Put on your shorts and sandals, its hockey season.
The Blackhawks… erm… Thrashers, skate into town tonight with the audacious goal of stealing the Los Angeles Kings’ thunder in their home opener at Staples Center.
The Kings will face off will new lines, featuring rookie Andrei Loktionov playing LW for Anze Kopitar on the top unit. In an effort to boost the Kings goals-for-per-game average beyond 1, Terry Murray dropped Ryan Smyth to the 2nd unit in the hopes that the crafty Loktionov will spark Anze the giant. Coincidentially, no one will nickname Loktionov Andrei the Giant, because he’s teeny. They have nicknamed him ‘Nessy’ – as in Loch Ness Monster… I don’t get it either. Well, I get it, but its a stretch, not to mention lame. He also picked up the nickname ‘Jimmy Neutron’ while playing for the Windsor Spitfires… because his plays are genius, and he looks like a boy. Boy Genius – Jimmy Neutron… get it? I hope not, its a sucky nickname.
For the life of me I can’t fathom why so many bogus nicknames have popped up for Loktionov when the perfect nickname is staring everyone right in the face. Loki. Loki the trickster, god of mischief, fire and evil. Simple, elegant, relevant. Let it be known that henceforth, Andrei Loktionov will be known as Loki, and nothing else. Not Lokti, not Nessy, not a fey cartoon character for children. Loki.
OK, now that the important stuff is out of the way, let’s take a look at the visiting Atlanta Thrashers.
Ilya Kovalchuk’s alma mater has since fortified their team, finally deciding to add depth and not rely on the talents of a single winger. New to the Thrashers are Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager, Niklas Bergfors, Clarke MacArthur, Andrew Ladd, talented rookie Alexander Burmistrov, Fredrik Modin, Johnny Oduya, Brent Sopel and goalie Chris Mason. That’s a heck of a lot of new faces. Though the Thrashers must still prove they are to be reckoned with, this team is not the pushover it was in previous years.
Atlanta now sports some serious grit and toughness to go along with offensive skill in Bergfors, Byfuglien, Oduya, Burmistrov and returning forwards Evander Kane and Bryan Little.
For some reading from the other side, check out Chris Vivlamore’s ajc Thrashers blog (take note of the dig at our media, or lack thereof, here in LA… yeah, I’m offended too. Offended I wasn’t there to put a puck through his teeth… since there’s no media here, I should get away with it scott free! I kid Chris, the Vivster… oh god, no more nicknames).
Jonathan Quick will be tested tonight. Based on the season opener against Vancouver, he is ready for the challenge.
Coming under the microscope for the Kings are Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson. Johnson had a poor game against Calgary on Sunday, with costly turnovers, and Doughty has yet to settle into the form that got him a Norris trophy nomination last season. Consider tonight their coming out party for the season. Perhaps the thrill of their first time in front of the insane hometown fans will spark some… sanity, to their games.
Getting dropped to the 4th line tonight is Brad Richardson, who is the victim of numbers, having played well in his first two outings. Kyle Clifford will be watching the game with Trevor Lewis and Peter Harrold from on high, adjusting their crotches to ill-fitted suits.
Enough about the teams on the ice. Let’s talk about the team is the stands.
Will you be there? You better be.
Will I hear you? I’m counting on you to drown me out.
Will you be on your feet?
Well I guess that’s up to the team on the ice.
GO KINGS GO!
For good measure,