Thursday, October 6, 2011

2011-2012 LA Kings Season Preview

I can't believe the first game of the Kings season is on a Friday at 10am PST against the New York Rangers in Sweden.  Who in the world put this NHL schedule together??  And why is the NHL still opening the season in Europe?  Couldn't another team have gone instead?  The Kings were in Europe just two years ago holy shit, that was 4 years ago!?  Where did the years go!?

After a little debate I decided to take a "vacation day" on Friday. I realized that watching the first game of the Kings season live was much more important than being at work on a regular Friday when I don't have any deadlines.  I'll be a much happier person for taking the day off.

So what can we expect from the Kings this season?  Hmmmmm, I'm thinking a whole lotta awesome!  The back end is pretty much unchanged from last year.  Barring any injuries or wacky trades I think it'll stay the same throughout the entire season and I think that's a good thing.  Willie Mitchell and Rob Scuderi will continue to be reliable and smart; they're just solid as a rock.  While I'm curious to see how Alec Martinez will progress this season I am most intrigued with how Drew Doughty will emerge this season.  He had such a fantastic sophomore season that it looked like he took a step backwards last season. We've seen what he's capable of and we expect more.

There were so many additions and subtractions up top during the off-season.  I think Oscar Moller's departure was predictable given how little playing time he was given in the playoffs.  I was sad to see Michal Handzus sign with San Jose.  I was little surprised the Kings didn't re-sign him because I definitely could see him playing on the 3rd line again.  But am I more upset that he's not with the Kings or that he's with San Jose?  I don't know.  But I do know I am not going to like seeing him a Sharks jersey.

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
the teal clashes with his skin tone
Of course, my least favorite move of the off-season was seeing Wayne Simmonds traded to the Philadelphia Flyers.  But, on the other hand, getting Mike Richards in return was the best move of the off-season.  It was such a love-hate moment!  I really hope Richards just kills it this season so I can look back on this trade and immediately talk about what a fantastic deal Dean Lombardi made without adding, "but I looooooove Simmonds and reeeeaaalllly didn't want him to get traded".  How does a fan get closure?  How did Oilers fans ever get over the Gretzky trade????  I'm overreacting, I know.  Trading Simmonds doesn't even come close to trading Gretzky.  This is why the season needs to start now so we can see Mike Richards tear it up and I can let it go.

So does anyone else have the problem of forgetting the Kings signed Ethan Moreau?

Overall, I think the Kings will have a great season.  I was happy with the 2010-2011 season up until the last month and through the playoffs when shit hit the fan after Kopitar broke his ankle. Usually I enter each season with blind faith, just hoping that things aren't too bad.  I almost find it odd to enter consecutive seasons genuinely feeling good about the team.  It's like every season I'll expect more and more and I won't be entirely satisfied until the Cup is brought to LA.  I don't think this is the Kings' year to win it all, but they'll be fierce competitors.

It's hockey season! I couldn't be happier!  Go Kings Go!

P.S. I also wrote a slightly more in-depth, little less rambling PG-rated season preview at HLOG.

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