It’s not my custom to grab a beer once I get home at 11:45 after a game. Typically, I walk around the house, unwind and go to bed. Tonight, that won’t happen. I know I won’t have a voice tomorrow. Between now and sunrise, I won’t have much sleep either. If you can’t sleep and can’t talk, might as well have a drink. My thoughts are not sequential right now so forgive the slash skating style of this post game.
I know you want to talk about Ryane Clowe and his play of the puck from the bench. We will. I will save that for last. Let’s talk about the game.
We didn’t lose this game because of the officiating. We lost because we played San Jose’s game. The Sharks are a piss poor defensive club. They want to run and gun. They want the game wide open. If you play a hard and physical game against them, punish them along the boards, play disciplined and stay out of the box and clamp down defensively, the opportunities will come on offense. They are undisciplined, take unnecessary risks, have players who are reckless and a goaltender who loves to give up rebounds. But when you play that precise game against them, they will beat you more often than not. That is because, offensively, the San Jose Sharks are a confident and talented club. While we dominated them in the first, we didn’t set the tone. Instead, similar to the playoffs last season, we tried to beat them at their own game. That’s hard to do for 60 minutes when our L.A. Kings are built for something different.
I have told Jacob, told you and will write again that the L.A. Kings will live and die on special teams. The powerplay and penalty kill will win or lose games for us. I don’t think Jonathan Quick wants to see a couple of the goals he gave up tonight. He was “off.” I know he has been a Vezina caliber goalie all season and 3 of the goals against him were very tough to stop but, as Surly wrote in the pregame, it’s “now” time. That means Quick is as good as his last game and what he did before means nothing to our future. That is where greatness comes into play. There will be pressure. I hope he focuses and realizes the moment before him that is his to define.
Drew Doughty. I just shake my head. I didn’t know we paid $7 million per season for a sometimes great, mostly average offensive defenseman. I wonder if Dean Lombardi knew what he was buying before he paid above retail.
Justin Williams, Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Trevor Lewis, Willie Mitchell, Matt Greene, and Alec Martinez have all elevated their game and are already playing playoff hockey. I hope to see the rest of the team catch up to them. I am falling in love with Jordan Nolan but think he is miscast as a 4th line wing. I don’t know when Dwight King “Kong” developed hockey sense but the kid has it.
We’re tied for first. The winner of Saturday’s game likely takes the division, depending on what the Coyotes do against St. Louis tomorrow. This is exactly how it should be. If the L.A. Kings cannot rise to the occasion and win the last game of the season to win the division, then how the hell are they ready to win a game 7 in the playoffs? You want a test? This is a test of all tests if you ask me and it’s the test that will test our acumen for the big test when it comes. It’s pass or fail. There are no grades and there is no scale.
To Ryane Clowe and his conduct. For those who missed it, Ryane Clowe played the puck from the bench during a Kings’ offensive drive. Here is a photo.
First, a story. My darkest moment as an L.A. Kings fan was the exact minute Marty McSorley received a penalty for using an illegal stick. I will never forget it because I lived it in slow motion. I will never forget exactly where I was, what I was doing and how I felt. It cost us the Stanley Cup. Anyone who says different wasn’t paying attention. I have heard Wayne Gretzky slapped or decked McSorley in the locker room after that game. I don’t know if that is true but it would not surprise me if that did happen. I bring that incident up because Marty McSorley became dead to me in that instant. I was upset because he cost us that game and the series but I was just as upset that an L.A. Kings player, a player on my team, would do such a thing. I was embarrassed. I have never forgiven him, the fact he is a pompous prick in person aside, and I cannot bring myself to do so.
I am not angry that Ryane Clowe did what he did. In fact, it confirms for me what I believed Ryane Clowe to really be. A maggot. A player who does such a thing has no honor. He has no respect for the game. He is the same player that will intentionally injure another to gain an advantage. He is the kind of player that will betray his team and teammates, cares little about the fans and has zero integrity. That is what Ryane Clowe is and what he showed himself to be as a member of the San Jose Sharks tonight. It doesn’t matter that he is a good hockey player. Sean Avery was a good hockey player but neither Avery or Clowe are professionals. The penalty that should have been called is unsportsmanlike conduct. That is exactly what Ryane Clowe is. Unsportsman. He won’t hang his head in shame but San Jose Sharks fans should and so should his teammates, coach and the executives. They should because that miscreant represents their franchise. If Sharks fans are not embarrassed by his conduct, then I am embarrassed for them and loathe calling them fellow hockey fans.
The big game is Saturday. Rest up your lungs. I hope I have a voice. We will define the moment.