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

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Case for Patrick O'Sullivan

-Patrick O'Sullivan scored 53 points last season. The first half of the season, O'Sullivan played with Michal Handzus and Kyle Calder on the third line. He didn't get any power play time and was limited to the penalty kill (where he performed admirably). It wasn't until Mike Cammalleri got hurt near the end of December that O'Sullivan started playing with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. In the 38 games O'Sullivan played in 2007, O'Sullivan scored 17 points; in the 42 games he played in 2008, O'Sullivan scored 34. That pace spread over 82 games comes about to 66 points. That's pretty good for a 23 year-old.

-O'Sullivan came up through Juniors and the AHL as a skilled, sniping forward who could potentially step into a top line role. The Kings instead started O'Sullivan on the 3rd line to help teach him both defensive play and a little humility. O'Sullivan responded beautifully, turning himself into a tenacious defender while still keeping his scoring touch. That's the kind of player you want to keep around no matter what.

-O'Sullivan was the 2nd most likely forward to be out on the ice when the Kings were a man down (behind Michal Handzus) and was the only bright point on an otherwise abysmal Kings' penalty kill. O'Sullivan had 3 short-handed goals last season without compromising his zone coverage.

-Do you ever wonder what Labarbera's insides look like?.
-What? No.
-...Me neither.

-O'Sullivan played the most special teams of any forward on the Kings. He was the Rob Blake of forwards, averaging over 2 minutes a game on both the power play and the penalty kill. On the power play O'Sullivan seemed a little uncomfortable integrating himself with everyone else on Kopitar's unit after Cammy got hurt, but that could be the result of little practice time. When Cammy came back O'Sullivan moved to play with Frolov and seemed much more comfortable since he was used in a shooting role.

-You're going to hear (from me) that O'Sullivan doesn't deserve much money because he's really only had one season in the NHL, but whose fault is that? O'Sullivan scored 19 points in 44 games as a 20 year-old; if the Kings had kept him up all season instead of sending him down so they could play Brian Willsie more, he would have had a 40-point season. O'Sullivan took his demotion like a man and killed in the AHL while he was there, then came up the next season and played excellently. O'Sullivan sacrificied personal gain to help the Kings get better; now the Kings need to pay him for that.

Overall, Patrick O'Sullivan is a very good two-way forward and is only 22. I think a good comparable for what Patrick O'Sullivan might become is Jason Pominville, a point-a-game player that plays on both special teams units. O'Sullivan was raised by an abusive, over-possessive father and has battled that to become one of the better young players you're going to see in this game. The only reason he hasn't show more is because the Kings haven't allowed him to do so; pay him what he'll be worth and let him show you that it was a good investment.

Non-hockey update: It's Saturday and this was boring so here's Norm MacDonald's roast of Bob Saget for you to enjoy. I love Norm.


RudyKelly said...

Cool, it's like Norm just told a joke in here.

Marl said...

Now this post has very little to do with what I'm going to speculate about (well, Handzus was mentioned), but what if Handzus bounces back? That's one angle about the Kings that I just haven't seen this summer, everyone seems to expect him to be an underachiever who sucks.

So, Rudy, how do you see the Kings' situation if Michal decides to be the player that he's capable of being and you suddenly have an elite one-two center duo with Handzus playing an awesome two-way game?

Granted, if you take every single Kings speculation and turn it in their favor (Labarbera becomes a top-10 starter; every imaginable defense prospect is awesome and ready for the NHL right now; Stoll and Handzus are both 100 % and ready to bounce back, as is Calder; every imaginable forward prospect is ready for the NHL with Purcell et al filling the offensive lines and Cliche et al filling the defensive lines) they seem like a Stanley Cup winner, but this Handzus rejuvenation seems like a "but" that's actually a possibility to me.

VeryProudofYa said...

I didn't know a 40 point scorer in his thirties was considered elite.

Then again, someone out there genuinely believed the term applied to Meszaros, so who knows?

RudyKelly said...

Yeah, I don't know with Handzus. He was purely a defensive center last year and was always against the other team's best players. Plus he played mostly with Kyle Calder, who sucks. I think if you put him with Brad Richardson and maybe Matt Moulson, two speedy guys that can create their own shot, Handzus would play well. He definitely needs to improve his quickness to stay in the league, though.

Marl said...


To clarify, that "elite" included Kopitar at number 1. And I don't think it's a stretch to call Handzus a very good two-way center when he was at the top of his game. Besides, calling someone who's scored between 44 and 58 points in each of his full seasons except his rookie year (and the injury-shortened ones would give 59 and 82 scaled over a full season) before last year a "40-point scorer" seems strange.

But it remains to be seen if last year's Handzus is the new norm or if he still had some lingering effects from his injury.

jamestobrien said...

Jesus, what the hell happened to Norm McDonald? Watching those clips reminded me of my very worst moments in over-joking.

RudyKelly said...

It's funnier in context, but they're supposed to be lame jokes because everyone else went up and told the raunchiest things they could thing of. It was pretty hilarious and ballsy as hell.

Nut said...

You finally got me with a caption, I spotted my underwear from that Ivanans line. Nobody can do an uncomfortable line like Norm. Now I'm gonna go lift weights-what?!

Earl Sleek said...

BTW, I totally support the "Norm MacDonald was awesome" coalition. Thanks for throwing those clips on there -- I totally needed to see that again.

Anonymous said...

wait, so is Sully 22 or 23?

RudyKelly said...

He's 23, but last year was his age 22 season. His birthday is in February.