Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Kings v. Sharks - Game 7 - "NOBODY SWITCH SEATS! STAY IN YOUR SEAT!"

Hermano here.

How many of you barfed when you heard Willie Mitchell was injured and would be replaced by Matt Greene for Game 7?  Just me?  Greene was a straight-up liability in Games 1 and 2, failing to clear pucks when he needed to and routinely blowing coverage outside the crease.  But you know what?  Greene did his job tonight.  Blocked shots, boxed guys out during rebounds, and cleared the puck when necessary (save one or two times which caused me to regurgitate the donuts I was shoving into my mouth to keep from grinding my teeth into a powdery dust).  I gotta give it to him, he played a helluva game.

But you know who was my first star of the game... besides Quick (for robbing Marleau in the second period and single-handedly keeping the Kings in the game for pretty much the entire… game) and Kopitar (for his dangled game-winner and feeding Brown off the opposite board for the empty-net insurance goal)?

Tanner Fucking Pearson.  He played out of his mind and had one of the sickest feeds to Toffoli for the third goal.  Don’t get me wrong, Toffoli finished like a champ, but it was Pearson’s speed, hustle, vision, and touch which led to that goal.  Since getting the nod in Game 3, I’m positive everyone who hasn’t been watching the Kings on a regular basis has been like “Woah, who is this kid?!”  He’s got “Chris Johnson breakaway” speed and his vision/hockey IQ is off the charts.  Regardless of what happens in the rest of the postseason, I’m looking forward to his development next season.  I mean, he’s definitely earned himself a spot on the squad next year, right?  Am I seeing things?

But as much as I want to credit the Kings for executing when necessary, blocking key shots, clearing away critical rebounds, and never giving up, tonight’s loss is less about what the Kings did and more about what the Sharks couldn’t do.  Going 0 for 6 on the power play is not gonna win you shit.  [Wait…….. THAT’S JAMIE KOMPON’S MUSIC!!!]  Erasing Games 1 and 2 from your memory, you have to know that Quick is going to return to form, especially after getting the shutout in Game 5 and only allowing 1 goal in Game 6.  So you have to capitalize on the power play and the refs today were handing out gifts, left and right.  Granted, the elbowing penalty against Couture was a sweet embellishment by Muzzin, but it seemed like the refs were getting swayed by the hometown crowd by the second period.  Credit to Jim Fox for calling hooks when there were hooks and not losing his cool.  Had San Jose scored on any of those touchy-feely hooking calls, I would’ve thrown my throwback Miller Lite can through my friend’s $6 billion TV.  And yes, Miller Lite is my drink of choice, obviously.

As much as I’d like to spend the next five hours trolling Sharks fans, it was a damn good series and I’m just happy the Kings fought back and prevailed.  There’s no use repeating the same “choke” jokes when a team has literally suffered its most crushing defeat in franchise history.  So, I guess that’s where I draw the line.  Anyone who knows me knows that the Sharks are my absolute least favorite hockey team BY FAR – more than the Canucks, way more than the Ducks.  But I reserve five hours of trolling on a Wednesday night for one franchise and one franchise only: FUCK THE CELTICS.  

And now, your LA Kings Cup Run Chart:

Much love till my next post.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Hermano here.

Quick Kings recap:

Dwight King, forever.

Your current LA Kings Stanley Cup Chart: 

Much love till my next post. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Hermano here.

Just a quick Cup Run update:

Go King(s) Go!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Game 4: LA Kings v. San Jose Sharks

Hermano here. 

This is my recap of the LA Kings game: we live to fight another day.  And by living, we avoid descending into the very bottom of hell to see this:


Much love till my next post and Kings victory.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Kings v. Ducks - The NHL Debut of Martin Jones

Hermano here.

I remember my first NHL game, playing goalie for the LA Kings.  Let me rephrase that: I remember my first game playing on the LA Kings practice rink.  

Martin Jones, an undrafted goalie, was supposed to make “the leap” to the NHL last season.  Unfortunately for Jones, a number of circumstances led to him playing the entirety of last season with the Manchester Monarchs, the Kings’ AHL affiliate.  First, Quick didn’t exactly fully recover from off-season back surgery, which led to more playing time for Jonathan Bernier.  Second, Bernier saved the Kings shortened season with his outstanding play, thereby causing Lombardi to think twice about trading him mid-season.  Third, Jones took a step backward and didn’t have the season in the AHL the Kings management thought he was going to have.  But once Bernier got traded this past offseason, it was a foregone conclusion that Jones would be starting the season backstopping Jonathan Quick. 

Oh wait.  Hi, Ben Scrivens! 

Photo (and meme) courtesy of The Royal Half

Since the only thing I’ve ever wanted to be when I was old enough to form memories was a hockey goalie, I think I’ll spend an entire post commenting on the NHL debut of Martin Jones. 

Thoughts on Martin Jones:

I’m too lazy to research whether any NHL team currently fields two undrafted goalies, but I’m going to guess no.  (Does the tandem of Dubnyk and LaBarbera count? Low blow, I know.  But Babs was a former King whom I supported during the Dark Years, so quit your whining.)

First Period:

Wow, I love the mask:

Martin Jones's mask for the 2011-2012 season. The 2013 version is very similar.
This has to be one of the sickest masks by an LA Kings goalie since Quick rocked the throwback Rogie Vachon.  

Jones is not aggressive playing the puck, which is pretty much consistent with the LA Kings School of Goaltending.  

What’s the longest a goalie has gone in his NHL debut before seeing his first shot?  You might think it’s pretty nice not seeing your first shot almost 10 minutes into the first period, but it sucks since you never get to establish a rhythm.  It really doesn’t help when your first save has to come against Saku Koivu, all alone in the slot.  Jones comes up with a brilliant save, positioning himself perfectly.  You might think it’s luck that Koivu didn’t elevate the puck higher, but Jones went all or nothing with the poke check and kept his glove positioned above his pad to make the stop and prevent any rebound.  First test passed.  For a goalie, there is nothing worse for your psyche than letting in a goal on your first shot, regardless if it's your NHL debut or not. 

You have to love the Kings and their defensive style of play, especially on the penalty kill.  They lay out, block shots, tip pucks wide, play the body and make the other team earn every pass, they do all the right things. 

Jones is 6’4”, 189 pounds.  So basically, he’s like a taller version of myself.  And younger.  Yeah, that's probably where the differences end.

/checks self in mirror, does 100 pushups.

Jones plays pretty deep in his crease against point shots.  Not quite Lundqvist deep.  And thankfully he’s not skating to the faceoff dots to stop shots from the blue line like Tim Thomas.  So far, Jones reminds me of a bigger version of Bernier.  And it’s not because Jim Fox has said three times already that Jones is “calm and cool” in the net, something that Bernier oozes.  

Shots 6, Saves 6. 

Second Period:

I’m not sure I understand the Ducks’ strategy of only taking shots during the second half of each period. 

Is there anything more impossible to stop than a wrist shot from Carter?  Kings lead 1-0. 

Shit, a good save from Jones but not enough defenders to prevent Getzlaf from batting it in the back of the net.  Jones did what he could on that original shot, but three Ducks crashed the net and only Willie Mitchell was there to prevent any second chances.  Credit to Getzlaf for crashing the net.  No credit to Getzlaf for squeezing into that orange cone of a Stadium Series jersey.  Tied 1-1. 

Okay, I know Jones is 6’4” and I know, technically speaking, he can play deeper in his crease than someone like Bernier, but it’s giving me a fucking heart attack.  Quick snap shot from above the circles and Jones, playing within probably a foot inside his crease, barely gets his shoulder on it, deflecting it into the corner.  That one definitely caught him off guard.

Great save by Jones against Penner off a 2-on-1 rush, produced by a sloppy Kings giveaway during 4-on-4 play.  Penner made a nice play by faking the deke and trying to slip it tweeners on Jones.  You gotta love how composed Jones was on that play, making the save look easy.  But thank god Penner didn’t have more skill like, oh I don’t know, Kopitar:

4-on-3: Jones got lucky on that one.  He’s in a half-assed V-H position and his stick barely stops that sneaky shot by Bonino, leaving a fat rebound that Jones manages to cover.  Whatever, it’s better to be lucky than good.  And I’m pretty sure that’s the kind of attitude it takes to make it to the NHL.

Jones with an excellent save on Selanne, coming out past the crease to cut down the angle.  The Kings are monster penalty killers, but Jones still had to make 4 saves on that last kill. 

I know I intended to talk exclusively about Martin Jones, but how invisible has Dustin Brown been this season?  Seriously, if Sutter scratched him, would we notice? 

Shots: 11, Saves: 10

Third Period:

I’m loving how aggressive Martin Jones is with the poke-check.  I haven’t seen a Kings goalie like that since Robb Stauber.  Okay, maybe Jones isn’t quite that aggressive. 

A complete breakdown on the penalty kill leads to a Ducks goal.  Da-Wight King had TWO clear chances to clear the puck, but instead hesitated as if to say “YOU clear it!”  The puck finds Perry all alone in front of the crease, he freezes Jones, and properly finishes.  Jones with no chance on that one – welcome to the NHL, kid.  Ducks 2-1.

Dustin Brown: Just when I think I’m out… he PULLLLLLLLS me back in.  (But we all know Brown’s shot was going three feet wide.)  Tied 2-2. 

Wow, Bob Miller just said the Ducks have 23 shots after almost 50 minutes of play.  That seems pretty high – I was thinking the Ducks had something more like 16 or 17 shots on goal.  

I know the action has been exciting, but I’m sweating balls over here since the Kings are basically just giving the Ducks every offensive break in the third period.  Thankfully, there haven’t been too many quality chances, but I’m waiting for the hammer to drop.  With this sloppy play, I’ll be happy to grab a point and take our chances in overtime.

Great save by Jones after he botches stick-handling behind his net.  Then Perry with a dick-move, shoving his blade into the chest of Jones after Jones clearly made the save.  Perry did the ol’ “I was pushed into the goalie!” routine – except no one was within 3 feet of him. 

Okay, one minute to go in regulation and this game is proving that a playoff series between these two teams would shave 10 years off my life. Thankfully, I plan on being black-out drunk by the time I enter Dodger Stadium in January, which will probably only shave off 2 years of my life.  Win-Win!

Penalty kill with 28.7 seconds left in the game.  At this point, Jones is probably doing breathing exercises and chanting “Serenity Now.”  The Ducks get two great chances, but can’t find the net.  Jones earns a point in his first NHL game.  Not a bad debut, especially against the second place team in the Pacific.   

Shots: 10, Saves: 9


Sweet, another penalty.  Can we call a timeout and inspect all of Corey Perry’s balsa wood sticks? 

Penner takes an interference penalty and all hell breaks loose with how many skaters need to be on the ice.  I’m sure everyone in the arena paid good money to see all the refs and coaches point three or four fingers at each other. 

Jones with an easy (but pretty!) glove save on Lovejoy’s shot from the point.  Harmless, but good to see Jones challenge the shooter beyond his crease.  I wonder if Billy Ranford had a conversation with Jones after the first period. 

Kings with some unreal chances in overtime, but can’t finish.  This is the most effort I’ve seen from the Kings in a back-to-back.  The Ducks bring out the best (and worst) of the Kings.  Regardless of the outcome, I think this game proved to any doubters that next year’s Stadium Series game at Dodger Stadium is going to be memorable. 

Shots: 1, Saves: 1


Perry: Sweet move, Perry.  Goes wide, probably kisses the boards, then drags it and sends it off the post.  I’m concerned how deep Jones was in his net when Perry had his stick face open all day long.

Getzlaf: Hahaha, not even close.  Sweet move, Getzlaf. 

Bonino: Does Bonino know he’s in a shootout?  It’s like someone was controlling him in NHL 13 and simply pressed the “shoot” button.  What a joke.

Koivu: No way Koivu scores even if he didn’t fumble the puck at the last minute.  Jones with the leg extension, but Koivu with the miss. 

Selanne: I feel ill right now.  Sweet save by Jones.  He stands his ground and stops the tweeners shot.  Man, that was a lot closer than it originally looked.

Penner: I really feel ill right now.  Haha, same move he tried on the 2-on-1 back in the second period.  Jones closes up well, moving side-to-side.  Solid fundamentals from Jones, not overreacting to anything.

Palmieri: Great low pad save by Jones.  Jim is right – the Ducks realize they’re not gonna fake out Jones, especially with how he doesn’t bite on any fakes.  

Beleskey: Nice blocker save.  Frankly, I have no clue why Beleskey is out there.  Darryl Sutter sees your random pick, Bruce, and raises you Dwight King. 


Perreault: Hahahaha, nice try.  Were you asleep when Dustin Penner tried his shootout move?  Grind some film, buddy.  Jones ain’t gonna open up for you.  Better luck next time, Ducks.

What an absolutely outstanding game and a night Martin Jones will never forget.  He was solid in net, wasn’t tested too much (except for that first shot on goal), didn’t let in any soft goals, and came up huge in the shootout.  At this point, if I’m Dean Lombardi, I’m telling Quick to take all the time he needs. 

Congratulations, Jones, you earned your first NHL win in spectacular fashion.  You know who else won his NHL debut against the Ducks?  Just some kid named Jonathan Bernier. 

Much love till my next post.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

LA Kings v. Vancouver Canucks - New Coach, Same Gingers

Hermano here.

Game 16 and I think it's time for a (semi) live blog.  Check back here after each period for my thoughts about the game.  As for my pre-game thoughts?  Jim Fox's tie is STELLAR.  I'd have more pre-game thoughts, but the wife is pestering me for fantasy football advice in setting her lineup.  THIS SHIT DOESN'T COME FOR FREE.

See you all after the first period.


First period:

Julie Stewart-Binks with SeanOD.  Is Julie a poor-woman’s Brooklyn Decker?  (That’s supposed to be a compliment.) 

It’s weird – this afternoon, I was looking at my collection of signed pucks and, naturally, focused solely on the puck signed by Sean Avery.  And all I could think about was how big his smile must have been when he heard the news that Torts got fired from the Rangers.  I’d show you his tweet but that would involve extra work that my body is not ready for at this moment.

The only way I could hate the new LA Kings pump-up song is if you told me it was composed by The Bouncing Souls.

Doughty with a golden opportunity, and somehow it stays out. Sweet no-replay, Fox Sports West.

Jim Fox commenting about how dynamic the defensive pairing of Muzzin and Doughty are – they’re definitely dynamic at giving me heart attacks when they both jump in below the hash marks and/or shooting the puck into a foward's legs.

Luongo sporting the new mask which, I believe, mimics a fucking beanie.  A blue fucking beanie.  Whatever, it’s for charity.  

First break in the action – dare I say, Darryl Sutter looks… dapper?!

Yikes, first monster save by Quick.  I’d prefer not to see too many of those tonight, since that generally means our defense is atrocious.

Look at Luongo maintaining his perfect butterfly stance while the Canucks break it out behind his net. #Dedication

Canucks are putting tons of bodies in the crease.  Smart, that’s how you throw goalies off their game.  It also means our defense is not making the Canucks pay the price for parking in the crease.  This is going to hurt us if this continues.   

Barf, this is sloppy.  Quick robs Kesler with a Timmy Thomas-esque save to keep this at zeros.  Since when did our defense look like the Oilers’?

Jim Fox with a “Sutterella” gaff – and suddenly creates the most perfect name for a rock band.  Or 80’s tribute band. 

Not gonna lie, Luongo’s mask is “so Monet” – you know, good from afar but far from good. 

Someone plows into Quick but Williams with a break and sends it to Kopitar for the easy go….oh man, HOW did Kopitar miss that open net… It literally does not get easier than that.  I love Bob Miller calling himself out for prematurely saying he scored.  

Wow, Linden Vey displays shocking skill to set up the most beautiful assist I’ve seen in a very long time.  And a sick finish by Nolan  - that wasn’t a gimmie.  But seriously, did Vey just promote himself to the first line?  “Move down the line, MiniMe.” 

You know, I’ve been considering it for almost two years, but I’m about one more Nolan goal/assist/fight away from buying his jersey.  Thoughts?

I simply don’t understand why Martinez was scratched the first 1,308,492 games of this season.  Does he do a killer Darryl Sutter impersonation?  Did Sutter find out?

Does Vey play roller hockey during the offseason?  He’s sporting some sick dangles.  Maybe he just crushes film of Datsyuk?  Speaking of grinding film, does anyone know who’s the “Gruden Grinder” of the NHL?  Bylsma?

In video game lingo, the second half of this game has just been PURE OWNAGE.  Sorry, PURE PWNAGE.  Richards is the king of stop/start.  Remember that “distinct kicking motion” goal that fucked us at the beginning of the season?  Well, here’s the Toronto War Room litmus test – because this is absolutely a good game.  But seriously, Toffoli, you gotta bury that gift.

Is it too soon to pick up Vey on my fantasy team?

The Kings got bailed out by Quick in the first half of the period and then suddenly realized they're Cup contenders by turning it on for the last half.  I'm predicting the usual Kings strategy of dogging it in the second period, only to finish strong in the third.  The Gingers have been awfully quiet, but that won't last.  Speaking of quiet, where the hell has Dustin Brown been?  No hits, barely any touches... if they air his #FOMOH commercial, he'll have more commercial air time than actual ice time.  Our Captain, ladies and gentlemen. 

Stay tuned for the second period commentary! 


Second Period:

So, I was watching NHL Network this afternoon and turned on to the Bruins v. Leafs game.  The announcer was talking about the Leafs and how Frattin was looking good.  I was like “Yo, you got the wrong guy, Frattin doesn’t play for the Leafs anymore.”  But then I realized it was a replay of last year’s Game 7.  The lesson?  Fuck the East. 

Quick being Quick.  Burrows being Burrows.  Can we stop this bullshit about how Howard or Miller is gonna start for Team America next year?  It’s Quick’s net, end of story.  Howard is soft and Miller is mind-fucked.  And Timmy Thomas is…. hahahahaha, sorry, I just can’t.

Okay, that’s the second time Quick has failed to secure the rebound, with the puck hovering dangerously in the crease.  I know this because I do this ALL the time.  Maybe it’s time to get a new mitt?  Oh, and Jim Fox just mentioned it, too. 

You gotta love Doughty and how aggressive he is.  He dangles from the point, takes two steps, fires off a great shot, but keeps skating to the net in case the rebound comes his way.  Most defensemen would snap the shot and then immediately peel off back to the blue line.

I haven’t watched the Swedish version of The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, but I imagine the villains are played by the Sedin brothers.

Kings fail to clear the zone and pay the price.  Look at that, all five players are behind the hash marks.  What a joke.  To Quick’s credit, that was a laser.  Canucks on the board, Kings still up 2-1. 

Can we please give Toffoli an 8-year max contract already?  What hustle to set up the beauty by Mike Richards.  Oh, and Dwight Kings… just when I thought I was out, he pullllllllls me back in.  And I really hope Luongo is not injured – that would cheapen this victory by the Kings.  [looks around to make sure I didn’t just jinx us… cause jinxes are totally visible…]

Too late to pick up Mike Richards for my fantasy team?  It’s pretty sad, really.  I don’t have ANY Kings on my fantasy team.  Seriously, one

Okay, that’s it – I’m getting a Nolan jersey.  Way to step up.  And that’s why fighting is and should remain in the game.  You can’t change my opinion about fighting in the game – I’ve witnessed too many cheap shots to my teammates go unpunished due to strong penalties for fighting.

Oh, and great call, KC.  Only one more Nolan assist for a Gordie Howe Hat Trick.  OH PLEASE!!!  [queues up credit card, opens]

Voynov with the grind and possession, Kopitar with the unreal fake and sick pass, and Williams with the top-shelf finish.  Just pure beauty.  And I love that little fake by Kopitar to draw Luongo down and open up the upper corner. 

OH NO!!! If you recall, the Kings DO NOT do well against mid-game backup goalie changes.   

Oh my god, this is seriously unbelievable.  Who knew the Kings possessed this kind of skill.  At least three times on that 2 on 1, I was like “Oh, you fucked this up.”  First, when Toffoli rocked too many dangles; second, when Toffoli air mails his pass to Richards; and third, when Richards decides to pass the puck out of mid-air back to Toffoli.  And somehow, it all worked out and will be Number 1 on the NHL Network.  You know, assuming it’s not past their bedtime.

If Torts didn’t show up on the Canucks’ bench for the start of the third period, would ANYONE be surprised? 

Lewis with a golden opportunity to display those dangles (and get that first goal)… but runs out of real estate.  So, does anyone on the bench want to teach Lewis how to shoot a puck higher than 11 inches?

Dustin Brown… he’s alive!!! and…… that’s the end of the second.  Nice try, Dustin, way to make yourself relevant.

Stay tuned for more third period action… unless the score holds and I switch over to the UCLA game. 


Third Period:

Hmmmmm, wasn’t Kings Assistant Coach John Stevens in The Sopranos, Season 5?

I’m pretty sure that was the third time Dustin Brown’s name was called.  And of course, he’s down on the ice, grabbing his knee.  MILK THAT PENALTY!!!  It goes without saying that if that happened to any one of us, our leg would have been completely severed.

First power play for the Kings.  Does Stevens draw up a formation to play keep-away for 19 minutes?  Well, keep-away for 2 minutes will do just fine.  You Los Angeles Kings Assistant Coaches, ladies and gentlemen!

By the way, UCLA up 24-10 against Arizona.  Wildcats with the ball, 1st and goal.  Handoff to the running back who tries to jump in the end zone, gets stuffed, ball comes out, hits the running back’s foot, UCLA recovers, touchback.   Back to the Kings game.

The Kings with another successful keep-away drill for 2 minutes on the Sestito penalty.  Burn that clock, Stevens!!!

Bieksa and Brown going at it in Luongo’s Lack’s crease.  Without a doubt the most significant thing our captain has done all game.  Drawing the Kings’ first penalty was the second.  #FOMOH was the third.

You know, I always find it funny that goalies, when they’re on the bench, wear only a hat or nothing at all.  Whenever a puck comes up or near the bench, they simply flash the glove to cover their face.  I guess it would look pretty ridiculous for a goalie on the bench to wear a player’s helmet, maybe one with a half-shield or even a cage.  I know I wouldn’t wear one.  But what I WOULD wear is something like this: 

Sestito with the hat trick!!! (Bob Probert Hat Trick)

(too soon? sorry.)

Yikes, Muzzin’s shot blasts Toffoli’s leg.  After Martinez almost got run, I was thinking “All we gotta do is not get injured” and then Toffoli goes down.  I’m holding my breath until I see him on the ice again.  [Sees Toffoli on ice, unclenches butt]

So, the game was essentially over after the second period.  But you know what?  It ALWAYS feels good to beat the Canucks, whether by a small or “humongous big” margin.  I’m not like some of my friends, who place the Canucks as their most hated team in the NHL.  (For me, that’s the Sharks.  Without a doubt.)  But I still haven’t forgotten the Canucks dominating the Kings in the playoffs back in 2010.  And so there’ll be an extra bounce in my step tomorrow morning as I get obliterated watching football in Culver City, thanks to tonight’s win. 

Lots of positives: Vey and Toffoli cementing their spots on the roster.  You know, until Carter comes back.  But what scares me is whether Vey just upped his trade value to a very attractive level.  NHL teams would be stupid to trade with the Kings and not ask for a prospect like Toffoli, Vey, Pearson, or even Andreoff.  Maybe Jones, too.  Meh, I’m not totally sold on Jones, especially after last year’s step back. 

The other positive is that I’m going to ask Santa for a Jordan Nolan jersey.  Well, maybe just a shirsey.  There can only be one named jersey for me (and it rhymes with “Belly Foody”). 

What does Vigo Sutter think about today’s performance?

Much love till my next post.