Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Kings-Sharks Gameday: Is This My Life?

LA Kings (gargle) vs. San Jose Sharks (49-21-10, 2nd in West)

7:30 PST, FSN West & Bay Area


Tampa Bay Lightning @ Washington Capitals

4:00 PST

I spent last night listening to the Hurricanes-Lightning game. I'm not proud of it. It's not quite bottom; I'm not on message boards arguing with Lightning fans over who deserves Stamkos more. But I'm getting close.

The Lightning lost last night, putting them at 71 points with 2 games left to play. The Kings sit at 69 points with 2 games left. Basically, Tampa needs to win 1 game and the Kings need to lose 1 for the Kings to clinch the bottom spot. The saddest thing is that I don't even care if the Kings get Stamkos that much. Sure, he's good, but he's not vital for Los Angeles. We have a franchise center already and defenseman is more of a need. I'm not saying that the Kings shouldn't draft Stamkos, I'm just saying that it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if we didn't get him.

So why do I want the Kings to finish last? I think I just want the Kings to be the worst team in the league because then they can't get worse. If they're last, then next year they'll be guaranteed to improve at least a little bit. Pathetic, I know, but it's the truth.


On the opposite side of things, San Jose still has a slim possibility of winning the President's Trophy. If they win their next 2 games (against LA and Dallas), and Detroit loses their next 2 games (against Columbus and Chicago) without going into overtime, then the Sharks will take the top seed in the West. That's kind of incredible if you consider the Sharks struggles early in the year and how much whining San Jose fans did during that time. Is Ron Wilson's job safe yet?


Jonathan Bernier looks to be headed to Manchester now that his season with the Lewiston MAINEiacs (ugh) is over. He'll split duties with Johnathan Quick until the Kings end this weekend, at which point Ersberg will head down to Manchester and Quick will go to Reading. Hopefully Bernier can follow in Carey Price's footsteps and do some damage in the AHL playoffs to set himself up nicely for next season.

In other Manchester news, Ted Purcell and Brian Boyle were both named to the AHL All-Rooke team. Also selected was Bobby Ryan, which of course makes him a better draft selection than Jack Johnson.

Prediction: Kings lose, 3-2. Goals by Willsie and Cammalleri. Joe Thornton gets lost in Alex Frolov's eyes and plows into a goal post, receiving a concussion that knocks him out of the playoffs. San Jose commits communal suicide.


Mr. Plank said...

Is this one of your reverse prediction posts (where the opposite occurs)? Please let it be so, because I probably would be leading that commune into the great unknown.

In my opinion, the Kings need a few pieces to contend for a playoff spot. Like you said, a D-man would be the best bet, and once LaBarbara (spelling?) gets on his feet next year, it's not out of the question to squeeze into the eighth playoff spot in '09.

Nael M. said...

Minor nitpick here: Rudy, it isn't FSN Bay Area anymore, it changed to Comcast SportsNet Bay Area since the cable company now owns the station.

And as far as Ron Wilson's job goes, I don't think it's safe unless the Sharks at least get to the conference finals, maybe the Stanley Cup Finals just to be absolutely sure. It's going really deep into the playoffs that has been the goal of the Sharks franchise this season, regardless of how well the regular season goes.

RudyKelly said...

I'm pretty sure the Kings are above .500 when I pick them to lose, so we'll have to see how it goes.

I don't know, I like Ron Wilson and I think it's foolish to say, "Well, he didn't win game 7, so he's fired." Sometimes a team can tune out a coach (like the Kings did with Murray), but I'm not sure that's the case with the Sharks. If there's someone who Doug Wilson thinks is better then they should go for it, but change for the sake of change is asking for trouble.

Ian said...

I don't usually defend whining, especially for fans of a team with an over .500 record, but the Sharks earlier this year were simply not a good team, despite their record. I never thought it was Ron Wilson's fault, though. It was clearly the players not stepping up, especially Marleau.

Fans love overachievers, right? Teams without the talent, but with the heart and the determination to not lose. Well, the Sharks were the obverse. Underachieving, talented, and seemingly disinterested in the outcome of the game. The arrival of Soup and Marleau's no-doubt intensive teddybear therapy ending finally put them on the right track.

Earl Sleek said...

Also selected was Bobby Ryan, which of course makes him a better draft selection than Jack Johnson.

While I can't really defend choosing Ryan over Johnson (or Kopitar, damn), I will say that (a) Johnson would have a tough damn time cracking Anaheim's blue line these days, whereas Ryan can waltz into the forward mix any time he pleases, and (b) I don't see Ryan's next contract as being very expensive.

Hey, he's a kid that hasn't been very important to the Ducks since being selected, but there's benefits to that, also. If he ever turns out to be as good as advertised, he should be quite the salary bargain, I'd think.

RudyKelly said...

Hey, the Galaxy are playing the San Jose Earthquake tonight. Let the rivalry commence!

Oh, and Earl, you're right of course. I was just being a dick.

Earl Sleek said...

Hey, no worries. I use Bobby Ryan as an example of why I don't care when Burke trades away our draft picks for warm bodies.

In order for me to care, Burke would have to start picking better players. Until then, trade away, Burke.

Nut said...

"Johnson would have a tough damn time cracking Anaheim's blue line these days"---This is a ludicrous statement.

Earl Sleek said...

I dunno, it's ludicrous?

He's definitely not supplanting Niedermayer, Pronger, Schneider, or Beauchemin, so aside from that we're looking at O'Donnell, Huskins, and Bergeron.

It's a tough field to be a green defender, I'll say that much.

Much easier for Ryan to get into the forward mix over guys like Marchant, Weight, etc.

RudyKelly said...

Johnson's better than Beauchemin but he'd probably be playing more of an offensive role if he were on the Ducks so I doubt he'd take his spot. It's tough to say because if you have Johnson do you sign Schneider? That would've been the role he played this year for the Ducks.

Earl Sleek said...

Yeah, I should have added, too, Carlyle's love of experience. Even if Johnson is "better", I think Carlyle generally will go with the trusted (experienced) player.

Beauchemin in his rookie year was the main exception, but (a) Scotty watched his back the entire year, and (b) there weren't as many options back then.

It's tough to say because if you have Johnson do you sign Schneider?

Fair question, but I was definitely talking about the blueline lineup that currently exists. JMFJ definitely would have changed the offseason strategy, but it's tough to say where he would have played. Being so young, he'd probably get paired with one of the Norris guys, I'd think.

Nut said...

I agree its easier to make the team as a forward, but I don't think there is any way Jack wouldn't play over Bergeron, Huskins, Monster Brows, and probably Beauchemin.

Earl Sleek said...

Fair enough, Nut. You guys have watched more JMFJ than I have, certainly, so perhaps I'm better off just sticking with the statement:

"At this stage, the Ducks need a Bobby Ryan more than they need a Jack Johnson."


Earl Sleek said...

I don't think there is any way Jack wouldn't play over Bergeron, Huskins, Monster Brows, and probably Beauchemin.

I'm still not sold on this statement, though. It's not an automatic that because a kid has talent, that he makes Carlyle's lineup. If Carlyle (a) wants to play veterans, or (b) wants to save a year of JMFJ RFA eligibility until he needs it, I could see a scenario where he still doesn't crack the blueline.

Mike said...

To add to the RW discussion, I'm surprised at the number of people here in SJ that want to see him gone. I get accused of being a fanboy because I don't necessarily want him fired if the Sharks don't make the SCF. I think the RW haters sometimes forget that a) the best made team doesn't always win the cup, and b) 29 teams out of 30 don't win it every year. Just because you have a "cup-caliber" team doesn't mean you replace the coach if you come up short. Doesn't that mean Lindy Ruff should be out on his ass too?

Earl Sleek said...

Pretty much the only reason why the Sharks should fire Ron Wilson is that they are irrationally dead-set on copying the Ducks' path to the cup, which definitely included firing Ron Wilson.

If they're going to make their decisions based on anything else, I think he stays.

Mr. Plank said...

It's really tough to say Ron Wilson should be fired, but anything short of a Western Conference Finals bid could deserve it. Look at the Sharks last two playoff losses in the 2nd round. The team looked dead after facing some adversity and proceeds to welcome the fetal position.


That stuff starts behind the bench.

Granted he's not on the ice, but this team is too skilled to drop out early again.

RudyKelly said...


...Wait, fuck.

Earl Sleek said...

Kings won? Fire Ron Wilson!

Mike said...

Mr. Plank,

I'm paraphrasing Drew Remenda, but if a team is not playing hard because of the coach, there's something very wrong. The coach gives the team the blueprint on how to win. If management judges that the plan is stupid or misguided, fire the coach. Just because a team loses doesn't necessarily mean the plan sucks. Maybe the players suck.