L.A. Kings vs. Calgary Flames Open Forum: Scowls At The Ready
My wife has sometimes said that our daughter is the exact reflection of me when she does one thing – scowl. I remind her it is not a scowl but an intense focus. Like her dad, she comes with that gift.
Tonight, I bring focus…and a scowl.
Brother vs. Brother. Shut the hell up general media idiots. Nobody wants to hear about this overused, beat to death and irrelevant story line. The real story is about two hockey teams who want to make the playoffs. One (the Flames) who have some injury issues and another who can’t find its ass with both hands in the offensive production department.
Trent Hunter is gone. Addition by subtraction. Jarret Stoll is not ready. He’s been as unnoticeable off the ice as he has been on it. The kids cooled off their youthful exuberance. That happens with children. Surly will be willing them to rekindle their juvenile spirit.
One area I will watch carefully is the breakouts.
If you are unclear what breakouts are, it’s the moment the Kings recover the puck in their own zone and turn it the other way. Nothing is more important to the breakout than that “first pass”. A trend I have noticed in the past couple of weeks (it started just before the road trip) is the L.A. Kings making too many passes after that first one and that first pass not advancing the puck into the neutral zone. This would be alright if there was tight forechecking pressure on us but we are doing this even when that pressure is light to moderate. In short, we are taking too long to get out of our own zone, through the neutral zone with speed and we are not backing off the defense.
I recall Terry Murray often commented it was almost impossible to enter the offensive zone now days because the opposing defenses stacked so many players at the blue line. That was the “effect” of which he spoke and didn’t appreciate the cause – the breakouts – and not allowing the forwards (primarily the wingers) to leave the zone early (goodness forbid doing that in a defense first, defense last philosophy) so they can receive the puck on a stretch pass (either directly but more commonly off the boards). This “backs off” the defenseman and also increases the gap between our rushing wingers and their D. Hence, you don’t have the problem of being stood up at the blue line each time.
When Darryl Sutter first took over I noticed the Kings trying to move the puck up the ice faster. It tailed off. I want it back.
Our reader, Sydor25, will joint me at the game. He will buy me a beer while I give him shit about his biased dislike of Jack Johnson.
Finally, the L.A. Kings are honoring Charlie Simmer tonight, my second favorite left wing in team history. I will applaud loud and proud for Simmer and wish we had a young version of him to Mike Richards’ left.
This is your open forum.