Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Los Angeles Kings: 10 Trick or Treats That Will Change the Season

The most-hyped Kings team since the Gretzky years has finished its first month of the 2011-12 NHL season.

In honor of the open air strip club that we enjoy every October 31st, let’s chew through 10 trick or treats that will poison or sweeten the season.

Trick: Bustin Penner

We now join our program, already in progress. Will you believe that I Googled the phrase “Bustin Penner” and nothing came up?

Treat: Kill Jack Kill Stops Killing the Kings

Jack Johnson can put up points. He likes it here. He’s JMFJ! But he hasn’t been very good defensively, and what our eyes see, hockey’s burgeoning sabermetrics movement supports (granted, this same Edmonton blogger was also a staunch Penner supporter).

Johnson is off to a nice start this year, and I wonder if Doughty/JMFJ is a homeless man’s Yzerman/Fedorov. Like Fedorov seemed to take his game to another level when Stevie Y was out, Jack has stepped it up in Donuts’ absences the last two seasons.

With great responsibility, comes great power?

Trick: “Hollywood” Richards

Let’s just say, while acknowledging it’s just hearsay, moving to Hollywood wouldn't my recommendation for anyone who may party a little too much all the time.

Treat: Anze Reaches the Stratosphere

Anze has been on the cusp of the league’s elite for a couple years—from starting off with 33 points in 22 games in 2009 to last year’s stunning growth into LA’s best two-way player. Perhaps he takes another step up this year. As a rookie, the comp I had for him was Mats Sundin, and I think he’s already a better player.

Trick: Donuts Eats Too Much Candy This Halloween

While he hasn’t done much so far this season, at least the kid nicknamed Donuts (who lost 15 pounds just to get ready for the ‘08 Draft) appears svelte. But though we’re talking about LA, seven million a year better pay for more than skinny.

Treat: Drew Earns His $7 Million

Want to get paid more than Anze? Prove you’re worth it.

Trick: Production-Prone

If we can get more than 70 games each out of Simon Gagne and Justin Williams this season, I’d be ecstatic. And if they’re healthy to start the playoffs...I’d buy that for a dollar!

Treat: We Get a Third Line

Terry Murray likes juggling lines, so a third line today might become a first line during a mid-December tilt in Phoenix with 15 minutes left and, God forbid, we’re down one.

But he also likes cuffing players (a la Handzus-Simmonds, Kopitar-Williams) like a fantasy football maestro. So our third best center, Jarret Stoll, needs his Larry Fishburne.

Dean Lombardi tried addressing this when he signed Ethan Moreau and Trent Hunter, but both old dudes have played like old dudes so far. Does Dean deal one of his spare puck-moving defenders or Matt Greene for Morpheus?

Trick: Please. Not. Again.

Williams dislocating his shoulder was to be expected.

This was just cruel.

Treat: Quick Is Quick in the Playoffs

Jonathan Quick has been mostly middling and occasionally spectacular in his playoff career, and he must put a run together for the Kings to advance. Potvin got hot in ‘01, Hrudey was the horse in ‘93 and that pretty much covers Kings goalie playoff history.

It’s a blank book (and contract) for Quick to write.

No comments: