Mostly Williams, A Little Johnson, No Doughty and All Penalties
Hot damn, holy shit, we won a hockey game. Better yet, the Kings managed to avoid coming home with a losing record as they snuffed out the Philadelphia Flyers’ perfect record with an overtime win, courtesy of Jack Johnson.
Let’s start with Johnson, the overtime hero who has now won both of the Kings’ games for them with power play goals in the extra 5. The goal was actually all Richards, so for me, the real story of the night for Jackie boy was his defensive play.
While Matt Greene did his best to break the record for most minor penalties by a player in one game, Johnson exhibited some of the best defense I’ve ever seen him play. Jim Fox wouldn’t shut up about his one-on-one play and rightfully so. Jack’s stick was on fire and his positioning was outstanding, forcing players wide and blocking what shooting lanes the opposition found.
While Jack, with some rock solid goaltending by Jonny Q, helped keep the Flyers mostly off the board, Justin Williams ensured the Kings were on it. 2 goals for perhaps the most exhilarating player on the team, both scored by hard work through, get this, the slot! I know, I know, it exists outside Murray’s home plate and our players aren’t supposed to go to those dirty areas when the boards are so soothing, like a baby’s crib, and the blue line is as irreplaceable as a mother’s nipple, but goddamnit Williams is his own man and when he wants to drive through the slot, that’s exactly what he’s gonna do come hell or high water.
I guess I should mention something about the Flyers, something other than ‘I want Giroux on my team’. Let’s talk about Wayne Simmonds. He looked good. Well, not literally, because he looked horrendously bad in orange. I usually think orange and black go well together, but in this case either Simmonds is just too black or Philly’s jerseys are too orange. Or maybe Wayne is too skinny. If Jack Skellington got puked on by a pumpkin then fell down a dirty chimney, you’d get Simmonds in a Flyers jersey. But still, he looked good…playing hockey. He was the same tenacious guy we all came to love. However, after his first few shifts he was hounded relentlessly by Willie Mitchell, who jammed him up against the boards nearly every time Wayne dared carry the puck into our zone. I’d say Mitchell stuck to him like white on rice, but I don’t want to offend any Asian people.
Speaking of Matt Greene, have you ever seen more penalties in a game? You probably have, the last time Greene played. Matt’s count alone was sufficient for two hockey games, but these refs were particular whistle happy. Did I mention Chris Pronger is an asshole?
But seriously folks, the Kings played a solid game. This was by far their best effort in the young season, despite patches where the Flyers pressed harder than four fat fucks fighting for space in a Fiat. Notice that none of our offense really came from point shots. Sure, the point play factored in on all three goals, but not in the way our system is normally designed. On Williams’ first, Mitchell lobbed a perfect saucer to Gagne on the left half wall, who fed Williams cutting through the slot. On the second, Johnson kept the play alive at the right point before feeding Williams who danced his way through both sides of Bryzgalov’s peripheral vision. The overtime winner was scored by Richards creeping his way in from the left point with two fake shots, the second resulting in a slap pass to Jack who waited with stick on ice to the side of the crease. All the goals scored within 10 feet of the net, not one of them from so much as an attempted point shot on goal. Which brings me to my one major gripe for this game, or rather, aneurysm inducing major psychotic fucking hatred; the 5-on-3 power play.
You expected me write about it? Screw that noise, I could barely watch the damn thing.
Finally let’s talk briefly about Drew Doughty, who played a remarkable two shifts. Perhaps we’ll post video later and discuss whether or not newcomer goon Rinaldo’s hit was clean or not. Maybe we won’t. I don’t particularly care. What bothers me is that Doughty put himself in that position needlessly. I love a good old end to end Dewey rush through zones as much as anyone, but less than 2 minutes into a game, is it really necessary to gain the blue line and then put your head down and try to skate through 3 opposing players? I know what he was trying to do, there was some light at the end of that ego trip and if it were the third period of a game we are losing, by all means please make that play. While I will not say he got what he deserved with that bone rattling hit, I will insist that he needlessly put himself in harm’s way. Drew may have some serious hockey sense, but no one ever claimed he had it in its common form.
Oh well, luckily his head seems to be fine and it’s just a minor shoulder injury. We now put our faith in fancy Beverly Hills doctors, one of life’s necessary evils.
So go now, drink more beer. Celebrate and enjoy your Saturday night with the satisfaction that we made it through a brutal road trip with a winning record. The next game is Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues. It’s not a big deal, it’s just the home opener. Save your voices my friends.
GO KINGS GO!