Friday, August 9, 2013

Probably the Only Offseason Post You'll See from Me.

Well, I've finally been able to acknowledge the fact that the Kings are no longer the defending Stanley Cup Champions and that the Blackhawks stole that sacred goblet from our hands. This means I can actually write about hockey with...without...hold on...


Back to the Kings. There have been a few changes to the roster in case you haven't heard. Our third best goalie, Rob Scuderi, was picked up by the same team he actually made that save for; Jonathan Bernier went to be a backup goalie for a team that was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs; Dustin Penner was let go, so what the team now lacks in personality, they made up for in efficiency during the regular season; Matt Frattin and Ben Scrivens were added to the roster in the trade for Bernier and the Kings signed defenseman Jeff Schultz and winger (because the Kings apparently don't care which side you prefer to play on) Daniel Carcillo.

But we still have some unanswered questions:

Are these new guys good? Frattin is decent, 13 pts in 25 games played. That's incredible improvement from the previous season. Put him on a line with pretty much any of our top 3 centers and he'll be just fine. Scrivens? Eh, he's a backup for a reason.

Who is going to play defense? Dude, IDK. Everyone from last year, except Scuderi. The Kings have way too many defensemen anyway, we'll be ok.

Does Willie Mitchell still exist? According to Dean Lombardi and Mitchell's twitter/instagram, yes.

But seriously, who's going to play defense in place of Scuderi?!?

The loss of Scuderi is arguably the biggest hole to fill on the roster. Dude was intense. I mean, who on our current roster is going to slam their face into the boards just so that we can win the Stanley Cup again? We CAN'T let Jeff Carter do that. Scuderi's facial hair is rivaled by few and with Penner gone too, it's going to be a tough spot to fill, especially with all the talk of these prospects coming in. What is it with young hockey players and not being able to grow facial hair? I've been shaving since the freaking 7th grade. Do zamboni fumes delay puberty?

What about the actual playing of hockey? You know, blue line, penalty kill, etc.?
"We made it to the playoffs last year without a key defenseman, and if Mitchell comes back we'll be fine." But that's the thing. Mitchell is unreliable. He's like a drunk friend. He says he'll be there. He says he'll pick you up from the airport. But he doesn't. He says he'll slam his face into the boards to win a Cup, but he does it at a completely inappropriate time and on accident. Could you potentially put Doughty into the lineup as a stay at home defenseman? Yeah, he did a decent job at it last year. But everyone is happier when he scores a lot.
And even when he gets assists

If Mitchell comes back and stays healthy (there's been video of him skating and shooting...alone, but skating and shooting nonetheless) there isn't TOO much to worry about. He'll probably be off his game early on in the season, just as Matt Greene and Jonathan Quick were after they came back from injury. The good news is that the NHL extended the regular season this year to 82 games instead of 48. Crazy, I know.

You'd think a team with 9 defensive players on their NHL roster alone, not including prospects in Manchester, and the best goalie in the world would be able to win games and give up no more than 2 goals.

Offensively, there's no excuse. They have all of the right guys up front, but just can't seem to score when it matters (read: against the Blackhawks in the WCF). If Slovenia expects to get out of group play in the Olympics, Kopitar better...ah, who am I kidding, they won't get out of group play regardless. But score more goals for the Kings, dammit.

All in all, I am fully expecting the Kings to lead me on like we are going to have another Cup run, go through an early/mid/late season slump which potentially compromises a playoff spot, and then play the Penguins in the final. Let's see how we can face off against an old friend.

Side note: Stoked to see Jonathan Quick stay healthy all year and win the US a gold medal in Sochi and then a Stanley Cup in the spring.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Nervously Blogging About Nothing Pre-Game 7

Disclaimer: I'm writing this only to take my mind off of Game 7 later. But now that I think about it, talking about hockey isn't going to help...anyway.

I really don't think I can do this. Game 7's are fun to watch, but when your team is on the brink of elimination/victory it's really just going to cause your cortisone levels spike to levels which some doctors would describe as "dangerously high."

Winner take all, and by "all" what I really mean is "advances to the Western Conference Final." But baby steps, right?

Keys to the Game:

Special Teams: If the Kings stay out of the box, they stand a good chance at winning this game. Even if they do get into some penalty trouble, their PK has only allowed one power play goal this playoffs.

Jonathan Quick: He's going to have to play really well, like he usually does.

Forecheck: The team that can get their forecheck going early and maintain it will win. Eliminate time and space. Not to be confused with the space time continuum. Don't want to mess with that...
Man, Darryl Sutter hasn't changed a bit since 1985.

Carter/Richards/Kopitar/Brown: These guys need to score. Early and often. Kopi's lack of scoring in the playoffs (6 points in 12 games) is like watching an episode of Walking Dead.

Quick! Someone call Daryl!

Joe Thornton: Please. PLEASE don't let this man score any goals....
Why do I keep doing this? 

According to the Kings are favored in this game, mainly because of the significance home-ice advantage has served in this series.

I ask you, fellow Kings fans, to make sure you go through your pregame rituals EXACTLY how you have done for every home game thus far. We'll need an juju/mojo we can get.

That's all. Go Kings. I'll be the guy yelling at a TV in the middle of an empty sports bar with my Hawaiian friend.

Friday, May 24, 2013

It's a 3-2 League...I Mean Series

I’ll tell you something right now, it is way more fun to write about hockey when the Kings win. 

In case you missed it, which I hope you didn’t, the Kings beat the Sharks 3-0 Thursday night to take a 3-2 series lead which puts them one win away from their second consecutive trip to the Western Conference Final. 

What was different in this game compared to the last two, or even arguably three, games? This leads me to a new segment I'm going to start where I talk about things I thought the Kings executed well which aided their victory, or stood out in a loss, and I'm going to call it....

Good Things:

Well, the Kings were forechecking, hard. They were also Four-Checking really well (penalty kill, guys. Get it? Because...four players...ok). The Sharks had only 4 shots total on their 3 power plays. They were clogging the neutral zone. Quick stood on his head, and drew a penalty on the guy who accused him of diving. HA! 

Lots of offensive zone time, thus leading to a lot of shots (29). Not all of them were on net, but the Kings were able to get a lot of shots off, despite the fact that many went wide of the net or were blocked by Sharks players (19) other than Antti Niemi. 

They won more faceoffs than the Sharks! (37-35) Trevor Lewis's faceoff win against Joe Thornton was especially significant, as it lead to Slava Voynov's goal. More on Slava and Thornton later. 

Anze Kopitar finally scored. Jeff Carter scored (an empty netter) but he fooled just about 18,000 people, including the Staples Center lighting crew, into thinking he had scored in the second period.

Kings outhit the Sharks 51-24. That's absurd. Like I said, forecheck. 

And this ends the first ever segment of Good Things.

Kings fans: if you think the series is over, please don’t get ahead of yourself. Game 5 was the best game the Kings have played this series (if not thus far in the playoffs). The Sharks are a good team that is, as we already saw, capable of winning two games in a row. The series could easily be 3-2 the other way.

But hey, it’s not 3-2 the other way so that’s pretty cool. It’s pretty obvious that if the Kings can replicate their level of play in Game 5 in Game 6 on Sunday, they’ll win the series. Doesn’t take an expert analyst to figure that out. It’s pretty much deductive reasoning. 

Other things the Kings can do?

Special Teams: While the referees seem to be letting the boys play, and calls are far and few between, it seems to me (I am in no way claiming to be unbiased) the calls are going the Sharks way. Now that I’ve got that out of the way; the Kings are doing a good job on the penalty kill, but if they really want to crush the Sharks’ and more importantly their fans’ hella hopes, score more power play goals. Fun Fact: the Kings had a WHOPPING 2 shots on the PP. Shorthanded? Kings had 2 shots. 

Voynov’s goal was technically even strength last night, but came immediately after a power play had ended. The power play goals shouldn’t be coming at the very end of the 2 minutes of offensive freedom. Score early and often. Both teams were 0/3 on the PP last night. 

The Opposite of Special Teams: By this I mean, stay out of the penalty box. The Kings are a pretty disciplined team, and don’t take many dumb penalties ie. those that come after the whistle just to get back at an opposing player for chirping 

Joe Thornton didn’t have such an amazing game last night, definitely compared to Game 4. Whether this is due to his own inconsistency, or the Kings being able to shut him down, it doesn’t really matter to me, as long as he doesn’t do this again...
*wipes single tear from face*

God, that was horrible. The best revenge? Besides the obvious...

...Win a dad-gum road game in San Jose. I really don’t think my body is capable of handling a Game 7 until the Finals. What happened to the team that lost 1 road game in the playoffs last year? Sometimes I just don’t get it. But since we’re sort of, kind of, technically the #2 seed now, road success isn’t nearly as important as home success. 

Along the lines of home ice advantage:

The Red Wings are ahead 3-1 in their series against the Blackhawks. Yes, the team that didn’t lose a regulation game until over halfway through the regular season is on the verge of elimination. 

Red Wings fans: I wouldn’t get your hopes up. There’s no way a seed as low as 7th place can make it to the Cup, let alone win it...

That being said, SHOULD the Kings make it to the next round with the Red Wings, home ice goes to the Kings. Seeing how the Kings have yet to lose at home in the playoffs, or for the last 12 games, that looks to be pretty beneficial. But keep in mind, if there's one team that has a lot of fans in LA, it's the Red Wings. I can't even remember the last time I saw the Kings and Red Wings play in each other in the playoffs...or...can I? 

*To save time go ahead and skip to 5:10*

#PlayoffMartinez Update:

This was the FIRST Kings win this playoffs without Alec Martinez in the lineup. After last night, it’s hard to justify putting Martinez in. Jake Muzzin was firing rockets from the point. Only 2 counted as shots, and he had a giveaway, but I was overall impressed with is play. Matt Greene looked almost back to his original form, throwing the body around (4 hits), standing guys up on the blueline. To top it off, he was +1 (but that's sort of a hollow victory, I guess when no one on the team was a - last night). And Slava Voynov had a goal. Can’t really complain about the results from the game last night. 

Daryl Sutter isn’t going to sit Doughty, Voynov, Scuderi, or Regehr. With Muzzin offering offensive firepower and Greene finally stepping up his game, looks like the days of Martinez are coming to a close unless Muzzin starts making tons of rookie mistakes. Even then, Muzzin has 2 inches and 10 pounds on Martinez so he offers more of a physical presence in the defensive zone. 

As of Sunday I’ll be back in Austin. I fully expect to be kicked out of multiple sports bars due to boisterous, inappropriate, or even downright offensive behavior throughout the rest of the playoffs. And my sleep cycle will be messed up during home games (yes, I am blaming the hockey games).

Although, the Kings are now 5-0 when I attend the games. So I think it is in the team’s best interest that we crowd source the funding to fly me to and from Austin and L.A. because the boys need me. Especially during the finals. Really airfare is all that will need to be paid for. Tickets and board in L.A. are already paid for. Thinking about starting an indiegogo page. 

Starting an internship/job next week, so posts may not be as frequent in the coming months (because they have just be SO FREQUENT so far right?!?) But you can always follow me on twitter, @SuttersLonghorn for a good time. I tweet about seeing celebrities at Kings games and then get called out for being a jerk about it. It's great. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Blown Call or Blown 40 minutes of Hockey?

Aside from the LA Kings twitter account allowing Kevin Ryder, of the KROQ morning radio show Kevin and Bean, to take over the account for the second period last night and all of the "controversy" that followed, there was a hockey game going on too.

The Sharks ended up tying the series with another home-ice win. I, at least, expected the Sharks to take at least one game at home seeing how they've only lost in their home arena twice this year.

The referees are getting a lot of attention this series for their calls causing; a Kings 5on3 powerplay that ended up winning Game 2 for the Kings, A Sharks 5on3 powerplay that led to the Sharks winning Game 3, and a quick whistle freezing play that would have otherwise resulted in a Kings goal that eded up being the difference in the final score.

You can moan and groan about how Tuesday night's game should have gone into overtime, but it really shouldn't have. The Kings only played 20-25 minutes of good hockey.


The shots were even 23-23 at the end of the game. The Kings had 9 shots through the first and second periods. The Sharks had 2 shots in the 3rd period. The Kings out hit the Sharks 53-36, granted the Kings barely had the puck for the first period and registered many of those hits then. But, the Sharks faced a similar situation in the third and the Kings still out hit them.

Imagine if the Kings had played the entire game, or even just two periods, the way they played in the third.

Not to discredit what the Sharks did these past two games. Especially last night, they came out flying, looking like they wanted to win. The Kings on the other hand, looked like they didn't want it.

No forecheck. Losing 50/50 puck battles. Essentially zero offensive zone time. It sure didn't look like the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings (no I never get tired of typing/saying that phrase).

Additionally; Jeff Carter isn't scoring, the Kopitar-Brown-Williams line is being shut down.

#PlayoffMartinez Update:

Once again, Alec Martinez was NOT in the Kings lineup and once again the Kings lost. 0-4 without Martinez. 6-0 with. If you're thinking, "Come on, enough with the Alec Martinez stuff. The Kings would have lost both those games anyway," I have news for you; I'm not the only person who feels this way about Martinez. Let's take to twitter.

After Jake Muzzin missed a point blank, wide-open net scoring opportunity...

SO. I think we know where I stand as far as which defensemen we should use Thursday night.

Who do you take out though?

Matt Greene: on ice for both a Sharks goal and lone Kings goal, 4 hits. Veteran experience. Not much playing time this year. Most likely to sit next game.

Slava Voynov: No. (A few defensive zone turnovers, one which led to a Sharks goal, last night but he's too much of an offensive assest to sit.)

Rob Scuderi: No. I don't understand why he wasn't a Vezina Trophy candidate. (Old video, I know, but he's been making similar plays all playoffs this year)

Instead of listing all of the Kings defensemen and saying why they shouldn't be scratched, I'll just say this: Sit Matt Greene. Put in Martinez. The only issue is that Marinez is a left-handed shot, where as Greene is right. That can cause funkiness as far as D pairings go, but as far as pairings with the "Stay-at-home" and "two-way" offensive D-Men go, they should be fine.

Doughty can play both a stay-at-home and offensive role on defense, and he has been which is why he's leading the team in ice time, and it's pretty evident we need all the offensive firepower we can get.

Stoll's absence is still being felt on the PK. Faceoffs however, Brad Richardson was 50% for faceoffs. Which isn't a terrible stat. Still room for improvement though as the Sharks won the faceoff battle 34-26.

If the Kings put together 3 periods like they did in last night's third period, get their top scorers to be exactly that, and play Alec Martinez, they'll win the series. It won't be easy. I see the series going 7 games, tops.

Unfortunately, it looks like Daryl Sutter doesn't see eye to eye with me on this whole Martinez issue.


In other news, Dustin Penner sees some humor in how he got robbed of a goal last night.

*Click on link in Penner's tweet to see his video*

At least he didn't pull out a gun after the call. (If you haven't seen The Big Lebowski I highly recommend it.)

Follow on twitter @SuttersLonghorn for my stream of consciousness during games/random tweets during the day/stupid puns/my new hashtag #lakingsbandnames (feel free to add your own)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Special Teams do Special Things

Well, last night was pretty crazy to say the least. You hate to see a hockey game be won or lost on a controversial delay of game call...unless you're me or really any Kings fan. I'll take it. I'm sure Trevor Lewis will take it. Daryl Sutter, if he saw it, will take it. It was great.

#PlayoffMartinez Update: 2 penalties. One of which cut our power play short by 31 seconds and, although it was technically even strength, resulted in the Sharks first goal 5 seconds after their power play ended. At this point I'm not so sure I want to keep up with my boy #PlayoffMaritnez, BUT...

...I suppose that's not a bad thing.

There was a noticeable tenacity last night in one of the rookie players, Tyler Toffoli, . This kid (he's 7 months older than me) really, really wants to score. He had the assist on Trevor Lewis's game winning goal, but also had 5 shots on goal. That ties him for the highest shot total of the night, on either team, with Drew Doughty.

Albeit none of Toffoli's shots went in, unlike Mr. Doughty's, he is definitely making progress, showing that he's not afraid to shoot like some guys (pretty much everyone on the top power play unit), and he's looser out there, making smart plays as opposed to the easy ones.

As a surprise to no one, except for Antti Niemi, Jeff Carter scored. Again. He just sniped it, far side, past Niemi on the Kings' first shot of the game. It was beautiful, sexy, filthy, etc. Here are a few of my favorite tweets describing the goal:

Check this out: the Kings weren't outshot in last night's game! Shots were even 31-31.

The Kings also had 2 less penalties called against them. 11 of their shots and 3 of their goals came on the power play. The Sharks did not score on the power play. Needless to say the Kings are winning the Special Teams battle.

Even strength: Kings were outshot 19-24. That's not too bad. All of the Sharks goals were even strength (counting the goal that came 5 seconds after Martinez's penalty had ended).

Again, I think the Kings are going to need to up their forecheck even more. Opposed to last game, the Kings didn't replicate their efforts of keeping the Sharks on the perimeter, and they had some SERIOUSLY good chances up front.

Jonathan, you're the man. (forget about the part where the Sharks score a few minutes later)

Anze Kopitar took a shot to the face (his own teammates shot) in the first minute of the 3rd period. Kings fans far and wide can most likely remember the last time the Kings played the Sharks in the playoffs without Kopitar in the lineup...

(wipes tears. composes self. continues writing) 
Here's a link to the video of it, if you want to watch, in other words, if you have some serious self-loathing issues.

So I think I can speak for everyone when I say, until Kopitar came back onto the ice later in the third, worried was an understatement. But when he came back into the game...

Props to Dieter Ruehle for playing the theme from Rocky when Kopi came back on the ice. That standing ovation was awesome.

The Kings are already thin up the middle with the absence of Jarret Stoll, so the prospect of Kopitar pulling a Sydney Crosby (too soon?) was worrisome.

That being said, Stoll's absence was really felt last night. The only King who was above 50% in the faceoff circle was Colin Fraser (60%). I'd give you the stats per player, but it'd just be depressing. I'll say this, last night the team as a whole won 32% of the faceoffs.

Brad Richardson came into the lineup to try and fill the void last night. He was a -1 with an assist on Doughty's goal (sidenote: Doughty clocked over 28 min. of ice time, wowsers). I recall reading somewhere that Richardson had the potential to add a bit of an offensive spark to the team, and sure enough the Kings scored 4 goals, one of which Richardson directly caused.

There's talk on the Twittersphere that Kyle Clifford could potentially be back in the lineup soon. He's a good physical presence on the ice which could be used as I felt the Sharks upped their physical game last night. The Kings did answer back with physical play from just about everyone, totaling 38 hits against the Sharks 31. Fraser and Lewis led the Kings with 5 hits a piece.

Now on to Game 3. The Sharks should feel confident going into their home arena as they outplayed the Kings for most of the past 120 minutes of hockey. It's only a matter of them getting bounces, staying out of the penalty box, and scoring on the powerplay before we have ourselves a tight series.

Be sure to follow @SuttersLonghorn on Twitter so you'll know when I post new things/take pictures of Red Wings fans at a game between the San Jose Sharks and defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Shutting Out the Sharks: How to Confirm You have the Best Goalie in the World

Tuesday the Los Angeles Kings shutout the San Jose Sharks 2-0 in Game 1 of the Western Conference  Semi-Final. Both Mike Richards, center, and Slava Voynov, defense, were credited with a goal and an assist. Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick stopped 35 shots in order to get his second shutout of the 2013 playoffs.

Well that was a boring intro...moving on.

#PlayoffMartinez Update: 1 shot on goal last night.....

I was at the game last night so it was a lot easier to follow the game there than on my computer screen. Here are some things I noticed, both good and bad:

The Bad:

1. The Kings gave up 35 shots. Luckily Jonathan Quick of Nazareth was there to stop all of them. But really, getting outshot by 15 isn't the most effective way to win hockey games. 

2. 50/50 battles for the puck; from what I could tell, the Kings weren't winning them for the most part. 

3. The Kings second goal was a deflection. Just as easily, the Sharks could have had one of those lucky bounces and the game would have been completely different. 

4. Jeff Carter didn't score AND got an assist. It was horrible. 

5. Raffi Torres sucks and Jarret Stoll has a "day-to-day" "undisclosed" injury. For those who aren't familiar with hockey, that means he has a concussion because Mr. Torres blindsided him (and a few other guys).

Word on the street is that he has been offered an in-person hearing with the NHL on his hit last night. 

The Good:

1. The Kings won! Yeah! That makes 5 in a row. 

2. Defensively: the Kings were doing a good job of keeping a majority of the Sharks shots to the perimeter. The Sharks weren't getting too many chances up close or off of rebounds. If there was a loose puck in front of the net, and Quick wasn't there, a defenseman was and he was able to clear it to the boards. In addition, the Sharks had only 4 shots on their three powerplays. 

3. The Kings 3rd period forecheck stood out to me, when they got the chance to forecheck that is. I mean pretty much all of the third period was played in the Kings' zone. But otherwise, the rest of the game the Kings did a good job of clogging the neutral zone and the Sharks were dumping/chasing more times than not. 

The Kings will definitely have to up their play in Game 2. It's got to be frustrating for the Sharks to put 35 shots on net, and none of them go in. Jonathan Quick is making them look like...

Despite the Kings 2 goals coming from the more "outside" regions of the offensive zone, I felt that they had more quality scoring chances than the Sharks (until the third period). But what does a scoring chance even mean? Isn't every shot a "scoring chance?" What does it imply? 

Game 2 will be interesting. Why? Well the Sharks are probably not going to come up goalless on 35 shots again. Jarret Stoll will most likely be out for the Kings, a key faceoff guy for the team. So who's going to replace him?

Jeff Carter and Mike Richards can both take faceoffs well, but does Daryl Sutter really want to split those two up? I mean, these guys are the dynamic duo, they can't be separated. What's Henrik Sedin without Daniel? What's Batman without Robin? What Bonnie without Clyde? What's an Adam Sandler movie without Rob Schneider? 

*Sweet Ed Hardy shirts Mike and Jeff!*

Trevor Lewis and Colin Fraser can both take faceoffs too, so expect some line juggling to happen for Game 2. I'd try and figure out what Daryl Sutter's going to do, but I don't even think he knows yet. 

Possibilities based on last games scratches:
- Kyle Clifford (most likely not. practiced yesterday in red "no-contact" jersey)
- Brad Richardson (could potentially add an offensive spark, based on history of coming off healthy scratch)
- Any of the several AHL guys that were called up but won't see any playing time. Names to keep in the back of your mind; Brandon Kozun, Anthony Stewart. Both right wings, and I've heard their names before, so if that doesn't mean anything I don't know what does. 

Also, Torres may or may not be suspended for a few games, but aside from causing injury to the other team he's basically a non-factor. 

I'll leave you with a pic I took from last the men's bathroom...between the first and second periods...

If you can't read it clearly, that's a tiny bottle of Taaka vodka. If you've never heard of it, consider yourself blessed. If you have, I feel your pain. Like, literal pain. I've felt it too...

So shout out to the Kings fan that smuggled this in. I'm sure it probably wasn't worth the feeling of Satan's saliva running down your throat to feel that less than $9.25/beer buzz.

Taaka 'bout giving up 35 shots...

If you have anything to say about this post; agree, disagree, were hazed with Taaka vodka and want to share, etc. feel free to comment.

And be sure to follow me on twitter @SuttersLonghorn

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Cool, Calm, and Collected

My flight home is delayed, so I'm in the airport blogging about how THE KINGS WON FOUR GAMES IN A ROW TO KNOCK THE ST. LOUIS BLUES OUT OF THE PLAYOFFS last night.


In my "Lemonhead Stanley Cup Bracket Challenge" on, I had originally put the series down for Kings in 5. Probably could have happened if Jonathan Quick hadn' know...Game 1?

But I also had Vancouver sweeping the Sharks (ha!) and therefore we'd have played the Ducks in the conference final (according to my expertise). So my bracket in both conferences is pretty much shot, and not all of it is Jonathan Quick's fault. If the Kings beat the Penguins in Game 6 of the final, I'll have called it. But we can sweep them too, I'm not against that by any means.

You know what is Jonathan Quick's fault? The fact that we won this series. This guy stood on his head every night, save after save, as per usual. So thanks, man. That was nice of you to keep us in it, again. But I'm still leaning towards Justin Williams for Conn Smythe as of now.

Update on #PlayoffMartinez: of course after I say something he does nothing spectacular (but mind you nothing terrible) to help me prove a point. Based on who scored the winning goal, I'm fully on board the #PlayoffPenner train.

*Video courtesy of Kings Vision*

Arguably, it's a lucky shot, gets deflected, Brian Elliot probably wasn't expecting it. However, Penner's hustle earlier on in the play gave him that opportunity. I said this last year to my little brother when Penner scored the winning goal in a game of the Vancouver series, "If you had told me Dustin Penner would score a winning goal against the [Blues] in the first round of the playoffs, I would have cried from laughter."

Now, relating to the title of this blog. I noticed, and have continued to notice, how the Kings are very focused and level headed when being interviewed after games, regardless of the outcome. You can see what I mean by watching the videos on the Kings Vision YouTube channel.

They are all so focused, it's insane. Preparing for the next game is all that's on their collective minds, whether they are down two games in the series, ahead in the series, or into the next round. I mean the only person who said that the Kings were confident was Mike Richards, and I read somewhere...

...that he has won 21 playoff series in his OHL, AHL, and NHL careers combined. So I suppose he has a right to be confident.

This brings me to my next topic, Daryl Sutter. Despite my name being derived from his existence,*
I am really interested to see how this guy runs his locker room. I mean he has got to be doing something, at least something more than the Terry Murray tactic of "They are Professionals, They'll figure it out." I'm starting to think that, maybe, perhaps, that Sutter is The Zen Master. He's the Phil Jackson of hockey. (Side-note: what if Jackson started coaching in the NHL? Makes you wonder...)

*I asked my dad what he thought of the name of my blog, and how I thought it was fun and creative because my school mascot is a longhorn (bull) and Daryl Sutter is a farmer. My dad's reaction was, "Oh, so that makes more sense now." So I guess it's not as good as I thought and a missed the ball a little bit on that one, but it's a little late to change now isn't it? But thanks for the support, dad.*

*Geographical Update: I’m in Los Angeles now. Hopefully going to be able to attend a few of the playoff games in person. I’ll have you know, the Kings are 2-0 when I attend games in person this year. I’ll have you also know those games were against the Stars and Blue Jackets.*

As far as the next round goes, I’m a bit torn as to who I’d prefer. It’s all up to the Ducks to decide our next round matchup, so to whichever side I’m leaning they’ll probably cause the opposite to happen because that’s just how they are. The Kings were 2-1-1 against both teams in the regular season this year, so it'd really be a toss-up. Those OT losses to both teams were in a shootout. 

We could end up playing the Sharks, who are arguably “hot” after sweeping the Canucks, but let’s be real here folks: the Canucks are 1-9 in their last ten playoff games, so sweeping them isn’t that great of an achievement. Motion to rename the team to the Vancouver Cachokes. We also get home-ice advantage if we play the Sharks, and since the Kings are doing so well at home lately, that could be very beneficial. 

On the other hand we could face the Ducks. They had a “pretty good” season I guess you could say. Last time they did anything noteworthy though, in my opinion, was when the won the Cup. Second playoff appearance in last three years, but they were eliminated in the first round two years ago. But I will say I am a bit surprised by how they haven’t closed out this series with Satan’s hockey team, more commonly known as the Detroit Red Wings, in less than seven games.

Should the Kings and Ducks play in the second round, I expect a few things. 
  1. Increased security at games
  2. Violence. Lots of it. On and off the ice. 
  3. Hopefully, lots of Kings fans at the Ponda Center ruining the lives of Ducks fans. 

A playoff Freeway Face-off would be historic, to say the least, but I would have preferred it to have taken place in the Conference Final. The home-ice advantage wouldn’t be as crucial in this series I don’t think, since the the two arenas are so close, and hopefully enough Kings fans will show up in the OC to make some noise.

Now we’ll just wait and see what happens Sunday, and take these few days to pretend we care about basketball...wait...BOTH Los Angeles basketball teams aren’t in the playoffs? Kings, you’re our only hope, because let’s be honest, the only person genuinely excited when the Galaxy win championships is Phil Anschutz. 

P.S. For you English nerds:

You may have noticed that I utilized the Oxford Comma, or Serial Comma in this blog’s title. I understand that this isn’t proper AP Style. I’m really not much of a print guy anyway, I’m hoping to go into broadcast. But I do have a defense for my use of the Oxford Comma. 

This comma is VERY important. A friend of mine at school (a petroleum engineering major) explained it to me in this way: 

At a bachelor party, the Oxford Comma is the difference between inviting over;
  1. The strippers, Jeff and Steven. (the strippers names are Jeff and Steven)
  2. The strippers, Jeff, and Steven. (You’re inviting over strippers in addition to your friends Jeff and Steven)
There you have it folks. Follow me on Twitter @SuttersLonghorn