Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Blame Game

LetsGoKings.com has come to the conclusion that Dustin Brown is the problem for all the team's failures That notion is absolutely ridiculous.  And here's the reasons why.  I stole a few quotes from the original posters argument.
Dustin Brown is a poor hockey player, and a terrible choice to lead "the room".
A poor hockey player doesn't make the Team USA Olympic Team.  And as far as leadership goes; his play and reputation earned him an 'A' on his sweater for Team USA over the likes of Chris Drury aka The Great American Hero.  Next.
Dustin plays for penalties. On three separate occasions tonight Brown skated INTO contact to try and draw a call instead of working hard and forcing his will thru tight checking. He is almost as bad a diver as Avery.
He draws penalties yet doesn't get called for diving like Avery did.  Isn't that a good thing?  This would be a non-issue if the Kings could succeed on their 5-on-3 opportunities.  My solution to that problem.  Next.
You want a wussified quitter as the Captain of your team?
Besides the use of the word 'wussified,' this entire statement is bogus.  He's got 270 hits this season, nearly 100 more than the next Kings forward.  Tell Ivanans to fight somebody.  Tell Clune to fight somebody.  What's Brown got to do to keep Kings fans satisfied?  Lead the team in Hits AND Goals.  Next.
No player in Kings history makes as many consistently bone-headed, stupid, near-retarded level of plays as Dustin Brown, but he never sees the pine.
Kings history?  Wow.  That's a lot of players.  Let's just look at players this season: Sean O'Donnell? Jack Johnson? Raitis Ivanans?  Drew Doughty?  Jonathan Quick?  If you benched every player after a mistake; the Kings would have no one to send over the bench.  It's true.  Fro might be the only player punished for a mistake.
Is it the hitting? The high-pressure forecheck? Guess what, Cal Clutterbuck does the same goddam thing, but nobody in their right mind puts that simp out on an absolutely CRUCIAL 5-on-3. What did Brown do? He shat the bed as he ALWAYS does.
Cal Clutterbuck is 22 years old.  When Brown was 22, he scored 13 of his 17 goals on the PP.  Next.
Jim Fox wanted sooooo badly to blast Dustin tonight after that 5-on-3 abortion, but he held back.
So this idiot's a psychic now too?  Him and Miss Cleo should team up and do palm readings at the Bailey's Buddies Table.  Get out of here.  Next.
This organization gave Dustin Brown a line of credit that he never earned, and has little chance of paying back.  Bite the bullet Dean, this chump ain't worth it.
The Kings gave him a six-year deal worth $19.05 million back in 2007.  He promptly went out in 2008 and scored 33 goals.  I'd say he earned it.  Now just for fun.  Let's look at some names of right wingers in the 25-30 year old range making more that Brownie: Zubrus, Williams, Clowe, Ryder, Dumont, Hartnell, Lupul, Gionta, Hossa, Pominville, Perry and Iginla.

Besides the obvious choices of Hossa, Perry and Iginla. I wouldn't take Brown over any of these guys.
In parentheses, the # of goals this year and their career-high in goals:
Zubrus (8, 23), Justin Williams (8, 33), Clowe (19, 22), Ryder (16, 30), Dumont (16, 29), Hartnell (14, 30), Lupul (10, 28), Gionta (25, 48), Pominville (23, 34).
Only Gionta and Pominville have scored more.  Gionta's a $5-million cap hit til 2014.  Pominville a $5.5-million cap hit til 2014.  I'll pass on both of those contracts.

To be fair, here's a look at the list of right wingers making $3-million this season, nearly the same cap hit as Brownie.
Versteeg (17, 22), Cheechoo (5, 56), Byfuglien (16, 19), Kotalik (10, 25), Vrbata ( 23, 27).
Again.  I'm not taking Brown over any of those guys.  Keep in mind that this is goals only.  Nothing else.  Brown's a rare blend of toughness, grit, offensive awareness and GOALS that you rarely find.

Kings fans are obviously frustrated.  Maybe the fans are disgusted with themselves because they felt Brown could develop into Iginla-lite after his 33-goal breakout in 2008.  Whatever the case may be, they'll never be satisfied.  They ran Mike Cammalleri out of town a year before he was traded.  And yet two years have passed and here we are pleading for a sniper.  Ah.

Kings fans need to learn.  Watch a Cammalleri highlight film and play Don't Know What You Got (Til It's Gone) by Cinderella.

Get over yourselves.  We're on the cusp of making the playoffs for the first-time since 2001.  Put down the torches and pitchforks and Enjoy it. 

I'm No Barry Melrose But...

I've played alot of NHL10 on my PS3.

Their overall PP has been very good in March; succeeding at a 30% (15 for 50) clip.

The Kings power play versus the Wild was frustrating to watch.   Two 5-on-3 PP's.  One of them for 50 seconds.  The other for a full two minutes.  And yet the Kings can't capitalize.

I'm no Barry Melrose.  But I don't understand why Kings continue to set up their 5-on-3 PP in a 'umbrella formation.'  That formation is fine if you've got Alexander Ovechkin firing one-timers or Mike Cammalleri for that matter.  Both of those guys are snipers; they hit the net.

Jarret Stoll is a not a sniper.  He's a good player with a decent shot.  He's Fulton Reed (shameful Mighty Ducks Movie plug). 

"One out of five."  That's about how often Stollie hits the net.

On a 5-on-3, the Kings need to move the puck down low and look to work off a cycle.  Or look to pass in the slot.  Or backdoor.  Or better yet just like the good old days with Rob Blake cutting down to the net weak side.  Send Drew Doughty as the rover and have him go backdoor.  But their current setup isn't working. 

Passing the puck from one sideboard to the point to the other sideboard.  Pass.  Pass.  Pass.  Blocked shot.  I can't watch much more of this.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Kings Are Tired

After watching the Kings hold on in two games against Colorado.  Watching them get dominated by the Blues.  And then get dominated again tonight versus the Stars on home ice.  I came to one conclusion.

The Kings are tired.  Some would say the Kings are catching some bad breaks with officials.  That might be true but the Kings have been back on their heels for a while.  Time to step up their game.  Soon.

This group has never been in this position before; playing games that mattered in late-March.  And it's beginning to show.

It's been widely discussed that Jonathan Quick hasn't played this many games.  And it's becoming clear he hasn't gotten his game on track since that extended Olympic break.

Drew Doughty looked outstanding in the Olympics.  Since returning; he looks spent.  I've never seen him turn the puck over more than once in a game.  It's become more frequent with each game.

I don't know what they're going to do.  I've got a few ideas.

Keep Ivanans in the press box.
Sit Jeff Halpern.  I was excited about the acquisition.  He's not the same player I remember.  He looks a step slow on the ice; I'd attribute it to the torn ACL he suffered two years ago while playing for Team USA at the World Championships.

Sorry Manchester but we're stealing the kids.  Call up Loktionov/Moller, Voynov and Bernier.

The Kings need offense.  Moller/Loktionov will bring it.  
The Kings need a puck-moving defenseman.  Voynov is the closest we have to it.
Quick needs a rest.  Bernier showed what he could do against Dallas.  In Dallas.  Le'ts see what he can do.

For now.  The Kings need to dig deep and get some points.  Soon. 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Photo Drop: Chicago Blackhawks

The Hawks game was depressing.  It was like watching the Kings dominate the Blue Jackets except the Kings were the ones getting their behinds beat.  Chasing the puck all night.  Not completing more than one consecutive pass on a rush.  

Anyways, if I've got any Hawks readers.  I took some pictures of Toews, Kane and Keith during warmups (first slideshow).  And then took some shots of them dominating the Kings in the final two periods (second slideshow).  Enjoy!

Not sure where the Kings offense has gone.  Shutout vs. the short-handed Hawks?  One goal versus the Islanders?  Looks like Terry Murray pulled names out of a hat for the lines tonight.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ovechkin: Dirty or Reckless?

I blogged earlier this year and claimed Ovy was a dirty player.

After thinking about it a bit more.  I think he plays the game so hard that he's more reckless than anything else.  I don't think he has intent to injure other players.

He wants the puck.  He wants to shoot the puck.  He wants to shoot the puck into the net.  It's pretty much that simple. 

His borderline push/hit on Brian Campbell cost him two games and Campbell the season.  The sad thing is the hit didn't deserve a suspension as much as a couple of his other hits earlier this season.

Now Matt Cooke is a whole other story.  He's a dirty player with the intent to injure and he has a track record yet, no suspension?  Come on NHL.  Get your act together.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Met Kopi & Smitty

I knew I had to go get Kopi & Smitty's signatures when I heard they were signing at the Sports Chalet five minutes from my house.

The signing was supposed to take place from 7:00-8:00 PM on Tuesday.  From my past experience with Dodgers players appearances, there's always a mixture of collectors, fans and shoppers that camp out for autographs.  I knew I needed to go early. 

I got there around 5:45 and was already about 40th in line.  The line just grew from there.  By 6:45 when the guys arrived, there must have been over 150 people in line.

From my past life as an autograph seeker at the Toyota Training Center, I saw some familiar mugs.  Funny to see the same guys first in line here considering they live at the TSC.  If you see a short Filipino guy limping after a player with a sharpie; it's this man (http://myworld.ebay.com/sassportsintl/).  He's already got his Kopi bobblehead up for $80!

Crazy to see some guys selling obvious Getty Images that they ripped off and made copies of.  Selling them for $5 a pop.  Terrible.  Even worse is that people were buying them.

Taking photos has started to become a hobby of mine.  I printed a couple of them 11 x 14 and got Kopi and Smitty to sign them.  I made extras.  Should have given them copies.  Oh well.  Next time.

Two solid signatures in black sharpie.  Smitty complimented my photo when he found out that I took it which was pretty cool.

Good times.

DirecTV & Versus Kiss & Make-Up

News of an agreement broke Monday afternoon.  Sweet!
In a statement from the two companies, Derek Chang, executive vice president of content strategy and development for DirecTV, said, "We are pleased that both sides were able to work out a satisfactory deal to bring this programming back to our customers."
I was starting to worry about where I was going to watch my playoff hockey.  Thank the good Lord that this is all over finally.

Sorry I've been away for so long.  A few things came up last week but I've got a ton of pictures to share.  Stay tuned.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Breakfast With The GM

I would recap the Breakfast with Dean Lombardi earlier this morning but there was really nothing to report.  Read Hammer's recap for full details.

Day old bagels and danishes.  Bottled juices and coffee.  A slight step-up from the pre-packaged danishes they served at the last one.

The event was packed.  Got there around 10 and there was no parking to be found.

Dean gave his usual ten-minute answers to every question and handed off the tough ones to Assistant GM Ron Hextall.

The highlight of the event was hearing Dean speak about changing the culture.  And he pulled up a slide of what he expected from his players.  What it mean to be a King.  What it took to be a good teammate and so forth.  He spoke with such passion and fire.  I almost felt like I was a prospect at the Kings Development Camp minus the talent and multi-million dollar contract.

Anyways, I appreciate that the leadership team provides this platform for dialogue between their core fanbase and the team.  Not many teams allow this type of access into the operations side of the team, especially ones that haven't made the playoffs in ten years.  Hopefully, they'll continue to host this event for a long-time.

Get Well Soon Bob!

If you had a chance to watch the Kings-Habs game on television like me you had yourself a bit of a scare last night.  The broadcast started off with Patrick O'Neal.

It's never a good thing when Patrick starts off a broadcast.  He went on to inform Kings fans that Bob Miller would not be doing the play-by-play and that Jim Fox would be stepping in for the night.  Phew.  What a relief. 

Until we heard Foxy.  Foxy the analyst is good.  Foxy the play-by-play man not so much.  I wanted to watch the game but it was so hard to listen to Foxy deliver the play-by-play the same way he delivers his analysis as the color man.  Short segments.  All Night.  Kings dump it in...Andrei Markov back to get it....Bad pass by the Canadiens....Kings dump it in...Nothing happening...Kings reset...Nothing happening.

I love Bob Miller.  I grew up wanting to become a sportscaster and I idolized L.A.'s trio of Hall of Fame broadcasters: Miller, Chick Hearn and Vin Scully.  And last night made me appreciate him that much more.  His delivery is so easy and free-flowing.  Of all the sports, hockey is the hardest to do.  The speed and the action is at such a high-pace and intensity; you have to appreciate a good play-by-play man when you've got one.

Anyways, thank the Lord that the Kings have adjusted their broadcasting teams while Bob Miller recovers from shingles.  Nick Nickson is awesome and should have been doing the game last night;  I wonder if the Kings contacted Jeremy Roenick to step-in and provide some analysis?

Bob Miller is recovering from the virus commonly known as shingles and will not be a part of the broadcasts for the Kings’ next two games, tomorrow night at Staples Center and Wednesday at Chicago (FSN is not televising Friday’s game at Dallas). Television duties will be handled by Nick Nickson and Jim Fox, while Mike Kalinowski (the Kings’ manager for communications and public relations) and Daryl Evans will work the radio side.
Shingles is no joke.  It took my Grandpa at least month to fully recover.  Get well soon Bob.  Kings fans need you back!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Kings Add Veterans Halpern & Modin

First off, anything I say about the Kings acquisitions can only really be a supplement to what Rich Hammond's already provided.  He's pretty much given Kings fans everything they need to know about the two newest Kings; from what position they play to their favorite teacher in kindergarten.

A number of former Kings were dealt at the deadline this year (Lubomir Visonvsky to ANA, Eric Belanger & Joe Corvo to WAS, Mathieu Schneider to PHX).  I would have liked to bring any of those players back...

So what did the Kings do?  They didn't acquire Paul Kariya.  However, they did acquire a couple of veterans to add to the team's depth without trading any roster players, top prospects or top picks.

The Kings acquired center Jeff Halpern from Tampa Bay in exchange for Teddy Purcell and Florida's 2010 3rd Round Pick.  
First, I though awesome but that's quite a bit for a third-line checking center.  I assume Dean Lombardi values his second-round picks alot more than he did Purcell.

I really like Jeff Halpern's game.  He's a versatile third-line center who can play the wing.  He can score if given the ice-time.  Defensively responsible and can kill penalties.  A good character acquisition.  I watched TSN's Pierre Mcguire speak highly of Halpern's character and the way he dealt with a family tragedy as a member of the Washington Capitals.

The Kings acquired winger Fredrik Modin from Columbus in exchange for a conditional pick.
I really like the acquisition.  I listed Modin as one of my targets.  I love the acquisition because it's a low-risk, high-reward type situation.  I would have loved to acquire Alexei Ponikarovsky but the Penguins had to give up a top NHL-ready prospect to acquire Poni as a rental.  I don't think the Kings are in a position yet to trade an Oscar Moller-type player for a rental. 

If Modin can stay healthy, which is a huge question mark, than I think the Kings may have gotten the steal of the Deadline.  He's similar to Halpern in that he's a third-liner who can play in the top-6.  He's got a great shot which makes him an asset on the power play.  He's also a big-body that will add alot of size up front for the Kings.

With the Kings top three lines pretty much set.  I was excited to see Halpern and Modin skate on the fourth-line with Moller.  Finally, Oscar has some linemates not named Ivanans or Segal.  I thought it would allow Moller to slide over to the wing and give him some more space to create offense.

Unfortunately, the Kings sent Moller down.  It looks like they want a little more toughness and are going to give Rich Clune a chance.  Not sure how I feel about that yet.

I would have liked to see the Kings acquire Kariya but if Williams can return before the playoffs start that answers the Kings needs for a top-6 forward.

I would have really liked to see the Kings add another depth defenseman but it appeared the asking price was too high for Dean.  I still don't trust Randy Jones.  And I don't think Sean O'Donnell should be playing the type of minutes he does.  But if Davis Drewiske can find his game after the long layoff; the Kings defense should be able to get by. 

Most importantly, the Kings added two character veterans with playoff experience.  The Kings were buyers for the first-time in a long-time.  And for that reason alone, Kings fans should be excited.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Trade Deadline Targets: Carolina Hurricanes

I've been caught up in all the great Olympic hockey.  I'll see if I can crank a couple of these out tonight before all the craziness starts on Wednesday.

The Canes are a funny team.  One year in the playoffs.  One year out.  This year they're definitely out.  A slow start cost them the season.  A freak injury to Cam Ward has left them scrambling to find a starting goalie.  They're a good team that will be looking to move a few veterans, restock the draft cabinet and hit the restart button next year.  A core of Eric Staal, Cam Ward and Brandon Sutter is a nice start.

1. Ray Whitney (UFA 887,500)- His name has been linked to the Kings more than any other player on the market right nowThere's really not much more to say about him.  I can't see Dean parting with a first-round pick for 'The Wizard.'

2. Joe Corvo (UFA 656,250)- Remember Joe?  He's got a bomb of a shot.  He's been out for the majority of this season with a broken leg.  He can run a powerplay and drive fans crazy with his inconsistent play in his own end.  He can eat up minutes and wouldn't be a bad addition to the Kings 2nd PP unit.

3. Aaron Ward (UFA 625,000)-  He's been traded and reacquired twice.  The Bruins and Canes liked him that much.  He's a solid veteran defender that can eat up minutes and bring a ton of playoff experience.  He's a three-time Stanley Cup Winner.