KINGS 2 – KINGS 1
For those that cheer the feathered hub cap, the above is not a typo. Your team didn’t win anything tonight. You were handed two undeserved points. Henceforth, your team shall hereinafter be referred to as NTP (“no talent pussies”).
Coming into tonight, the Kings were on a mini roll. Our top players were and are getting healthy. Quick is on top of his game. In the last match, the Kings destroyed the Sharks 6-2. And if you knew nothing more than the fact that the Kings dominated for 55 minutes, you would think we left the opponent in ashes yet again tonight…regrettably, the hockey gods sometimes have a sick sense of humor.
There was nothing the NTP could do, other than watch the Kings control the puck, the play and then at the most critical moment either (a) shoot the puck right into an out of position and scrambling Howard, (b) completely fan on the shot or (c) partially fan on a shot attempt several times until the puck came to rest beneath the NTP netminder. I don’t take the entire credit away from Howard despite the fact that he was out of position, on the ice like a dying fish and/or on his butt for quiet a few shots. He made some good saves but if the Kings had come into this game with something that resembled a finish, Howard may have been pulled after the end of the second period as the Kings led 5-1. Alas, the Kings, despite outshooting the NTP 52 to 24, could not get the puck past Howard for all but 1 of those shots.
Both of NTP’s goals were courtesy of horrid plays by the Kings. On the first, Scuderi failed to cover his man after Quick gave up a terrible rebound to his weak side and put the Kings behind 1-0 with two tenth of a second left in the first. For the next 35 minutes, L.A. dominated the NTP until they were finally rewarded by, who else, Ryan Smyth who scored his fourth goal in the last four games. For reasons only the players may understand, the Kings then played the remaining 4:22 of the third as if they had already won the game. Sean O’Donnell became Yaroslav Modry right before our eyes as Darren Helm (the only player wearing a NTP jersey who didn’t play like one) blew past him and, to maximize the aggravation to full capacity, never actually scored the game winning goal…that is because Jonathan Quick went to the poke check, misplayed the puck and saw the rubber biscuit go right beneath him.
So, what does a game like this hopefully teach the Kings? I pray a painful lesson that they will never forget. Hockey is about finishing. All guts, no glory wins you nothing. Not being ready to win means you’re prepared to lose. This was a gut check game.
Random Tidbit: I have no doubt that after the GM layoffs, the worst crime rate in the country and the average price of a home at $18,000.00, a great number of Detroit residents have transplanted to other states. But judging by the NTP fans at Staples tonight, one would think that someone replaced the Gretzky statute with Lady Liberty and the revised inscription that called for ignorant masses yearning to break free…and while tonight will no doubt stay in our psyche for a couple of days until we hand St. Louis its ass on Saturday, I did take some solace after the game in seeing around two dozen NTP fans standing around outside Staples Center waiting for the short bus to pick them up…all was almost right in the world again.