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.

Categories: Commentary Tags: , ,

Today in NHL History – May 28

May 28, 2012 Leave a comment

 

2003 – Patrick Roy (Colorado Avalanche) announced his retirement from the NHL. He left his career as the NHL leader in victories (551) and games played (1,029). He was also the all-time leader in playoff victories, games played and shutouts.

 

Today’s history brought to you by http://www.on-this-day.com

Today in NHL History – May 27

May 27, 2012 Leave a comment

 

1982 – Three New Jersey businessmen bought the NHL’s Colorado Rockies. They got approval to move the team to New Jersey and become the Devils.

Colorado Rockies

Colorado Rockies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

2003 – It was reported that Patrick Roy (Colorado Avalanche) would announce his retirement from the NHL the following day.

Ice hockey player Patrick Roy Русский: Вратарь...

Patrick Roy  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Today’s history brought to you by http://www.on-this-day.com

Jason’s Pick for the Stanley Cup Final

May 26, 2012 1 comment

 

 

Gotta go with the home team. Kings in 7

Quick Poll (ha ha!)

May 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Categories: Commentary