Opportunities Wasted And Opportunities Gained

After an intensely boring start to the season news-wise for the Kings, the last week plus has proven eager to cram a firecracker into our esophagi. Carter goes down, Toffoli and Vey come up, Ellerby goes away, Stoll goes down, Greene goes down, Clifford goes down and now Quick goes down, Jones and Pearson come up. All the while the Kings are playing their best hockey of the season.

This is a good team.

18 games in and some things are becoming clear and I think I finally have a strong opinion about them.

Let’s start with the kids, Vey and Toffoli. What’s not to love? I wrote an article a few months before we won the Cup about how having rookies in the lineup in the right roles can energize a team. Youthful exuberance is a wonderful element to introduce into a locker room of quickly grizzling veterans. Toffoli can’t help but rack up points and Vey brings nearly everything to the table. Anyone who doesn’t want these kids to remain on the team indefinitely, regardless of injuries, is foolish.

That said, I think it was important for them to start the season in Manchester. Having great training camps, going down, getting a last little lesson in humility and tearing up lesser opponents seems to have worked wonders for them while the rest of the Kings got off to a less than brilliant start. But when Carter, Stoll and Clifford return, how do you keep Vey and Toffoli in the lineup?

That brings me to some players I’d like to complain about.

Matt Frattin. I’m over him. Does he do some things well? Absolutely. Is he worth a spot that should be Toffoli’s when Carter returns? No way. Frattin was supposed to be Brown-light, instead he’s been more along the lines of Lewis-light, or worse yet, Fraser-plus. I don’t think you trade him, but I think he needs to be a tweener.

Fraser. I’ve never had the problem with Fraser others have, but I’m over him too. I’ve always thought his spot on the roster was largely due to his locker room presence, but I think he needs to be the first to go if we are keeping the kids up for the foreseeable future. I’ve read that most think Vey replaces Stoll, but that happens at the deadline, not now.

Carcillo. The pleasant surprise of the season. He hasn’t been a complete idiot and he brings a dimension to the game no one else has for the Kings. Whereas Nolan and Clifford intimidate through size and terror and flying fists, Carcillo puts players on their heels through the energy of a psychotic bumblebee. I love having players like this on the team. He is Zeiler with hockey sense.

Muzzin is a danger to the ankles and shins of any player who dares to step on the ice with him. He has earned the early season title for Most a Frustrating King.

I’m completely done listening to people bitch about Regehr. Has he lost a step? Absolutely. But Regehr still has what makes the foundation of an effective defenseman; he is smart and makes the right reads. I’ll take that over young and stupid any day.

If Quick’s injury is serious (more than a few weeks), we could be in trouble. That’s obvious. However, playing behind a lesser goalie for a while will, I think, strengthen this team in the long run. It will probably translate to some lost points, which, since we play in the competitive conference, could easily be the difference between Carter and Richards washing each other’s balls in the first round and them washing their own on the 1st tee box. Our defense has not been up to our usual exceptional standards, particularly the penalty kill, and Quick going down forces it to improve. Sink or swim. Champions laugh at drowning… Just not while swimming. If you laugh while swimming you’ll fucking drown. I also like what I’ve seen from Scrivens so far (sans the shootout), and while he is no No. 1, Jones might still be.

Pearson. I know everyone hopes to see the Pearson-Vey-Toffoli line reunited, but I doubt it happens. Pearson and Vey will play together, likely with Lewis on the right, but Toffoli won’t leave Richards’ side until Carter returns.

Dwight King keeps playing like he has and we don’t need to trade for a LW.



Categories: L.A. Kings News

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18 replies

  1. In the game against Vancouver, I only noticed one old, slow and oblivious moment for Regehr. Other than that, he looked absolutely fantastic out there that night. I’ve been a little bit critical of him from time to time, but I really don’t have a problem with him. I don’t understand the people calling for his head. He has definitely been getting better over this season.

  2. I was thinking the same thing about Frattin last night. He hasn’t been bad, but he definitely hasn’t lived up to expectations. Especially when we have the kids up in the mix now, I can’t wait to see how they’ll perform and if they’ll get some PP time together as the White Line. Together, they were easily my favorite line to watch all last year when I was watching the Monarchs play during the lockout. Exciting, explosive, offensively inclined, defensively sound.

  3. Terrific assessment for the most part but I disagree a bit on RR and King. I like what King has done, but he’s not a top 6 player ,and since last year the lack of production from the bottom 6 hurt this team esp in the playoffs and has for the most part this year, he’d be a more productive assest there, contributing goals. I know the Kings don’t have an LW or currently $$ for one but that could change by Feb.
    Vey is a very solid player with confidence who has made the bottom 6 a much better place. WHen he’s in the offensive zone, unlike prior games w/o him, I am looking for a scoring chance. Smart player, who uses the ice well. Looking forward to what Pearson can bring. And if he plays as well as the o ther 2, then the Kings need to more one of the redundant players off that bottom 6. The youth, skill and energy the kids have shown is something this team has been missing
    TT- is every bit of the player that the Kings fans have been anticipating. Richards (even in his younger days) was always the shepherd for the new wingers ot of the AHL and always did well by them. He’s a very good and very patient teacher. He’s also a very craft playmaker and TT has looked very good by his side. I wouldn’t change that even when Carter come sback. IF that is by end of next week , Carter will have missed about 3 weeks and will need a game or 2 to get his game and timing back. He might start on the 3rd line w limited minutes but once he’s back to speed, either he or Richards can shift to LW. I would really like to see the 3 of them on a line. If it doesn’t work out, nothing lost. Then again if Pearson stays up, that brings other possibilities.
    And you’re right this is a very good team. And it’s a long season and it won’t be the las tgame they lose where the fans bitch about the lost opportunity and certain players who were lazy, and the puck that was given away ,etc.
    Scrivens will be fine until Quick is ready, he did a great job last year for the Leafs when Reimer was out hurt.

    And this is the best I’ve seen Richards play (because he’s finally healthy again; losing all of 2010/11 to laying with a busted wrist and most of 2011/12 and into 12/13 to head injury and it’s awful aftereffects., since 2009/10. He’s playing hungry, smart, motivated, hustling every shift, and his antennas have never worked this well, sniping pucks ,like he did on the GTG last night, at a high rate. That’s a great sign for the Kings, because when he plays likie this, he makes his line better and his team better. He’s got a a 5 game point streak riding now with 9 points in the time, w/o Carter. Just think how many more will come with JC riding shotgun again.

    I’d like them to get better scoring chances and drive the net a bit more instead of launching shots from the blueline w/o rebounds. It was great that we outshot (again) the opponent last night but there should have been more quality shots, and traffic in front. And I like the 5 x 5 scoring to continue.

    Go Kings, beat the Islanders and good luck Tanner.

  4. Per Lisa Dillman, Greene was put on LTIR.
    Hope it’s not his back again…I guess AMart gets a reg. rotation unless they bring Schultz up.

  5. And now Greene is going on LTIR. That fuckin’ blows. Can’t see the team rolling with just 6 dmen on the roster for long.

  6. Also, the first person to scream “SHOULD HAVE NEVER TRADED BERNIER!” gets a swift kick to the gunt.

  7. How do the Monarchs fill holes when the Kings raid their cupboards like they’ve been lately? At this rate we will see that whole team come up before the end of the season. Groin can be a really shitty injury for a goalie. Especially a hyperactive one. Sigh……..

  8. Frattin’s a bust. I’ve long ago given up on the “give them the benefit of the doubt” with newcomers. 17 games in 1 goal. Yeah!!! The guy’s not ready for primetime. He needs more time to cook in the AHL.

    Toffoli 4 games in 2 goals.

  9. Frattin might not be producing much, but his salary doesn’t impact our CAP so he’s playing for free, and if you send him away I’m not sure the Kings can find the 437,500K they don’t have to pay Frattin.

    Here is the main thing, it really doesn’t matter what we think, Sutter is going to play who Sutter wants to play regardless of how well or bad a player looks to us. We have seen this so far this season. Makes no difference that AMART is a better defender and defenseman period over Muzzin. It doesn’t matter that Dwight King who goes AWOL for extended periods of time, is still looked at by Sutter as worthy of being a Top 6 wing.

    Scrivens will be fine, he was used to having horrible defense in front of him while in Toronto, so I don’t expect him to be so terrible the Kings are forced to play Martin Jones.

    Just remember Scrivens and Frattin are playing for what amounts to the Kings payroll as free.

    Where the Kings are hurting is goal production. They can hold teams to 2 goals per game, but its the same old issue with scoring more than 2 per game that is the issue right now.

    The Kings really do need to find someone to replace Matt Greene. Sure he deserves to be a King until he retires, but he has been hurt, or in need of surgery the past 4 seasons now, so his career expectancy is a serious question now. I’m not sure how much more his body can take, and if it is his back/shoulder at some point doctors are going to have to tell him no mas, unless he wants to be in pain and discomfort for the rest of his life.

    Some guys are just unlucky and I think Matt Greene is one of those players.

    • Good point about the salary cap. Since I’m not all as Jewy as I look, I wasn’t thinking about the money.

      But now that I am, lame point about the salary cap. At the moment, with Carter, Greene and maybe Clifford soon on LTIR, the cap isn’t a concern unless I’m forgetting something. And I am advocating Fraser be sent another team’s way, so losing his salary makes up for whoever replaces him.

      While I know an immediate benefit of the Bernier trade was from a $$ perspective, I’m not concerned about the cap at this time.

      As for Sutter doing what he wants. No shit. Guess it’s time to shut the blog down. ;)

  10. Yeah! I totally agree with most of what you said. The Kings kinda reminded me of the old Kings of my childhood when they got Frattin. Kinda like all those lunch pale forwards ther collected along with Ferraro, or that Dixon Ward guy. I was very suspect of the trade. I wasn’t too thrilled about it, and now even more so. Your statements about Carcillo are good but I don’t agree with Vey or any of the other prospects staying up unless they can play a significant amount of minutes. That’s s what guys like Fraser can give; seven to nine minutes of energy then cheerlead the rest of the way.

    • I think Vey should be getting 3rd line minutes, 9-12 even strength and another 1-3 on special teams. I’m ok with young forwards playing lower minutes for a bit as they cut their teeth in the NHL. I don’t believe that you can just have every talented youngster playing top minutes in the AHL always and immediately go to those same minutes in the NHL. Particularly a guy like Vey, who is smart and can give you those defensive minutes when you need them.

      • Yeah, top forward and defens prospects should get atleast 12-15 minutes per game of ice time ot they might as well not even dress. This is a NHL game not pickup at the ice pond. Sitting and watching can only do so much and if need be done from the pressbox. Don’t play them if you’re not going to use them, or let them go back to Manchester and work harder to get back to the NHL level.

  11. Yay! Monarchs 3 Islanders 2!!

  12. C’mon! I get no love for that! Fuck you guys… ;)

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