Some Thoughts From Early In The Season

Yes, I know it’s early, and drawing any conclusions from what we are seeing is a fool’s errand, but I just want to make a few observations.

Is it just me, or has Jack Johnson become a true number one defenseman? I swear, the guy skates as well as Doughty, is a terror with the puck on his stick and makes big plays when it counts. He is even a +6 in a statistic that has always shown him in a less than flattering light. Doughty holding out and then getting injured may have been the best thing to happen to the Kings as it has allowed Johnson to emerge. As in the Olympics, Jack seems to play his best when the pressure is on his shoulders. Teams become champions because players rise up to another level. So far this season, no one has taken greater strides than Johnson.

When Philadelphia traded Richards and Carter the same day, the Flyer fans had an informal poll on one of their team boards as to who would be missed more. It wasn’t even close with Richards coming out far ahead. Now, Kings’ fans are seeing why. Not only is Richards scoring at a point per game pace, he is also being regularly matched up against the opposition’s top line. As importantly, Mike seems to do all the ‘little things’ that are mostly unnoticed yet are keys to victory such always being in the passing lanes and blocking shots. I can’t help but feel that getting this guy at age 26 with a favorable contract to boot may turn out to be quite a steal. Brayden who?

How long will it be before Alec Martinez is traded? I am not going to criticize his play although he has not stood out like he did last season. But, let’s be honest, Slava Voynov needs to play every night. With Voynov, Doughty and Johnson, the Kings will have three scary puck moving defencemen to match with stoppers Mitchell, Scuderi and Greene. Plus, the team will have an even complement of right and left-handed shooters. I don’t know if any team in the NHL is as strong on the blue line. Since Martinez can’t be sent down without exposing him to waivers, a trade for a draft pick seems likely.

On the downside, what the heck is the matter with Dustin Penner? I swear, the guy looks like he wants to be lying on a beach sipping a Mai Tai rather than playing hockey. Everyone has different things that motivate them in life. For most players it is the thrill of victory and the dollars. Perhaps, Penner has enough of the latter and his one Cup with the Ducks satisfies his need for the former. If you can’t be motivated in a contract year playing for a team with a legitimate chance to win a championship (yes, I just said that), maybe it’s time to find something else to do. Just remember. Dustin, there aren’t a hell of a lot of jobs out there for guys without an education to make millions of dollars a year. And, you aren’t getting any younger so the window to do so is rapidly closing. It’s high time to get your shit together. Kyle Clifford is doing everything he can to take your job, and, in my opinion, deserves a shot if you still haven’t scored a goal by your 10th game.

Finally, I must point out the dismal attendance at some games this season. The crowds we saw at Dallas and Phoenix were below 9,000, and New Jersey was not much better. Particularly disappointing was Dallas, a franchise that used to sell out every game with a young, exciting team playing well. Yes, I know Texas was in the World Series last night (what a classic game), but now we know why the Stars are bankrupt. With Hockey’s TV ratings improving and a new television deal, the sport’s future may be brighter than ever, but one wonders if there are 30 legitimate markets in North America. It is too bad the trip across the Atlantic is so grueling because the NHL likely has a future in Europe. But, that is a story best left for another day. In the meantime, we can all celebrate an awesome start to the season and dream what may be possible in May and June.

Categories: L.A. Kings News

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29 replies

  1. Hey guys, sorry to get off topic here, but you guys need to FIRE your app developer!! No offense, but the thing blows. I already know there is an app so I don’t need to read the post telling me about the app to pop up every time I open it. Half the time I click on a new post, it opens, then closes right away, taking me back to the home page. Also, can’t leave comments when using the app. The pop up window doesn’t work. Beside all that, the Kings fucking rocked last night and watching the game and all those empty seats really pissed me off. It’s an embarrassment to MY sports and just gives all my friends ammo to talk shit on me for loving a sport that no one even watches! Speaking of which, did anyone hear Dan Patrick talking shit on his show about hockey. He was complaining about the lack of sports coming up with no basketball, baseball ending and football only on Sundays and Mondays. He sarcastically said he’d be forced to watch hockey. Wanted to hear him say that to Greener after missing only a few mins to get his nice new zipper.

  2. I thought Pens actually played a pretty decent game. He actually looked like he was hustling out there. Same with Parse! What is this world coming to!!!

  3. Long-time Kings fan here who now lives north of Dallas. The Stars fans will show up eventually, but for now everyone’s on the Texas Rangers bandwagon. But out here, football is always first so even if the Cowchips suck, football still comes first. With the pathetic turnout for Stars games, I don’t want to hear how L.A. is not a hockey city. We’ve managed to hold onto a team for nearly 45 years without much to show for it. I’m tired of the usual Canadian and East Coast biased comments like, “L.A. has a team?” and “Hockey doesn’t belong in the Sun Belt”. F them.

    Dallas fans will show up sooner or later, but I will say that the Stars need to spend some money on advertising around here.


  4. … Nothing like some regurgitated cliched thoughts for a Saturday morning!

    Is it just me, or has Jack Johnson become a true number one defenseman? … He is even a +6 in a statistic that has always shown him in a less than flattering light.

    … He was a +3 in October of last season, so this isn’t a new thing. Jack was pretty good in the plus/minus department last season until the end of December. The question is whether he can sustain it.

    As importantly, Mike seems to do all the ‘little things’ that are mostly unnoticed yet are keys to victory such always being in the passing lanes and blocking shots.

    … He’s blocked all of four shots this season. Noted defensive superstar Simon Gagne has just as many blocked shots. Richards has been terrific on the power play, which has been a big plus, but he’s been poor on faceoffs so far this season and his even-strength play has left a lot to be desired.

    Nice to see the “little things” cliche thrown out there, which is code for “I can freely praise this guy for every single game no matter if he did anything good or not, and if someone questions me on it, I can just respond ‘hurr well maybe you need to watch the games'”. Always a neat little touch

    Brayden who?

    … You’ll learn in time.

    :On the downside, what the heck is the matter with Dustin Penner?

    … Yawn. See: Scapegoats, People to Blame for Losses, Whipping Boys, etc.

    Penner obviously needs to put some points up. He only has 73 games to do so, so he’d better hurry I guess. He’s doing everything else he needs to do. He’s hitting guys, he’s a plus player, he’s even blocking some shots. He got removed from his line because people who like to pretend that the statistics don’t matter are basing their decisions completely on statistics.

    Kyle Clifford is doing everything he can to take your job

    … What??? No, he’s been one of the worst forwards on the team, what is wrong with you.

    Finally, I must point out the dismal attendance at some games this season.

    … Yeah, there’s been this little rumor about some “recession” or something that might have something to do with it, and it’s utterly shocking that you mention teams like New Jersey, Phoenix, and Dallas – seeing as how their respective ownership groups might have a small problem or two and how none of the three won any playoff games last season; yeah, I wouldn’t know why fans would stay away from those teams’ games. As a local example, the Dodgers had some ownership issues this year, and amazingly enough, fans stayed away from their games, too. Who’d have thunk it?

  5. Yeah, Penner played great Tuesday…

    You are delusional.

    I agree cliffy has been invisible and pretty weak this year.

    • Yeah, Penner played great Tuesday

      … I never said that. In fact, I went out of my way to say that he DIDN’T play great. What I actually said was that I felt it was unfair to single him out when he played better in that game than quite a few other guys.

      Obviously, Penner’s gotta pick up the pace. I don’t feel that there’s any reason why he won’t. He’s not loafing out there, and he didn’t forget how to play hockey. Sometimes, guys go through slow starts. I don’t see a need to worry at this point.

      • Fair enough, but this kind of performance and display of effort to fight for loose pucks has been seen plenty of times already this season by him.

        I would say he looks a lot better at times and then just as often looks like the same old slug. He was coasting quite a bit Tuesday.

  6. you pretty much put everything i was thinking last night into words.
    -Cliffy had a great game last night. finally saw all that energy we saw last season.
    -i have a serious man-crush for Richards. i just love that guy.
    -i had a serious dislike for JJ last year. he is 1000% better, it’s not even the same guy.
    -only thing i’m having a hard time with is letting go of martinez….but what must be done will be done.

  7. Much as I hate Penner because I am of the opinion that he is weak inside and should go get a job with the City of Edmonton, we have him until the end of this year. Period. Nobody is going to take him off our hands by taking his salary and sending a 2d or a 3d rd. pick. Forget it. It is what it is.

    Notwithstanding my opinion of him, I don’t know for a fact that I am right. I just think so, and have my reasons. However, there have been arguments made recently that, like Poni, he just does not fit it with the current scheme, which we are now examining/criticizing for several other reasons as well. I would very much like to see if he can’t be made productive along with changes to the coach’s scheme. Personally, I would like to be proven wrong about DP, as I want the team to win the Cup and have no investment in the idea/position taken that he simply sucks. Opinions are exactly as good as the facts/arguments leading to them.

    And I agree that he has been whipped enough pretty much for all time. So, I’m just going to get used to it – lower my expectations while we work on the overall scheme issues (in which Penner is more or less a negligible issue, money aside).

    • You’re a hard critic, Fellatio.

      Penner has been productive, though not on the scoreboard. It does seem like he’s been snake-bit this early in the season. I expect that to change.

      • I’m watching him – as long as he brings what he can, I’ll leave him alone. And anyway repeating the obvious rebop is a tiresome distraction. If his best turns out to not be very good, well, every enterprise has to carry someone.

        On your optical illusion nickname: I see you’ve been drinking again. No problem there, so long as we understand each other that this is the one area in life that I am a receiver. Always. And that I am a happily married man with no complaints worth mentioning (hockey aside).

  8. Any chance that the Kings could get a 3rd round pick or mid level prospect by trading Alec Martinez to the NY Rangers? It’s my understanding that they are really hurting for defensemen right now.


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