Friday, October 17, 2008

Kings 4, Hurricanes 3 (OT)

Seeing Michal Handzus score the first and last Kings goals tonight almost brought tears to my eyes. I was a huge fan of Handzus last season despite his endless struggles on the ice and I was convinced he would be better this season. Only 4 games in and he's already proving what a different and improved player he is.

The third line of Alexander Frolov, Michal Handzus, and Wayne Simmonds played very well and were predominantly the best line for the Kings tonight. Even though Handzus and Frolov rarely, if ever, played on the same line last year, they looked amazing together. I'm still in awe of how well that line looked tonight. Before the season began I was anxious to see Frolov and O'Sullivan or Frolov and Stoll, but Frolov and Handzus? How did I not see this earlier? I think I was too preoccupied with the fact that if Calder was in the lineup it just seemed like he would play with Handzus. But fortunately, Calder has only been given the privilege of suiting up for the season opener. After re-signing O'Sullivan and keeping Oscar Moller and Simmonds, the Kings now have three solid lines.

Tonight I was impressed by three players: Handzus, Doughty, and LaBarbera. I already spoke about my wonderful amazing Handzus. Drew Doughty is f'ing good. The past couple games there have been moments when he would carry the puck and make moves that look so easy. But you know that it isn't easy. And when you think that he's just a couple games into this NHL career and he's already making opponents look bad, you know this kid is good. Crazy good. I'm so torn right now. I stated last month that I really liked what I saw from Hickey in the preseason games and I wanted to get his jersey. But I didn't want to get his jersey before he played with the Kings. And I didn't really want a Doughty jersey because during preseason he was wearing 80 and frankly, that's a shitty number. It's a multiple of so many other numbers. 37? Awesome! 80? It's so round... But when Matt Ellis was claimed off waivers, Doughty switched to 8 and 8, I can live with. And, he's amazing. So, yeah, if he shaves that horrendous facial hair then I'll definitely get a Doughty jersey.

Now, LaBarbera. I was a pretty tough critic of him during preseason but I was being honest because he looked like crap. He played ok against San Jose and played well against Anaheim, although he was hardly tested, but tonight he was ON. He did allow three goals tonight but all of them came from shots that were deflected by at least two players before they made it past him. The only way he could have saved them was if he had stolen Hasek's lucky horseshoe that's been stuck up his ass the past 15 years. Otherwise, Barbs was very solid tonight. (In fact, he's been the best goalie on my fantasy team this week. So thank you Barbs for not screwing up like Turco and Biron.) He had the save of the game in overtime when it looked like Eric Staal had an easy goal, but somehow Barbs got a pad on it and kept the game alive for Handzus to win it. He's getting better every game and is now making the saves that he should and coming up with some huge ones too. He's giving the Kings the goaltending they need and hopefully the W's will instill more and more confidence in him.

Ahhh, 2 in a row. It feels good. I wonder what 3 in a row feels like.

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