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! 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!!!!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Playoff Tickets Have Arrived!!

I have been waiting for this day for years!!! Not just since 2002, but since I was a little girl obsessing over the Kings, waiting for the day when I would be able to save enough money to buy all the playoff tickets I wanted.  Did I even consult the husband about making this purchase?  Nope.  He was out of town, but I texted him the great news that I was able to purchase tickets to the first two rounds!  Call me selfish, but I've saved and waited long enough for these babies.   

I'm normally pretty frugal with my money so spending this much at one time for hockey tickets is a little scary, but these are Kings playoff tickets we're dealing with.  I'm willing to put off shopping for new work clothes and those classy Cole Haan pumps I've been eyeing for several months, dinners out at a sushi joint, driving to work and paying for parking (can't beat my $17/month transit pass), going to the gun range (who knew shooting guns was so expensive), buying unnecessary groceries, drinking too much, etc.  I'm willing to temporarily sacrifice the extra pleasures in life in order to see my Kings play in person in the post season.  

It's a good thing I was also given electronic tickets because I have a feeling that the Hoarder inside me will want to keep these tickets intact because.......well, please, Hoarders don't need reasons.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Since 2002, the last time the LA Kings were in the playoffs...

It's been 8 years since the Kings were in the playoffs.  8 freaking long years.  Everybody has been talking about the long playoff drought for this franchise, but I don't think you can really digest the length until you put it in terms of personal milestones.  Earlier this evening I was thinking about how many years have passed and started going through all the things that have happened over the years and's been a long 8 years.  Since 2002, the last time the LA Kings were in the playoffs, the following things have happened:

  • met my future husband
  • spent a summer working in Hawaii
  • turned 21
  • discovered that taking a pepcid AC one hour before I drink prevents me from getting the Asian Glow
  • graduated from college
  • got a car
  • the NHL lockout happened
  • George Bush was reelected
  • graduated from grad school
  • got a full-time job
  • Versus started showing NHL games
  • turned my boyfriend into a hockey fan
  • Kings retired Luc Robitaille's jersey
  • got my professional license
  • got engaged
  • quit my job
  • got a new job
  • moved
  • Barack Obama was elected president
  • got mugged
  • got married
  • the Saints won the Super Bowl and now my husband no longer knows what it's like to root for a losing team

That's a lot of personal milestones and I'm pretty sure I've forgotten some stuff.  I mean...shit, the only things I haven't done are popped out a baby and bought a house.  Think about it: what have you done since 2002??

In the past several months you were hard pressed to read an article about the Kings and not be reminded of how many consecutive years they've missed the playoffs.  8 years, sure, that's a lot.  But once you put it into perspective and think about all the things that have happened since the Kings made it past the regular season it really hits you that GD the Kings have f'ing sucked for so damn long.  It's kind of amazing that even after all these losing seasons that I, and plenty of other fans, have stuck by the Kings and still obsessed over every little move, thinking and hoping that maybe next season it'll be better.  A lot has happened since 2002 and finally, finally, the Kings are in the playoffs.  Sure, I'll be pissed and disappointed if they get swept, but honestly, I'm just glad and so relieved to finally see the Kings compete in the post season.