Kings Fist Capitals 5-2

Sometimes a photo tells the story.

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Sometimes a photo pisses people off, like this one did when I snapped it while yelling “Say cheese losers!”

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Other times you just need to close your eyes, bow your head and appreciate a simple fact: that was fucking awesome.

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There was a little kid sitting directly in front of me, maybe 7 or 8 years old, no more than 10, a Caps fan wearing a miniature Ovechkin jersey. He was highly amusing, cheering like a madman whenever his favorite player touched the puck, turning an annoyed eye my way whenever I opened my big mouth. After the Kings’ first goal, he grumbled. After their second, he pouted. After the Kings’ third, he began to cry. After the fourth, he made his dad leave for the rest of the period. He came back for the third period and tried to tough it out. The fifth goal, the nail in the coffin, proved too much as the wall of sound created by the raucous crowd at Staples sent him and his father away for good.

A piece of my heart went out to him. I have a hard time dealing with Kings losses as a well-adjusted guy in his mid twenties. I know older men who throw fits. I remember how impossibly tragic it was when I was a wide-eyed kid and my team lost when I was lucky enough to be taken to a game. So though I played my part in sending a father home with an emotional wreck of a son (he did not appreciate my yelling one bit), I offered some words of encouragement. I always love to see kids who love the sport with as much disregard for reason as myself. He was right to leave, I imagine the traditional chiding of the opposing fans that comes after their team is smacked around would have scarred the kid for years to come. Staples was a very loud and unpleasant place for Caps fans, young and old. As Bobby said after the game, there is a direct correlation between Kings’ goals and fan volume.

But what could whip up such a frenzy in the stands amongst people who only two days ago booed their team off the ice?

The game did not start off in a positive manner. In fact when I arrived 5 minutes into the first period, the Kings were down a goal and playing on their heels. But then that little kids’ idol, the great Ovie, made the mistake of laying out Drew Doughty. A fire was lit under the team’s collective ass that I can only hope doesn’t burn out until it’s time to play golf in June.

The Kings proceeded to have their way with the Caps. Forcefully and very violently. Some may call it rape, but hey, Vokoun was wearing a short skirt and asking for it. Their defense opened up large enough for a King-sized fist, offering up more passing lanes than a cheap hooker does STDs.

The new lines worked. Kopitar was renewed with the shifty tenacity of Williams to his right and Brown using his speed and size in wonderfully reckless fashion to his left. Dustin looks at home on the left. His numerous breakouts and breakaways were a testament to the strength of his game when he has a simple north-to-south mentality. The second line was the pleasant surprise of the game. If Mike Richards ever plays another game at wing, it will be a cruel joke. Dustin Penner must have smelt maple syrup in the Capitals crease as he drove to it with renewed purpose. Stoll wrought the fruit of his liberates skill, playing as good a game as he had this season. The forechecking, the net presence, the joy oh sweet exciting hockey joy.

The lines that did not change were able to pick up their games as well with the pressure taken off their backs by a legitimate top 6. Loktionov’s line harassed like the nagging insects they are, Richardson fighting the one on one battles like a champ, Lewis creating space with his speed and quick plays and Loktionov himself using his keen positioning to be an unlikely defensive stalwart.

And then there was the fourth line, the Kings best line in recent games and one that uses every second of time to its maximum potential. Fraser won 9 of 13 draws. Hunter was strong on the puck and constantly had an eye towards the net. I mention Kyle Clifford last among forwards as he was the best one on the ice. He wanted the puck on his stick every shift and created scoring chances of all shapes and sizes. That was playoff Clifford. That was the player who made Wayne Simmods tradeable. That was a beast of hockey player and one I desperately want to see more often.

It would be a shanda not to mention the defense. For a game where the Kings actually managed to score a bundle of goals, the defense was a true highlight. Drew Doughty, who started off the season as a liability, worked his way up to solid, had the kind of defensive game that makes your mouth drop and ooze saliva onto the poor guy sitting in front of you, or the dog on your floor, who is just happy he isn’t the only one drooling on the carpet. Willie Mitchell using his stick in magical ways and answering the bell for his own crushing hits by grappling with that rare kind of pussy, the kind no one wants, Jason Chimera. Matt Greene punishing forwards who dare work the boards behind Bernier.

And now we come to Bernier, who was the only part of the game that wasn’t excellent. Jonathan made several solid saves. The second goal he could do nothing about. What irony we witnessed tonight. Bernier has lost many games this season that he should have won. He has played fantastic only to see the team score even fewer goals in front of him than they do in front of Quick. Bernier has gotten the short end of an already shitty stick too often. Tonight was not one of Bernier’s good games. I will attribute it to his lack of playing time, a perfectly valid reason for a goalie to look uncomfortable. He was sliding into position and past it, resorting to the star fish on which Luongo has dibs and often caught fighting the puck. I don’t want to come down too hard on the kid, he earned a good victory against an offensively explosive team. I just thought it was interesting how tonight was the exact opposite in so many ways of Bernier’s previous starts.

Now Darryl Sutter’s real work begins. He has taken the defense to another level, inspired passion in our boys and now had his first true offensive outburst. I imagine the atmosphere in the locker room resembles the relieved pride and flighty swell of soul incursion an 18 old boy feels after his first experienced woman guides him through the web of passion. It is Sutter’s most important job to sustain that feeling, to ride this high and to infuse the sense of pride and confidence that is both a cause and effect of tonight’s win.

Should he steer this team down a direction that plays with such fire and skill on a regular basis, we will finally have the Los Angeles Kings team we have expected and for which we have longed.

Or we’ll beat Phoenix Dallas again on Thursday 1-0. That works too.

Go Kings Go!

UPDATE: My best memory of Chimera.

Jason Chimera In Downward Facing Dog



Categories: L.A. Kings News

Tags: , , ,

40 replies

  1. Fun exciting game tonight!
    Good recap…fyi
    Thursday we play Dallas
    GO KINGS GO!!!

  2. lol @ that photo of you…you have taken goofy to a new level.

    Regarding the game,

    1. Doughty was beastly on D.

    2. THIS is how I expect a third and fourth line on a top NHL team to play. Sustain momentum in each zone

    3. Bernier was good, not great but he didn’t need to be. His rebound control after he gave up the first goal was very good, especially on some quick shots from the Caps wingers from the circles.

    4. I had no idea Chimera was such an enormous jackass. Wasn’t he the one that Scuderi hip checked and up ended and we had that hilarious photo done of it? I found the video. It was him. http://youtu.be/f6piSc4LaD8. I can’t find the photo. Jacob, where is that? The one with “Nails” and I can’t recall the other line on it.

    5. For the love of God, KEEP BROWN AT LEFT WING. I asked for it before Murray did it, Murray then broke it up for no damn good reason, now Sutter has done it, keep him there. He belongs there. It opens the middle of the ice for him and he has the lane for the weak side pass, especially with Kopi being a lefty.

    6. What was all of that shit about Jack Johnson and TiVo? I didn’t even think that shit existed anymore. Doesn’t everyone just use DVR now? I didn’t get it. And baseball sucks.

    7. The powerplay. Ugh. I am glad we scored but from the red line forward, we look awful. I have to write a hockey 2.0 article about the different looks and strategies on the PP that we for some reason do not freaking employ. I hate Jamie Kompon. AND WHY THE HELL DOESN’T LOKTI GET ANY PP TIME? I asked that one for Jacob.

    8. I was holding my breath when Mitchell was fighting given his concussion history.

    9. We scored 5 goals.

    10. We scored 5 fucking goals!

  3. When that kid gets older I hope he kicks his dad’s ass for wearing that ugly ass jersey.

  4. I’m 40. I throw fits, Tantrums And god damn it I do it well

  5. I agree Johnathan Bernier Needs more playing time. Dude is a stud. Never mention Darrell Sutter And the passion of a woman ever again. Or we will have problems

  6. I have a picture of me at a KISS concert at Camp Pendelton, and my girl said you have the same stupid look on your face that I do.

  7. I have Hated the TM forehand on boards mentallity from the start of his tenure, and even he was giving in before his demise.
    Brown play’s an exciting, skillful and natural style at the LW
    Let’s hope it sticks!!!!!
    If we could get some confidence for Marty or Voynov, Jack Johnson play’s his best when on the Right….but, so does Marty & Slava. Didn’t that Blistering shot from Droughty Hit the Net from the Left!!! Maybe pair him with Green, but then we see alot of Green, less Scuds & Mitchy. Sutter Work it baby.

    Willie Mitchell is a Lumberjack…the good kind, not the Monty Python kind, I too cringe at the thought of him getting injured,
    but he is obviously FEARED, without being dirty. He goes from smiles & joking solid d-man, our hairy chested porn star, too our Fuck You, who the fuck are you fucking with mother fucker, scary Sasquach, and I mean that from a Tenacious D kind of Sasquach

    • In offensive zone it is great seeing D set up on their off wing on pp or set plays on a face off but I think for the most part you’re gonna see thrm stay to their side because a right shot on the right side can do a hell of a lot more to take away a passing lane or a guys ability to cut in by controlling them with your stick which is greatly cut down when you play D on your off wing. But I agree I love seeing that big d shot on the offside.

      • Hmmm…I play D on my off wing????

        There are +’s and -’s, I will admit.

        But your style of play really determines what side you perfer….

        I prefer the Backdoor…..from my own stick position of course…

  8. Continuing on Mitchell…..

    Willie play’s with such ease and poise, if he is injured or gone at season’s end, He will be missed More than we know.
    Sutter is brilliant for Mitchell on the power play, 3 years of Stoll missing the net, give the lumberjack a SHOT. He get’s em through…

    We sometimes take for granted our defensive D-Men.
    Just think how much Forbert could learn from Mitchell
    Muzzin could take the next step from this guy.

    Should Deano start talking to him about the next 2 years maybe??
    Scuds gone the year after…..what a gem, we never give Deano
    enough credit for bringing that guy here…a Rock.
    Matt is No Matthias…but he’ll be left to mentor, that does not cut it.

    Mattias “NOT” Green

  9. My brother and I sat in the lower bowl last night, sitting next to a couple of pretty awesome cap’s fans. Normally when we sit in the 300′s, it’s rowdy, and everyone has something to say. Last night it was just me, and one of the caps fans. Pretty quiet down there, but it was loads of fun, and I loved how I was able to walk away hoarse, and I was able to see 3 goals with such perfect clarity.

    Next game I’m sitting next to Surly’s section…I need to hear people cheer when the Kings aren’t scoring goals ;)

    • I have sat in all levels of the seats as not season ticket holder and it depends what I can afford/ what is gvien to me.. etc. Last game vs Coyotes I was in the 100s.. and I have come to the conclusion I do not care for those seats.. too many blind spots… seemed a large part of the game was play on the boards across from the benches where I was.. could not see. Yes you see the players up close but unllike above you cannot see the plays develop as well. I think the top row would be ok.. checked as I left. but lower ..no bueno.. I have sat in the first row on the glass and it is the same as I just said..
      JMO for what it is worth..
      You saw a Great Game!
      GO KINGS GO!!!

  10. I don’t want to sound like Debbie Downer, but before we start to Parise the win last night, it means nothing unless this game serves as the catalyst for the Kings to finally emerge from what Mr. Lahey would call the “Shit Abyss”.

    Maybe its me, and the goalie in me, but I thought Bernier played better than good last night. The 1st goal was bad, should have made the save. Doughty however fell down, which gave WSH a 2 v 1.

    Ovechkin was pounding the crap out of Doughty, and this was when Sutter changed that matchup by putting Greene and Scuderi out together for a few shifts
    Ovechkin was also blowing by Doughty when both were chasing pucks into the Kings zone.

    I don’t who the player was that Mitchell laid the wood on, but what a fucking smackdown! This whole BS that now seems to be accepted when a good clean check is thrown, for a teammate to go after the player who made the hit. Chimera should have been given the instigator and the 10.

    This will be the difference that Sutter will bring to this team: DS keep the same line combonations, probably same defensive pairings, go back to Quick or stay with Bernier for a few games.

    Sutter reminded me of Herb Brooks, sitting behind the bench after WSH scored a minute 1:30 into the game, pacing back and forth saying “Play your game, play your game.”

    If this were TM, he would change everything regardless of how successful the Kings were the previous game.

    Fingers crossed again this serves as the end of the “shitnami” for the Kings.

    Sutter: “Knock Knock”
    Murray: “Whos there?”
    Sutter: “Fuck Off Murray”

    • I don’t want to sound like Debbie Downer

      … Are you sure?

      it means nothing unless this game serves as the catalyst for the Kings to finally emerge from what Mr. Lahey would call the “Shit Abyss”

      … I’m trying to figure out what you mean by this, because before last night’s game, the Kings had just 2 losses in their last 10 games and had scored 17 and allowed just 12 in that span. On top of that, both of the Kings’ losses were by one goal. They’ve BEEN playing strong hockey before last night, and the catalyst in my mind was being embarrassed at Detroit. Since then, the Kings have come a long way in pulling themselves together. Last night was simply a continuation on a theme – the Kings’ confidence has improved, and with a couple of exceptions, it’s been clearly visible in their play from game to game.

      Maybe its me, and the goalie in me, but I thought Bernier played better than good last night.

      … He played alright. The Kings’ defense was generally excellent, and Bernier didn’t have to do too much. He was very shaky at the outset and eventually he snapped out of it – and that’s going to be the rule rather than the exception, I’m afraid. It’s impossible to stay sharp with such periods of inactivity.

      Doughty however fell down, which gave WSH a 2 v 1.

      … It was just a bad break, an inadvertent trip. Bernier’s still gotta have that one.

      Ovechkin was pounding the crap out of Doughty …
      Ovechkin was also blowing by Doughty when both were chasing pucks into the Kings zone.

      … I know that bashing Doughty no matter what he does has become the trendy thing to do among some of the folk around here – but last night, he was tremendous against Ovechkin for the game, and it’s too bad if you have a bias against Doughty that prevented you from seeing it.

      When Doughty was on the ice in 5-on-5 situations, the Kings attempted 30 shots and got 17 on goal, scoring two goals; while the Capitals attempted just 12 shots and got 6 of them on goal, scoring once.

      Now, look at Ovechkin. When Alex was on the ice at 5-on-5, the Capitals attempted 15 shots and the Kings attempted 26. Notice how those numbers are almost the exact opposite of Doughty’s, because Drew was on the ice with Ovechkin so often last night.

      What those numbers tell me is that when Doughty and Ovechkin were on the ice, the play was in the Washington zone far more often than it was in the Kings’ zone – and a big part of that was Doughty individually checking Ovechkin, taking away a lot of his space, harrassing him through the neutral zone, and keeping Alex largely to the outside. Sure, Ovechkin got through a few times, as is to be expected from an elite player, but overall Doughty played him excellently.

      don’t who the player was that Mitchell laid the wood on

      … That would be Joel Ward.

      This will be the difference that Sutter will bring to this team: DS keep the same line combonations, probably same defensive pairings

      … This isn’t true – not even a little. Murray didn’t mix up lines after wins like this unless an injury forced his hand. I think that’s one of the things that’s been annoying to me about the beginning of the Sutter era – I keep reading things about Murray that have been ridiculously exaggerated or are flat out, made up lies. I know quite well that the man wasn’t the perfect head coach, but neither is Sutter and the Kings’ resurgence this season (if you can call it that) has been largely a product of a renewed focus by the players themselves, which is usually what happens when a head coach is replaced.

      The players know that a coaching change reflects on them playing poorly as a team, and it can serve as a source of embarrassment and as a wake-up call, much like pulling a goalie does within a game. Combine the Murray firing with the 8-2 thrashing the Kings received in Detroit, and the Kings’ players had reached a nadir of the season where the only direction they could possibly go was up. At some point, enough has to be enough. No professional wants to be embarrassed in his or her craft, and the Kings are no exception to that. I believe the Kings would be going on this run no matter who they hired. We’ll see how good of a head coach Sutter is when this initial surge has passed and we’re getting down to playoff seeding in the spring. Hopefully, by that time, most people can let the silly Murray bashing fall by the wayside and focus on where the Kings are at the present.

      • You can’t do much about Ovechkin’s speed and I know what he means by Ovechkin blew past Doughty, because he did gain a step on Doughty several times. However every one of those times Drew managed to keep a good angle on Alex and keep him far enough to the outside so that the shot was from a bad angle. I agree that Doughty played Ovie very well, but Ovie DID smash Drew physically many, many times.

        • He did play Ovi well.. and smartly.
          I was hoping he would have thrown one of his Great ‘Hip Checks’..
          that would have been a sight to behold..
          We haven’t seen any of those this year have we.. I miss them :)
          GO KINGS GO!!!

      • I respect your critique or arguments about my view of the game last night.
        I don’t think Sutter has changed the overall system Murray had in place, he has just tweaked a few things. I can see the attention to defensive responsibility, but you can see the forwards are now able to be creative, and the D jump into the play more often. The message is also different, in that Sutter believes in strike first, in comparison to Murry being too conservative.

        “it means nothing unless this game serves as the catalyst for the Kings to finally emerge from what Mr. Lahey would call the “Shit Abyss””

        … I’m trying to figure out what you mean by this, because before last night’s game, the Kings had just 2 losses in their last 10 games and had scored 17 and allowed just 12 in that span.

        What I mean is the Kings scored more than 2 goals last night, and got contributions from players who are expected to score, and players who are out there to grind, score also.

        Sutter had been using Richards as a wing on the 1st line for a few games. He could see this was not working, and made the adjustment.

        Loktionov had been invisible for a while and was playing with a lot more intensity, and confidence. He had was very good in both zones. I do wish they would try him out on the PP.

        Their net presence last night was consistent, something that had been missing from most of this season.

        Yes they have been wining games, however as you pointed out they had scored 17 and allowed 12. Quick is mainly responsible for the 12. Maybe you don’t see it this way, but Quick won those games for them.

        The play of Quick has been unbelievable this season. I really hope Sutter does not burn him out by playing him too much. Bernier still needs to play more frequently and in more games.

        I am not bashing Doughty, I never have. In the beginning of the 1st period Doughty was getting pushed around by Ovechkin, and yes this is probably because Ovechkin can do this to anyone. Sutter made an adjustment for a few shifts when he put Greene and Scuderi out because Greene is more physical. I noticed this and was happy to see Sutter change things up for a few shifts.

        You are correct about Doughty neutralizing Ovechkin after the 1st 10 minutes of the 1st till the end of the game. I also saw Doughty upset about his play on the bench, and he responded.

        “This will be the difference that Sutter will bring to this team: DS keep the same line combonations, probably same defensive pairings”

        I respectfully disagree. IMO TM tweaked things way to frequently, it seemed like every other game he was moving players for the sake of moving players.

        I also still believe Murray did not manage players well. I am not sure if Frolov was to blame, if Simmonds was to blame, if Handzus was to blame, or if this was just Lombardi.

        I will never change my mind on Murray, and how he mismanaged players who are no longer with this team.

        We just have differing opinions, and maybe this is because we don’t see the same things on the ice.

        I think we can both agree, we really want the Kings to succeed, and I think that there has been an attitude change, which you can see in the players, who seem to be having fun again.

      • Ovi got the better of Doughty about 4 times in physical battles, I’m sure Doughty was getting a little frustrated. But he handled it well and didn’t lash out like he often does. Those are the big things most fans see, can’t fault ‘em for that especially when watching on TV. Doughty played well, though.

  11. Yes they have been wining games, however as you pointed out they had scored 17 and allowed 12. Quick is mainly responsible for the 12. Maybe you don’t see it this way, but Quick won those games for them.

    … That’s an over-simplistic and wrong assertion. In their last 11 games, the Kings have won 5, lost 2, and tied 4. I’m not including shootouts because I want to focus on actual hockey, here. The Kings split those four shootouts, so there wasn’t any net value gained or lost from them, anyway.

    - Dec 19 at Toronto: Tied. Kings dominated much of that game, 42 shots on goal, Quick was certainly good but Reimer outplayed him and stole a point for the Leafs

    - Dec 22 vs Anaheim: Tied. Quick was adequate in this one, Kings again dominated for long stretches of the game, Hiller didn’t steal a point for the Ducks but he certainly outplayed Quick

    - Dec 23 at San Jose: Tied. Quick definitely stole the Kings a point in this one

    - Dec 26 vs Phoenix: Won. Quick was actually poor in this one, but the Kings scored four goals to pick him up, this one won’t be in LaBabs’ highlight video

    - Dec 28 at Chicago: Won. Kings dominated this game, probably played their best game of the season, Crawford stood on his head to keep the Kings at two goals, shot total was deceiving for the game as Quick only had a couple saves that were above routine

    - Dec 29 at Winnipeg: Loss. Kings didn’t score, Bernier played well but it wasn’t enough

    - Dec 31 vs Vancouver: Win. Kings terrific offensively and defensively, Quick allowed just one but again wasn’t tested all that much

    - Jan 2 vs Colorado: Tied. Quick wasn’t particularly good in this one, if you ask me Varlamov clearly outplayed him

    - Jan 5 vs Phoenix: Won. Tremendous defense by the Kings, Quick’s only difficult save of the night was a direct result of not controlling a rebound in the first place, Smith was tested far more than Quick was and didn’t break until OT

    - Jan 7 vs Columbus: Loss. Again Quick was outplayed, Kings only allowed 18 shots on goal

    - Jan 9 vs Washington: Won. Bernier was adequate, Kings again sharp on both ends of the ice

    In the last eleven, I see only one game where Quick actively stole them a point, and four games where he was outplayed by the opposing goalie. Overall, his body of work is good, but in my view not as good as the defense in front of him. I don’t see where all of the credit for this period of games should be placed at the feet of Quick.

    • Because to a man Quick has been the best player on the ice. That doesn’t mean he stole a point, it just means that no individual made more of a positive impact for the Kings in most of the game. The team as a whole played well in many of those games and helped Quick out in many like the Chicago and Vancouver games, but no one guy stood out more than Quick.

      Also, LaBarbera has a highlight reel?

      • Because to a man Quick has been the best player on the ice.

        … Well, I suppose. I mean, he IS out there for the entire game and all. Honestly – in my view, it’s almost apples and oranges comparing goalies to the rest of the team for that reason. Of course, the goalie is usually going to get the lion’s share of credit for a winning team, especially if that team happens to be a good defensive team.

        LaBarbera has a highlight reel?

        … Lol no

      • Goalies typically play one of two parts: hero or goat.

  12. Surprised that with the headline reading “Kings fist Capitals” not 1 single fist fuck joke. lol

  13. Surley!!! I keep forgetting to comment on this. You are so darling!!! You remind me of my son – so cute and innocent looking and just a bit of the devil underneath.

    Are you married? I have a couple cute girls I could fix you up with. :-) Its the mom in me to fix up cute unavailable Kings fans.

  14. I’m on it!

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