Monday, November 29, 2010

Struggles, Ray Whitney & Fleischmann To The Kings?

Willie Mitchell
Willie Mitchell More Important To Kings Than Drew Doughty?

I could do a recap of the Kings pathetic road trip but Kingscast has that coveredI could do a recap of the Kings loss to the Hawks but TheRoyalHalf has that covered.  So I'm going to do what I do best: Spin the Rumor Mill.

Wow.  Who knew that the Willie Mitchell/Alexei Ponikarovsky loss would affect L.A. more than the loss of Drew Doughty.  (I wonder if Dean Lombardi points to the team's splits at the negotiating table with Drew's agent?...).  Had it not been for Jonathan Quick's miraculous shootout performance in Boston; the Kings could easily be winless in their last seven games (Although, one could say the Kings were robbed in Ottawa, which we were, but moving on...).

Coach continues to pull names out of a hat to fill the Kings first-line left wing spot.  Coach has tried seven different players there and no one has stepped up.  Lombardi went shopping in Manchester and the best Hexy could offer was Dwight King.  In Dwight's defense, he has played his game but most fans can agree his game is best suited to play in the bottom-six.  In six games, he's averaging slightly under 12 minutes a game while registering zero points and three shots on goal.  I wouldn't be surprised if we see John Zeiler up on the Kings first-line tomorrow night.

The Kings need to look outside the system for help.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Panic, Defense, and Dwight

With the Kings in the midst of a three-game losing streak; it's time to hit the panic button.  The Kings defensive zone play in the past three games has been terrible.  Untimely penalties, terrible zone coverage, and just a lack of intensity at times have cost the Kings in the last three games.  Only four points separates all five teams in the Pacific Division.  Yikes!
Thomas Hickey
Thomas Hickey...Where are you?
The loss of Willie Mitchell has exposed the lack of NHL-ready defenseman in the Kings system.  Davis Drewiske has played solid this season but he can't anchor a defensive pairing.  When Coach Murray pairs him with Peter Harrold or Jake Muzzin; Kings fans everywhere start getting the sweats.  If Campbell, Hickey, Martinez, Teubert, Voynov, etc. aren't ready to step in now; it's time to acquire someone who can.  Souray anyone?  I thought former Flame Ian White may been the perfect acquisition but those dreams were crushed when he was dealt to Carolina earlier this week.

The Kings failed to sign Ilya Kovalchuk and while Kovy's contract seems to have single-handedly destroyed the New Jersey Devils franchise and 23 years worth of work for Lou Lamoriello; the Kings miss Kovy (or at least a player like him).  The Kings have lost a number of 30-goal scorers that played the left-side.  Michael Cammalleri, Alexander Frolov, and yes...even Matt Moulson.  The rumors of Iginla to L.A. continue (which I think I started...Schenn for Iginla???) but their need for a left wing is more pressing.  Dean Lombardi should be monitoring Paul Kariya's health and interest in playing this season.  It's been a revolving door on the first-line alongside Kopitar and Brown all season long with no success.   

First, Scott Parse played decent enough during his five games but he'll be out 3-4 months after surgery to repair the labrum in his hip.  Any hope of Parse emerging as the next Kris Versteeg will have to be postponed until at least the 2011-12 season.  Then Coach Murray tried Brad Richardson there.  He's got some good speed with decent hands but he's best served as a bottom-six forward.

And now...Dwight King.
Dwight King
Dwight King: The missing link?
Five random facts on Dwight King so you can impress other Kings fans with your vast knowledge on our new 1st line left wing.
  • Dwight was selected with the Kings 4th round pick in 2007.  A pick they acquired from Calgary along with Jamie Lundmark and a 2008 2nd round pick in exchange for Craig Conroy. 
  • The Kings had ten picks at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.  Dwight is the fourth Kings selection from '07 to make his NHL debut joining Oscar Moller, Wayne Simmonds, and Alec Martinez.  Only Thomas Hickey and Joshua Turnbull remain in the Kings system.
  • King spent five seasons with the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the WHL.  The Hurricanes selected Dwight 4th overall in the 2004 WHL Bantam Draft.  Other notable draftees: Thomas Hickey (3rd), Brandon Sutter (6th), Luke Schenn (20th), Kyle Turris (41st). 
  • Dwight has a brother D.J. who currently plays for the Washington Capitals.  D.J. spent the last three seasons with the St. Louis Blues.
  • My Dwight scouting report: Possesses good size at 6'3, 218.  He's a grinder that plays a physical style.  His game reminds me a bit of Wayne Simmonds minus the flashes of offensive flair and awkward skating stride.  He's a bottom six forward that's ideal in a checking-line role.  More well-suited replacing Ponikarovsky on the Kings third-line than 'Kovalchuk' on the first.  

Friday, November 12, 2010

Photo Drop: Kings Warmups v. Dallas

Dallas came to play against the Kings but L.A. stood their ground and won a close one 3-1.  Game got physical in the second and third periods.  Former King Brandon Segal stopped Kyle Clifford's fists with his face.  Jonathan Quick played outstanding once again, earning the game's first star, and then refusing an interview with Heidi after the game...

Justin Williams sniped a beautiful goal on the power play in the third.  He's been playing outstanding this season (knock on wood).  A fan actually called into Kings Talk and asked about the Kings extending Williams's contract past this season...who would of thought after the way he finished last season...

Some of my favorite photos after the jump or see them all on my Flickr page.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Subway Super Series: Maxim Kitsyn

Max Kitsyn
The Kings may have missed out on Ilya Kovalchuk in the off-season but they have their own high-scoring Russian left winger garnering alot of attention at the annual Subway Super Series.  The Super Series is a six game exhibition between the best Russian junior players and All-Star teams from the OHL, WHL, & QMJHL.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bill Plaschke Likes Hockey?!

Bill Plaschke says, "I Like Hockey!"
If you didn't read the Sunday L.A. Times you missed out a rare gem.  Bill Plaschke, one of the last sports columnists at the Times decided to write an article about our beloved Kings.  Read it here.  If you don't want to read it all; here's the Cliffnotes version: Plaschke can't believe that Kings players actually like spending time with each other.  The Kings are winning and the rest of Los Angeles should start jumping on the bandwagon with him.  Now for my favorite part of the article. 

I'm not sure if Plaschke was using some sort of literary device to exaggerate how little he knows about the game of hockey but I had to read it over twice because it read so terrible...
But until then, they are fun enough that even while UCLA's Kai Forbath was kicking a game-winning field goal against Oregon State on Saturday night, I was perfectly jazzed watching as Kopitar took a pass off the boards from Brown, juked two Nashville defenders and stuck the puck in the upper corner of the net.
Juked?  I believe the word he's looking for is 'deked.'
...stuck the puck in the upper corner of the net? Shot the puck top shelf sounds a bit better, eh?

I'm going to e-mail him right now...

Hockey Cards

I use to collect hockey cards.  ALOT of hockey cards.  More hockey cards than any kid should have.  I quickly learned that 1990-91 was the year to collect.  You could pull rookie cards of superstars like Jeremy Roenick, Mike Modano, Alexander Mogilny, Curtis Joseph, etc.  It looks like alot of trading card companies including Upper Deck will release a set with a vintage look from 20 years ago. I've been playing around with Photoshop and decided to give it a shot with my own pictures on a couple custom cards.

Andrei Loktionov

Jonathan Bernier

Derek Forbort

Monday, November 8, 2010

Photo Drop: Tampa Bay Lightning

Jack Johnson & Mattias Ritola
Jack Johnson Checks Mattias Ritola
A little late to the show but check out some pictures I took at Thursday's 1-0 victory vs. Tampa Bay.  Check out some of my favorites after the jump.  And check out all of them on my Flickr page.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Jarome Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis Iginla

Jarome Iginla
King Jarome Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis Iginla
Pierre LeBrun jumped on Hot Stove on HNIC and speculated that if the Calgary Flames were to move Jarome Iginla; the Kings would be a perfect fit.  He reiterated his point on HNIC Radio that he's got from sources that Iginla is atop the Kings 'wish-list' if he were to become available.
(Iginla) would go along with the character-type guys the Kings have added over the last two years, players like Ryan Smyth and Willie Mitchell.
I couldn't agree more.  The Kings failed to acquire Kovalchuk.  The cap space is still sitting there.  The team is still missing that top-line scoring winger.  Dean Lombardi has exhausted the point that he doesn't want to jeopardize the signings of Doughty, Johnson, and Simmonds.  I absolutely get that point but look at any of the teams that have won a Cup in the post-salary cap era and all of them went 'all-in' for a couple of seasons before losing some key contributors as part of the salary cap.  It's part of building a team now.  The Kings are one or two players short from being considered legit contenders and the time is now to pull the trigger on a deal.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Thanks Matty!

Mattias Norstrom
Mattias Norstrom: A Class Act
The Kings really know how to throw a party.  Nothing says, "Thank you Matty!" like a Swiss Coffee Maker.  Did you know that Matty was a two-time All-Star?!?!  It was great to see fan favorites like Ian Laperriere and Rob Blake (I kid...I kid) back at Staples Center.  Ilya Kovalchuk haters filled the arena as he was booed every time he touched the puck.  Kovalchuk had his moments but the Kings took the game 3-1.