KINGS CAN’T CAPITALIZE ON KARMA

Last night, we all harangued about being called for too many penalties, how it cost us the game.

Tonight, a slightly different tune played out. No, not the blues, and shame on you for even thinking of that tiresome joke. This tune was irony.

In one of those games that gives the naysayers of the Kings’ previously 4th (now 6th) ranked power play in all the league solidarity in their criticisms, the Kings were unable to convert on 7 of 8 powerplay opportunities. So out the window we throw the gripes about biased NHL referees Dean Morton and Dan O’Halloran. We toss epithets towards Jamie Kompon in to the trash. We even leave Jack Johnson and Randy Jones alone for a night.

Instead, tonight we must simply wonder how it is possible for men who have spent their whole lives playing hockey to need 40 minutes on the ice to remember that shooting the puck is kind of an integral part of the game. Certainly it was not for lack of opportunity that the Kings managed a whopping 6 shots in the 1st period despite having 6 minutes worth of penalties called in their favor. While the Kings’ did not lack tenacity in a pure sense of hop-to in the legs, they did lack the decisiveness to throw caution the wind in the form of pucks to the net.

Jonathan Quick put the Kings’ down fairly early when B.J. Crombeen head-faked him in to thinking pass a split second before Crombeen shot, half-beating Quick, half-helped by Quick beating himself as he got a piece of the shot.

Before I go into the rest of this, I want to make it very clear that I believe the Blues are breaking a rule every time they hit the ice. As I remember writing it, no team is allowed more than one player who uses a pair of initials as a first name. And even then, there is a provision that defines financial restitution that must be paid each game in the sum of 10% of the player in questions’ salary, as well as a $20 fine paid by the broadcasters every time an announcer uses the so-called first names of these players who are too embarrassed by the silly first names their parents gave them. Point being, one of B.J. or T.J. has got to go.

Speaking of T.J. Oshie, that leads me to the second period and the second goal for the Blues, which ultimately proved the game-winner. For the only ‘good’ goal St. Louis scored, Oshie picked up a rebound to Quick’s left from a Paul Kariya shot that Tkachunk had deflected at the top of the crease. Doughty had been caught up ice and failed to pick up Oshie, as Kopitar was busy leaning on Tkachunk in front of the net.

Then after some numbing hockey, the third period started, and it started right.

The Kings immediately got in the face of not just goalie Chris Mason, but the entire Blues unit as well when Stoll crashed hard looking for garbage. Upset over some post-whistle pad slapping, Erik Johnson knocked over Stoll, was taken on by Williams, knocked over Williams, was upstaged by O’Donnell who went after Jackman who in turn politely reminded O’Donnell what his glove smelt like. OD, E. Johnson and Jackman all went to the box for roughing, but once again the Kings could not convert. A short time later, E. Johnson took another roughing penalty for shoving a puckless Richardson in the mouth. On that powerplay, Brown finally managed to break Mason’s shutout with a sharp backhander from a less than perfect angle below the right dot.

I was jazzed, for a little while.

Then the Blues found their game again, scoring 10 minutes after Brown off a horribly broken play. Kariya got credit for the goal that bounced like a pinball before squeaking past Quick. Jones nearly kept the puck out with a valiant effort, but failed, which is no surprise. Not Jones’ fault though. He actually played quite well. As soon as he made his first of several solid plays I should have known this game wouldn’t turn out well.

I fast forwarded through the last 6 minutes.

This loss is highly disturbing. The Kings were not horrible, but they failed to execute the most simple and fundamental part of the game for 40 minutes. They also lost to a team they have no business losing to at this time of year.

Luckily for all of us, Dallas is up next. Dallas is the fat chick that you bang right after breaking up with someone because they are right in front of you and its easy and you need one in the bag to get your confidence back up.

Let’s hope the Kings have on their beer goggles come Saturday.



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