You may remember a referee by the name of Dean Morton.
Google him, see what you find.
Tonight, a similar treatment will be bestowed unceremoniously upon NHL referee Stephen Walkom.
But first, since Scribe decided with the New Year comes a new post game style, I will follow suit… sort of. I’m a team player, but I don’t take orders kindly, so while I will follow Scribe’s endeavor to revamp our post game reports, I shall do so in my own way.
What The Hell Did I See?
For the majority of the game, I saw the Los Angeles Kings have their way with the Colorado Avalanche. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. They are without star center Matt Duchene, they are led on paper by curly-haired adolescent dufus Ryan O’Reilly and led in the locker room by the curdled milk equivalent Milan Hejduk. We kid Hejduk, we here at S&S thoroughly support the advancement for the facially and mentally handicapped.
While the Kings controlled the played portion of the game, NHL referee Stephen Walkom saw to it that he controlled the scoreboard. I saw the Kings jump on the Colorado team right off the opening face-off. I then saw Justin Williams score a goal almost immediately, a redirection that took place along the sight line of the throwback crown on Williams’ chest. NHL referee Stephen Walkom saw something else. NHL referee Stephen Walkom must have seen a divine light, for his eyes were focused upwards to a place beyond the crossbar where the spirit of Williams’ stick deflected Johnson’s shot in hockey heaven, above the clouds and thus deserving of a wash-out here at lowly ice level. The call went to video review but you were foolish to hold out hope that the goal would count as the NHL’s process of video review condemns the overturning of high-stick related goal calls, in either direction.
This begs a tangent.
We live in the age of lasers. There’s a fucking gyroscope in my phone. Infrared beams and other high frequency positioning mechanics blast through our surroundings on an unceasing basis. If you are bored enough to watch a football game, a fabricated line is superimposed on yardage markers every play. For shit’s sake there are digital TV advertisements displayed on the glass of some hockey arena’s that don’t exist in real space. Am I to believe that there is no better way for Toronto to judge a high stick call than to look at 3 or 4 canted camera angles and essentially guess at the latitude of a puck when there is a disputed call, essentially negating the standing that conclusive evidence need be effused for a call to be overturned? Is it just me or does this story of justice read something like a Salem trial in 1690? Well I done seen the girl crying in the forest sir, must’ve be a witch I say. I do not believe it is either asinine or unreasonable to expect the offices in Toronto to figure out a way to judge high stick calls that is congruent with a decade in which I have a device on my keychain that is less than an inch long and yet holds more computer data than it took to put a fucking man on the moon.
But enough about the assurance that NHL referee Stephen Walkom gives us that Williams’ stick was above the crossbar. We must be careful not to suffer fools for too long no matter how often fools are thrust upon us.
Tonight I saw Mike Richards play his worst game in a Kings’ uniform. Poor reads, mishandling of the puck, equivocation. These things defined a man tonight who is typically ballyhooed for his determination, intelligence and composure. Was his island overly wet to end 2011 or is it just a statistical eventuality? I don’t expect to see him play that way again this year. I am sure neither does he.
I saw a Kings’ powerplay that can not mimic improved 5-on-5 creativity. I did see some spectacular play 5-on-5, particularly in the second period when the Kings tried more one-timers than they have all season, made Chicago-like goalmouth passes and utilized a place once referred to by a man named Wayne as ‘the office’ to generate plays. An unfortunately novel concept.
Sadly I then saw some Russian prick named Semyon Varlamov steal a game for his team. Not often this season has it been the opposing goalie on the receiving end of such high praise, but tonight the Colorado netminder ripped victory from the hands of the Kings and smugly handed them defeat.
What The Hell Didn’t I See?
I don’t think I saw Dustin Penner shoot the puck. Wait, let me check. OK he took 1 shot. I know I saw him have more than one opportunity to shoot, but I certainly did not see a Penner confident in his ability to score. While Dustin has taken the step from being a blight to at times having something resembling a positive impact on the game, I am now waiting for him to take the next step to recalling the days in which he bullied his way to the blue paint and buried pucks with some degree of regularity.
I did not see Williams’ call upon lady luck. From his disallowed goal to his numerous prime scoring chances, Williams is creating more and more and as a result becoming all the more frustrating and heartbreaking to watch. It is either a matter of time before he goes on a tear or he has simply used up all the gimmes the hockey gods have given him. Williams is truly the tragic story of the season thus far.
While I did see Jack Johnson take several shots, I did not see many of them go on net. The team as a whole has recently learned that 9 times out of 10 a low shot produces better results than a high shot. Johnson is currently behind this curve.
I did not see Kyle Clifford knee whoever it was that he supposedly kneed. I watched the replay at the game and I saw shoulder contact. I suppose I will not be seeing NHL referee Stephen Walkom performing duty as a seeing eye dog, but perhaps I will see him registering to get one. On the bright side, Clifford is slowly returning, game by game, to his beastly playoff form of yesteryear.
I did not see an Avalanche team that played well enough to win, nor did I see a Kings’ team that played poor enough to lose. But perhaps this teaches me that the eyes can be deceiving. This game was played in the Avs’ zone and the puck was largely glued to the Kings’ sticks. Jonathan Quick was good when he needed to be and I don’t believe he even saw Ryan O’Reilly’s game tying shot, which was perfect. The icing call that directly preceded said shot, was not perfect. I understand that since the discretionary icing rule was put in place that the discretion used to make these calls has been at best, in flux, however to my knowledge, the purpose of the rule was so that when a defending player throws a puck to a teammate in the neutral zone who either simply misses the puck or is obstructed from playing the puck and that puck then goes the length of the ice, icing shall not be called. I saw a puck get thrown around the boards to a Kings’ forward a few steps below his side of the red line. I saw him put his stick down to stop the puck only to be stopped from doing so by an Avalanche player. Had there not been a physical battle at the red line, that puck doesn’t go all the down the ice, hence in my head, icing should be waved off since the puck was not willy-nilly tossed down the ice with the reckless abandon that icing was put in place to thwart. But alas, icing was called, the players could not change, Clifford made a small mistake and O’Reilly’s perfect shot tied a game that the Kings should have closed out long before.
What The Hell Do I Want To See Next Game?
It should be obvious and unanimous, I want to see finish. I want to see the Kings increased creativity result in pucks behind the other goalie and dominant play result in dominant leads. Justin Williams getting in tune with the sixth sense that saw him score 30 goals in this league and Dustin Penner regain the confidence that put him on Kevin Lowe’s offer sheet. I am both proud of our boys tonight and disgusted that they allowed this piss ant Colorado team to gain even a single point, let alone two.
The Kings finally have a short respite to rest and to practice. I want to see Sutter bear down with his game plan and fine tune the improvements that we have seen implemented and cash in further on the renewed vigor with which this team is playing.
I don’t want to see that vermin they call an NHL referee, Stephen Walkom anytime soon.
I want to see a decisive victory over Phoenix on Thursday. Though we lost this game, there should be no loss of momentum from their effort. Despite some sluggish play, Richards spending the game with his head up his ass and Brown spending much of the game falling on his, the Kings are doing far too many things right for them not to continue Darryl Sutter’s streak of being unbeaten in regulation. The potential of this roster is slowly beginning to become realized. Trends are finally in our favor and I do not want to see a goalie playing over his pay grade do anything to quell the fire that is burning brighter in both the Kings and their fans.
I also would like to never see a shootout decide a game again, but we can’t always get what we want. Let’s just shoot for getting what we need.
Go Kings Go!