Forgetting for a second all the fun that will ensue tonight from the anti-fanfare Ilya Kovalchuk will likely receive, as well as the gracious return of former captain and personal hero, Mattias Norstrom, there is actually just another hockey game to be played as the Kings kick off a 5-game home stand.
Just another game. Just another two points.
This game, against the league’s current worst team, reminds us of those games mentioned before the season, the ones the Kings had to win.
Is any game a ‘must win’ at this point? Well, no. Not in the strictest sense of the phrase. Perhaps we can clarify for those partial to literalism: If the Kings don’t get two points here they should be ashamed.
This Devils’ team sucks. Bites the big one. Is overstuffed with nasty candy corn. Its creamy center is leaking out of the plastic wrapper. Their pumpkin is old and rotting and its not even Halloween yet. They gave out all of their candy to the first few trick-or-treaters that showed up and when they ran out of candy for the rest, their house got teepeed, their nice cars got keyed and someone left a pile of burning dog crap on their porch and no one has bothered to clean it up for weeks.
When you walk into Staples and wonder what that awful smell is, its coming from the Devils’ locker room since they’ve been wading through shit for a month.
Have I made myself clear?
Perhaps the Devils will turn their season around at some point, I don’t really care if they do or don’t. They do finally have a full 20 guys to throw out there on the ice. Granted three of them are rookie defenseman.
This isn’t about being upset over Kovalchuk signing there. This is about the Kings winning a game over a team they have proven to vastly better than in the early goings of this season. Yes, the Kings may be playing the first home game after a long road trip, historically tough games. However the Devils played last night. They played their number one goalie last night as well. They just barely squeaked out a win against the Ducks.
This is not a game to just win. This is a game with which you sharpen your razor. You hone your passing and shooting prowess and rack up the goals against one of the league’s worst defensive cores. You test your hitting mettle against a group of forwards that despite having all the talent in the world, is playing like a lost group of headless chickens, unable to find the back of the net as much as their star status would lead you to believe they are capable.
You embarrass them.
Scribe asked that I not express fear in anymore pregame articles.
There is nothing to fear here. Even fear itself can go screw itself.
This does not mean the Kings can take this game lightly. In fact, its quite the opposite. We saw too many times when we were the basement dwelling bastard of the league that you can catch upper echelon teams asleep at the wheel. Having been on the Devils side of this game only a few short years ago, this Kings team should know full well to prepare for this game like any other. Do not take your opponent for granted (that’s my job), as weak and kind of pathetic as they may be.
Down to some brass tax:
- Wayne Simmonds will play tonight!
- The lineup will be the same as it was against Dallas.
- Kings must transition quickly and grind it out down low, wear down and confuse the vast amount of rookies on this Devils team.
- I’m looking for a repeat effort from Kyle Clifford. Kyle, your task it to make Kevin Westgarth redundant.
- This is the game where Kopitar wakes from his slumper.
- Watch out for the cherry picker. Greene, Mitchell, Scuderi, that’s your job. No reason to have 5 players in the offensive zone when Kovalchuk is on the ice as you know the Devils will have 4 in the defensive end and one in the neutral zone.
- Matt Taormina, get a real name will you please?
- Big rest coming up. Next game isn’t until Thursday. Leave it all out on the ice.
Always and forever,
GO KINGS GO!