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.