The Top 10 Kings Headlines of 2011

I was gonna title this Top 10 MOMENTS but many are not “moments” per se, and it’s late and I couldn’t think of any other witty title, so screw me… and screw 2011, it’s been a suck ass year.

I’m sure there are other “headlines” I missed so feel free to add yours.

I couldn’t decide whether to put Terry Murray on the good or the bad, because he really did do some good things last season, but at the same time, didn’t progress this season, I left him off of both.

THE GOOD

5) JOHN STEVENS

Mark Hardy did a decent job when he was here, but following his off ice troubles, Stevens was just the defensive specialist the Kings needed and its paid off very nicely with two straight seasons of top 5 in the penalty kill and two straight seasons of being one of the stingiest defenses in the NHL. Considering two of his main D-men were the very young Jack Johnson and Drew Doughty (throw in Alec Martinez as well) and it shows just how good of a coach this man has been.

4) INCREDIBLE WINNING STREAK

On Thursday January 20th, the Kings were shutout at home by Phoenix, were in 12th place with a 24-22-1 record and were 2 games away from embarking on a 22 day, 10 game road trip. They won twice at home and then remarkably, didn’t lose the next 8 in regulation. By the time the road trip was finished on Wednesday February 23rd, the Kings were in 5th place and never looked back.

3) ACQUIRING MIKE RICHARDS

For years the Kings have been looking for a #2 Center. They thought about Lecavalier, but the years and mileage were a turn off. When the Flyers decided to clean house, Lombardi’s former employee gave him a call and it is the single best call he has received in five years. Can you imagine how bad the Kings would be if they had kept Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn? Richards has been the workhorse and come playoff time, he and Kopitar should hopefully get us past the first round.

2) LOCKING UP DOUGHTY

You’re saying to yourself, “Are you crazy, Barry?” First of all, the kid is 21 with tremendous upside. Just look at his peers when THEY were 21. Now compare. Uh Huh. The kid is gonna be a stud! Second, in six years, 7 million dollars a year for what he will be giving us is going to be a bargain and Kings fans will be applauding the day Lombardi overpaid for the first two seasons. Much like we’re now saying, “Dustin Brown is cheap!”

1) JONATHAN QUICK

The Kings no longer have to play the U2 song “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”. They finally drafted and developed what the Kings had been seeking for 40 years. After his disaster against the Vancouver Canucks in the playoffs of 2010, he came back strong against San Jose only to be let down by injuries to Williams and Kopitar. With a league leading 5 shutouts this season, Quick will hopefully get the recognition he deserves. He’s singlehandedly taken the low scoring Kings on his back and is the reason they’re not battling the Ducks and Jackets for the first overall pick.

THE BAD

5) LOSING KOPITAR JUST BEFORE THE PLAYOFFS

The Kings had a shot at 4th place before being swept by the Ducks in the final two games of the season. Had Kopitar not gotten hurt, the Kings would have beat the shit out of the Sharks. They nearly did it without Kopitar and an injured Williams. I still hear Jim Fox saying, “Get up Kopi.” He never did and the Kings season slipped away.

4) BLOWING A 4-0 LEAD IN THE PLAYOFFS

I hadn’t been this depressed since Geoff (thanks Scott) Courtnall took a run at Jamie Storr, gave him a concussion he didn’t know he had, let Sean O’Donnell beat him up and watch as the Kings 3-0 lead evaporated. This game still pains me because the Kings had the Sharks and it gave them the momentum they needed. The Kings were toast after that.

3) THE RYAN SMYTH FIASCO

Ryan, keep your dick in your pants. At least that was the rumor going around at the time. Lombardi said it was a nightmare having to listen to Smyth whine every day for “two months” before the season ended. Then the guy sticks it to Lombardi by only wanting to be traded to Edmonton (apparently there was a deal with Calgary that Smyth nixed). Then there was the whole “Mullet-gate” saga. In the end, Fraser has turned out to be one helluva 4th line player and I’m not sure if Brule is even in OKC anymore.

2) JAMIE KOMPON

I want to make one thing perfectly clear. I like Jamie Kompon as a person. He is very nice and his wife is really nice as well.

But he’s a lousy coach and his record proves that.

Last season the Kings were ranked 25th in goals and 21st on the power play. This season the Kings are dead last in goals and 25th on the power play. People love to make the argument that it’s the players, but my counter-point is this: If it’s the players, why are they so good with Stevens on defense and so lousy with Kompon on offense?

1)  BRAD RICHARDS/DREW DOUGHTY

As much as the Kings wooed Brad Richards, he really wanted to play for the Rangers and that’s too bad. You could certainly argue if Brad did sign with the Kings and THEN Mike Richards was offered, Dean would have been hard pressed to try and figure out how he was going to be able to afford both AND re-sign Drew Doughty. You could also argue that Brad Richards might only have 3 goals in Jamie Kompon’s offense.

But dare to dream of how delicious tis team would be with BOTH Richards and what a nightmare Bob Miller would be having with the Richards-Richardson-Richards line.

But it just further proved that no top flight free agent WANTS to play for the Kings other than Scuderi. Lombardi’s been nixed by Chara, Gaborik, Drury, Kovalchuk, Martin, and many others. Can’t say they didn’t try with Richards.

Drew Doughty not making it to training camp hurt. It hurt a lot and the Kings record has been a reflection of that. Then he got his bell rung in Philadelphia. Then he came back and tried to do too much. We’re almost half way into the season and Doughty is just now STARTING to find his stride. Maybe with Darryl Sutter and the way he communicates with his players Doughty will play a little more relaxed, but by far, this has hurt the Kings already challenged offense.

Bring on the ugly fucking sisters!

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Christmas is Over! FIRE KOMPON!

Mark my words. The Kings will make the playoffs – Pierre LeBrun, ESPN

Other than John Van Boxmeer, has there ever been a worse assistant coach in the history of the Kings than Jamie Kompon?

Winnipeg is an intimidating venue. It’s almost as loud as my wife after I’ve peed all over the toilet seat.

The Kings were like the new kid on his first day in high school. They were nervous, intimidated, pushed around, and of course, they didn’t score in the 1st period… again.

But once Darryl Sutter yelled at them between periods the Kings started to play a better physical game. Jack Johnson absolutely leveled Tim Stapleton (note to NHL players: CLEAN HIT) Unfortunately, Sutter didn’t yell at the person who needed to be yelled at the most. Kompon.

Why is Lombardi keeping this guy around? He was BOOED by his OWN FANS on opening night! Doesn’t that tell management something? YOUR OWN COACH BOOED!

“At what point do they start declining the penalties?” – Jeff

Jamie Kompon couldn’t coach a 5 on 3 if he had Gretzky, Lemieux and Howe. 1:53. 1:53 the Kings had and every shot was anticipated by Mason. Nothing even REMOTELY came close to going in.

“This power play makes me want kick a puppy. Even Helen Keller saw those shots” – Erick

In the 3rd, the Jets had about a minute of 5 on 3 of their own and it took an amazing save by Bernier to keep the game scoreless (note to Kompon: Did you notice how the Jets MOVE the puck?)

The Kings had a golden power play opportunity late in the game but guess what… they failed as badly as Obama’s economic plan.

One stupid bounce in overtime later and the Kings missed a chance to be in first place in the Pacific AND thanks to Kompon, wasted an absolutely wonderful effort by Bernier.

More Kompon. His power play has gone from 14th to 25th. The Kings have scored 2 or less goals in 18 of their last 19 games. In EIGHT of those games, the Kings scored 1 goal or less! Can you imagine if we had won just THREE MORE of those games? This guy is an absolute joke. I can only imagine BBF calling Lombardi and saying “Can’t we just get, I don’t know,  anybody ELSE?”

Can BBF please end the Brad Richardson on the top line? Please? He can’t finish. Since the experiment began 5 games ago, he has 1 goal and ZERO assists. 13 goals have been scored in that time. He’s bringing down Kopitar as well who has had ZERO goals but thankfully has set up Brown a few times. Maybe its time to elevate Richards to the top line.

“Why are Bob Miller and Jim Fox talking about Jets fans booing Drew Doughty like it’s a big thing? I boo the living shit out of him at Staples Center” – Dave

Unlike how bad Kompon is, John Stevens is that good as HIS penalty kill team is 69 of their last 72, and have not allowed a power-play goal in 6 consecutive games.

Fucking Kompon.

KINGS AND TAMPA SCOUTING EACH OTHER

Tampa had scouts in Chicago and Winnipeg and the Kings have had scouts in Tampa Bay. I’m told Tampa sent scouts to see Bernier.

Two seasons ago, Tampa offered Lombardi Ryan Malone for a 2nd round pick but were turned down. Malone will NOT waive his no trade clause, so who the hell are the Kings scouting? No, it ain’t Teddy Purcell. Steve Downie is -18.

Tampa needs Goaltending help ASAP as well as defensive help. Tampa scouts haven’t had much of a chance to see Alec Martinez in action since BBF has taken over.

LATE NOTE: Wild rumors tonight have KCAC (the TSN of Montreal) reporting that Yannick Weber may have been dealt to the Lightning this evening and  that Chris Campoli may have been dealt to the Sharks. (maybe Nittymaki?). But we shall see if its true or not.

Where the hell is my Carolina trade already?

CHEECHOO UPDATE

Say it isn’t so… but so far he’s still in Peoria.

HELP

If anyone wants to help a big mouth out to make this site look a little nicer, give me a shout.

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Quick, Dads, Sutter Upset Hawks 2-0!

It’s hard to view Sutter’s hiring as anything but a misguided calculation that will end badly for both men and for a franchise that looked like it was on the yellow brick road. – Scott Burnside, ESPN

Boudreau hasn’t motivated the Ducks, Hunter hasn’t motivated the Capitals, Muller hasn’t motivated the Hurricanes, Cunneyworth hasn’t motivated the Habs. Hitch and Sutter certainly have, and so far Lombardi is looking like he made the right choice as Sutter’s Kings are now 3-0-1 under his tenure.

In a likely future playoff matchup, and playing in front of their fathers, the Kings put in a fantastic effort against the best team in the NHL, snapping their 5 game winning streak.

In the first ten minutes of the game, the Kings were on the power play for six of them. Like a virgin having sex for the first time, they couldn’t stick it in.  I mean, what did we expect, really? The Kings scored TWO first period goals last game, I guess we shouldn’t expect another one until mid February?

Trent Hunters dad was in the arena and son made him proud with a scramble in front of Corey Crawford (who made some pretty decent saves) giving the Kings a rare 1-0 lead.

Jonathan Toews must have known Mike Richards is as bad at penalty shots as Gaddafi was at running a country. Richards could have given the Kings a luxury they haven’t had a lot of this season, a two goal lead, but his shot was weaker than that guy on the beach who gets sand kicked in his face.

The Kings were 67-0-5 when heading into the 3rd period with a lead, but against Chicago, many Kings fans were biting their nails, and one fan tweeted he chewed off his own hand.

A minute into the 3rd Justin Williams hustled his ass off and stole the puck from Hjalmarsson. Doughty eventually got the puck to the net where Williams took two swipes and Stoll, in front of HIS dad, added to the Kings lead. Great hard work.

Jon Quick saved his absolute best for the 3rd period as Chicago used him as a shooting gallery, especially with a deadly Chicago power play with just over 4 minutes left.

Sutter used his players wisely as the Kings play back-to-back against the suddenly hot Winnipeg Jets. The 4th line saw plenty of ice time and even saw power play time.

Congrats to Mike Kalinowski, who got engaged. I’m so happy he didn’t do it during the Kiss Cam segment at Staples Center.

CHOO-CHOO

Are Lombardi and Sutter kidding? He has 10 goals and 13 assists in 32 games playing for Peoria.

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Who Will Sutter Try And Bring in From Calgary?

Lombardi brought in his boys (Thornton, McCauley, Sturm, Stuart)…

I imagine Sutter has some favorites he’d like to bring in as well.

Rene Bourque? Certainly an upgrade over what we have on the 3rd and 4th lines.

Curtis Glencross? Have to give up a lot to get him, but he does play the Sutter way.

Will he do something dumb like have Lombardi swap Stoll for Jokinen? There’s obviously something about him Sutter likes. Why else would he have traded for him and then signed him again?

Anyone else come to mind?

GAGNE ON I.R.

Okay, so the Kings haven’t “officially” said he’s got a concussion, but if this is his 2nd of the season, he’ll be out for 21 days. We’re already weak on the left side with parse gone for the year. Does Brown go back to the left side?

MORE SUITORS FOR RUUTU?

Heard that St Louis is also in the running for the Carolina center but a source close to the Blues knew nothing about it.

I guess Nelson Emerson wasn’t visited by Santa? Or maybe he just doesn’t want to work for Bitter Beer face. BBF must be so pleased with the power play.

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Concussions? Really?

TICKETS ANYONE?

Before my usual rant, I have a pair of tickets for the Dec 31st game – Sec 119 – Row 11 – Seats 17-18 (right on the aisle above the glass) – for 175.00 for the pair. PayPal Only.

<RANT>

You ever stop to wonder why so many concussions are being reported this year as opposed to seasons past? Yes, there’s the obvious concern for the health of the players. But it’s never been as reported as rapidly as it has been this year.

Why?

Previously, did the NHL tell collective teams to simply say “upper body injury”? Is the league doing this as leverage for the upcoming collective bargaining agreement? Such as to include language that “If a player can no longer perform due to a concussion, we don’t owe him the FULL amount of the contract, but maybe HALF?” Could it be the insurance companies are behind this because they could possibly cancel their contract with the league? I mean, they’re gonna be paying out a lot more than they’re taking in on Marc Savard alone. Or maybe the league wants to change rules AGAIN. Bring back the red line? Eliminate the trapezoid? Bring back clutching and grabbing?

There’s a REASON why we’re getting so many announcements. Kind of like right before an election you start hearing about jobs and health care. Maybe it’s just my naturally suspicious attitude (its part of New Yorker’s DNA), but this just stinks of some sort of NHL propaganda. Some leverage they’re trying to instill. When has the league ever cared about the health of its players? They still haven’t implemented mandatory drug testing, so why all of a sudden do they care now?

SPEAKING OF CONCUSSIONS

Gagne suffered one last night. I believe it’s his 2nd this season and he could be out for an extended period of time… which means the Kings may be dealing for the likes of (ugh) Alexander Semin (Washington could use a few of our D men).

The Kings can’t go into the playoffs with Richardson on the 1st line. Hunter and recently waived Moreau aren’t the answer either. Can we just make that deal with Carolina already?

If Rich Hammond is so “independent” as he claims, why the fuck can’t he write that Gagne has a concussion and is towing the company line with his “upper body injury” bullshit.

I mean, come on, the very legit Dennis Bernstein tweeted very clearly “Kings Gagne concussion likely saves Loktionov assignment to AHL”. TSN is reporting it, Bob MacKenzie is reporting it. It’s been reported all over the NHL radio ALL DAY today but Hammond, the Insider, is saying “upper body injury?” Please.

Thank You Santa!

While Santa was calling his attorney for being arrested for DUI (the fat guy blew a 2.4, 3 times the legal limit!) many of our Christmas wishes came true!

No, not the one where you get to be Megan Fox’s sex slave for a day…

… the wish where the Kings would score more than 2 goals a game for the first time in 15 games!

But ho, ho, ho, the Kings scored 2 goals in the first PERIOD and many would swear they saw Jesus himself rise into the rafters at Staples Center. (Several inebriated onlookers told me he looked a lot like Rob Schneider. Weird.)

What is wrong with Justin Williams? He’s been blown up more than a chihuahua in a microwave since signing his new mega-deal.  He coughed up the puck more than my cat Fluffy coughs up fur balls. Raffi Torres? Seriously? Wasn’t he one of the dinosaurs in “Jurassic Park?”

The Jamie Kompon run power play was as horrid as my in-laws gift of an imported bag of smoked Nova Scotia eels. Early in the 3rd, Willie Mitchell was blessed with holiday cheer potting his 2nd goal of the season.

Then the smoking hot Captain, Dustin Brown went 5 hole for the game winner. Wait, that kind of came off like a sentence in the Harlequin romance novel I’m reading, “Behind the Highland Mist.” I get tingles just typing the title.

Jon Quick had a bit of an off night allowing THREE goals. Did he listen to too many Perry Como Christmas songs or something?

The gift of this home win was much better than the fruit cake and yogurt maker I got for Christmas this year.

What’s the crappiest gift you got?

Despite Voynov’s assist, he had another bad defensive game and that left me to wonder if he was simply just daydreaming about the cool refreshing taste of Fresca during certain points of the game.

A move is coming tomorrow as everything is lifted including waiver exemptions. Paging Untied Airlines, we have a one-way ticket for a Mr. Loktionov, arriving in Manchester tomorrow afternoon.

How about that time on ice for Westgarth! 4:48. Maybe Sutter just doesn’t want to feel obligated to put Hunter in for 9 minutes?

Shocker! Gagne got hurt again.

Matt Greene only got 12:20 on ice. I think Sutter knows what we already know. Are the Kings really gonna spend 3 million bucks on a 6th D-man getting 12 minutes of ice time?

5 out of the 11 Kings points tonight came from the D-men.

Kopitar still needs to score a goal or he will forever be labeled by Lombardi as the Alex Rodriguez of the Kings.

Stoll is still as uneventful as playing secret Santa.

Hey! The Ducks actually WON on the road? In San Jose? There is a Santa!!!

Get better David Courtney!!!!!

Merry Christmas! Open Forum! Trade Talk!

I hope you and your loved ones, or even ones you despise but have to hang out with anyway, are having a great day filled with drunken tirades, lots of food, and gifts you don’t really want!

That fat ass Santa broke my chimney and the masonry work is gonna cost a fortune to repair it!

I have word that it’s “highly possible” that Nelson Emerson takes over for Jamie Kompon.

Also hearing that it’s “likely” a trade comes down following the lifting of the trade freeze (Dec 27th)

So? LET’S PLAY GM! Who would you trade, to whom, and for what? I’ll be the opposing GM. Since I can’t hang up on you, I’ll make ridiculous counter offers (since its what I do for a living anyway)

Oh…

As promised, here’s the chart that my buddy Marc put together (waaaaay too much time on hands) regarding each team’s bottom 6 and how they’re doing – as you can see, like everything else, the Kings are dead last.