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Our Big Announcement

June 3, 2012 Leave a comment

 

WE’VE MOVED!!!

 

Effective immediately, we can be found at our new home on the web and we’re very excited about it. We invite you to join us at: www.bleacherbumblog.com

 

When you arrive, you’ll find a Subscribe Button near the upper left hand corner and we would encourage you to utilize it to keep updated on all our latest content.

 

Thanks for following us on this blog and we encourage you to join us at www.bleacherbumblog.com as we finish up our Stanley Cup Finals coverage and prepare to kick it into high gear for the offseason. We’re also adding a new contributor to the new site and we hope you’ll welcome Rose to the Bleacher Bum Blog family as we have.

 

Thanks again for your readership!

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Devils Down! Kings win again in another thrilling overtime!!

June 3, 2012 Leave a comment

 

It took another overtime session to get the win, but the Los Angeles Kings were able to get it done with a 2-1 overtime win at the Prudential Center last night. Jeff Carter’s beautiful no look goal (that looked like it was shot like by a laser beam!), beat Marty Brodeur at 13:42 of the first overtime to end the game. The Kings are the first team in history to go 10-0 on the road in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (source; NHL.com).

When asked at the press conference after the game if this was one of Carter’s best goals, Carter had this to say: “Yeah, it’s a pretty special moment, I think,” Carter said. “Obviously, any time you get a chance to play in the Final, it’s exciting. But scoring an overtime goal in Game 2, puts you up 2-0, it’s pretty special.” “I think this is by far the biggest, Carter said. I think it’s my first playoff overtime goal. It’s a huge one. It’s a big one for the team. Gets us a two-game lead here. Gets us where we wanted to be coming in here.”

Added Jarrett Stoll: “He’s been in the media a lot, he’s been in a lot of story lines. He’s a great addition for our team, a lot of offense coming over to us to solidify our lineup. He makes us a lot better team. big goal. Huge goal for our team.”

A couple of quick points on the series to date. The reason the Kings have a stranglehold on this series is simple. The Devil’s cannot get past Jonathan Quick. Anton Volchenkov’s wrist shot in Game 1 bounced off Slava Voynov before it went into the net. Not exactly a clean goal. Last night in Game 2, same situation. Ryan Carter’s shot and subsequent tip-in by Zidlicky was pure luck. I don’t believe that anyone will argue that a goal is a goal. But when your shooting only yields “lucky” goals, you aren’t going to win the Stanley Cup.

Another reason the Kings have been so successful is because the Devil’s best player hasn’t been. “Oh Ilya Kovalchuck, where are yoouu?!” The Devil’s $100 million dollar man has two shots on goal in the series thus far. Kovalchuck has been passing up shots constantly in this series. This is a bit peculiar, especially since Kovalchuck is a pretty good player. It’s almost as if he doesn’t want to shoot the puck!(?) After the game, Kovalchuk called the Devils power play “embarrassing.” Kovalchuck may want to find a synonym for his play as well.

“We played a much better game tonight,” said Devils coach Peter DeBoer after the game. “We spent more time in their end of the ice, got more shots through to the net, got more point shots. We just executed better tonight than we did in Game 1.”

True enough, but it still wasn’t enough to defeat the Kings and I think a huge amount of credit is due to the Kings for that. The Kings continue to beat the best teams in the league and almost make it look ordinary while doing it. All I can say, is that there is nothing ordinary about the Los Angeles Kings. Nor are they having an ordinary Stanley Cup run!!

Stay tuned Kings fans! Game 3 is at Staples Center this Monday Night (6/3) at 5:00 PM PST. Go Kings GOOOOO!!

My Three Star’s of the game:

Jeff Carter Jeff Carter

Jonathan Quick Jonathan Quick

Drew Doughty Drew Doughty

Quick Hits – May 31

May 31, 2012 2 comments

 

In other news around the league…

 

  • Career Red Wing defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom retired today at the age of 42. Lidstrom played 20 seasons, helped the Wings win four Stanley Cups and was a seven time winner of the Norris Trophy. Lidstrom is the current record holder for consecutive games played on one team with 1564 games. A four time Olympian, Lidstrom, who hails from Sweden, scored the Gold Medal winning goal for his country’s team in the 2006 games. In his career, he had 264 goals, 1142 points and a plus/minus rating of +450.

 

  • The Phoenix Coyotes (read:cry-babies) will not be disciplined for their post-game shenanigans after they lost in OT to the Kings in the Western Conference Finals. NHL executive VP Colin Campbell made the announcement prior to last nights Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals. Campbell laid out to the press what he said to each of the offending parties on the Coyotes roster and essentially said that, beyond a stern talking to, no discipline would be levied.

So, let’s review as I’m sure this won’t be the first or last time this happens in a playoff series ending game: Shane Doan and Keith Yandle go off, positively bonkers in their postgame commentary invoking conspiracy theories, calling out league ownership of the Coyotes, comparing the referees color scheme to the Kings colors and relating this to why the Kings won and they lost…no discipline. Mike Smith throws his stick to the ice in the direction of a ref…no discipline. Martin Hanzal skating aggresively and threateningly to and getting in the face of a ref to yell and scream (I’m quite certain dinner plans weren’t being discussed)…no discipline.

When this happens again, be it this season or next, we’ll see how the league responds.

 

  • The Calgary Flames have hired Bob Hartley as their new head coach after not renewing the contract of Brent Sutter at the end of this season. The former Colorado and Atlanta coach is 329-226-61 in the regular season and 49-35 in the post season, winning one Stanley Cup while he was with the Avs in 2000-01 season. Harley has not coached in the NHL since being fired by the Thrashers six games into the 2007-08 season.

 

 

Kings beat Devils 2-1 in overtime!!

May 30, 2012 2 comments

 
 
Anze Kopitar shoots the game winning goal against Martin Broduer.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
 
 
It took almost 4 periods of play to get there. But the Los Angeles Kings took down Game 1 with a 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. At 8:13 into the first overtime, Justin Williams made a beautiful backhand pass to an advancing Anze Kopitar for a beautiful breakaway goal that absolutely froze New Jersey goalie Martin Broduer. Thank god for DVR because I must have watched that goal about 7 times after Kopitar scored the goal! That is of course after all of us in the house stopped screaming!
 
 
 
This is L.A.’s 9th straight road victory since entering the playoffs and puts the L.A. Kings within 3 wins of winning their first Stanley Cup! If the Kings win Game 2 on Saturday, they will tie an NHL record for most road wins in a single post season (the 2004 Calgary Flames, and coincidentally the 1995 and 2000 New Jersey Devils). And the way it is going, it looks like that just might happen!
 
 
The Kings won Game 1 for which I am obviously over the moon about. But as Darryl Sutter has pointed out MANY times, this is a 7 game series and “it ain’t over!” I thought for the most part, the Kings dominated periods 1 & 2 of regulation. The Kings are physically bigger than the Devils and the Kings were using that to their advantage. That being said, I thought the Devils did a much better job at forechecking from the end of the 1st period through the rest of the game. The Kings were having a very difficult time trying to attack in their own zone through much of the 3rd period.
 
 
I didn’t see any of the so called “rust” that the Kings were “suppose” to have (this according to East Coast hockey media – who listens to them anyway?!). The Kings came out hot and were rolling all 4 lines with precision. That also being said, I saw some series defensive lapses in the late 2nd to 3rd period by the Kings. I saw this behavior rear it’s ugly head during Game 4 against Phoenix. The Kings get complacent and get into a zombie like trance where they lose their aggressiveness and appear to be moving almost in slow motion. I can’t stand when the Kings play this way and you can’t let your foot of the gas even a little bit, against ANY team. Especially not the New Jersey Devils and definitely not in the Stanley Cup Finals.
 
 
 
The Kings have to find an answer to New Jersey’s aggressive forechecking. The Kings are bigger, but the Devils are faster. If we don’t find a way to counter that (besides more goals!) I expect more trouble in Game 2. But I am proud of the way the Kings played. They deserve this victory!!  GO KINGS GO!!
Categories: Commentary

Kings Stay Perfect on the Road

May 29, 2012 Leave a comment

It took Overtime to get it done but the Kings continue to do the improbable, winning Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals halfway through the overtime period on a breakaway goal by Anze Kopitar. With the 2-1 OT victory the Kings continue to dominate on the road, winning 9 straight this postseason and 11 dating back to last years’ postseason.

 

This was a surprisingly cleanly played game (6 penalty minutes total between the two teams), however the Kings outworked the Devils in just about every important statistical category. The Kings outshot the Devils 25-18, gave up fewer turnovers 6-11, won more faceoffs 31-25 and killed both penalties assessed against them.

 

In what little scoring there was with two phenomenal goalies in net for tonight’s matchup, the Kings took an early lead halfway through the first on a goal by Colin Fraser, his first career postseason goal. You couldn’t pick a grander stage to nail your first postseason marker, eh, Colin? Late in the second,  Devils’ defenseman Anton Volchenkov tied the game with his first goal of the postseason, fourth overall in his 8 years in the league.

 

There the score remained throughout the remainder of regulation. Midway through the OT period, Kopitar took a pass from Justin Williams, skated in alone, worked the puck to draw veteran goalie Martin Brodeur out and down as Kopitar first faked a backhand then flicked a forehand under Brodeur’s right pad as he was splayed out in the crease. No matter which side of the rink you were rooting for, this Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals was a spectacular nail-biter. Which brings me to a gripe I’ve had that’s grown over the past few days…

 

For those who have riddled blogosphere, talk radio and TV with nonsense about this Stanley Cup featuring two of the worst teams to reach the big stage, a bit of perspective is needed. I understand where they were seeded when the playoffs were locked in. I get that. However, both of these ‘bad’ teams obviously played better than the ‘good’ teams they faced. This is an undeniable fact. They’re here, you’re watching (or not watching) them play for the Stanley Cup.

 

If the Blues or the Flyers, Canucks or the Pens were supposed to be here just because they finished the regular season in a better spot, there’d be no need for a playoff. Hence, the argument is circular, self defeating and you essentially suggest an elimination of playoff hockey by saying bad teams got here and by default, #1 Eastern and #1 Western should ALWAYS play for the cup. No one would watch the sport if that happened. Some of the most exciting hockey you’ll ever see is playoff hockey!

 

In short, quit your whining because your favorite #1 or #2 seed couldn’t put together a proper post season and advance. Your team lost. Your team did not grind out overtime games or slog through six and seven game series’ the way the Devils did. Your team did not find a way to win consistently on the road as the Kings have. In my opinion, the two best teams are currently playing for the right to hoist the cup. They’ve earned their spot on this stage and they’ll play Game Two on Saturday Night at 5pm PDT

Justin’s Analysis & Preview of the Stanley Cup Final

May 29, 2012 Leave a comment

As Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final quickly approaches, I find myself nervous for the series to get started. It has been an amazing season of hockey and I can’t wait for the Kings to continue their magical run. Here is my analysis of the series:

I was reading stories and statistical analysis of the series on NHL.com and ESPN for several hours in preparation for writing this article. I was going to cover matchup’s, goalies, forechecking, Kings players playoff experience and other keys I thought necessary for the Kings to win the series. Then this thought struck me: FORGET ALL OF THAT! This series is going to come down to one thing and one thing only, HEART!!

The Kings have tons of it. This series is more than just the Stanley Cup. This series is about proving to the hockey world, especially the East Coast, that real hockey DOES exsist on the West Coast. This is about earning some R-E-S-P-E-C-T  through out the NHL and the hockey world in general!! This about erasing a 45 year drought that not even The Great One could save us from. This is old school pee wee hockey style hockey that’s  about one thing: kicking some Devil ass!

So forget everything you have read. The stats can’t tell you what I already know. The Kings have the heart of a lion and that is why the will be lifting the Cup.

Categories: Commentary

Captain Pancake?

May 29, 2012 Leave a comment

I can tell you without hesitation that this article is absolutely true! Around our section, we heckled Penner to death! We had a lot of laughs at his expense over the course of this season. But as it turns out, Penner may have the last laugh!

 

By Bill Simmons

I started bringing my daughter to Kings games last November, after I bought season tickets behind one of their goals for the season. She knew nothing about hockey, started learning on the fly, and ended up liking the sport about 100 times more than I ever expected. One of her first questions: “Why are the fans so mad at Penner?”

My answer was simple: Kings fans believed Penner made too much money and didn’t try hard enough. In the Salary Cap Era, you can’t pay a hockey player $4.25 million for piddling results. My daughter never accepted that, nor did she understand it. She thought Penner was trying. She thought the fans were being too mean. She didn’t care how much money he made. Anytime someone derisively screamed that Penner sucked, she’d whirl around with a wounded look on her face. She didn’t understand the concept of “motivating someone by being relentlessly mean to them.”

Meanwhile, the Kings changed coaches, yanked Penner’s playing time around, shopped him at the trade deadline, even sent him home for “conditioning” reasons. None of it worked. Penner was mired in the slump of slumps. In his first 90 games with the Kings, he only scored ten times. His goals happened so infrequently that one of the diehards in our row — Julia, who’s famous in Section 115 for pouncing on any puck that somehow squeezes through the net and falls toward the fans — sarcastically promised to wear a Penner jersey if he scored in a certain game. Of course, he did. Suddenly she was wearing Penner’s jersey as people gawked at her in disbelief. A Penner jersey? Was this supposed to be ironic?

Keep in mind, our section included one fan who screamed “COME ON, PENNER!” during just about every Penner shift for the entire Kings season. His pronunciation of “Penner” always oozed with sarcasm. Come on, Penner. Eventually, he started yelling those three words at other Kings who screwed up. Penner had evolved into the perfect whipping boy for a hockey crowd — overpaid and undermotivated (or so it seemed), stuck with an unflattering nickname (“Pancakes,” which Penner earned after injuring his back while sitting down to eat a stack of pancakes), just a 6-foot-4 sniper who didn’t snipe and had (seemingly) wasted his considerable potential.

I probably attended 22 Kings games during the regular season. At no point did I ever imagine them making the Stanley Cup finals … and believe me, at no point did I ever imagine that the words “Dustin Penner” and “playoff hero” would appear in the same sentence (even if it had already happened before, with the 2007 Ducks). It’s not like Penner cruised into the postseason with a head of steam: In a two-month stretch from February 9 through April 7, Penner scored just twice in 23 games. Then the playoffs started and “COME ON, PENNER!” slowly morphed into “COME ON, PENNER!” He started finishing his checks and flying around on the suddenly dangerous Richards-Carter-Penner line, notching 10 points in 15 games and even scoring the game-winner to propel the Kings into their second finals ever. Penner had shaken out of his slump. And then some.

That last goal happened in overtime, well after my daughter had already gone to sleep. She found out the details the following morning, and her eyes widened when she heard who scored the series winner.

“Penner????? Really?”

And then …

“You think the guy behind us will stop being mean to him?”

And that’s when I came to this realization: “I need to do a podcast with Penner.” We taped it on Friday afternoon in our B.S. Report studio, just a few hours before the Devils advanced to the finals. We talked about Penner’s topsy-turvy season, the near-fight in the Coyotes-Kings handshake line, the rules of fighting in general, the story behind his missing tooth, what happened to the Kings these past seven weeks, and even whether he could hear Kings fans killing him during regular-season games. (The short answer: Yes.) I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Remind me to have more hockey players on the B.S. Report.

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