Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We Like Our Goalies Young

We also like it when our goalies give us a shot at winning games, something LaBarbera only did less than a handful of times this season. Who would've thunk it that Ersberg's injury would essentially be the final straw for LaBarbera; instead of Barbs stepping up and solidifying his hold on the number one goaltending spot, he let it slip away and gave rookie Jonathan Quick a chance (actually multiple chances) to show off his skills and prove he's ready for the NHL.

(Photo by Bernstein Associates/Getty Images)

With several strong performances in net from Quick, a healthier Ersberg, one highly touted goalie (Bernier) in Manchester and two additional promising goalies (Taylor and Zatkoff) in the pipeline, it was obvious from the start of the season that if Barbs didn't drastically improve his play in net his chances of returning next season would soon decrease to zero. Seeing that Barbs was only signed through this season (and not for a hefty price tag at all) and that it was highly unlikely he would be re-signed, unloading him and getting anything for him at this point is a bargain and a very smart move. Lombardi is pretty good at drafting players so I wouldn't be surprised if he snags a gem in the 7th round.

Photo Courtesy of kms2

He's tall...and really, really nice

See ya, Barbs. Good Luck with the Canucks this year and in the AHL or KHL after that.

x-posted to HLOG

Monday, December 29, 2008

Jon Zeiler: The Great Divide Between Siblings

My brother and I usually have very similar tastes: huge crush on Dustin Brown, love of Japanese food, music, TV shows, movies, etc. The one thing we severely disagree on is Jon Zeiler. I've made it well known on this blog that I absolutely detest Zeiler and see him negatively contributing to the Kings. On the other hand, my hermano loves this guy because he goes out on the ice with the sole intention of hitting the opposition. Zeiler's role is the exact reason why I can't stand him since his only purpose is to take runs at people; with the hockey goon gradually being phased out of the league, what's the purpose of playing someone who has a lack of hockey skills and admits that his goal is to hit people when the end result most of the times is that he eats glass.

Regardless, my complaints about Zeiler in the presence of my hermano falls on deaf ears. When Zeiler finally returned to the lineup after a short stint on the sidelines, during which Peter Harrold, his replacement on the fourth line, proceeded to notch 2 goals in 2 games, he attempted to fight the crazy, lunatic, something wrong in the head, Avery-in-the-making Daniel Carcillo. My hermano loved the photo below that the AP snapped and he came up with the caption all on his own:


The funniest thing about this photo is it looks like Johnny Z had the upper hand in the fight when in reality, this move was a total fluke in the fight and occurred after Carcillo pounded Zeiler. I have no idea how Zeiler was able to flip Carcillo like this and I guess it's another anomaly I won't ever be able to understand in Zeiler's hockey career. The other shitty thing about Zeiler is that once Carcillo had his back on the ice, he still continued to throw punches, not exactly conforming to the gentleman's code. Alas, despite my attempt to clear my brother's head, I don't think he'll ever stop supporting Zeiler. And to irritate me even more, I don't think he'll ever be permanently placed on the sidelines. I guess we'll all have to suffer watching Zeiler attempt to become 'The NHL's Next Biggest Pest'. Actually, that should be a TV Show starring Zeiler, Carcillo, and Tootoo and Sean Avery as the judge.

Friday, December 26, 2008

LA Times: Drew Doughty

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas!

In today's LA Times there's a great article about Drew Doughty. It's about his transition into the NHL and how the team made sure he had great people around him off the ice to take care of him. He rooms with Brownie on the road and lives with Matt Greene. I still don't know much about Greene but the article presents him in a good light as Greene talks about wanting to make sure Doughty is taken care of as he was by Jason Smith in Edmonton. It also seems like he's helping Doughty mature:
I have a five-second buffer that I employ with him. Just think before you talk.

Brown is also helping Doughty adjust to life:

There are just these random chirps that don't make any sense, Brown said, laughing. When you're joking around, his big comeback is, 'You're stupid.' It's like 10-year-old humor.

So he's still a little kid at heart. At least he's making a big difference on the ice and the team has his best interest in mind. It's always nice to hear about the young guys being taken care of.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mr. Quickie Gets the Shutout!

Terry Murray definitely listened to the most recent episode of Kings World Podcast and took advice from myself and Connie because we got our wishes: Barbs out, Quick in, Zeiler out, and Preissing in. The result was beautiful! What, you say? A win against the struggling Blue Jackets is nothing to write home about? I don't give a flying you know what about what anyone says about discounting tonight's win because the Kings needed this W and, let's be honest, so did I.

Because the Midwest can't do anything right, this game started at 4pm my time and silly me forgot to set the game to record. I only watched the third period, but it was enough to show me that the Kings were doing a lot of things right tonight. They limited Columbus' scoring opportunities, protected Quick and his crazy rebounds, and were able to easily move the puck around.

I'm very pleased with the firsts that occurred tonight: Bam Bam's first goal of the season, Harrold's first goal of the season, and Quick's first NHL shutout. I'm not a big fan of Peter Harrold and I was this close to writing a post about why he shouldn't play tonight even though a lot of friends and family would be in attendance. But I am all for him taking Zeiler's spot and he did fantastic job at it, notching his first of the season, a beautiful finish off a perfect pass from Kopitar, and finishing the game with a +2. Well done, Harrrold, way to play the puck and not ignore its presence on the ice. It's rather impressive when two guys both score goals while only registering less than 8 minutes of playing time; it's good to see the fourth line contribute.

Yeeeaaaah, Bam Bam!!!

Next up: Christmas!
After that: Home-and-home against the Phoenix Coyotes.
And then after that: Another faceoff against Columbus.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Is It All Downhill From Here?

Friday's game against Buffalo was atrocious. I had to turn it off because it was so painful.

I missed the first two periods of today's game against Detroit but I was pleasantly surprised to see them tied 3-3 heading into the final period. I was even more surprised to find out that rookie netminder Jonathan Quick was in net and had been there the entire game. Was LaBarbera's outing the previous day terrible enough to warrant him a spot on the bench the following day? Earlier in the season, even with Ersberg backing him up, Murray played Barbs game after game despite being shaky in net. While I was pleased to see Murray not play favorites and insist that Barbs is definitely, without question the Number One goaltender, I was still questioning if it was the smart move to start a rookie against one of the top teams in the league.

I can't judge how the team played the entire game, but in the third, despite taking a one-goal lead from Brownie off of a sweet pass from Stoll, the Kings didn't deserve the win. After getting that fourth goal the Kings stopped trying to play offense and instead tried their hardest to clog up the neutral zone and stop the Red Wings from tying the game. Not only did the Kings fail to prevent the Wings from forcing extra time, they found themselves completely helpless against the Stanley Cup Champs, falling to them 4-6.

Quick had some bad rebounds and allowed a short side goal that he should have stopped. Quincey was cheating and found himself at the top of crease not doing much to prevent a pass through the crease or tie up Hudler and not allow him to score so easily. For the second half of the period the Kings were scrambling and always looked a step behind the quick, smart, fluid Red Wings.

The Kings are in the midst of a four game losing streak and now the goaltending position is in the hot seat again. I'm not convinced Quick can pick up the pieces and be the Kings' best defender when LaBarbera is struggling, which recently has been too often. I've been waiting for the Kings to get past the 0.500 mark and prove to everyone that they are a winning team, but lately they haven't shown it and their record continues to get worse. Will the Kings finish the season hovering around 0.500, figure out how to be more consistent and be a winning team, or continue this downward spiral and finish in the bottom quarter of the league?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Kings World Podcast: Episode 21

I'm back this week on Episode 21 of Kings World Podcast. Since Connie and I missed a week we had tons of games to review and preview. Instead of reminiscing over the past 5 or 6 games, we only touch upon certain parts of those games as we discuss what the Kings are doing right and what they need to improve upon. We look forward to a busy week for the Kings (finally some road games and some are against the Eastern Conference!) and close out the episode with the usual shoutouts.

Comments can be emailed to kingsworldpodcast[at]gmail[dot]com. And join our Facebook group!

15-Dec-08: Kings v. Sharks

Los Angeles Kings: 13-12-4...not bad, I'll take it.
San Jose Sharks: 24-3-2....WHAT?! Are you kidding me!?

I've barely been paying attention to the standings. All I know is that the Kings are usually somewhere behind the 8th spot in the Western Conference but they're playing well enough to put them out of the cellar. But what in the world are the San Jose Sharks on this year?! When the Kings opened the season with a home-and-home against the Sharks and looked like absolute poo-poo in those games, I figured it was just because the Kings were terrible and I was going to have a horrible season and be done with my boys come the middle of December. But seeing how the Kings have held strong at 0.500 (although I would love to see them breakaway far past that marker), and it's the middle December and I definitely have not put them out of the playoff race, all is left to say is, "ok, I'll admit it. The Sharks are good this season." And it sucks that they're this good this season. Why? Because the Kings aren't that good and until the Kings are that good, no other California team should be that good. But whatever, I'll put my pity party on hold.

Photo by Noah Graham/NHLI via Getty Images

Stretch it Bam Bam. Stretch it good.

If the Kings can play on Monday like they did against Minnesota (minus the Harrold penalty with three minutes to play with the Kings holding onto only a 2-0 lead for dear life) and like they did against Columbus and St. Louis, then they should have a pretty good chance at winning the game. BUT, if the team comes out like they did against Colorado, stanking like pure ass, then it's all over for them. Bottom line, the Kings are inconsistent from period to period and game to game, and I never know which team will take the ice. I know they can play like an elite team, it just depends on whether or not that team shows up. The Sharks need to be put down and I hope my Kings are the team that starts their downfall.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Neck Beards = Grossness

Who knew that Kyle Orton's neckbeard, Kyle Orton's nasty, grimy, disgusting, severely unattractive neckbeard, would make its way to the NHL and to the LA Kings.

Patrick O'Sullivan has been sporting one and recently I noticed that Kyle Quincey started too. Do guys think this is an awesome look? They do know that it's disgusting and won't get them the ladies, right? I assume they're doing it to be funny. And tonight, in the game against Columbus, there are a lot more unshaven guys than usual. Most notably, Frolov has unfortunate stubble and Handzus let his beard grow past the stubble stage.

Is it possible that this year's playoff beard fad will be the neck beard? Ooohhh, that won't be pretty.