Los Angeles Kings (12-18-2, ahhh!) vs. Minnesota Wild (17-12-2, 5th in West)
10:30 PST, FSN West
The Wild just finished taking the Anaheim Ducks out to the woodshed last night, and this does not leave me confident going into tonight's game. Both the Kings and the Ducks have been disappointing so far this season; the Ducks were expected to compete for the division, while the Kings were just expected to compete. I've been lying around all mopey for the past few days because I actually thought the Kings were going to make major strides this year. I don't know why, I guess I always start to think that around September and slowly build them up all the way into October. When you think back to the team we had most of last year, though, is Michal Handzus that much of an upgrade over Craig Conroy? Is Brad Stuart that much better than Mattias Norstrom or Brent Sopel? Is Kyle Calder really better than Sean Avery? (Yeah, actually.)
If you look at it, we're basically the same team except we got full seasons out of Mike Cammalleri and Alex Frolov. You want to know something really depressing? Last year we tallied 68 points in 82 games; this year, we're on pace for 66. If you had told me we were going to be better this year, I would have agreed with you. If you had told me we were going to be the same, I would have been angry and argumentative. But worse? I wouldn't have even known how to handle that. I still don't know how to handle that.
There's still hope though. Both the Kings and the Ducks look to be teams that will do better in the 2nd half of the season than they did in the 1st: the Ducks because of Niedermayer, the Kings because they should finally get some sort of familiarity with one another. Still, right now things aren't going well, so feel free to complain about something involved with your team in the comments. (No Sharks fans. You're not allowed to complain when you're in 1st place.)
Prediction: Kings win, 4-3. Patrick O'Sullivan reminds us why we traded for him with 2 goals, while Frolov helps with 2 more. (I know, I don't know why I do this to myself either.)
Update: Okay Sharks fans, I guess you can complain now.