Thursday, November 3, 2011

October Review: Goaltenders & Defense

The $56-million man?!?!

Terry Murray (6-3-2, 2.36 GF/G, 1.91 GA/G, 22.5 PP%, 86.1 PK%) Grade: C
I only grade TM because I hated his decision to start Bernier vs. New Jersey.  I heard his explanation and still disagree.  I understand that he wanted Quick against the two division rivals but Quick and the Kings were on an absolute roll.  I’m a big believer in momentum and without a doubt the Kings had it.  The Kings played their worst game of the season in front of Bernier and got shutout by New Jersey.

Jonathan Quick (6-1-2, 1.52 GAA, .947 SV%, 3 SO) Grade: A
Quick has been outstanding for the Kings in the first month of the season.  Three consecutive shutouts earned him a Player of The Week honor already.  But don’t get too excited yet because Quick started off hot last October (7-1-0, 1.84 GAA, .936) only to never reach those numbers again for the rest of the season. 

Jonathan Bernier (0-2-0, 3.55 GAA, .857 SV%, 0 SO) Grade: C
I thought Bernier looked shaky during training camp but how much can you rely on practice drills.  The defense hasn’t done much to help Bernier in his two losses but there’s really no excuse for giving up seven goals on 49 shots. 

Drew Doughty (0 G, 2 A, 2 PTS, -2, 4 PIM) Grade: C-
The $56-million man was my pick for this season’s whippingboy.  When I saw him get hit by Zac Rinaldo in the open-ice, I immediately said that Doughty rolls/spins off that check in the past.  He sat out all of training camp and the pre-season and his timing hasn’t been there and he got hammered.  No doubt he's playing big minutes for the Kings but for $7-million a season I want to see a Bobby Orr like performance every night.  I can only cross my fingers and hope Doughty catches up sooner than later.

Davis Drewiske (0 G, 0 A, 0 PTS, +0, 0 PIM) Grade: Inc.
Drewiske dressed for one game this season vs. Philadelphia.  A nice fit as a 7th depth defenseman, there’s no doubt he was feeling the heat during Voynov’s brief stint.

Matt Greene (0 G, 0 A, 2 PTS, -3, 10 PIM) Grade: B+
Greener trails only Mitchell in penalty kill ice-time.  He continues to play the tough and physical game that’s made him a fan-favorite in L.A.  With that said, I always hold my breath when he steps up on a forward who’s dumped the puck in but surprisingly, Greener has been yet to be called for interference this season.  Oh and he took another puck to the face.  Warrior!

Jack Johnson (3 G, 2 A, 5 PTS, +2, 4 PIM) Grade: A-
Nobody was tougher on JJ than me last season.  But at 24, his game is still evolving.  While he’s made some blatant turnovers this season, Quick has bailed him out.  What excites me the most about the JJ this season is his play on the man-advantage.  His insistence on going to the net on the man-advantage is something I’ve been asking for ever since our power play went into the dumps.  His three game winning goals is a nice reward for a strong start.

Alec Martinez (0 G, 0 A, 0 PTS, -4, 0 PIM) Grade: B-
Alec was a pleasant surprise last season mostly for his ability to get shots to the net.  His 19 shots on goal this season are tied with JJ for most from the blueline through the first month of the season.  With that said, his defensive zone play has struggled at times this season.  The emergence of Voynov could bump Martinez down into a depth role sooner rather than later.

Willie Mitchell (0 G, 3 A, 3 PTS, +2, 2 PIM) Grade: B
Mitchell has been steady again this season.  Nothing flashy but continues to play tough minutes against other team’s top lines.  Once again, he leads the team in ice-time on the penalty kill, averaging 3:24 a game.

Rob Scuderi (0 G, 1 A, 1 PTS, +4, 2 PIM) Grade: B
I tend to write the same thing about Scuds.  He doesn’t do anything that stands out but he’s about as consistent as they come.  The ideal stay-at-home defenseman, Scuds is absolutely no threat on offense.

Slava Voynov ( 2 G, 1 A, 3 PTS, +3, 0 PIM) Grade: A
Voynov’s status with the Kings has been of the most debated topics over the past couple of seasons.  After two all-star seasons in the AHL, the looming threat of Voynov heading for the KHL, Voynov finally got his chance in the NHL.  Terry Murray gave him every chance to succeed, VV averaging over 20 minutes of ice-time and over three minutes on the man-advantage during his five games.  A very special-talent, it’s a guarantee we’ll be seeing more of him before the season’s over.

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