Saturday, January 31, 2009

Computer is down

Sorry for the lack of game preview, my computer screen decided that it was going on strike. Lesson of the day: don't buy any type of computer that isn't a mac, they only live for 2 years.

Anyway, now that my 360, laptop and printer is broken, a Kings victory is what I deserve.

Lets go Kings!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

We? No we are not French, we are American because we are in America

Thats right Cristobal Huet, we are not French.

In my dreams, the first 2 minutes of this video was identical to a pregame confrontation between Dustin Brown and French goalie Cristobal Huet (that didn't actually happen).

This is the result:

In all seriousness, I missed most of the game because of a commitment to take my lady on a date, but the parts I saw (most of the first period and the end of the game) were dominated by the Kings. Glad to see J Quick with an assist and Dustin Brown with 3 points. I am currently watching the replay of the game, and noticed that the faceoff advantage for the Kings is making a difference. The Kings won 39 faceoffs to the Blackhawks 18, with Stoll winning an impressive 15 out of 17 faceoffs. I am going to enjoy the rest of the game, lookout for a weekend update and coverage of the game vs. the Canadiens.

Kings Game Preview 1/29/09

Time: 7:30 PST
On the air: TV: WGN. Radio: 1150.
Where: Staples Center.
Records: Kings 19-20-7 (12-11-6 Home); Blackhawks 26-12-8 (12-8-3 Road).
Record vs. Blackhawks: 1-0.
Kings stat of the game: Chicago is the 3rd worst team in the league in face-off %(47.4) while the Kings are 4th best (52.2). Hopefully this will lead to some clean wins in their zone to establish the offense early.

Believe it or not, the Blackhawks have not beat the Kings in regulation at Staples since October of 2003. Thats 5-0-3 in the teams last 8 meetings on the Kings home ice. Furthermore, the Kings are coming off their highest 2-game consecutive scoring output of the year. I'm not sure what all of this means, but the Kings are only 6 points out of a playoff spot and should be much fresher than the Blackhawks who played at Anaheim last night.

Jonathan Quick expected to be in goal tonight to earn his 3rd straight win. Tonight should be a fun game to watch, as two of the NHL's youngest teams go head to head.

Prediction: 3-2 Kings 1 goal for O'Sullivan, 1 for Kopitar, and the GW to Jack Johnson

Quick update

The Heir to the Throne has now been entered into ballhype, a great collection of sports blogs. I have the little ranking widget on the side representing my newfound "membership." I'm not sure how the ranking system works, but I'll tell myself that #1766 is pretty damn solid. Game preview for tonight against the Blackhawk tribe coming soon.

I also updated the template and logo of the blog. Replaced the goofy version of myself created on MS Paint with a fierce conglomeration of old Kings logos.

Racist Mascot and other Kings notes

The rigor of being an undergrad student (aka me being lazy) has prohibited me from updating for the past few days, but now that the all-star break is over its time to get back into full-gear.

The last two games (both wins) were enormous for the Kings, both for the statistical column and for confidence. Scoring 11 goals in 2 games, especially on the road, seemed out of the question before the team's short road trip, but that is the nature of the game. One thing that impressed me over the previous two games was the play of former useless body Kyle Calder. Calder had a crucial goal and assist against one of the best defenses in the league (Wild), and then came back the next night against the Avalanche with the opening goal. Calder also had huge contributions on the power play in both games. I'm not sure which line he will fit onto now (Stoll and O'Sullivan?), or if he will stay with Brown and Stoll, but either way hopefully he can continue to produce.

Despite great play by Frolov and JMFJ the past couple games, Dustin Brown has to be the MVP of this mini-turnaround. Brown was +4 in his icetime int he past couple of games, with an outstanding 9 shots on goal. Remember, this is against one of the best defensive teams in the league (the Wild), and against a team with a solid defense despite awful goaltending (Avs). The all-star has scored a goal in each of the past 3 games and been a force on the ice as always. After an undoubtedly long all-star weekend, hopefully Brown can sustain the level of play hes shown in the past three.

Tonight the Kings face the hockey team from Chicago and their racist mascot. Chief Flying Puck and the rest of the Awwkee tribe comes into the Staples Center after playing against the Ducks last night. The Kings have had relative success against the Blackhawks on their home ice, so hopefully we can get a third straight win and get to 20-20-7

Game preview to come later.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Kings Game Preview 1/21/09

Time: 6 PST
On the air: TV: Fox Sports West; Radio: 1150.
Where: Pepsi Center.
Records: Kings 18-20-7 (6-9-1 road), Avalanche 23-22-1 (14-9-0 home).
Record against Avalanche: 0-3.
Kings stat of the game: Jonathan Quick GAA down to 2.22. Should be the starting goalie tonight

Quick notes because I'm late, full game review to follow:

Kings 4th line was as good as its been all year last night. If they can play at the same level as last night the Kings should be able to win.

Kyle Calder had the game of his life, playing great on offense and defense as well as getting a crucial goal and assist.

Jack Johnson look like hes at full health, and the defense is clicking.

Kopitar scored his first power play goal since the Ice Age. And it was against arguably the best power play unit in the league.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Kings Game Preview 1/20/09

Still haven't made a solid decision on my game preview layout...
what about this:

Time: 5 PST.
On the air: TV: FS West. Radio: 1150.
Where: Xcel Energy Center.
Records: Kings 17-20-7 (5-9-1 road), Wild 23-19-3 (13-8-3 home).
Record vs. Wild: 1-0.
Kings stat of the game: The Kings have a .095 winning percentage when giving up the first goal, worst in the league. The Wild are at .273

20 year old goalie Jonathan Bernier was called up, as Ersberg is day to day with a "lower body injury." I suspect Quick will get the start tonight, and he should turn in a good performance against a struggling Minnesota Wild offense. The place where the Wild have a huge advantage is special teams, as they have a solid power play and one of the best penalty kill units in the league. Jack Johnson is back, as the team slowly gets healthier, and hopefully Gauthier is a scratch.

3-2 Wild with 2 goals from Dustin Brown
That would be considered an offensive explosion for both teams.

Kings Update 1/20/09

Due to the sheer number of sporting events I was interested in this weekend, I didn't get around to reviewing the shootout loss to the Dallas Stars. The Kings official website summarized the game by saying, "Kings steal 1 point from Stars." I prefer to say, Kings get best performance since Ducks game but still lose to awful refereeing and an odd shootout lineup. Either way, the team looked improved and Ersberg had an amazing afternoon in goal. Jack Johnson was back, and for some inexplicable reason was thrusted into the shootout lineup, which he failed to come through for, and the defense looked better than it has in over a month. Hopefully the Kings can build off that against the Wild tonight, as this is about as close to a "must-win" regular season game as possible. The Kings could still make a run for a playoff spot, but they need to start winning, and fast.

In other news, my Steelers made it to the super bowl. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to rock my brand new Anze Kopitar away jersey. BOO YA

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Kings Game Preview 1/17/09

Los Angeles Kings (17-20-6)
5-9-0 Road


Dallas Stars (18-17-7)
10-6-4 Home

Kings State of the Game: Kings 117 Goals against vs. Stars 141 Goals against

I really expect a better performance from the Kings this afternoon. Sometimes going on the road can benefit a team that is struggling at home. Kopitar has only scored 1 goal in his past 10 games so I look for him to get back on track. The Stars are one of the worst defensive teams in the league, so hopefully the Kings can get more than 1 goal for the first time in 4 games.

3-2 Kings in OT
2 by Kopitar, 1 by Brown.

wishful thinking...

Edit: Jack Johnson is back!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Kings v. Red Wings Review: Kings offense is offensive

No, the title of the game review isn't a redundant lesson in redundancy. The Kings offense literally offends me. No one is man enough to shoot the puck. Going over everything that has been wrong the past three games would look more like an epic novel rather than a short blog update, but here are some quick notes and observations on the game.

1st goal: Gauthier and Preissing utterly worthless. Way too much space in goal, if Ersberg and Quick were both in goal it wouldnt have made a difference.

Boyle adds on to the pain with a boneheaded penalty

More ugly defense on the powerplay goal that made it 2-0. Awful defense by O'Donnell

Kopitar was agressive for the first two periods, looked like his old self minus actually putting the puck in the net ... baby steps

Still no one to snipe and score on the Power Play.

Way too many passing lanes open, looked like the Wings were almost toying with the men in velvet.

Quick lazy on the 3rd and 4th goals, Gauthier awful again on the 3rd. Hopefully this guy is done after Johnson's return (which could be as soon as the Stars game this weekend).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Kings Game Preview 1/15/09

Detroit Red Wings (30-7-6)
14-4-4 Road


Los Angeles Kings (17-19-6)
12-10-6 Home

Key Stat for the Kings: Wings have allowed 36 Power Play Goals, to the Kings 32. Thats the only real advantage I see.

Quick in goal tonight, I agree with that decision. Going with the hot goalie against one of the better (if not best) teams in the league is never a bad idea. Too bad I couldn't make the game tonight, I would have brought my Dustin Brown commemorative puck and flung it at Tomas Holstrom's head like I'm Hiroki Kuroda facing Shane "the cryin' Hawaiian" Victorino. Nevertheless, its hard to expect much out of the boys tonight, especially after two ugly losses against a slumping team and an awful team respectively.

Prediction: Wings 4 Kings 2
Kings get 2 goals from Kopitar. Game tied 2-2 after 2 periods and they lose it in the third.

Review after the game. Then look for my midseason awards and a prospect profile (sounds fancy, doesn't it?).

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Midseason Review Part 2.


Kyle Quincy B- (Goals: 3 Assists: 20 +/-: 0)
He has been fairly effective on the offensive end, but the defense has been downright awful. His +/- isn't too bad but he has been -2 or worse on the ice 5 times including 2 -3 games and 1 -4 game. Maybe he needs a different pairing on the ice, but the defense really has been atrocious.

Drew Doughty A- (Goals: 3 Assists: 9 +/-: -6)
The second overall pick from last year's draft has been great so far. Coming into the league at age 18 (now 19) I don't know how much more a fan could ask from the guy. He got injured in the last game against TB but I don't think it was anything serious. Once Johnson returns to health, these two will form a mean first defensive line.

Peter Harrold D- (Goals: 3 Assists: 7 +/-: -7)
In the pre-season hockey review mag I picked up, it predicted the Kings to finish last place in the Pacific Division. More specifically, it stated that the Kings had the worst defensive personnel in the league. Thats debatable, in my mind. Regardless of what I believe about the Kings overall defensive performance so far (which is improved from last year), there is no doubt that Harrold is one of the worst defensemen in the league thats getting significant ice time. It might be my Badger Bias, but maybe bring Joe Piksula up to the big club and give him a shot. Harrold is atrocious on the defensive end.

Sean O'Donnell C+ (Goals: 0 Assists: 7 +/-: 1)

O'Donnell is a pretty solid player who seems to be improving. He has seen more ice time than expected after losing Johnson. Hopefully he will give room to improve and continue playing adequate hockey after Johnson's return.

Matt Greene B+ (Goals: 1 Assists: 5 +/0: 5)
To be honest, I like Matt Greene. I think the trade for him and Stoll really has worked out well for the Kings. It hasn't translated to many points in the standings, but Stoll and Greene are both solid players.

Denis Gauthier F (Goals: 0 Assists: 2 +/-: -7)

Awful, vomit-inducing pile o' manure. This year, I have the urge to look away every time he is on the ice.


Erik Ersberg B (GAA: 2.48 Save %: .898)

Was solid and reliable until the injury, and then coming off the injury (Monday against TB) he looked atrocious. Still the guy generally keeps the opposing team under 3 goals, but that doesn't always equal a win when your offense is the second lowest scoring in the league.

Jonathan Quick A (GAA: 2.04 Save %: .927)
I'm fair, I will admit when I am bias and just plain like a player. I really like Jonathan Quick. Maybe because his name is awesome (Rick would be a better first name), or maybe because he is young and could bring some stability to the position for the first time in close to forever, but I like him. He has only played in 10 games this year, hopefully he can continue to impress me (for the sake of the Kings, and my slightly sketchy man-love).

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Player Midseason Grades


Anze Kopitar C (Goals: 11 Assists: 22 +/-: -7)
Kopitar really hasn't lived up to the expectations this year. He has hit somewhat of a scoring funk lately and hasn't played up to his talent. He is timid with the puck in the offensive side, and has become a liability at times on defense. He is still the team's leading scorer but much better things should be expected from Anze and maybe the closed-door meeting the Kings had after the Lightning debacle will give Kopitar some sort of divine realization that he needs to play better and more aggressive

Alexander Frolov B- (Goals: 17 Assists: 11 +/-: 0)
Frolov has also been a disappointment. He has been playing awful lately, especially last night against the Lightning and a couple of days ago against the Devils. I think pairing him up with Kopitar, even though they are similar players, would be a good way to jump start their offensive production.

Dustin Brown A- (Goals: 14 Assists: 14 +/-: -8)
Dustin Brown has been the brightest spot for the Kings so far (in my mind). The guy crushes people, which makes a losing team fun to watch. Hopefully his points pick up in the second half of the season.

Patrick O'Sullivan C- (Goals: 9 Assists: 14 +/-: 1)

O'Sullivan has been downright awful lately, there is no other way to put it. He hasn't recorded a point since he got an assist the day after Christmas against the Coyotes. Thats 7 games without points, and he is -5 throughout that span. I feel like a C- is generous at this point, hopefully the 23 year old can show me something the second half of the season.

(Jarret Stoll B+ Goals: 9 Assists: 12 +/-: 5)
Stoll has been a great all-around player for the Kings so far. He wins faceoffs, and hes a good offensive and defensive forward. I'd like to see him get more shifts on ice, especially in the last Devils game (19) and Ducks game (15). All-in-all, solid half of a season for Stoll.

Michal Handzus C+ (Goals: 7 Assists: 10 +/-: -5)
Handzus has been fairly solid throughout the year. He's had 2 game winning goals which is pretty impressive for a team that both hasn't won a lot of games, and relies on other players for offense. Regardless, just like most of the Kings players, I'd like to see Handzus be more aggressive in the offensive zone and try to create shots for himself.

Oscar Moller B (Goals: 6 Assists: 13 +/-: -2)
I feel like an incomplete grade would better suit the 19 year old Swede but I decided to give him a "real" grade. He will supposedly be re-evaluated after the all star game, after playing with a fractured clavicle (which just plain sounds nasty) in the world junior championships. Looked good in the beginning of the season, can't wait to get him back.

Kyle Calder B- (Goals: 4 Assists: 8 +/-: 1)
One of the veterans on the team, his shifts have been dwindling lately (averaging 11 shifts per game in the last 3 games). He had a strong game against Detroit last time so maybe he will see more ice time this thursday. Don't have much to complain about here but nothing too spectacular.

Wayne Simmonds B+ (Goals: 4 Assists: 4 +/-: -3)
Simmonds has really impressed me so far, especially on the penalty kill unit. He will be a solid 2-way forward some day, and hopefully the 20 year old right winger will see more action in the second half.

Raitis Ivanans D- (Goals: 2 Assists: 0 +/-:8)
I can't believe Ivanans has played in every game this year. Let Dustin Brown check people around, the Kings don't need him on the ice for more than a couple of minutes per game. I don't know if I really expect anything better, but I wish to see less of Ivanans in the second half.

Zeiler, Moulson, Richardson, Boyle, Armstrong, Lewis and Purcell all receive incompletes until they get more ice time.

Defense and Goalies tomorrow.

Game Review 1/13/09 vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (L 3-1)

Two goals 42 seconds apart from each other in the first period doomed the Kings. The offense was downright ugly, and Erik Ersberg was awful in goal. A one-timer goal which cut the lead to 3-1 by Peter Harrold was the only Kings goal of the game, despite numerous chances. There were some positives from the game, Brown had a fairly good game and Quick did a good job in relief of Ersberg, making an excellent save after leaving net when the puck took a funny hop off the glass to a Lightning player, and then diving back to the goal with a stick save. Regardless, I thought this would be a good rebound victory for the Kings and it turned out to be one of the ugliest performances of the year against one of the worst teams in the league.

The "showdown" between Stamkos and Doughty didn't exactly live up to the hype, as Doughty left the game early with an injury (although Stamkos did have 1 assist).

One observation from the game: Martin St. Louis is an absolute manimal, this guy is dangerous with the puck.

Midseason review and player grades tommorow.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Kings Game Preview 1/12/09

Los Angeles Kings
Team Game: 42
Home Game: 28 17 - 18 - 6
(12 - 9 - 6 , Home)
(5 - 9 - 0 , Road)


Tampa Bay Lightning
Team Game: 42
Road Game: 24 12 - 19 - 10
(4 - 7 - 7 , Home)
(8 - 12 - 3 , Road)

The Los Angeles Kings take on the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:30 pm in a showdown between the number 1 and 2 picks of the 2008 NHL draft (The Lightning's Steven Stamkos and the King's Drew Doughty). The Lightning and Kings also shared the dubious honor of being the worst teams in the NHL, they tied for a league low 71 points.

The Kings looked awful against a Devils team who has been struggling to score on Saturday night. The team could only manage 1 goal against mediocre goaltender Kevin Weeks and could not stop the power play. Jonathan Quick was shaky at best after playing great hockey for two weeks (shutting out the Bluejackets and Coyotes). The goaltender job is his to lose now after the Kings sent Jason LaBarbera to the Canucks for a 7th round draft pick. Hopefully Quick can rebound tonight. Hopefully the Kings can get back to .500 tonight, and give TB their second loss of the road trip.

I will be sitting somewhere in the 300 section tonight. Hopefully the Kings can show me a win before I have to travel back to the harsh winter of Wisconsin!

Prediction for the game:
Kings win 4-1 against a road weary team, playing very physical
2 goals for Brown, 1 empty netter for Kopitar and 1 for Stoll

Review of the game and the first half of the season to follow

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Los Angeles Kings Blog

This is my first blog on sports, and I've decided to do a blog covering the Los Angeles Kings hockey team. I will do previews for most games, and a postgame with my thoughts on the game and grades for each player who had a significant role in the game. I don't make it to many live games seeing that I am away from socal attending college at UW-Madison, but I watch all the games from nhlgamecenter on my laptop.

The Kings are a young and exciting team, and hopefully my blog can do justice to this up-and-coming squad. My first preview and post-game will come after the Monday game against Tampa. I will be in attendance for the game (my 2nd of the year), and will be up in the 300 section!