18 shots on Luongo. I spent the majority of the first period in a complete state of shock from witnessing Cloutier make save after save. If old (or maybe, normal) Cloutier was in net tonight the Kings could easily have been down by 4 at the end of the first. Who knows, maybe I think he played a great game because I expect so little from him, but honestly, he looked unbeatable tonight and when the Kings scored first I seriously thought he was going to get the shutout. Maybe as a whole we didn't deserve to win but it's still a tough loss to take.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Swede Gets It Done

It's about time we won a game. And it's about time the rookie got a win.

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)Errrrrrrsberrrrrg

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Mullet Night: Redneck Edition

For those of you within a reasonable distance to the Manchester Monarchs, don't miss your opportunity to attend Mullet Night: Redneck Edition this Friday March 7th. If you purchase the special offer package ($52) you'll receive 4 silver level tickets & 1 Mullet Night: Redneck Edition photo featuring Meckler, Milam, Matt Moulson, and Westgarth. I really hope this photo gets published online because I can't wait to see what these guys will look like.

Oh right, there's a game, yeah, this stuff is way more exciting.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

You're Welcome

Minnesota, you're welcome for the 2 points. I know you rightfully deserved those two points but you're welcome that we didn't steal them from you.

J.S. Giguere and the Northwest Division, I'm sure you're very thankful that we indefinitely knocked out Smyth. Looks like the nappy-haired Canadian is ok (relatively speaking) but you're still welcome for not having to put up with him for awhile.

Tampa Bay, you're welcome for spot #29. I know you've been really nervous the past couple weeks that we would dethrone you, but worry no more. Our young stars are doomed to spend the rest of the season in the AHL so there's no way in hell we'll be moving upwards with our current lineup.

Phoenix, aren't you sitting pretty 4th in the Pacific. We knew you would be mighty happy to not be last in the Pacific...and you're not even close! Good for you!

Detroit, thanks so much for the flowers you sent over. We knew you would really like Brad Stuart. It's good to see that he's already having an impact with the team by spending 24:47 on the ice tonight (2nd most on your team). We're already letting Ellis play on the first line (I know, I can't believe it either!) so please return the favor and treat Stuart well.

That's all we have room for tonight but check back often as we give thanks to the NHL gives thanks to us for all the good deeds we've done this season.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

March 1st: Kings 2 v. Avalanche 5

I could have sworn this game was scheduled for 6pm so it's a good thing I just checked the NHL schedule. Check back periodically throughout the night as I a bitch, bitch, bitch, moan, moan, moan about this game.

First Period

Well, what do you know! Jon Klemm was at center to take the face-off. Apparently this guy can play forward and defense! Wow, just like Kevin Dallman!

I got such a bad feeling in my stomach when the Kings line combinations were displayed. Ugh...


I promise not to bring this up again for the remainder of this post, but it would be really nice to have Moulson, Purcell, and Boyle among those names. Cloutier is in net tonight, which I guess mean Esrberg will be making his first start tomorrow.

The first period is halfway over and there hasn't been much going on. Kopitar's line had one scoring opportunity. The Avalance had one power play, courtesy of Brian Willsie who decided that playing defense required too much energy. Crow is already tweaking the lines...Giuliano has been playing with Calder and Handzus. Ellis was seen playing with Kopi and Brown. The Kings had one power play but failed to do much with it. This game is sooooo exciting.

End of the first and the Kings are still in this 0-0 game. Cammy hit the post at the end of the period, which was probably the best Kings scoring chance so far, although there haven't been many chances from the guys in purple. The Kings don't look that bad, it's just that they don't look cohesive. Cloutier had a couple of great saves, including one on Sakic and the ensuing rebound. Surprisingly Cloutier looks solid. He's square to the shooter, not overcommitting, and looks like his head is in this game. Can he continue playing like this for the next two periods? If so, I think he can win this game because Theodore hasn't been that impressive and I think the Kings will be able to get a couple pucks past him.

The rest of the game diary after the jump.

Second Period
The Kings started the second by applying some much needed offensive pressure. The Calder/Handzus line kept in Colorado's zone for a considerable amount of time. Most of the action was in the right corner but Dallman was wide open on the left blueline. Someone passed the puck to Dallman and with only one defenseman in front of him, Dallman went for the one-timer and completely fucking fanned. Story of his life.

The Kings went on the power play and finally exhibited some life. Lubo rocketed one off the post for his second post of the night but Cammy finally got the Kings on the board with a power play goal.

Less than two minutes later Colorado tied the score. Salei shot the puck from just insde the blueline in what looked like a harmless shot. Just as I about to curse Cloutier to the high heavens the replay showed Smyth sneaking in front of Cloutier to not only screen him and prevent him from challenging the shooter, but also to tip in the shot for a goal. Smyth irks the crap out of me.

Colorado continued applying pressure and kept the Kings scrambling to even get a stick on the puck. Less than two minutes after Smyth's goal, Smyth attempted the cross-ice pass through the crease and Blake intercepted the pass with his padded foot for an own goal. Smyth 2, Kings 1.

Klemm checked Svatos from behind sending him into the boards with his legs in the most uncomfortable looking position. With a delayed penalty about to be called the Avs kept the play in the Kings' end and Salei fired a high shot that went straight into the upper-V. Smyth/Salei 3, Kings 1, and 1 Avs player down.

With 28.5 seconds left in the second Jack Johnson knocked the fuck out of Ryan Smyth. When the play happened it just looked like an awesome hit by Jack. Smyth was coming down the side in front of his team's bench and Jack, who was already leaning against Smyth, finished the check. Well...he finished the check right at the point where the bench ends and the glass begins and very literally knocked out Smyth. I cheered when I saw the hit at full speed but then the play was called dead and the camera panned over a helmet-less, motionless Smyth. As much as I hate Smyth (and for him taking out LaBarbera in early December) of course I never actually want to see something bad happen to him. The training staff came out on the ice, Smyth began to move his arms and you could see him blinking his eyes. The crowd viciously boo'd Jack, but that kid isn't a stranger to booing and let's face, it was a clean hit, it just occurred in an unfortunate location. In fact, a replay was shown where earlier in the game Frolov was checked in the exact same location but he didn't hit the end of the glass with as much force and eluded a scary injury. Smyth/Salei 3, Kings 1, and 2 Avs players down.

The hit on Smyth

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Avs fans...I think we're even

The period is over, Kings are down by 2, and Ivanans isn't in the game to get into a fight for Jack. Prediction for the third: Jack v. Laperriere.

Third Period
For the third time today Bob Miller has said 'Cloutier' when he meant to say Theodore. Hmmm...Bob, are you trying to tell us that you wish Cloutier wasn't with the Kings?

2:18 into the period and Blake, you pig fucker, you ruined my prediction!! Just as I predicted, Laperriere was going after Jack but Blake stepped in to try and fight Lappy. No fight really developed but now the Kings have Jack and Blake in the box with just Lappy in the box. Bob and Jim are trying to figure out why Jack got a penalty and Bob's only explanation is "2 minutes for watching"? All three men received unsportsmanlike conduct penalties which is such a farce since Lappy obviously instigated everything and all three players had their gloves off. At least give them roughing penalties...

Sakic scored Colorado's fourth goal on a play that saw a lot of players crashing the net. I think Cloutier should have saved it, especially considering how upset he looked at allowing it, but I couldn't tell for sure if he was clearly screened.

It's really easy to know when Jack has possession of the puck because the whole arena is showering him with boos. Ahhh, booing has never sounded so sweet. (Note: I wouldn't be saying this if the check wasn't clean)

Blake got the Kings to within two on his second first goal of the night. Theodore cheated by leaving the near post early and Blake banked the puck off of him. Blake's goal instilled some life into the Kings but they couldn't decrease the goal differential any further. Colorado scored an empty-netter sending the Kings packing with their third straight loss (fifth in six games).

For parts of the final period Cammalleri played on the top line with Kopi and Brown. Even though Cammy, O'Sullivan, and Frolov had an unbelievable game against St. Louis, they were hardly a threat tonight. Cammy's goal came on the power play when he was playing with Kopi and Brown. I also feel that Kopi and Brown are not as effective when they're playing with Thornton or Ellis and need someone more talented on their line, such as Cammy or O'Sullivan. Of course this means that the second line would be less stocked, which brings me to my next thought. It seems like the Kings are rolling two lines deep and if DL refuses to bring up the most talented Manchester guys then I don't see how this team is going to get out of 30th place. It's no secret that the defense has been hurting all season long. Since there isn't anyone at Manchester that could improve this aspect of the team, in order to be better the team needs better forwards. There were times when the third or fourth line kept the puck in Colorado's zone for an extended amount of time, but I knew that's all that was going to be accomplished. This team is not going to get scoring by committee because half of our forwards are incapable of scoring on a consistent basis, and by consistent I mean, once a month. I've been contemplating buying season tickets for next season but after watching games where we look lifeless and incapable of scoring I have more and more difficulty convincing myself to drop the money for season tix.