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.