Thursday, December 29, 2011

12/29/11: Kings 0, Jets 1 (OT) - Jets Fans are on the Shins List

Short and sweet game review in bullet format! (an engineer's favorite type of report):

  • Winnipeg Jets fans are on the #shinslist
    • Booing the "best" player on the opposing team is the stupidest thing ever.  Only Philly fans can boo for no GD reason;
      • By the way, you asshats should have been booing Dustin Brown because (a) he's the Kings captain, (b) some fans think he occasionally embellishes to draw penalties (*I have no idea what those people are thinking*), and (c) he's AMERICAN! That would have made WAY  more sense; 
    • Taunting the goalie when your team has NEVER even scored on him is fucking baseless and idiotic;
  • Good to see Bernier get in a really solid game (gotta beef up those stats for the upcoming trade deadline.....j/k.....sorta.....not really.....oh what the hell do I know);
  • Someone please tell Sutter it's almost 2012 because it's pretty obvious that he's several decades behind.  And I SWEAR he was wearing the exact same suit at tonight's game that he wore the previous night.  Unacceptable;
  • The Kings better get the power play going or else they're going to be exiting the playoffs after the 1st Round again, assuming they can even make the playoffs;
  • Remember when it looked like Anze Kopitar was going to have a ridiculously productive offensive year?  I don't think it's helping that #15 is one of his wingers.....just sayin'.

Anyway, the Kings have one more game in 2011. I wish my husband was just a wee bit more into hockey because I would totally spend New Years Eve at a Kings game. Just hoping the Kings can close out 2011 with a solid game, including a decent outing or two on the power play.  That's not too much to ask for, right?

12/28/11: Kings 2, Blackhawks 0

I had absolutely zero faith in the Los Angeles Kings to win against the Chicago Blackhawks IN Chicago.  As I mentioned in my game preview, I honestly could not remember the last time the Kings beat the Blackhawks.  After this game was over, Bob Miller mentioned that the last time the Kings beat the Blackhawks in Chicago was almost 4 years ago to this day! Unreal.  And including games played in Los Angeles, the Blackhawks had won the previous 7 matches.  No wonder I dread watching the Kings play the 'Hawks.

The game started out as I had expected, with the Kings barely able to scrape anything together.  The team chemistry was way off, the passing was atrocious, the rushes into the offensive zone were futile, and the power play looked no better.  And then I saw this on the Kings bench:

(AP Photo)
Oh jeeeeeez, Sutter.  That suit just screams '1975'.
Someone get this guy a stylist;
he's the coach of a  professional sports team
in Los Angeles for crying out loud.

The only reason the Kings were still in this game after the first period was because of Jonathan Quick, whose play only got exponentially better as the game went on.  Also, it helped that the Blackhawks never seemed to catch a break, which coincidentally, was the story for the, majority of Kings' season so far.  But Quick......holy moly, it's breathtaking, heart-stopping, jaw dropping to watch him when that kid gets on a roll. (And yes, I may be exaggerating just the slightest, but it's only because I don't think Quick gets the praise he deserves nearly as much as other netminders.)

(Bill Smith/Getty Images)
Quick almost got a kiss from close.
Other notable moments from the game:

  • Trent Hunter scored the first, and eventually game-winning, goal. (I suppose I'll stop bitching about him for awhile....);
  • Speaking of Trent Hunter, his dad looks like a cooler, less annoying, less douchey version of Pierre McGuire; 
  • I couldn't help but notice that the Kings players' dads were not in a suite....what's up with that LA Kings management?  Is the team that broke after signing Doughty? Stay classy, AEG;
  • Mike Richards needs to take penalty shot/shootout lessons from Jarret Stoll considering he's 0-for-2 THIS season and 0-for-7 all-time; 
  • Bob Miller interviewed Kyle Clifford's dad during the 2nd intermission and I don't know what he said because I was so distracted by how freaking HUGE he is!  Clifford's dad was remarkably larger than Bob Miller; He looked like he ate Jim Fox and was sizing up Bob.  He isn't grossly obese or anything, just a very, very large man.  Even Bob said, "I see where [Kyle] got his size."
  • I enjoyed seeing how unfazed the fathers were when their sons scored (although I have no doubt Jack's dad would have been running up and down the aisles giving everyone a high-five if his son scored). I guess after you've seen your kid play probably thousands of games and seen them score a lot, another goal, even if it does occur in the NHL in your presence, just isn't that big of a deal.
So it's off to Winnipeg!  I have no idea what to expect from either the Kings or the Jets.  Will the Kings be able to continue this points streak? Only if Sutter wears another brown plaid suit.  Maybe on Thursday he can pair it with a burnt orange dress shirt.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Kings at Chicago: Someone Get Jack Johnson's Dad to Dance

The players' fathers are joining the team on this road trip.  During the last game Patrick O'Neal interview Willie Mitchell's father.  I was really, really hoping he would interview Jack Johnson's father, but it never happened.  Although The Royal Half did post a screenshot of Jack's dad photobombing the interview. Let's all hope that at some point during this road trip, Jack Johnson's dad treats hockey fans to one more dance:

I imagine Jack's dad is one cool dude.  The type of father, like Homer Simpson, who instilled the most important life lesson:

"Son, being popular is the most important thing in the whole world."

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but I sure do hope Jack's father dances because it'll make watching the Kings lose to the Blackhawks a whole lot easier to take.  I mean, seriously, does anyone remember the last time the LA Kings beat the Chicago Blackhawks?  At least Sutter will be there to give all the guys hugs after the loss:

(AP Photo)
C'mon, look at that!!
He's such a close talker and such a touchy feely guy....
Do they not get the news in  Red Deer?
Does he not realize this is just a wee bit awkward?  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Los Angeles Kings

Have you seen the Los Angeles Kings' Holiday Video??

(If you're reading this in a feed, then you may need to go to the actual post to view the video).

In case you can't watch the video, here's a recap:

Jack Johnson, Anze Kopitar, Kevin Westgarth, Jonathan Bernier, Slava Voynov, Andrei Loktionov, Davis Drewiske, & Dustin Brown wish all of us a Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas.

Except that Jack said it with his incredibly high cheek bones, Kopi confused everyone by talking in a super foreign language, Westie talked in Yale-y terms (or was it Princetonian flair?), Baby Bernier made every woman go "Sploosh!" by talking in French, Loki just looked adorable, Drewiske tried to eye-f*ck every female Kings fan, Voynov spoke too timidly, and Brownie ended things with his good-golly-I'm-just-a-good-ol'-boy personality.

Oh, and Colin Fraser was in there somewhere.

Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays), fellow Kings fans!

Monday, December 19, 2011

12/19/11 - Kings 3, Leafs 2 (SO)

(AP Photo)
Awwwwww....look at how happy they look!

My expectations were pretty low for this game considering how things looked on Saturday against the Red Wings.  My concerns weren't alleviated the least bit after reading two pieces on the Kings earlier in the day.  The first article I came across, 'Anger Pours Over for Kings', was by Helene Elliott of the LA Times.  I did a double take when I read this part:

Mitchell said he enjoyed Sunday's taxing workout.
"Those are the practices we need if we're going to get out of this," he said. "It was up-tempo, forwards were buzzing and going to the net hard. It pushes the limits of defensemen when you practice like that.
"It's a cliche but it's true. You need good practice habits to play well in games and I don't think our practices have been the best around here."

Willie Mitchell didn't think their "practices have been the best around here"?  Well that's not something you want to hear.

The second article I read was about the team going to Dairy Queen after practice.  I can't remember if I first read about it on ESPN or Yahoo!, but Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider also mentioned it:
After practice, the team bus diverted to a nearby Dairy Queen, and the losing team bought treats for the winners. It was a nice touch by Stevens and a solid attempt to keep a good team mood. Raise you hand if you think there will be ice-cream side trips under Darryl Sutter. Seeing none…
Wow, I wish some of my sports coaches took us to Dairy Queen after practice to pick up the mood. But noooooo, we got attitude adjustment practices instead!  Well....I guess ice cream really does make everything better.  Just make sure it's not "lactose free" ice cream, because my husband accidentally bought it the other night and it tastes like butt and it totally ruined dessert for me.

If you were like me and were stuck at work for the majority of the Kings/Leafs game, then here are some game highlights from

Glad to see the Kings finally get some lucky bounces!!

So who's looking forward to the Darryl Sutter Era???????

Sunday, December 18, 2011

12/17/11: LA Kings 2, Detroit Red Wings 8

What the fuck was that????

I don't know how  I managed to sit through the whole game.  Shit hit the fan 2 minutes into the game and I'm pretty sure every body knew this game was over for the LA Kings at that point.  It seems like every season there's at least one game where the Kings look terrible and they let in a ton of goals.  I can remember off the top of my head two games against the Buffalo Sabres in which the Kings got completely blown out.  Usually I just toss the game aside as an anomaly and move onto the next game.  But I cannot just ignore this game, especially since it happened during a real low period of this season.  So be prepared for a full on rant and armchair GM post:

The Kings didn't just look a step behind the Red Wings, they looked like they were a full shift behind them.  They looked like they were chasing the Wings all around the ice.   They looked like a minor league team playing against the future Stanley Cup champions.  It was embarrassing to watch.  Jack Johnson looked atrocious.  He was a -4 in the game and I don't know why Interim Coach John Stevens allowed him to play past the 1st period.  And how the hell did Andrei Loktionov get benched in favor of Trent Hunter?  Holy moly, the Kings were fucked before the puck even dropped.

I think it's pretty obvious at this point that the onus is on the players to turn things around.  I don't know what any coach can do at this point to get this team back on track.  If I were the coach, I would go fucking ballistic on these guys.  (If I have kids, then I should probably never coach youth sports....ever.)

The only positive I can take from this game is that the line of  Dustin Penner, Jarret Stoll, and Justin Williams played pretty well.  I distinctly remember one play where it looked like the Red Wings were going to have an odd-man rush, but Dustin Penner back-checked and successfully foiled a scoring opportunity.  Well done, Penner.  (But, where the fuck was that during the 2010 Playoffs???)

As in past seasons, I hope this game against the Red Wings is just one of those freak games where nothing goes right.  But I'm concerned it's a step towards the Western Conference basement.  My expectations for this team were so high when the season started.  Right now, I'm just hoping the Kings can clinch a playoff spot in April.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

12/15/11 - Los Angeles Kings @ Columbus Blue Jackets - We Got This in the Bag!....maybe??

When the Los Angeles Kings were a really terrible team during those years after the lockout, I used to get really angry whenever fans of other NHL teams made comments about how happy they were that his or her favorite team was going to play the Kings because that meant an easy win or the fans would be pissed if the Kings won because they always thought "dammit 'we' are supposed to beat the Kings!". So I understand how frustrating it is to be a fan of a team that is in the NHL basement and how annoying and old it gets when other fans beat up on your team. But with that said,

oh my gravy, I am going to be so effing pissed off if the Kings don't win tonight's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets!!

I mean seriously, look at the team stats for the Columbus Blue Jackets at this point in the season:

That's atrocious!!  How is Scott Arniel still this team's coach? It's going to be so embarrassing if the Kings lose tonight's game and the losing streak hits SIX!

The players better get their shit together and realize they just got a perfectly fine coach fired and they're all severely under-performing.

"We" better win tonight's game.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

LA Kings Losing Streak Hits FIVE!

Holy moly, I don't even know what to say anymore! I don't think Terry Murray should have been fired.  I just don't.  And now I'm nervous about who the Los Angeles Kings will hire as their new head coach.  Really nervous.

I only watched the last 5 minutes or so of the game against the Boston Bruins.  I got to see the Kings struggle mightily on the power play.  It's brutal watching the power play without Mike Richards.  In fact, I'm really nervous about how this team will continue to look without him.  The last game he played in was against Florida and the Kings have not won a game in his absence!  IS ANYONE ELSE FREAKING OUT!?!?

Simon misses his Mikey

The Kings had some decent scoring opportunities near the end of the game against the Bruins, but just could not get the puck in the net!  Story of the season.  You could just feel the frustration of the players; I kept waiting for a Kings player to angrily pick up the puck and throw it in the net.  How many more losses till this actually happens?

This losing streak will end.  Keep the hope alive, Kings fans!  The season isn't over.  Go Kings Go!!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Brad Richardson Has Huge Balls and Guess Who's in the Finale of 'The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs'

Normally I'm not too confident in Brad Richardson's scoring chances on breakaways. He's a decent enough player, incredibly hard working, but he doesn't have the best stats on breakaways. In Saturday's game against the Dallas Stars, Brad Richardson found himself with puck on stick, streaking up the ice on a 2-on-0 with leading LA Kings scorer, Anze Kopitar. You're Brad Richardson: What do you do? Make a perfect pass to Kopitar. You're rookie netminder Richard Bachman: What are you thinking? Richardson is going to pass it to Kopitar.

What does Richardson do? He fucking takes charge of the situation and, after having been benched for several games, shows off how huge his balls are, makes a pretty deke and gets the puck into the net. BALLLLERRRR!!!! Did anyone else watching at home jump into the air and celebrate like the Kings won the game upon watching Richardson act like a total bad ass?

Too bad that was the only thing LA Kings fans had to celebrate on Saturday......yikes, things are not looking good.  There's been a lot of chatter about whether Coach Terry Murray will get fired...and it could happen soon...I don't know what to think.  Do either  Dean Lombardi or Tim Leiweke really have the balls to fire someone so close to the holidays?  That's cold.  Ice Cold.

So......who watched the December 11th episode of 'The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs'??????? All day leading up to the episode, Alton Brown was tweeting about how intense the show was going to be that night. In fact, I think Alton talked it up too much! My expectations were sky high. Check out some of his tweets from Sunday:

I enjoyed the episode, I was just expecting it to be far more intense than last week's episode, which I thought was ridiculously exciting.  For this challenge, the contestants were in The Hamptons and had to buy ingredients on a budget (I think $300) to cook a trio for the judges and 20 "guests".  All of the chefs lamented HOW DIFFICULT it is to be on a budget IN THE HAMPTONS.  (oh the HORROR!!)  These chefs are professionals and the best for a reason, so they made it work.

I think it's cruel to make contestants on any cooking show cook outdoors, especially for 'The Next Iron Chef' because, "Hello!!!" they're going to be cooking in Kitchen Stadium!!!  Anyway, it seriously didn't look like any of the contestants were going to finish and Chef Alex looked so worn out and stressed (and I think she said 'homicide' or 'homicidal' at least twice this episode).

It was really entertaining watching the episode and hear the contestants talk shit about each other and then see them respond to each other on Twitter.  If you get the East Coast feed, then I highly recommend following all the contestants and Alton Brown on Twitter and then read their reactions to the episode while watching the show.

Anyway, so one chef was immediately booted from the show and one chef was immediately selected for the Finals after the judges tasted the dishes.  Unfortunately, Chef Alex had the least tasty dish so she was let go.
And finally, Chef Zakarian had the best dish!  The judges had glowing praise for his dish.

Chef Faulkner and Chef Chiarello had to battle it out for a spot in the Finals.  The secret ingredients were crackers and wine.  There were three types of crackers and they only had to be used a serving vessel, but it was still bizarre.  Chef Chiarello had the better plating, but his molecular cooking technique backfired for one appetizer as the judges didn't care for its taste.  Chef Faulkner took a risky move by making an Indian flavored meatball, but it was voted the best tasting dish.  Even though her plating was boring, Judge Iron Chef Symon noted that you win Iron Chef on taste, not plating.  In the end, Chef Faulkner prevailed so she'll face Chef Zakarian in the Finals.  I'm curious to see what the secret ingredient will be!  I'm still on Team Zakarian so I hope he wins!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Brendan Shanahan Iron Fist > The Colin Campbell Wheel of Justice

All the articles I read about Andy Sutton's hit on Alexei Ponikarovsky made it seem like Sutton almost decapitated Ponikarovsky. Especially after hearing that the NHL had suspended Sutton indefinitely, offered him an in-person hearing, and then suspended him for 8 games, I was expecting it to be one seriously vicious hit. So I was a wee bit disappointed when I finally did watch the video. I mean, yeah, it wasn't a clean hit. Was it suspension worthy? Sure, maybe a game. Was it really worthy of an indefinite suspension and eventually 8 games? I don't think so. But I guess you also have to take into consideration that Sutton is a repeat offender and was recently suspended for multiple games on one violation. Have a gander....what do you think?

Watching this hit reminded me a whole lot of a hit on Ryan Smyth by Jason Demers that occurred during the 2010 playoffs. Remember this hit, LA Kings fans?

And guess what?? No fucking suspension was handed out! (I can't remember if there was even a penalty called, but I wouldn't surprised if play had resumed like nothing happened.) I remember being absolutely ENRAGED when Demers hit Smyth and I got even angrier every time I watched the replays of this hit. In fact, after watching this hit and the Sutton hit, I think this hit on Smyth is even worse. I bet this hit would have garnered a suspension if Brendan Shanahan was the disciplinarian back then. Oh how times have changed....

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The LA Kings are Such a Disappointment Right Now and so is 'The Walking Dead'

I seriously can't figure out why the LA Kings are having such a difficult time scoring goals.  It is so frustrating watching them game after game struggle to clearly enter the offensive zone, get quality scoring chances, and actually score goals.  They've been able to get a lot of shots on goal the past couple games, but quantity does not matter if they're not high quality chances.  Oh, and The Ethan Moreau Experiment is finally over.  Finally.  

(Harry How/Getty Images)
See ya, Moreau!
Good luck in the future!

I can think of two other players off the top of my head who need to get bounced waived as well.  Congrats to Andrei Loktionov and Slava Voynov for playing well enough to stay with the team and get a veteran player waived.  Did anyone else notice how well Loktionov absolutely dominated the play for several shifts in the third period against the Wild?  I'm looking forward to seeing more of that!  Oh, and some goals and wins too......

The LA Kings are just so disappointing right now.  But don't fret guys, because there are plenty of other things that are equally, if not more, disappointing.  Case in point: Season 2 of The Walking Dead.

I didn't start watching The Walking Dead until this year when I noticed people on Twitter talking about the Season 2 Premiere.  The general consensus seemed positive and since Breaking Bad was just about to wrap up, I wanted to have another show on Sunday night to watch.  My husband was a little surprised when I mentioned that I wanted to Netflix the first season of The Walking Dead.  He said something about the writers all getting canned either after the first season or right after the second season started, but I didn't care.  I just wanted to know what everyone on the Twitters was talking about!

Note: Spoiler Alert!  I'll be discussing both Seasons 1 and 2 of The Walking Dead.  

Season 1 of The Walking Dead was pretty good.  It was only 6 episodes so the writers had to reel in the audience with action, suspense, and a somewhat believable plotline.  There was one part that seemed unbelievable (I mean seriously, who would cut off his own hand instead of breaking off the handcuffs??? c'mon!!! and I wasn't buying the half-assed explanation they gave for this occurring) and the audience just had to assume that this character died since he has yet to appear (in real life).  I also think it's kinda ridiculous that the zombies are referred to as 'walkers' when in actuality they can pretty much run when they smell fresh blood.  And how is that in one second an area will be free and clear of the zombies and the next thing you know there's a whole mess of them surrounding the living?

Anyway, minor issues aside, I enjoyed the first season.  I like the actor who plays Rick and knew I had seen him from something.  Recently I finally came across a blog that mentioned he is the guy in Love Actually who was secretly in love with Keira Knightley's character.  Awwwwww, that's why I liked him immediately! And oh my god, his real last name is Clutterbuck!!! Hahahahah!!!  Any hockey fan should appreciate that!

I don't recall ever seeing the actor who plays Shane.  And every episode I struggle to determine if I think he's hot or not.  Ladies, help me out here.  What do you think of him?  

My issues with Season 2 include the following:
  • Not much action - my husband mentioned that the show was given the exact or similar budget for Season 2 as they had for Season 1, but they have twice as many episodes to produce this season.  Therefore, there is a lot of filler content and not as much action, which equates to many episodes that are super, ridiculously boring.
  • No character development - we have hardly learned anything about this group of people over 6 episodes (the first half of Season 2).  There's some weird father/daughter type of issue going on between the old man and Andrea.  The black man is apparently still alive, but do we know anything about him?  They should have just killed him off and the writers had the perfect opportunity to do it!  We don't know anything more about the battered wife other than she was sad that her daughter was missing for 99% of the second season.  Rick's wife is just too skinny and needs to start eating.  Rick's son needs to start acting more like a kid and stop acting like he's 25 years old.  We probably learned the most about the white trash guy (Daryl) during his adventures searching for Sophia.  Scratch that.  We probably learned the most about the veterinarian old man whose land they're staying on.  And why are we learning about him since the group shouldn't be staying on his land for the remainder of the series?  
  • Missing Girl - oh. my. goodness.  They spent almost the entire first half of the season searching for Sophia who went missing in the woods.  This story line should have been wrapped up in two episodes max.  
  • Advancing the story - Wasn't this group headed towards an Army base?  Didn't the assistant coach from the movie Miracle whisper something (presumably very important) to Rick before he went down in a huge ball of flames at the CDC at the end of Season 1?  I'm so glad Rick's kid got shot in the stomach AND DIDN'T DIE, which gave the writers an excuse to stall the story for 5 episodes!!  
  • Inconsistencies - I could have sworn in the first season, they explained that the only way the walkers can't identify you is when you have their blood or a dead person's blood on you (because this way the walkers think you're already dead).  But in this season, apparently as long as they can't see you, then you're safe!  I didn't buy for a second that by hiding underneath a car that walkers wouldn't be able to notice them as they walked inches from their faces!!  That was total B.S.  Also, what about the fact that walkers are attracted to noise.  They're talking up a storm and shooting guns at gun practice and not a single walker approached them.  And how is it that not a single walker approached that house they're staying at??  
So now that we know Sophia is dead (or was a zombie) I hope that early in the second half of this season either the group leaves for the Army Base or kills the man who owns the land so they can stay there without conforming to his idiotic rules.  Also, Shane is clearly crazy so he needs to go.  I think the group should split up.  Despite my disappointment with this season, of course I'm going to keep watching.  I have to know how this season will end! They better make it to the Army Base.  They better reveal what the CDC scientist/doctor said to Rick.  Rick's wife better stop being such a huge c**t.  They need to develop the Asian dude's story because I like him!  T-Dog, jeeeeesus did the writers really name the only black guy, T-Dog??, well, he needs to go because he's just dead weight.  And for the love of zombies everywhere, there needs to be more action!!  More zombie attacks!!!  I'm not giving up on the this show just yet. But if the show continues to be boring and filled with inconsistencies and the story doesn't advance, then I will call it quits after this season, that is if the show doesn't get canceled after this outing.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The NHL Realigns the Conferences and Everyone's Head Explodes!!

There has been so much chatter about different realignment plans the past month or so, but I guess I thought they were just rumors or suggestions to stir the pot for angry hockey fans. I had no idea the NHL was that serious about drastically realigning the conferences and divisions, so I was shocked when the NHL actually approved a realignment plan that also includes a new playoff format. I understand the logic in developing conferences or divisions based on geography, but I'm not too fond of the new playoff format. Also, I am not happy that the Kings will play the San Jose Sharks and the Anaheim Ducks 6 times each! I know there's a rivalry among the California teams, but honestly, I HATE watching games against the Sharks, Ducks, and Coyotes. Hate them! When I decide which home games I want to attend, I immediately cross off all games against the aforementioned teams. Kings fans see so much of those teams season after season and having more games against them is not what I want. I remember several years back when the Kings played their division rivals 6 times per season and I thought it was terrible. I was so sick of seeing those teams over and over again. I am glad we get to see Eastern teams twice per regular season (including once at home!), so yay for that.

This past week I've been trying to format my thoughts into a concise sentence or two, but have failed miserably (see above in case you skipped my rant), so I'm glad I came across Pension Plan Puppets' brief initial thoughts on the realignment because this sentence is exactly how I feel:

It's not the end of the world, but I think a reorganization to accommodate Winnipeg didn't have to be such a complete overhaul.

Totally agree! I thought one or two teams would switch divisions or even conferences, but 4 new conferences with a drastically different playoff format? Not what I was expecting and I'm surprised to hear it passed fairly easily. People have been saying that this new format could be easily adjusted if, or rather when, the Coyotes relocate (probably east). But still, I don't like it! (Is my whiny voice getting through???) Since the realignment news was announced on Monday a lot of hockey bloggers and analysts have written about this subject, so here's a roundup of some of the best ones I read this week:

New Playoffs System Lacks Fairness by Tom Awad (at ESPN)
"The past few seasons, 91 points would have been enough to make the playoffs, on average, in a seven-team conference, but 94 points would have been required to make the cut in an eight-team conference."

NHL Realignment = Inferior Product by Empty Netters
"If we could put percentages to what we like and don't like about this plan, it's 75 percent bad and 25 percent good."

TRH Gameday 28 - Minnesota Wild: Realigning & It Feels So Good by The Royal Half
"The Kings are in a tough conference where you have to assume that the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks will make the playoffs each season. That leaves space for 2 spots from 6 teams."

What realignment tells us about the league’s opinion of the West by Harrison Mooney (at Puck Daddy)
"Not since I last played Oregon Trail have I heard so much about the horrors of going West. Heck, the settlers were better sports about it, and they were in covered wagons, dying of consumption."
(I LOVE any reference about Oregon Trail! I always looked forward to computer sessions in elementary school because playing Oregon Trail was SO MUCH FUN even on those super shitty computers that we once thought were amazing!)

A Spoonful of Sugar by Katebits (at The Willful Caboose)
"Two rounds of playoffs within the division is TOO MUCH."
(I wholeheartedly agree!!!!!)

So, fellow Kings fans (or hockey fans), what you do you think of the realignment plan? Love it? Like it? Nothing it? Dislike it? Hate it?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The LA Kings Can't Score So Let's Talk About 'The Amazing Race'

The LA Kings/Anaheim Ducks game on Tuesday was brutal to watch.  Here are the reasons why I was so tempted to change the channel on my beloved Kings:

  1. For some reason the Anaheim Ducks start their home games at 7pm.  There's just something wrong with starting a game played on the West Coast at 7pm, especially in a county with notorious rush-hour traffic conditions. If you couldn't tell by now, I forgot the game started 30 minutes earlier than it should so I missed some of the first period, which made me an aaaaannnnnnngrrrrrryyy panda.
  2. What is up with the attendance in Anaheim?  Sheesh, talk about fairweather fans.  Nothing's worse than watching a game on TV with hardly a peep from the crowd.  Oh wait, I bet being at the game was even worse.
  3. The Kings played the Ducks and I hate everything about them.  Everything.  No wait, I actually like Bruce Boudreau, but he was doing his best Terry Murray impression so he wasn't very entertaining to watch.
  4. Mike Richards has been out for two games, but it seems like an eternity.  We need that guy back, stat!
  5. Why is it so damn difficult for the Kings to score???????????????????????????????????  Lately it has been so aggravating watching them on offense.  If the Kings continue only scoring 1 goal each game, then I may need to take a break from watching their games because I'm probably going to give myself an ulcer with the stress I endure yelling at the TV.
  6. The Ducks got so freaking lucky with a couple goals, especially the game winner.  That fluky goal was gut wrenching to watch.  A day has passed and I'm still pissed about the game and that goal.
And on Thursday the Kings get to play the Minnesota Wild, who lead the NHL in points.  Fantastic.

So let's talk about The Amazing Race. Is anyone else super excited for the finale this Sunday?  

Note: Spoiler Alert ahead! 

I didn't think the bland couple (you know, the guy who sorta looks like Timothy Olyphantastic and his gal with the fake boobs) would make it this far.  I didn't even bother to learn their names because I thought they would mess up way early in the race.  But thanks to them, my two favorite teams made it to the final 3!  I'm always partial to white/asian couples so I really like Ernie and Cindy, even though she can be a bit controlling, spastic, and stressful (hmmm, I think I just described myself).  I also like Marcus and Amani because they seem like good people and they've fought their way to the finals.  However, I do think it's a bit annoying when Marcus tries to make a football metaphor out of ANY situation.  Yeah, dude, I get it.  You played the NFL.  But I do like how his wife always has this "there he goes again/I'm tuning him out" look on her face whenever he does start comparing a task to football.

So the best part about last week's The Amazing Race episode was finally seeing Andy and Tommy fail!  They were kinda getting on my nerves the past several episodes because of their groovy, mellow mood about everything.  I also couldn't believe how lucky they got during the whole race when they won several legs by default because another team or two screwed up and had to redo something.  I was amazed at their ability to complete tasks with ease and it looked like nothing was going to stop them.  Maybe I was just glad to see they weren't perfect.  In fact, they messed up twice with the last mistake costing them the race.

I was absolutely stunned at how the other three teams managed to find the last pit stop.  In past seasons we've seen contestants ask for help at hotels, search for better flights on-line, ask passerbys for assistance, heck, even Boston Rob and Amber found a fan in Africa (I think) who practically spent the entire day with them showing them how to get from point A to point B.  Usually, the biggest obstacle for contestants are the taxi drivers who sometimes claim to know where they are going, but in fact have no freaking clue where a destination is located.  So in last week's episode, I thought it was so bizarre how the final 3 teams were all trying to determine the location of the pit stop at the same time and their taxi drivers were all communicating with each other.  The bland couple showed their taxi driver a sketch of the monument for the final pit stop and he knew exactly where to go.  The other two teams thought it was a different location, but their drivers ended up all talking to each other on cell phones and the first taxi driver convinced them where to go.  Cindy even said at one point that she had no idea where their driver was going, but that he seemed to know where to go.  They totally lucked out as the drivers got them to the correct location. 

In this episode the taxi drivers in Panama ended up being heroes for some teams.  But as we've seen in the past, sometimes the most difficult taxi trips have been those in the United States, where some drivers don't exactly speak the best English or understand what you're saying.  I'm really looking forward to the finale and I hope it's exciting.  Sometimes the final challenges are ridiculously difficult and other times they seem really easy, so I'm not quite sure what to expect. I suppose I'll be happy with any of the three teams winning this race because the bland couple finally proved (to me at least) they deserve to be racing for the prize.  

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Penner Finally Scores a Goal and Guess Who Got Booted Off the Next Iron Chef

I wasn't really looking forward to watching the Kings/Canadians game because Mike Richards and Willie Mitchell were going to be out of the lineup with injuries. I tortured myself by watching the game on tape delay. Or perhaps it was a brilliant idea since the game kinda sucked. Here's a quick run down so we can move onto more important weekend news. The Kings looked messy; things just didn't flow very well at all for most of the game. Somehow the lone King to score was Dustin Penner. Justin Williams looked so shocked (and thrilled) that Penner scored and hopefully this means that damn monkey is off Penner's back so he can finally start scoring some goals. Bernier looked pretty good in the second half of the game, but you kinda have to help out your goalie by shooting the puck and getting it in the net in order to win games. I know, it's simple stuff. But despite a brief surge of intensity in the second period, the Kings looked lackluster in the third and could never overcome that afternoon lull that always seems to hit you around 2pm during the workday. Those damn afternoon games really get in the way of good Kings hockey.

I can't really bring myself to point out three positives from the game because there really weren't any. However, I did notice these three big negatives:
  1. Davis Drewiske is not Willie Mitchell. (I know you're thinking, "Well, duh, idiot!!") I would elaborate on this statement, but I fear that I would go into a paragraph long criticism of Drewiske and I don't want to do that;
  2. The Kings power play looked terrible;
  3. Towards the end of the game the Kings pulled Bernier and tried to tie the game. Jarrett Stoll was slashed (I think by PK Subban) and it was pretty obvious because his stick was snapped in half by the slash. Sure, I was pissed that the refs missed the call, but not that pissed because, as I stated above, the Kings power play was pitiful and they had every opportunity during the game to take the lead. But I was embarrassed when Jarrett Stoll threw his hands up in the air, STOPPED playing, and looked around to yell at the refs for not making the call. When did Stoll become a professional soccer player? You don't stop playing just because you think there should have been a penalty. You play till the whistle is blown!!!!

Anyway, did you catch the recent episode of The Next Iron Chef? I'm total a Food Network whore and my husband used to make fun of me for watching all those cooking shows, but now he's really into some of them, especially The Next Iron Chef. I wasn't too into it because it's the All-Star edition so they have all these high profile chefs, some that are judges on other Food Network shows, and I wasn't convinced that these all-star contestants were really serious about being the Next Iron Chef. But boy was I wrong. This episode was fantastic!

First of all, some background on my opinions of these chefs. I NEVER liked Alex Guarnaschelli until I saw her competing on this show. As a judge on Chopped she also looks pissed-off, sounds cold as ice, and seems so unfriendly. But as a chef competing to be crowned one of the best, her frantic, spastic, "homicidal" personality is showing through and I've really started to like her. Similarly, I never cared much for Geoffrey Zakarian until I saw him compete on Chopped All-Stars. He is also a judge on Chopped and always comes off as a super sophisticated foodie know-it-all. But as a contestant you come to appreciate why he's such a tough critic because he's The Master. He's a perfectionist in the kitchen from how he gathers his ingredients in one fell swoop to how he maintains an unbelievable level of cleanliness at his work station to his library of cooking techniques. At times his fellow contestants even get star struck by the way he cooks.  And to top it all off, he's the most arrogant son of a bitch you'll ever meet (or see on TV) and that's what I love the most about him. He's never wrong. Ever.

(Food Network)
I'm rooting for this arrogant chef.

Spoiler Alert: I'm going to discuss the most recent episode in some detail and reveal who was kicked off.

In the most recent episode, the remaining 5 contestants had to participate in an auction.  The contestants were able to bid how much time it would take them to cook a dish using a certain ingredient and the lowest bidder won.  Anne Burrell looked like a genius by betting on sardines (or maybe they were anchovies...) and saying she could cook them in 50 minutes (or maybe it was 60 minutes, whatever) and no one else wanted to bid.  Chef Alex looked like she was fucked when she didn't win any of the previous 4 auctions and was left with a whole leg of lamb and had to cook it in 20 minutes.  

If there was any doubt whether these contestants really wanted to be the Next Iron Chef, this episode proved these chefs want it more than anything else.  Four contestants had to stand on the sidelines while Chef Anne was able to start cooking before them, get first pick at the ingredients, use whatever cooking appliance she wanted, and get a ton of prep work done before anyone else even started.  Chef Zakarian kept saying how "painful" it was to just stand there and watch Chef Anne cook and it got to the point where he stood face forward against a wall waiting until it was time for him to start cooking.  After the contestants miraculously finished their dishes within their allotted times, it was revealed that since Chef Anne won the previous challenge, she would judge her fellow contestants and pick one person to be in the bottom two.  OH SNAP!  After all the contestants were judged by the regular 3-person panel Alton Brown announced which chefs were the bottom two: Chef Anne chose Chef Zakarian for the bottom two and the 3-person panel chose  Chef Anne for the bottom two!!!! WHAT?!?!  The best part was when Alton Brown announced that Chef Anne had chosen Chef Zakarian, they were standing next to each other and Chef Anne looked so incredibly uncomfortable as she was fidgeting with her hands.  It was so awkward!!! and awesome!!

The two chefs went to battle using a secret ingredient and Master Zakarian prevailed.  Karma can really be a bitch.  This season is by far the best 'The Next Iron Chef' season ever!  Well done, Food Network.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Kings 5, Wild 2: Scoring by Committee is Possible!

Hey, Minnesota, thanks for bringing your crappy weather to LA.  I had to put on a jacket today and that does not make me happy.

I was a little concerned today about which Kings team would show up tonight.  After awhile I finally decided that I would be happy with any outcome as long as the Kings didn't take more than 2 penalties.  Lately their lapse in discipline has been killing them since the Kings penalty kill is nowhere near as good as it was last year at this point in the season.  Last season I sorta didn't mind too much that the Kings couldn't score on the power play because at least they weren't allowing many goals against during the penalty kill.  The opposite is true this season.; the power play is finally clicking, but the penalty kill is not very awesome, which sucks since they've been taking so many damn penalties!

(Getty Images/Jeff Gross)
Best NHL Movember moustache? Indeed.

Here are three highs and three lows that I took away from the game.    Let's start with the negatives since I like ending on a positive note.

The Not-So-Low Lows:
  1. The Kings did take more than 2 penalties, but at least they didn't run into penalty trouble until after they had established a wide lead.  Furthermore, I fully support penalties when you're standing up for your teammates for a dirty play.  On the replay of the Brad Staubitz checking Anze Kopitar, you could see that Staubitz swung his arm around after the check to try and hit Kopi in the face.  Uncool, dude.  So fucking uncool.  I was very happy to see Simon Gagne hurl himself onto Staubitz to stand up for Anze.  That was pretty sweet (and I mean sweet both as in awesome and adorable).
  2. The Kings almost went scoreless through 3 consecutive power plays totaling 9 minutes.  But, with less than a minute remaining on the 5 minute major power play, Martinez fought off a Wild player to somehow get #stickonpuck to get the Kings a much needed power play goal.  This goal put the Kings up 2-0 and I wonder how different the game would have played out if the Wild had killed off that 5 minute major penalty.
  3. The Kings kinda got lackadaisical in the third period.  The Kings need to channel the 2009 New Orleans Saints and learn to "Finish Strong".
It's always a relief anytime both Dany Heatley and Devon Setoguchi are invisible.  Let's be honest: the Wild looked like shit.  I don't believe for a second they are as bad of a team as they looked tonight.  I'm just glad the Kings were on top of their game.  There were many strong points in this game; here are three highs that stuck out to me:
  1. Kings finally got "scoring by committee".  I mean c'mon, Colin Fraser scored!  Matt Greene scored! Anytime a 4th liner scores or a defenseman not named Drew Doughty or Jack Johnson scores will be a good game.  It got to the point that the crowd at Staples Center sounded like they expected any decent shot by any Kings player to go in. 
  2. Minnesota didn't get a power play until 19:20 of the second period.  This was the Simon Gagne penalty that I described above and I think it's fine that he took the penalty even though the Wild eventually scored on that power play in the 3rd period.  The next Wild power play wasn't until 4:22 of the third period.  The Kings were disciplined, but still played aggressively and with lots of energy and intensity, especially early in the game.  I'm sure Jonathan Quick was relieved he didn't have to stand on his head through half the first period.
  3. Not only did the Kings get scoring from unlikely sources, but they scored early!  None of this "cram amazing hockey into the last 15 minutes of the game" crap.  They started strong, built up a nice lead, and then held on to finish off the Wild.  
Feel free to add your highs and lows in the comments. Overall, a solid game by the Kings.  Well done boys!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kings 2, Canucks 3: I don't even know what that was

DOH!  Kitty says you fail.

That game sucked. The Kings had 6 power plays so they had plenty of opportunities to get back in the game well before they needed to pull the goaltender. Sorry guys, you can't squeeze 40+ minutes of hockey into less than 2 minutes of hockey.  Let's just forget this game happened and move on.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Chill the F**K out Kings Fans

Seriously....chill out Kings fans.

So the LA Kings are on a losing streak. BFD. It happens. It doesn't mean the coach needs to get axed. It means the players need to get their shit together. This is not a poorly coached team. I haven't watched these games and thought for a second that the guys don't care anymore or that they're not listening to the coach or that a different coach would make a world of difference.

There have been a couple games where the Kings looked slow and out of sorts. But that shit happens. I remember playing games where for some reason it felt like my legs were made of concrete or games where nothing any of us said (coach included and he could yell at us till the sun went down) could get us out of the shitty funk we were in or games where yeah, there was a lucky or bounce or two. So yes, the Kings have had a bad game or two where the bounces didn't go their way and another couple games where they just purely looked like dog poop during this losing streak. It's understandable.  That shit happens.  Losing streaks happen.

You know what's been a problem? Taking stupid penalties. The Kings could have (should have) won the game against Pittsburgh, but they pretty much only could be competitive for two periods because they were killing penalties for almost half of the other period. And when they had the momentum and looked like they were going to finish off the Penguins, what happened? A Kings player committed another unnecessary penalty. And in the following game the Kings were very competitive in the first period against the San Jose Sharks but that momentum screeched to a halt during a rash of penalties in the second period and then shit hit the fan after that.

I was pissed after the game against the Penguins because of how terrible half the forwards played and because I felt like the Kings should have won that game. But after the game against San Jose, all I could feel was sadness. Because this team is so much better than the outcomes they're getting. I firmly believe it's just a matter of time (a couple more games at most hopefully) before things turn around. People need to stop freaking out and placing blame where it doesn't belong.

This season is only 13 games old. There's plenty of hockey left. Better to have a losing streak early in the season than later. Check out the Western Conference standings and ask yourself if you thought for a second that it would like this:

Vancouver, Detroit, Calgary, and Anaheim are all behind the Kings. Anaheim, who has Getzlaf, Perry, and Selanne, have scored 3 fewer goals than the Kings. Dallas is leading the West? GTFO. They won't be there come April. Edmonton leading the Northwest? No effing way that's gonna hold. Phoenix in the top 8? Puh-lease, bitches. You know who should fire their coach? Columbus. Because a 2-11-1 record is atrocious. A 6-5-3 record? It's middle of the road. It's fine for now while the players figure their shit out. Most of them are adults, most of them have been in the playoffs, and most of them have tasted bitter defeat and disappointment. I would be shocked if any of them would place the blame of this current losing streak on Terry Murray.  I fully expect Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, or Justin Williams to hold a players only meeting within the next week, if they haven't done so already, and sort shit out.  There are a lot of talented goal scorers on this Kings team and I think eventually things will get better. Murray has been tweaking the lines when things haven't worked out.  The priority is getting Penner on the scoresheet and he's rightly moving him around trying to find with whom he works best while giving him the best opportunity to be an offensive threat.

I don't think a coaching change at this point of the season is necessary.  When January rolls around and if the Kings are a sub-500 team....then it would be appropriate to expect Lombardi to make changes, either a coaching change or player trade.  But for now, simmer down folks.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Can the Kings Build Off the Momentum from Saturday's Game?

The LA Kings played one of their best games of the season on Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins despite losing in the shootout.  Even though it wasn't the most offensively explosive game or the most disciplined game, since the Kings played against arguably one of the best teams in the league (even though the Pens are without the best player in the NHL), I'm going to chalk this up to the best showing of the season so far.

First let's talk about the negatives so I can end on a positive note.  The craziest thing about how great the game was is that it looked like only two Kings forward lines showed up to play on Saturday.  I promised myself before the season started that I wouldn't be too critical of individual players, but I have to break that promise for this post because I was down right appalled at the play of the bottom two lines, especially the third line.   For the past several weeks I've tried to look at all the positives of a certain Kings player and point out every good thing he has done in hopes that they were baby steps towards getting the monkey off his back.  But holy hell, he looked like shit on Saturday.  He looked slow.  He was making passes behind players.  And did anyone else think he just looked lost?  #17 looked even worse, but he's not being handed a boatload of criticism because no one expects him to be a 30-goal scorer. I still don't know why the Kings signed him over the off-season.  He took two completely unnecessary penalties and got fined for one of them; I was actually hoping he would have an appointment with Principal Shanahan so Terry Murray would be forced to bench him for a couple games.  This line was on the ice for Pittsburgh's tying goal in the third period and was completely outplayed during that shift.

I was a little surprised that Trevor Lewis was benched in favor of Kevin Westgarth.  Maybe Murray didn't get the memo that Matt Cooke has been a saint this season, but someone must have told him early in the game as is evident by Westgarth's ice time.  I suppose I can't be that mad at the 4th line when none of the guys played more than 10 minutes, but I can be upset that Clifford and Richardson didn't play well enough when they were on the ice to garner more shifts.

I think my anger is all out so I can move onto the positives of this game.

The Kings power play did an amazing job in the first period and they came so close to killing off all the penalties.  Someone on Twitter said the Penguins power play didn't score a goal so much as the odds finally kicked in.  (I can't remember who tweeted it...) The Kings easily could have been down 3 goals in the first period and were lucky to only be down by 1.

Mike Richards once again looked like a badass....if only he can score on a penalty shot!  The Brown-Richards-Parse line looked really good again.  But no line compared to the Gagne-Kopitar-Williams line.  That line looked phenomenal! Just check out the passing among these guys:

It looked like Murray was only using the top two lines in Saturday's game, occasionally throwing in the third line, and I was amazed at how much energy the Kings forwards had. However, the Kings have back to back games this week, first up San Jose, then Nashville, so there is no way the Kings will be able to heavily rely on only two lines and have a chance at winning both games.  I think Bernier should get another look in one of these games and, based on the lines from Sunday's practice, Penner might get another chance on the second line.

The game against the Penguins was low scoring, but it was the most exciting game the Kings have played since the home opener when they ripped the Blues a new one.  There were many moments during the third period and overtime that I could barely breathe because either the Kings or Penguins were so close to scoring.  That's the type of hockey I like to watch and even though the Kings lost, and despite the negatives I mentioned above, the top guys played really well and it blows my mind to think what this team is capable of accomplishing.  Hopefully the Kings can keep it up and get all four lines rolling.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Kings Gameday: I Can Haz Win?

When the NHL Schedule was released and I saw the Pittsburgh Penguins would be coming to LA, I made a mental note to keep tonight open in case Sidney Crosby would be concussion-free and playing in LA.  Crosby has played at Staples Center at least once, maybe twice or thrice, but for some reason I never went to those games.  I really, really want to see him play in person and I was really, really hoping he would be healthy by early November.  Sure, seeing Malkin play in person is also worth the price of admission, but to me it's just not quite the same as seeing Crosby play in person.  Go ahead and hate all you want (that's what the comments are for), but I think Crosby is a phenomenal hockey player and I would be upset with myself if I passed up every opportunity to watch him play against my Kings at Staples Center.  I'm sad he's not playing tonight and because he's still out of the lineup, I will not be going to tonight's game.  But I will be watching at home, which means I'll be able to rewind and watch all of Quick's great saves and replay every freaking time the LA Kings go off-sides.

Did anyone else notice how many times the Kings were offsides in Thursday's game against the Oilers?  And they weren't even close, they were so offsides you could see it happening as soon as they crossed the red line.  Once again the Kings were just off.  They looked lazy.   Their play was lackadaisical.  The only block of time they looked like they had some fight in them was the first half of the third period. But once Moreau took that stupid penalty, the Oilers took back the momentum and there was no hope left for the Kings. 

Dustin Penner has been receiving so much criticism in the past week.  Here are a just a few tweets I came across:

Twitter is a cruel world
Everyone is jumping on the 'Criticize Dustin Penner' bandwagon, but he's been playing better and better with each game.  And the Kings aren't losing because Penner is playing poorly or not up to everyone's expectations, they're losing because lately all the other forwards can't seem to get it together.

Tonight will be a tough game for the Kings because the Penguins have been playing very well this season even without Crosby. Remember last season when the Kings lost to the Penguins even though they didn't have Crosby AND Malkin?  Yeah, that was a bitch.  

Sometimes the Kings make me so sad.  I guess I need to lower my expectations.  Before I sign off, here are a couple things I was thinking about last night:

1. Dustin Brown is a dork.  He seems like the nicest guy in the world and is probably the most amazing father and husband, but I can't help but think he's a total dork.  A couple years ago my husband and I were driving around town and we saw a father and son riding bikes together.  It looked cute, but the dad had a fanny pack on or something lame and my husband commented that no matter how badass a guy may be, as soon as he becomes a father, he immediately becomes a dork.  Hockey players are no exception.  Case in point, last night Dustin Brown tweeted this:

"I love fruit"????  What?  The only thing I could think of was: He received an edible arrangement.  Even if it wasn't a bouquet of cut fruit, what could possibly be super cool and awesome AND have something to do with fruit?  I'm not sure we'll ever know because he never let his followers know what he received.

2.  Alec Martinez kinda looks like Ralph Macchio.  On Friday's PTI they were talking about Ralph Macchio and showed some photos of him and I couldn't help but think he resembled a certain LA Kings defenseman.  What do you think? Not an exact match, but similar, right?

Alec Martinez, The Karate Kid

Game Prediction:  Kings lose, but they don't embarrass themselves.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Kings Gameday: The Oil are in Town

Fact: I've never liked the Edmonton Oilers.

I'll save my hate-fueled rant about the Oilers for another day.

Apparently the Edmonton Oilers have a couple of young sprightly talented hockey players.  You can follow their lives on Twitter: Taylor Hall & Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.  Both of these kids referred to California as "Cali".  I hate them already.

There's an article about RNH and his start in the NHL and comparisons to his days in Juniors.  It's all very inspiring and heartwarming, but the part that made my eyes bug out was the description of Edmonton having "the best goaltending in the NHL".  Guhhhh-WHAT?! Impossible! (say it in a French accent for a better effect.) Since when does Edmonton have the best goaltending?  I didn't trust the writer so I checked the NHL stats and sure enough our beloved Jonathan Quick has been bested in GAA and SV% by one goaltender: Nikolai Khabibulin.  Is anyone else shocked by this?  He goes from Tent City to top of the NHL in a matter of months.  That is crazy talk.  Also, this doesn't bode well for the scoring-challenged LA Kings.

I'm a bit frustrated, or maybe it's jealousy that's talking, to see Ryan Smyth with 10 points (5G, 5A) in 11 games.  You have got to be kidding me.  The guy had 7 points last season (3G, 4A) in 11 games and based on his play during the rest of the season, I figured his stats would continue to fall in the following season.  It pains me to see him doing this well considering there are some Kings who haven't yet contributed very many points.

LA Kings Insider reported on Wednesday that Simon Gagne will be back in the lineup, which means I can now restart my 'Anze for MVP' campaign. Anze has been most effective this season when Gagne is playing alongside him.  I expect at least 3 points from Anze tonight. Totally doable!

Things to watch for tonight:

  • 5-on-5: will the Kings be able to dominate at even strength?
  • Stupid penalties: Green has been good lately about staying out of the box, but now Parse is having trouble avoiding taking unnecessary penalties.  
  • Turnovers: Recently the Kings have been shooting themselves in the skates by turning over the puck way too many times
  • Penner vs. the Young Guns: Who will garner the most attention and will it be positive or negative?

I hope the Kings get out of their funk tonight.

Go Anze Go!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Not the Greatest Weekend of Kings Hockey

Poor Penner. That guy just can't get a break.

Photo by:David Sheehan
Is it just me or does Penner look like he's aged 10 years in the past 6 months?

Simon Gagne was out for both games this past weekend, so Dustin Penner was moved from the second line to the top line playing with Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams. Scott Parse took Penner's spot alongside Dustin Brown and Mike Richards. So what happened? Mike Richards scored!!! Dustin Brown and Willie Mitchell assisted on the goal.  As soon as it happened all I could think was, "Poor Penner". As soon as he moves off that line Richards scores....coincidence? The Kings looked out of sorts against Phoenix and like the game against the New Jersey Devils, where there was absolutely no chemistry among the team, Coach Murray switched up the lines in the third period. Penner ended up playing either on the "third" or "fourth" line (although can you really associate numbers to the lines when they're so mixed up?) and Trent Hunter moved up to the top line (exception: any line with Kopitar will always be the #1 line). And TA-DA!!!! Kopitar scored a goal and Trent Hunter was credited with an assist. Poor Penner...

Other than the goals there wasn't really all that much to cheer about. Drew Doughty was finally back in the lineup, but he looked really, really, really rusty.  The Kings had a power play late in regulation and Doughty and Jack were on the ice and I couldn't help but think maybe it would have been better to have only Jack on D and replace Doughty with Stoll.  Overtime losses always suck, but I suppose it's slightly better than losing in the shootout.

The following day the Kings traveled to Colorado for one hell of a frustrating game.  The Kings had a wide advantage in shots, yet I was shocked the Kings had that many shots on goal because so few of them seemed threatening.  The Avs got a fluky goal when the puck hit the boards weird and instead of going around the net, where Quick was ready to meet it, it ended up flying back out in front of the net where an Avs player easily tapped it home.  But one fluky goal does not a loss make!  (that makes sense, right?)  The Avs also scored a short-handed goal (totally inexcusable) and capitalized on a neutral zone turnover.  Meanwhile the Kings just couldn't finish five-on-five.  I feel like it's last season all over again.

I'm beginning to get a little worried that Simon Gagne is the key to the success of the top line.  Williams-Kopitar-[anyone but Gagne] is nowhere near as effective as Williams-Kopitar-Gagne, which is scary considering Gagne's injury history. The second line looked much better in the game against Colorado; Scott Parse had a strong game (except for those freaking penalties!) and Dustin Brown was doing everything but score.  Even Penner had a good game!  I felt bad for him again because he drew two penalties, but failed to get an assist on either power play goal.  Awww, poor Penner!

But you know what? Penner didn't play all that bad this weekend. In fact, I thought he played pretty well. It might not be saying much considering how he started the season, but I thought he had his best game against Colorado (I feel like a broken record, but he did!). He looked good on the forecheck, forced some turnovers, created scoring chances, drew a couple penalties that led to power play goals, and threw his body around. It's finally looking like he's playing a complete game. I agree with all the Penner haters that he should have looked like this since Game 1, but at least he's making progress and it looks like his game is finally coming around.  The forwards are having an awfully difficult time scoring at even-strength, so hopefully Penner can get his groove back (from 2007) and Gagne can get healthy so the Kings can ice three solid lines and the guys can finally get some consistency with their linemates.  I was bummed on Sunday when I realized the next game wasn't until Thursday.  But it looks like the team could use those days off for Murray to give them a stern-talking to (I just can't imagine him raising his voice, he reminds me of my dad in that manner) and for the guys to get healthy.  At least the power play is finally clicking; Jamie Kompon must be relieved since apparently assistant coaches can get fired mid-season. The Kings are strong up top and there's no excuse for them to only eek out  two goals a game.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Forgotten Off-Season Trades and Signings

I didn't do much hockey reading this week so I'm not doing a regular "Weekly Hockey Roundup". Instead, I'm going to link to off-season trade and free agent signings that I completely missed during the summer.  For example, I was thoroughly confused recently when I read about the Toronto Maple Leafs' goaltending situation and I kept re-reading the article looking for J.S. Giguere's name. I didn't understand why he wasn't part of the Leafs' goalie mix.  Did he retire?  Nope! He's still active, but no longer with the Leafs! When did I miss that? How did I miss that? I have a really good memory and I was starved for hockey news this summer so I thought I had read about every big name deal that occurred, but somehow some of them just "fell through the cracks" (that's what we told Rushees who didn't get invited back to the next day of Sorority Rush: "oh sorry, sweetie. I'm sure they liked you, but you probably just fell through the cracks." Sorority rush is rough.)

J.S. Giguere signed with the Colorado Avalanche
I think I missed this signing because I was still in shock that the Washington Capitals totally trade raped the Colorado Avalanche by sending Semyon Varlamov to the Avs in exchange for a 1st Round Draft Pick AND a 2nd Round Draft Pick.....WHAT?!!??! How is that even remotely fair? That's like a trade you expect in a Fantasy League. Talk about highway robbery! Oh, and if you haven't read the book Future Greats and Heartbreaks: A Year Undercover in the Secret World of NHL Scouts by Gare Joyce, you must read it because the author sat through an interview with Varlamov and the Columbus Blue Jackets management and it was quite interesting.

Sheldon Souray signed with the Dallas Stars
I vaguely remember reading about this signing, but it's one of those memories you question whether or not is real or if it was something that occurred in a dream. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I was reminded of it when I read a Dallas Stars season preview on the Stars blog 'Penalty Killing'. Souray has a lot to prove after being an overrated and highly overpaid free agent defenseman a couple years ago.....hmmmm, sounds familiar.

Jamie Langenbrunner AND Jason Arnott signed with the St. Louis Blues
I had no clue Langenbrunner or Arnott played for St. Louis until I saw their names in the Blues lineup at the Kings home opener. I think I almost started laughing because why would the Blues want Langenbrunner or Arnott, let alone BOTH? Why would any team want them, especially Langenbrunner? They're both past their prime, but at least Arnott is still super sexy. I guess I figured both guys retired after last season or would sign again for their 12th tour with the New Jersey Devils. Because the LA Kings never bring back a player multiple times during his career.

Devin Setoguchi and Dany Heatley traded to the Minnesota Wild
I actually do remember reading about both of these trades, but I completely erased them from my memory. So I was so confused when I recently read about them scoring for the Wild. It took me a couple minutes to remember that, yes, I do recall them both being traded. In fact, I thought it was hilarious that the Sharks management sorta pulled a Holmgrem on Seto as they signed him to an extension and then DAYS later traded him to Minnesota. That would have pissed me off! But so would living in San Jose.

Kyle Turris, technically still a Phoenix Coyote, IS STILL HOLDING OUT AND IS NOW DEMANDING A TRADE!!! I vaguely remember reading about the Coyotes and Turris not coming to terms on a new contract, but the Doughty contract situation totally overshadowed this story so I completely forgot Turris still hadn't signed a new contract.  I can't imagine being that demanding, holding out, and risking sitting out an entire season.  Who does Turris think he is?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

First Turd of the Season!

It had to happen eventually. There was no way the LA Kings were going to make it through the season without crapping out a huge turd at least once. I guess we can be thankful we don't have to witness it on a consistent basis like we did during the Cloutier Era or that it wasn't a 0-7 shellacking.

But, wow, I cannot believe how badly the LA Kings sucked against the New Jersey Devils! I knew it was going to be a tight game since the Devils are always good at stifling the opposition's offense, but I was not expecting a complete breakdown in the Kings' chemistry among the forwards. I could not believe how off the Kings were and it wasn't just one or two players, it was a good 90% of the team.

That game was probably the worst game I've ever seen Anze Kopitar play and he rarely has bad games. Kopitar had a terrible turnover in the defensive zone that led to a Devils goal. Neutral zone turnovers can be killers so naturally ones in the defensive zone, especially when it's caused by a forward who is just strides from the blue line, were just detrimental and they kept happening all throughout the second half of the game and led to a quick three-goal lead by the Devils.

It was very obvious the team was all out of sorts when Terry Murray mixed up the forward line combinations in the third period. I could just imagine him during the second intermission, staring off into space wondering, 'How many different forward combinations can I create with 12 players?' (I am an engineer, but I'm not going to do the math...also, I still use a calculator when adding two single digit numbers. Better to be safe than sorry!)

I want to end on a positive note because I don't want to be too much of a Negative Nancy considering it was just one turd of a game and there will be plenty more opportunities for the Kings to redeem themselves.

  • I thought Alec Martinez had a great game. He almost looked like Drew out there the way he was taking charge trying to single-handedly establish some offense. 
  • There were moments in the first half of the game during which Dustin Penner played pretty well.  I was SHOCKED!  And I was certain he was going to score.  There was one shift in particular where he took away the puck in the offensive zone, not once, but twice and both times set up scoring opportunities.  He's coming around people!  Just wait for it!
  • Jonathan Bernier was not to blame for this game and despite letting in a goal on the short side (but it was from a prime scoring spot) he looked pretty good.  It always seems like the team plays shittier with Bernier in net.  One of these days he'll steal a game for the Kings and Drew will give him a much deserved kiss

Awwww, just look at him. Even my husband thinks he's adorable! 
Here's hoping the game against New Jersey was just a glitch and not the start of something awful. The next match against Dallas should be a good test. Despite my deep disgust for Mike Ribeiro, I always enjoy watching the Kings play the Dallas Stars because they're usually very competitive and intense.