The Kings embark on an annoyingly long roadtrip tonight, starting with a game against the St. Louis Blues.
We’ve kicked ass against the Blues this year, but we’ve kicked our own ass often enough for Coach Sutter to implement some interesting line changes tonight. The first line stays the same, the rest get a makeover.
Kyle Clifford – Mike Richards – Dustin Penner
Brad Richardson – Jarret Stoll – Trevor Lewis
Trent Hunter – Colin Fraser – Kevin Westgarth
This both concerns and excites me. Kyle Clifford has been regaining the brutally awesome step he gained last year in the playoffs. So the working theory that his ferocious and fearless play will help to elevate to completely lackluster performances of Mike Richards and Dustin Penner is good… as a theory. My breath is bated by the notion that Clifford has been working so hard in part because of the make-up and chemistry of his line with Fraser and Westgarth.
Fraser is a dogged workhorse and Westgarth has been playing exactly the way you could want him to play. Will Clifford’s play carry over? If he’s all he cracks skulls up to be, then yes, it should. My wish for this move is that the reckless abandon with which Clifford scours the area in front of the net re-ignites Richard’s tendency to get every play to the net as quickly as possible, an awesome tendency he brought with him from Philly but that our typically timid blue paint play has already beaten out of his repertoire.
As for Penner on right wing, coincidence that he happened to score his first proper goal of the season coming down the right wing and is now moved there? Maybe, maybe it’s just because wing versatility isn’t in Clifford’s bag yet.
The second line. Energy. What else? Lots of shanked shots.
The 4th… I expect it to be exactly 2/3 as good as it has been.
Of course this all means that Andrei Loktionov is out, a move with which I am actually at peace so long as it is not oft repeated and that it has the desired effect of kicking his talented little butt into another gear. His play has tailed off a bit and the Columbus game was in no way one of his best. It sucks that the penance for the price of teaching a youngin’ a lesson is the insertion of Hunter, but so long as the Kings’ continue to pointlessly carry 8 defensemen, what can you do?
Like I said I forgot to record the game. I’ll be lucky to get home in time for the 3rd period. I need to start bringing headphones with me to work…
Jaroslav Halak is in net for the Blues, so the Kings dodged playing All Star against All Star. This is their first game since the break, whether that means a rusty team or an well rested team is always impossible to gauge. I’m sure there are other things of note about the Blues, but fuck them, it would just be the same regurgitated babble that you can find in any AP article, and, I’m busy.
Of course, let’s just hope the time keeper is drunk so we have a good shot at winning.
GO KINGS GO!