Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How Old is Too Old to Gesture 'Suck It'

Terry Murray amazes me because his facial expression never changes.  Down 5 goals, up 5 goals, horrible mistakes, awesome plays....doesn't matter because Murray looks like this:

I suppose it's better to have a calm coach and not someone who throws a stick at a ref....

On the opposite spectrum is Greg Williams, the defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints.  A couple weeks ago the Saints played the Cincinnati Bengals and were defending a 4th and inches play just outside their end zone.  It looked like the Bengals were going to score a touchdown, but the Saints stopped them and Greg Williams celebrated the stop in style:

My friends and I were in a state of shock when we saw that and looked at each other in disbelief as we laughed hysterically about it. We couldn't believe it was captured on camera or that he would even do such a thing or that a man his age would know about the 'Suck It' gesture. I don't think I've seen anyone do that since high school. This past week when the Saints played the St. Louis Rams, we joked about whether Williams would do it again and to our delight he did and this time Malcolm Jenkins joined him:

The double-suck-it-high-five

Monday, December 13, 2010

Fight Night at the Joe Q&A

Andy of the Detroit Red Wings blog, Fight Night at the Joe, asked me a couple quick questions about the Kings.

Head on over to the Q&A to find out what I fear most about Detroit (*not Osgood*), which Kings rookie is my fav, and why I think the Kings have been so freakin' streaky this season.

Thanks, Andy for including me.  Should be a good match tonight.

Monday, November 29, 2010

What's the Quickest Path from First to Last

The Kings aren't quite in last place (they're currently in 11th) but that's exactly where they're headed if they continue to play like this.

 They've lost 7 of the last 8 games and they should have lost the game they did win against Boston.   Just a couple bullet points to get the frustration out of my system:

  • The turnovers and odd-man rushes against them are absolutely killing them;
  • They are terrible on the power play;
  • Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson are playing like shit;
  • The second line has dried up on scoring so now no one can consistently score;
  • Seriously, when does Willie Mitchell get back??  Because the defense is falling apart without him;
  • Jack and Drew both played one of their worst games tonight;
  • Why is John Zeiler on the team?  I vomited in my mouth when I heard his name tonight.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How Not To Play Defense

Hermano here.

Last night's game against Columbus was excruciating simply because we should've won. After clawing our way back into the game and even taking the lead, yet promptly giving it up, it seemed the Kings were moments away from scoring that go-ahead goal late in the third period. The pressure was good, we were getting decent shots on Mason, and you could just feel that the Kings were a bounce away from scoring our fourth goal.

Enter Davis Drewiske.

You could make an argument that he was somewhat at fault for the BJ's third goal. But let's skip right ahead to 3:16 left in the third period and show everyone how not to play defense.

Slide 1:

At this point, Drewiske is circled in red and Steve Rick Nash is on the top-left of the screencap. I would argue that Drewiske is in decent position, although I'd prefer him to be a little closer to Nash. If Brassard beats Jack Johnson one-on-one (note: HIGHLY unlikely), Drewiske would be able to pinch in and help out. So far, so good.

However, Drewiske HAS to know that Brassard wants to give the puck to Nash - who is basically a combination of Steve Nash and Rick Flair. In other words, he's really really awesome.

Slide 2:

Okay, like I said, Drewiske HAS to know that the pass is coming to Nash. What would Drew Doughty do? He'd intercept the pass (in a Tracy Porter-esque fashion), take it end to end, and fire a rocket through Mason. What does Drewiske do? Look at that screencap - his stick is literally ready to intercept that pass. He knew it was coming but yet he hesitated and let the pass reach Nash. Bad idea.

Slide 3:

What's the first rule about playing defense? Put yourself between the puck and the goal. What's the second rule? Force the guy outside so he can't take a good shot on your goalie.

Anyone, especially someone like Rick Nash, will have an infinitely better chance at scoring down the middle compared to scoring from the outside. All Drewiske has to do is hold his ground and force Nash to go around Drewiske's right. But look at where Drewiske's momentum is carrying him. (I drew little arrows in case you're having trouble following.) He's ready to force Nash to the outside, except that there's too much space in between Drewiske and Nash.

Slide 4:

And there it is. All Nash has to do is make the quick move to the middle and he's got a free lane to shoot at Quick. What pains me about this is that Drewiske KNEW the pass was going to Nash, knew that all he had to do was prevent Nash from cutting to the middle, and yet he still blew it. Look at Drewiske's stick! He can't even get his stick on Nash to disrupt the play. It's not enough that Drewiske physically can't put his body between Nash and Quick; Drewiske can't even get a stick on Nash. (Things also don't really help when your goalie did a butterfly slide while following Brassard's pass, and thus was already in a down position - leaving the top corners of the net exposed.)

Slide 5:

Just look at Drewiske. He's the guy who's parallel with the ice. That's never a good thing, unless you're trying to block a shot. (Also look how far Quick is in his crease, giving Nash a whole lot of net to shoot at.)

Final Thoughts:

Yes, I might be a little harsh on Drewiske, but it's mental lapses on defense by our non-superstar defensemen (Randy Jones immediately comes to mind, with his "performance" during last season's playoff series against Vancouver) that cost us games. It's not just goals they're costing us - it's the game. That's right - Drewiske cost us the game. We had all the momentum during that third period and Drewiske's huge mistake cost us everything.

Click here for the full video.

My only hope is that the Kings correct these mistakes and move forward. This is a great team but there's no excuse for blowing games like last night.

Much love till my next post.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Discounted Kings Tickets for Wednesday's Game vs Columbus (11/17)

Despite the Kings being awesome this season, apparently the stink of Columbus, Ohio is causing (forcing?) the Kings organization to offer ticket deals on tonight's game in order to get a sellout crowd.  Get 'em while they last!

Voomerang is offering 100 Level seats for only $45 (they claim they usually go for $100).

Living Social was running ticket deals for tomorrow's game....but I can't find it anymore, so perhaps they sold out.  Way to go Kings!

I have never purchased tickets or any deals from either site. I am not getting any benefit for mentioning these sites. But as a self-proclaimed cheapo (just ask my hermano), I enjoy good deals and I encourage people to live a frugal lifestyle as well.  And, of course, I want the Kings to play in front of a sellout crowd.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I Love Sean Avery

I read some snippets about Sunday's game between the Oilers and Rangers from @Somelikeitblue's twitter feed and was wondering what all the fuss was about with my beloved Sean Avery.  Then I eventually watched a video of the brawl that was posted by Puck Daddy.

All I have to say is Avery sure does have a way of getting to people.  I wonder what he said to Peckham to get him so riled up.  I know the Kings would never be able to gel as well as they have right now if Avery was on the team, but maaaaannnn, sometimes I miss having Avery on my team.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Way to go CBS...

How much love do the L.A. Kings get from their own local news?


(Thanks for the link, Vince.)


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Kovy Curse

When the Kings played (and beat) them last week I was surprised to hear how many players are already injured, including old balls Brian Rolston.  Then Zach Parise got injured in that game and is expected to miss 3 months!  Oh Zach, you're too pretty to be sidelined!  And tonight Martin Brodeur went down with an injury.  The New Jersey Devils have to be cursed this year.

Ilya Kovalchuk and all his gold coins
But don't worry folks, the $100 million man is still healthy, but the jury is still out on whether he'll actually put up points worth the ridiculously enormous salary he's raking in.  I'm pretty pissed that he's on my fantasy team because how do I bench a guy like that?  Every night I think he's going to put up Steve Stamkos numbers, but nope.  Nada. Zilch.  If I'm going nuts trying to figure out what to do with Kovy on my fantasy team, I can't imagine what John MacLean is thinking.

However, Kovalchuk does have plenty of seasons ahead of him as a Devil to make a positive impact with the club. Then he and the rest of Devils nation can rub it in to all Kings fans, but this season he's probably just going to take a lot shit for cursing the Devils.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hermano's Thoughts

Hermano here.

In case you haven’t heard, the Kings lead the league with 16 points. And no, I’m not talking about leading the Pacific Division or the Western Conference. I’m talking about the entire NHL. And yes, I’m extremely glad NHL announcers say “N-H-L” instead of “National Hockey League” whenever they’re talking.

Without further ado, here are my random thoughts so far:

- What the hell is up with the Kings’ schedule this year? For example, we played at home on Saturday and our next home game is on . . . Thursday?

- 10 points in 11 games? Up that trade value, Stoll!

- People might knock Bernier right now, but his value is much more than what he’s doing in net. There’s no doubt that Quick has become better simply because he’s got serious competition right behind him.

- One thing that hasn’t changed about Quick is his atrocious stick-handling abilities. But when you’re posting a 1.84 goals against average (sorry, “GAA”), you don’t need to worry about doing your best Marty Turco impersonation. And yes, myself being an ice hockey roller hockey goalie, Turco is the best stick-handler I’ve ever seen.

- I always knew that Doughty would get injured someday and spend some time away from the game (just like NY Jets fans knew that Revis would get injured shortly after signing his new contract). But I never knew that we’d actually play better with Doughty sitting in a luxury box, texting his friends.

- The big question for the season: is Alexei Ponikarovsky the next Alexander Frolov version 2.0? If I call him “Frolov 2.0” will that jinx his performance?

- Is it just me or does Ponikarovsky look like Dustin Brown with more hair? [Frolov 2.0 vs. Brown]

- I’m extremely impressed with Brayden Schenn. He’s got great skills, skates hard, and always finds himself involved in scoring chances. Unfortunately, he lacks that scorer’s touch; but that’s something I blame on him being rookie rather than a lack of skill. There’s no doubt that within the next year, he’s going to get stronger on his skates and start putting pucks in the net. And, to answer your question, yes – I cannot pronounce his first name without doing a Jim Breuer goat boy impression.

- Has there been a better pickup than Ryan Smyth? The answer is no. Every team needs that “Luc Robitaille” to be successful. I’m talking about the guy who somehow finds the back of the net. Smyth is that guy. He’s always in the mix, always in front of goalies waiting for them to make mistakes, and he always seems to find a way to score. I was skeptical of how effective he would be for us when we picked him up last season (as was my hermana), but there’s no doubt in my mind that this has been one of Lombardi’s finer moments.

- Which begs the question: What was Lombardi’s worst move? I’m sure my hermana might chime in with a different answer, but my answer would be trading for Dan Cloutier and then immediately giving him a lucrative extension. Probably the worst move in the history of the NHL. (And no, signing Jeremy Roenick was not as bad as Cloutier. Neither was hiring Marc Crawford.)

- A question that might never get answered: do people in the league genuinely fear getting hit by Dustin Brown or do they view him like a little brother trying to give you a dead arm but you can’t feel anything because your little brother is so puny? Regardless of the answer, I think Brown has been doing an excellent job as captain and I absolutely love the energy he brings on every shift.

- Is it just me, or does anyone else think Wayne Simmonds might hit 80 points this year? That goal against Dallas, when he juked the goalie and then pushed the goalie’s pads into the back of the net, only to eat a stomach full of post, really showed that Simmonds has the most potential on the Kings (save Drew Doughty) to explode into a ridiculous player.

- It was good to see the Los Angeles fans give Ilya Kovalchuk a friendly welcome of Boos on Saturday night. Was I impressed with how Kovalchuk looked on Saturday night? Not at all. Although, I will admit that he pulled a series of three moves on Matt Greene in rapid succession and the only reason why Greene stopped Kovalchuk is because Greene was still reacting to Kovalchuk’s first move and somehow managed to disrupt the play while Kovalchuk was about to put on a fourth move. You’re pretty good, Kovalchuk, but you’re no Ziggy Palffy. (And yes, I’m still living in the 90’s.)

I’d love to go on and on about Ilya Kovalchuk, a.k.a. “RGD” (Russian Gold Digger), but what’s done is done. We’re first in the NHL and New Jersey is last.

But on to a more important question. As a lifelong Dodgers fan, I was groomed to despise the Giants. As a normal human being, I was groomed to despise pretty much everything Texas. Therefore, I just didn’t really care about this World Series. But at gunpoint, who would I have rooted for? And thus, the question: as a lifelong Kings fan, do I hate the Ducks or Sharks more? If the Ducks and Sharks were ever playing in the Stanley Cup (not possible, but what if), and there was a gun to my head, who would I root for?

The answer to that question deserves a separate post. Much love till then.

Go Kings.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fantasy Hockey: Week 2

I'm still dead last in the IPB Superleague, but I'm slowly gaining ground in the HLOG Fantasy  League.

IPB Super League Fantasy League
Team Name: Kill Jack Kill
Week 1 Opponent: Elias Sports Bureau
Result: 7-7

Thank you Ilya Kovalchuk for getting yourself benched one game and only recording 1 lousy goal last week.  I hope you had fun bathing in your millions of gold coins while watching your teammates get trounced by Buffalo.  And Kimmo Timonen....wtf.  Right now he's pretty much a liability on my team, but at least this league counts SOG because he's getting a ton of shots on net.  I thought about dropping him, but I think it's too early to give up on him.  One or two more weeks of this shit and he's  gone.  At least Victor Hedman got 5 assists!

Deal of the week: One of the managers must have read my blog because I was offered a trade last week!  JS Giguere for John Tavares.  I was dying to unload Jonas Gustavsson so I figured it was a decent trade.  As soon as the trade cleared I dropped the deadweight and picked up Mark Letestu at the end of the week to fill the extra center position.   Never heard of the guy but he had the best stats at the time and I'm a sucker for short term potential.

HLOG Fantasy League
Team Name: Me Want Food
Opponent: Bethany's Bitches
Result: 8-0!  I cleaned up this week.

Two words: Steve Stamkos.  The only thing he didn't do last week was get a short handed point.

I'm really looking forward to going to the LA/Tampa Bay game Nov. 4th.  I also got really lucky that Antti "Oh-No" Niemi had horrendous statistics last week.  Right now Chicago is looking pretty good for walking away from him.

Transaction of the week: I dropped Nikita Filatov.  He just wasn't doing it for me.  I picked up Tomas Kopecky, who promptly got injured so he did jack squat last week.  But as the Blackhawks figure things out I think Kopecky's stats will be better over the long run compared to Filatov who doesn't have much to work with in Columbus.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Second Loss of the Season

I missed the game tonight thanks to an awesome required work function where I got to hear regular folks tell me I'm doing my job wrong.  But apparently this work thing did me a favor as it prevented me from watching the Kings play horribly.  I suppose you can't really blame them for being off their game because I bet the boys were still in mourning over Doughty's injury.  But whatever, they lost to Phoenix, so it actually doesn't count since hardly anyone saw the game, right?

Just as I was about to call it a night I saw a new tweet or twit or twitter or....update from @BizNasty2point0

I've always wondered what players thought when they play in front of an embarrassingly small home crowd.  So while I got to hear people say "you're doing it wrong", apparently the citizens of Phoenix were telling the NHL "you're doing it wrong" by not showing up to the game.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It's Too Early in the Season

Puck Daddy linked to the "Jonathan Quick of the Kings leads the Vezina Watch" article from The Hockey News and my first instinct was "Are you kidding me?  The Kings have played 4 games!"  I think it's a little early to start talking about the Vezina.  

In defense of Quick, he has been pretty awesome in his three starts.  And to quote my hermano: 

Quick is seriously the best goalie we've had since Kelly Hrudey.

He's improved so much since last year and now that Bernier is backing him up he won't have to worry about playing 90% of the games this season.  It's been a long time since the Kings have had solid goaltending and it is still really early in the season, which may be why I still freeze every time an opponent gets a shot on net and why I cringe when I hear people talk about how amazing Quick has looked so far.  It's like I'm worried all this praise is going to somehow jinx Quick and the Kings.  

Four games in and the Kings do look good, except for maybe their power play.  The top line has points, secondary scoring is there, the penalty kill is killing it, goaltending looks pretty solid, but let's be real....it's only been 4 games.  Let's just see how the first month of hockey goes before we start talking about possible trophy winners and then how about we wait till December or January before we start discussing the playoffs.  

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fantasy Hockey: Week 1

I'm playing in two fantasy hockey leagues this year.  One is the Annual HLOG Fantasy League made up of fabulous female managers and the other is the Annual IPB Superleague, in which each manager can only draft players who play in the conference opposite his or her favorite team's conference.  Both leagues had an auto-draft and I've made very few transactions since the draft due to the limited selection of available players.  Since only my pride is at stake in both leagues my goal this year is to just keep up with the leagues and not completely give up or forget that I'm still playing fantasy hockey in February.

IPB Super League Fantasy League
Team Name: Kill Jack Kill
Week 1 Opponent: China Doll Cheeks
Result: 0-13

I got absolutely destroyed this week!!! WTF!  I knew I was in trouble immediately after the auto-draft when I discovered that my two goaltenders are the incredibly good looking Carey 'not the solution' Price and Jonas Gustavsson, whom I'm not even convinced is the starting goaltender for the Leafs.  My opponent has Timmy Thomas, who so far has done a good job of trying to secure the number one spot.

Most of the categories were pretty close so I'm hopeful that I'll have success in the coming weeks.  The two categories that I was far behind in were shots on goal and penalties in minutes.  I guess my team is made up of a bunch of gentlemen because 8 players didn't record a single PIM.

The only change I would like to make is in goal.  However, I don't have many options right now so I may have to hope for a temporary minor injury to J.S. Giguere so that Gustavsson can get some playing time.  There are a couple Eastern Conference goaltenders that I could pick up who have played more games than Gustavsson and worth a spot on my "Watch List": Brent Johnson (PIT), Pretty Ricky (NYI), Brian Boucher (PHI) and Mike Smith (TB).  I'll keep a close eye on these guys this week to see if it's worth adding one to my team.

Check out my awesome goaltenders
HLOG Fantasy League
Team Name: Me Want Food
Opponent: Screaming Heathens
Result: 2-9

Like in my other league I'm helpless in goal.  I picked up Khabibulin before the start of the season because I had to unload Michael Leighton who is already injured.  Semyon Varlamov was also injured, but at the time I didn't see any other worthy goaltenders so I just stuck him on IR.  The Flower is sucking pretty hard, but I don't want to give up on him.  But after looking at the available goaltenders I decided to shake up my lineup!! Out are Khabibulin and Varlamov and in is J.S. Giguere....so maybe I don't want him to get injured.

I'm pretty embarrassed that my team finished '-9' this week, but I don't expect Rick Nash and Teemu Selanne to each finish '-3' in a typical week.  I'm a little upset that I didn't win the PIM category because all my players pitched in to collect 40 PIM this week.  But, there's not a whole lot you can do when Corey Perry decides to be a total dick and get 27 PIM in one week.  What an asshat.  I'm really glad he's an Anaheim Duck because it gives me even more reason to hate that team.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

King in the Castle

The Kings Home Opener had an interesting light show.  I didn't quite understand why someone decided to use green lights instead of something like, oh, I don't know....purple.

(Photo by Robert Meggers/Getty Images)
I'm in the Matrix!

It was definitely unexpected, a little off-putting, kinda cool, somewhat interesting.  Yeah, I still don't know what I think of it.  I wonder if it will be used at every game or if it was just for the home opener.  I was sad they didn't use the on-ice projector for highlights, but hopefully it's because they want to show highlights from the current season and there just haven't been too many yet. 

The display of the player introductions on the HD jumbotron got kinda screwed up.  Jake Muzzin's name was never shown, Rob Scuderi's was shown twice and I think Ryan Smyth was briefly shown twice before they fixed it and showed the correct person.  But the weirdest thing was the castle that the players walked out of.  

 (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
But where's the moat?  

It looked so juvenile and all I could think of every time they showed the players walking out of it was:

King in the Castle, King in the Castle!!

When You Least Expect It...

Jarrot Stoll shoots the puck on net and it actually goes in!!!

You can imagine how shocked I was when that happened.

And considering I thought Ryan Smyth had a pretty terrible game, I can't believe he had 2 goals and 1 assist.  But....whatever.  A goal is a goal.  Just keep them coming.

But someone needs to tell Jack to get his head out of his ass because he's playing like crap. That "closing your hand on the puck" nonsense should never happen.  Some of the fans around me didn't agree with the call, but I thought it was the right one.  When I see him grab the puck and I can think to myself, "is he going to let it go?", then yeah, he's holding onto the puck for too long.  I have not been impressed with him at all so far.

The win against Atlanta has me excited about the season again.  Simmonds was a beast in that game.  Andrei Loktionov did pretty well on the top line with Brown and Kopitar.  Quick was solid except for some long scary rebounds.  John Stevens has the penalty kill working.  And seeing the Kings produce a ton of scoring chances and net 3 goals is a huge relief.  Friday's game against Vancouver will be a good test to see if the Kings can build on this win and continue applying a lot offensive pressure.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Best Purchase Ever.

I've written about some truly awful Kings apparel and accessories that is or has been sold in stores or online. The pink jerseys and shirts are an abomination and any serious female hockey fan should be ashamed of herself for even thinking that purchasing one might be acceptable.  Then there's the craptastic, tacky and unbelievably expensive license plate purse.  But for every piece of junk that the NHL, and probably all sports, tries to sell, you gotta give companies credit for creating the awesome pieces that can only be described as genius.

I arrived super early at Staples Center for the Kings home opener and spent some time browsing the Team LA store.  I wasn't planning on buying anything since most of the womens apparel is hideous and over priced, but the husband wanted to buy a hat.  It warmed my heart that he was willing to pay money to buy a Kings hat!  We walked all around the store looking at every single hat on display and we finally found one hat that was on a dummy that he really liked and I admitted was acceptable.  He's a big fan of the third jersey logo, whereas  I think it's kinda stupid, but I think this hat is pretty nice.  I would include a stock photo, but I can't find it online anywhere and am way too lazy to take a picture of it and then load it onto my computer....sooooo, you can use your imagination.

While we were waiting in the ridiculously long line that snaked all around the store, I picked up a reversible Kings beanie: black one side, white with black horizontal stripes on the other side.  A Kings logo patch is on both sides.  I picked it up and put it back several times, but ultimately kept it since I've been wanting one for several years.  Then when we were paying for our items, I noticed a key chain bottle opener displayed at the checkout counter.  I've been considering replacing my current key chain bottle opener because it's gotten so much use over the past 10 years that it barely works.  I turned over the package and was totally sold on the product when I found out it was only $5!!  I was expecting it to be priced well over $10 so of course I bought it for $5!

As we walked out of the store I felt a little goofy and embarrassed for making such an impulse, buy but I could not get over how cheap it was....then I started to worry that maybe it's so cheap because it's a crappy piece of plastic that's going to break the first time I use it.  But no worries, folks.  It's a sturdy piece of something and it looks mighty fine hanging next to my keys.  And if you want one for yourself, or to give to all your drinking buddies, then try browsing the Team LA Store at Staples Center.  I didn't see it on the online Team LA Store, but I did see it on the manufacturer's website, but it's currently sold out.  Thank you NHL and Forever Collectibles for assisting me during my future drinking endeavors.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bam Bam Down!

I had no idea that Raitis 'Bam Bam' Ivanans had signed with the Calgary Flames until Jim and Bob announced the scratches prior to the Kings/Flames game on Sunday night.  For some reason I thought either he was still an unsigned free agent or that he had moved onto the KHL, since some shunned ex-NHLers thinks it's the fashionable thing to do.  I was a little disappointed that he was out of the lineup with a "head injury" because I bet he would have wanted to duke it out with the new Kings enforcer, Kevin Westgarth, or rather I wanted to see if Westgarth could throw down with Bam Bam. I did wonder for a second how he could have already gotten injured so early in the season.

Then this morning I got an email from a former coworker with a link to this video clip of Bam Bam's first fight of the season and after watching it I found out why he was out with a head injury.

Poor guy, he was doing pretty well till he took one right in the kisser (at about the 30 second mark).  I don't think I've ever seen Ivanans get dropped like this before.  Hopefully, Flames fans know that while Ivanans can be a liability out there since he doesn't provide much offensively, he is very capable of holding his own in scraps....this was just one of those unlucky moments.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

One Kings Goal is to Score More Goals

Two games in and I'm already freaking out about the lack of offense.  I know it's way too early to start damning the Hockey Gods that things didn't work out with Kovalchuk* in the off season, but holy mackaroly, the Kings look like they're going to win the award for 'least goals for' this season.  I'm amazed they were able to put 22 shots on goal against Calgary tonight because the offense looked terrible.

(Photo by Mike Ridewood/Getty Images)
Craig Conroy seems like the nicest guy ever.

And by the way, how the heck can any hockey fan take a player named 'TJ Brodie' seriously? I bet he skateboards around town when he's not cruising in his Range Rover.  Where did this kid come from?  The X-Games?

*  I wouldn't have been able to root for that greedy sack of crap anyway so I am truly glad that he didn't sign with the Kings...but I'm still sad the Kings don't have an awesome sniper.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

2010-2011 Kings Season Begins and My Work Life Goes to Sh*t

I've ignored the Kings since the Canucks bounced them out of the playoffs last season.  But it's hockey season now and it's time for me to stop stressing out about work and start paying more attention to my beloved Kings.

Oh hockey and the Kings, how I've missed you.  I tried to keep my cool throughout the game, to see how long I could go without feeling like I'm going to have a heart attack.  I made it to the third period before I began to panic when I realized that the Kings needed to start getting some quality scoring chances and then I began wondering about the NHL record for number of games a team went without scoring their first goal.  Why did I get so negative?  It's only the first game!

But I forgot how frustrating it can be to watch Stoll; how is it possible for him to miss the net that many times??    I gasped every time the Canucks had a shot on goal, cursed at the token Russian for taking another penalty and tried to come to terms that Brad Richardson is on the second line.  Second, people, second!

I made it to overtime before I started being the coach, yelling at Murray for putting Stoll on the 4-on-3 power play instead of Jack Johnson, who has a much better shot, destroyed the Canucks with Doughty on the power play during the playoffs last year and can at least shoot the puck on net!  I almost broke my coffee table I was in such a fit of rage over Stoll's ineffectiveness on that crucial man advantage.

But thank goodness Kopitar was available for the shootout despite getting sliced in the face by a stick in the second period and getting stitched up to look like the joker.  The Kings had a 10-8 record in the shootout last season so hopefully this SO win is a sign of good things to come.

I expect a lot from the Kings this season after they finally got into the post season last year.   You'd think I wouldn't be able to get enough Kings news with the potentially awesome season they could have, but I've been so apathetic the past several months telling myself that I'm too tired after work or too busy during work or lunch to think or read about the Kings.  I don't like the feeling of not knowing who some of these players are and not knowing how their competition looks.   But now that the season has started, "there just isn't enough time" is not an excuse I'm willing to allow myself to use.  I've been the obsessed with the Kings for so long and this season is definitely not the time for me to start caring any less.  I just need to figure out how to balance my work life and my Kings life.

Now it's time for me to figure out who the heck Jake Muzzin is.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

2010 Playoffs: Western and Eastern Conference Finals

They 2010 NHL Playoffs are flying by.  I still haven't gotten around to posting my review of Game 7 between the Kings and Canucks.  I also didn't find the time to post my predictions for the Western and Eastern Conference Semi Finals.  It's probably a good thing that I didn't devote time to writing that post since I would have been wrong 3 out of 4 times.  My predictions haven't done too well this post season....but why stop now.

Western Conference Finals
(1) San Jose Sharks v. (2) Chicago Blackhawks
I was impressed with how handily the Sharks conquered the Red Wings.  I definitely didn't think the Sharks were going to win that series and I was a little sad that Detroit lost.  It's nice to get some new blood advancing in the playoffs, but does it have to the San Jose Sharks!?  At least they face the Chicago Blackhawks and not the Vancouver Canucks.  I was worried about the 'Hawks after their Game 1 outing against the Canucks.  They looked terrible in that game, but thankfully quickly turned things around to end Vancouver's bid for hockey glory.    I think this series will be pretty even and while I don't care much for Chicago sports teams, I would much rather root for the Blackhawks and see them advance then watch the Sharks play for the Cup.

Prediction: Chicago in 7

Eastern Conference Finals
(7) Philadelphia Flyers v. (8) Montreal Canadiens
Why is spell check telling me that "Canadiens" is incorrectly spelled?  Anyway, what the hell are these two teams doing in the Eastern Conference Finals?

oh right, that's how

Since when did Michael Cammalleri become a scoring Goddess?  As my brother so eloquently phrased it: "I want Cammalleri to catch an edge and break both ankles. Screw him for turning his back on the Kings and only then deciding to play hockey."  Despite my disgust for Cammalleri and Habs fans in general, I would rather have the Habs advance than a team that consists of Chris Pronger and Daniel Carcillo.    

Prediction: Habs in 6

These Conference Finals are about rooting for the lesser of two evils.  I think the Chicago Blackhawks are the least evil of the 4 remaining teams and probably the most deserving to win it all based on talent.  

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Kings 2, Canucks 4: so that's how it ends

There's a lot I would like to say about tonight's game,
but for now let's just reminisce about the 2009-2010 LA Kings season.  

When the season started I wasn't sure they would be able to  make the playoffs.
But after this season and this playoff series the Kings' future looks bright.

Thanks for a great season!

Can't wait till October.

Round 1, Game 6: Kings v. Canucks

Dear Hockey Gods,

All I ask is that the Kings give it their all tonight
and play as well as they can.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Kings 2, Canucks 7: and that's how you crap the bed

After wasting a prime opportunity in Game 4 to take complete control of this series I thought the Kings were going to come out in Game 5 with their guns blazing.  Instead, the Kings played like absolute crap the entire game.  Even their goals were shitty, but they just happened to get past Luongo.  I had an unbelievably shitty morning that involved (in order) thinking my car was stolen, finding out it was towed (because of a BS temporary tow-away zone in my neighborhood), paying the exorbitant towing fee, and finding out I was also cited a parking ticket.  On top of that I had to sit through a horrible and disappointing Game 5.  This is how I feel:

The Good:

  • no clue...well, maybe Michal Handzus.  
The Bad
  • The Kings
The Ugly
  • Not only was Quick pulled after allowing 4 goals on 21 shots, but Ersberg was also pulled after allowing 2 goals, and then Quick was put back in....good Lord that is embarrassing.
  • Even though the Kings did capitalize on a man advantage, the power play looked very sub-par.  Hopefully the PP wasn't clicking due to the entire team being off during the whole game and that the chemistry will return in Game 6.
  • Mikael Samuelsson is absolutely killing the Kings.  
  • Can Randy Jones make it through a game without turning over the puck?
  • When will Ryan Smyth play like he's worth his salary?
  • Richard Clune, if you're going to start a fight, be ready to duke it out.
The Kings should be embarrassed with the way they played tonight.  They hardly sustained any offensive pressure.  Even when they were able to cycle the puck down low for an extended period of time they couldn't even get a shot on goal.  Passes were off, the offensive entry failed time and time again, Luongo saw the puck how Quick did in Game 1, Kings took way too many penalties, etc.  The Kings have played well in this series but tonight they completely bombed.  Two days from now they can erase this game from Kings fans' memories and even this series up. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Kings 4, Canucks 6: F Word!

When the third period started and the Kings were leading 3-2, I knew it was going to be a tough 20 minutes but I really thought the Kings were going to be able to hold on and win.  It's embarrassing that the Kings allowed 4 goals in the third period even if one was an empty-netter.

Good Things Did Happen:
  • The Kings scored 2 more power plays.  Despite not scoring on their last three power play opportunities of the game (I know, how disappointing!), I think their PP% is about 52%. In other words?  Unbelievable.  Too bad the power play looked pretty bad when they didn't score.
  • I didn't catch any booing during the Canadian national anthem.  The fans sang along to both national anthems.  Stay classy, LA.
  • Wayne Simmonds looked great tonight!....so why did he only play 15 minutes????
  • The fans were all over Luongo.  I knew the taunting (which started before the puck dropped) was premature and bad karma, but damn, it was fun and hilarious.
But There Were Some Bad Times:
  • Randy Jones played almost 16 minutes tonight and while he may have played better than Peter Harrold, he still didn't look very good the majority of the time.  And why the hell was he on the power play??  He looked like an amateur trying to quarterback to the man advantage, especially compared to Jack and Drew.
  • Brad Richardson played almost the same amount of minutes as Scott Parse, Rich Clune and Jeff Halpern combined.  After the first game I was all in favor of sitting Justin Williams based on his uber poor performance.  But unless he's injured, put the guy back in the lineup!  I don't care if he's on the 4th line with Halpern and Parse, but there's no question that the line would be more effective if Williams was on it.
  • What in the world crawled into Ryan Smyth's hair and is dragging him down?  Maybe my expectations of him are unreasonably high, but he has been utterly underwhelming this post season.  
And Then The Ugly Appeared:
  • The lady sitting next to my husband reeked so bad!!!!!  My feet have never smelled as bad as the odor that emanated from her body.  I've sat next to homeless people on the bus who smelled better than her.  I can't imagine living life completely unaware of how badly I stink.  I realize this has nothing to do with the Kings' performance, but it did put me and my husband in an annoyed state of mind before the game even started. 
  • Once again the Kings got caught many times in their zone chasing the Canucks for an extended period of time; more often than not, these scary moments led to a Canucks goal.
  • 4 goals allowed in one period.  Completely unacceptable.
Sad face.

The defense needs to be better and, surprise surprise, the team needs to play better 5-on-5 throughout the entire game. They looked good in the first period at even strength, but they faltered as the game went on.  The Kings will bounce back in Vancouver and then end this f'ing series at home on Sunday.  Go Kings!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Kings 5, Canucks 3 - Welcome Back Boys!

I think I was more nervous for this game then I was on my wedding day.  I knew on that beautiful day that I would end up getting married, but today I had no clue what the outcome would be or how the Kings would play, and, worst of all, I could not do a single thing to determine the result.  It also didn't help that the Kings lost every single '09-'10 regular season game I attended so I was worried that my bad luck was going to continue.
The Good

  • I was able to sneak out of work at 4:45pm and made it to LA Live just after 5pm.  Crowds were already forming and Luc Robitaille was outside talking about something:
LA Live, Luc and north side of Staples Center
  • The energy was amazing inside Staples Center!  
The playoff towels should have been black
  • Ryan Smyth finally scored!!  About time!  And Wayne Simmonds continued to throw his body around and play well on the top line.
  • Even when the Canucks scored the crowd immediately bounced back to support the Kings.  It was great hearing the fans cheer on the boys at every point in the game.

The Bad Ass

  • The Kings power play was like fucking clockwork tonight and the penalty kill was fantastic, even when Handzus was in the box.
  • Jack Johnson had 3 assists, Drew Doughty had 1 goal and 2 assists and Michal Handzus had 2 goals
  • In my last post I said that Brad Richardson deserved a goal more than anyone else, but wouldn't ever score in the playoffs.....well, he proved me wrong tonight.  Well done on his part.  It was an ugly goal, but he threw the puck at the net and "good things happened" and then even better things happened when Luongo left the game.

The Ugly

  • C'mon LA, let's not boo the Canadian National Anthem....not classy.  
  • Goal reviews, especially those questioning pucks being "kicked in", suck especially when you're at the game and can't see any replays.  It's annoying having to read everyone's opinion about why the goal should have stood or why the Toronto war room made the right call; apparently everybody is an expert!  At what point do the GMs seriously discuss making a rule change?  I'm not complaining about the call, definitely glad it didn't count!  I'm just saying this controversy has been around for awhile...
  • Mikael Samuelsson netted his 4th goal of the playoffs.  
  • Ryan "who's your favorite player" Kesler was an absolute beast in the faceoff circle, finishing the game with a 71.9% success rate.  It's embarrassing how poorly the Kings performed against him.
The Kings still need to prove that they can be better than the Canucks at even strength.  Thankfully the special teams have been on fire because otherwise the Kings would be toast.  Jack Johnson is really stepping it up in the playoffs.  Peter Harrold didn't look very good, so I wonder if Murray will give Randy Jones another chance.  I really liked the Modin-Handzus-Richardson line and I still can't get over how hard Richardson is working; it's like he thinks he'll be benched at any minute so he has to put everything on the line.  Game 4 won't be any easier as I fully expect Luongo to bounce back.  Oh jeez, Game 3 just ended and I'm already nervous for Game 4! Go Kings!!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Even Steven and We're Heading to LA

I couldn't believe how poorly the Kings started Game 2 and I got really nervous when Terry Murray started mixing the lines again.  My nerves were calmed a bit when Heidi Androl interviewed Luc Robitaille after the Kings got down by 2 goals and he looked happy as a clam and was very confident the Kings would come back.  I again felt better when Jack was interviewed during the first intermission and when asked by Heidi what the Kings need to do in the second period, he responded, "Uh, we need to score 3 goals", which was the polite way of saying, "WTF do you think we need to Heidi?".  I was pleased he didn't spew out some hockey cliché and instead got straight to the obvious.

Looking Good Kings
  • I didn't know Terry Murray was in the South Park 'Medicinal Fried Chicken' episode. You gotta admire the balls it took to make a lineup change that saw Justin Williams, Randy Jones and Raitis Ivanans replaced by Scott Parse, Richard Clune and Peter Harrold.  Based on the past two seasons it seemed like Alexander Frolov was the only capable of being benched and publicly criticized by Murray. 
  • Drawing three penalties from Andrew Alberts; I'll be very surprised if he plays in the next game.
  • Brad Richardson continues to play better than anyone would expect.  If anyone deserves to score a goal in this series, it's him.....but it probably won't happen because it's Richardson.
  • Wayne Simmonds had a great game after being promoted to the top line.   He was practically invisible in Game 1, but really stepped it up in Game 2.  Will be interesting to see if Murray keeps him there or reinstates Williams.
  • Kopitar!!!!!!!!!  
(Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Enough said
  • Seeing Murray slightly smile in the post game interviews.  He is so hard to read because he always looks like he's staring at a blank wall.  But last night the corners of his mouth were slightly turned upwards and you could tell he was very pleased with his boys.  
Bad Boys
  • Ryan Smyth needs to do more.  He did crash the net on the 3-on-1 that led to the Simmonds goal, but anyone would have done that.  
  • Jarrett Stoll also needs to do more.  But as long as he can get a shot on goal (not a shot that goes wide), then I'll be happy.
  • But who's a Bad Ass??  Drew Doughty, who played almost 33 minutes in Game 2 and received praise on Twitter from some hockey analysts:
    • @Real_ESPNLeBrun Drew Doughty is the best defenseman in the NHLJust thought I'd pass that  along
    • @TSNBobMcKenzie See Doughty on the bench in final minute of reg time, laughing and yukking it up? Just loves to play. Joy in his game and a joy to watch.
    • @TSNBobMcKenzie I could watch DD play game all night long. Best D man in NHL at age 20
  • Let's hope the Kings don't start Game 3 the same way they started Game 2.  The Kings looked so out of place for the majority of the first period.  
Prior to Game 2 the LA Times had a great quote from Richard Clune about his playoff debut and due to the last minute lineup change he didn't have any family at GM Place:

I'd go buy a homeless guy on the street tickets to come watch me as long as I had one fan in the building. It's going to be intense. Use any cliche you want. It's playoffs. It's not even comparable to the season. I'm an adrenaline player and I'm going to feed off it.

It was a huge relief to see the Kings even the series at one game apiece.  They did a great job of keeping the Sedin twins off the scoreboard, but now they need to figure out how to stifle Samuelsson who already has 3 goals in this series.  I am so excited for Game 3! I'm determined to leave work at 5pm tomorrow...let's hope my bosses agree with my plan.  See you at the game! Go Kings!!!

Kings 3, Canucks 2 (OT again)

(Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

thank goodness the Kings won tonight.

and now I can breathe.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fredrik "Dexter" Modin

The similarities are apparent in the above photos, but Fredrik Modin really looks like Dexter (Michael C. Hall) when he has his helmet on and has those mysterious-I'm-a-secret-killer-Dexter eyes. Dexter rolls off the tongue a lot easier than Modin, so that's what he's been called lately in my household.  And as my hermano mentioned during Game 1:

"as long he continues to kill it like Dexter, it's all good"

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Kings 2, Canucks 3 (OT) - [insert whiny sigh]

Some thoughts about the first Kings playoff game in ages:

The Good Stuff
  • Jonathan Quick was on his game tonight.   He had some solid saves in the first period and never let up.  He had an amazing save in Overtime, quite possibly the save of the night, on a 2-on-1 that I thought was surely going to end the game.  The puck took some weird bounces during the game and he always seemed to have his eye on it.  His play tonight definitely settled nerves among the Kings fanbase.
  • Both Kings goals came on the power play.  Even though they only scored once on a 5-minute major and had some difficulties setting up the cycle during the man advantage it's still good news that the special teams is effective.
(Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
It's Dexter! Oops no, that's Modin.
  • Depth at front came through today.  As expected the Kings top line was shut down at even strength and guys like Brad Richardson, who had a very respectable 17 minutes of ice-time and got his face crushed into the glass, and Michal Handzus played well.
You Know Better
  • Jack, seriously?  Puck over the glass in the defensive zone?  You know better.

The You So Ugly Parts
  • Justin Williams and Randy Jones:  WTF guys!  I am a big J-Dubs fan so I was incredibly disappointed with how poorly he played tonight.  He had a terrible turnover inside the offensive blueline that led to the second Canucks goal.  He was ineffective for the majority of the game despite playing alongside Ryan Smyth and Anze Kopitar and the only forwards who had fewer minutes on the ice were Wayne Simmonds and Jeff Halpern (obviously I'm not counting Ivanans since he's in his own Enforcer class). And Randy Jones, did you not learn anything from Williams' turnover?  Apparently not since he had a turnover in overtime and then the Kings failed miserably trying to clear the puck.  He also fumbled the puck a lot on the power play and looked very sloppy.  
Watching a playoff overtime game is way more fun when your team isn't involved.  I think my heart stopped a couple times during the extra period, once when Vancouver had a 2-on-1 and again when Lungo batted the puck out of the crease as it was just about to cross the goal line.....argh!!!  I have to keep reminding myself that it's just one game.  If I think the series will go to 7 games then the Kings will lose 3 out of the 4.  It's just one game, it's just one loss, there's plenty of hockey ahead of us.  Go Kings!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Kings (6) v. Canucks (3) - Round 1 Preview

During the Olympics Ryan Kesler was my fucking hero.  But now that he's on the other side, facing my beloved Kings, I can't stand the guy.  I can't stand reading and listening to discussions about how good the Vancouver Canucks are and how they're definitely going to be competing for the Cup this year.  Maybe I've been paying attention to them with blinders on all season long, but I don't understand the love affair with that team.  They've got some great players and maybe on paper they look amazing, but watching them play I see a team that will be packing their bags and heading off to golf trips after the first round.

The Kings are definitely outmatched in goal.  Despite Luongo's terrible outing against the Kings earlier this month there's no question he's a far better goaltender than Jonathan Quick.  And it definitely doesn't help the Kings that Quick hadn't done very well during the post-Olympic stretch, having won only 4 games during that time frame.  Erik Ersberg and Jonathan "already a fan favorite" Bernier have played better lately than Quick, but since it would be absolute madness for anyone but Quick to start in net, let's hope he plays out of his mind.  He may not be a Roy or a Luongo or a Brodeur, but he can be solid and can steal games.  I don't think anyone thought Cam Ward would outduel Martin Brodeur during Carolina's Cup run in '06 so it's definitely possible for Quick to be just good enough to win this series.

The Kings have a lot of depth among their forwards.  When the top line (Kopitar-Smyth-Williams) isn't producing then someone like Scott Parse is putting away a couple goals.  It'll be interesting to see which players fill out the fourth line.  Will the Kings take the physical route and play Raitis Ivanans to beef up the lineup or gain some speed and grit with Richard Clune or go with playmaking and put in Parse?  The 4th line is always a crap shoot, but at least the other three lines are pretty badass. I wouldn't be surprised if Vancouver tries to shut down Kopitar, Smyth, and Williams so it'll be up to guys like Brown, Frolov, Stoll, Handzus, and Simmonds to carry the team.  I get weak in my knees just thinking about our 2nd and 3rd lines....*swoon*!  

I have a lot of confidence in the Kings defense as long as Peter Harrold isn't in the lineup.  Drew Doughty will most likely be paired with a Sedin twin and if he can shut down Ovechkin, he can shut down anyone.  And if you count Handzus as a defenseman, there goes another Canuck powerhouse.  Jack Johnson has been looking better and better with each passing game so hopefully he turns into full JMFJ mode instead of getting bitch slapped by Vancouver.

The Kings can beat Vancouver in a 7-game series.  They can and they will.

See what your fellow Kings fans are saying about this series:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

2010 Playoff Predictions....because why not.

I love the NHL playoffs!  Even when the Kings don't qualify I still get giddy with excitement.  Now that the Kings are back in the post season?  Ohhhhh smack, I can barely contain my emotions.  I can't focus at work;  I want to go home as soon as possible because then it means we're just that much closer to the start of the playoffs.  It's a little ridiculous, but hopefully after Game 1 I'll calm down a bit.

Here are some of my past playoff predictions: 2008 and 2009

Western Conference
San Jose (1) v. Colorado (8)
Despite San Jose's playoff track record, I think they'll move on to the second round.
Prediction: San Jose in 5

Chicago (2) v. Nashville (7)
I think this series will be pretty tight.  Normally I'd root for the underdog or a team not from Chicago, but I just don't give a shit about Nashville and Jordin "I'm a f*ckface" Tootoo.
Prediction: Chicago in 6

Vancouver (3) v. Los Angeles (6)
More on this match up in a separate post.  Bottom line: I have faith in my boys even if some people don't think the Kings stand a chance.
Prediction: Kings in 7

Phoenix (4) v. Detroit (5)
Both teams had very good runs toward the end of the season, but c'mon let's be real, it's Detroit all the way.
Prediction: Detroit in 5

Eastern Conference
I'll be honest. I've hardly seen any Eastern Conference teams play this season, which is why I didn't even know Ottawa was in playoff position till last week.  A lot of these predictions are based on gut feeling, personal preferences, and what I remember of them from prior seasons.  I'm a little bummed Carolina tanked during the regular season because they're usually my sweetheart pick.  (sad face)

Washington  (1) v. Montreal (8)
I just have a feeling that Montreal is going to get annihilated.
Prediction: Washington in 4

New Jersey (2) v. Philadelphia (7)
The only redeeming quality about Philadelphia? Flip, Flip, Flipadelphia!
Just thinking about Pronger makes me want to vomit.
And besides, can an American really root against Zach Parise?
Prediction: New Jersey in 5

Buffalo (3) v. Boston (6)
Ryan Miller will not stop till he's won a championship this year.
Prediction: Buffalo in 6

Pittsburgh (4) v. Ottawa (5)
Prediction: Sidney Crosby in 6

I just filled out my predictions for the 3rd Annual Frisby Bowl and based on my selections it looks like I'm going with Pittsburgh and Chicago in the Cup Finals with the 'Hawks finishing with top honors.

Let the playoffs begin!!!!!!