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

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Kings Gameday: Gettin' Defensive

LA Kings (4-6-2) vs. St. Louis Blues (5-6-1)

7:30 PST, Fox Sports Prime Ticket

The Kings are currently leading the league in shots allowed per game. That's insane. Last season, if you'll recall, the Kings were atrocious at preventing shots and finished 28th overall with 32 shots/game. This season? 24. In the last game against Florida, the Kings allowed only 15 shots, and at the end of the 2nd the Kings had outshot Florida 25-6. The fuck, man. That's huge both for a team's confidence and for actually winning games. Think about it: even if your team has a fat starter and a small, doe-eyed, Swedish back-up that allow a goal every 10 shots, you're still only allowing 2 or 3 goals a game. I'm kind of used to a more, what's the word, shitty defense, so this has been a nice change of pace so far.

Imagine a picture representing shot differential right here

Of course, there's a yin to this yang: the Kings are allowing less shots but in doing so they're shooting less as well. The Kings are shooting, on average, about 26 and a half shots per game. Last season the Kings shot about 28.6. It's not a huge decrease, but it's something to keep an eye on. As long as the Kings shoot more than they allow, I guess it doesn't really matter what the numbers actually are.

***

You know who's awesome? Kyle Quincey. It's kind of depressing knowing that the Red Wings can cut a guy from their defense and then he comes to the Kings and is immediately their best defenseman. Whenever Jack Johnson comes back I imagine he'll pair up with Drew Doughty because his old partner and Quincey are so good together. Sean O'Donnell with Tom Preissing? Hell yeah! ...I don't have any friends.

***

The Kings are playing the Blues, one of the teams that will challenge them in the future when they're both actually good. This is going to be like watching Smallville, in that it's going to suck and you're going to feel embarrassed for watching it.

Prediction: Kings win, 5-2. Goals by Kopitar, Doughty, Quincey, Brown and Simmonds. I keep predicting the Kings will score a bunch of goals and one day it'll be true.

12 comments:

Joe said...

Dude, I told you, Kyle Quincey would be good. He was just a victim of a team that was too deep on defense. Frankly, I'd have liked to have seen them give up on Lilja and Chelios, to help move some of those kids up, so they didn't have to just give away gems like that.

Chris Kontos said...

"Imagine a picture representing shot differential right here"

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/__hJbAyKO97w/SQy4IheJPYI/AAAAAAAAAJQ/v77HPi-pzmc/s1600-h/kingcammy.jpg

Picture Kopitar representing the amount of shots given up last year per game and Cammy as the amount this year?

Anonymous said...

What, no goal for Möller?

jamestobrien said...

Just picked up Anze Kopitar in my fantasy hockey league to complete the BoC center triumvirate of Kopitar-Olli Jokinen-Ryan Getzlaf. Can't wait to get Center Ice back so I can watch old Kopitar.

Or, as I like to call him, Andy Keith.

cristobal said...

My prediction is 8,000. Just under half full. That's attendance.

I like the Kings defenders, but Quincey their best? He couldn't hit the side of a barn from the point. Quincey and the Kings defense is proof that the NHL is getting weaker. If Lombardi can build a serviceable (at least against florida and st. louis) defense with AHLer's and waiver-wire/salary cap guys, maybe it's more proof that our forwards are playing a defensive system. Are Brown, Kopitar, and Frolov struggling because they're no good at scoring, or are they being asked to commit completely to defensive responsibilities. Watch and see how many times Kopitar has to go all the way behind his goal to skate the puck forward. Also watch to see how many times the Kings gain possession of the oppositions dump-ins, then lose possession. There's almost nobody to start a breakout besides Doughty. For the season, I can remember only one pass from the defense that sprung a forward onto a semi-breakaway. That's poor.
The shots against count has been much improved, but I credit that to the dedication of the forwards.
My prediction tonight is for a tougher game from St. Louis. They'll be looking to avenge the shutout Labs put on them, and wanting to prove something to themselves. The Kings will also be looking to shut down the blues with a solid defensive effort. I think that unless it gets out of hand and the ice causes some strange bounces it could end up low scoring or a 2-4 loss for the Kings.
Ersberg will be looking to solidify his starting position, right? or is Labs starting?
Wouldn't it be great to see Ersberg really turn into something special in the NHL?

Curiosity Question:

Corey Perry or Patrick O'Sullivan? Who's better now? Who'll have the best career in the end?

Jargon said...

Why not make it interesting? Kings win 10-0. Simmonds, Moller and Handzus each get a hat trick with a goal by Calder. Because of the small amount of shots allowed, a cardboard cut-out of Brust gets the shut out.

RudyKelly said...

Ersberg is starting.

Anonymous said...

Detroit needs room for Derek Meech and Jonathan "last pick of the draft" Eriksson on the blueline - even if Lilja and Chelios were both gone, it's debatable whether or not they would have room to give Quincey the time he needs and deserves to develop as a player.

Glad the Kings fans like him. He seems (from an interview) to be having a good time playing there, too - he mentioned that the style of play of Los Angeles seems to fit him and his skills set a bit better than the style of the Red Wings.

I loved seeing him in the Flames game (last weekend?) with a fist full of Dion Phaneauf's jersey as they skated around the rink having a pleasant conversation. :)

Ksy92003 said...

The Kings are going to win. Why? The game is in everybody's favorite Rinkside View. They are 1-0-2 in Rinkside View games so far this season. I don't see that coming to an end against the team they manhandled a couple weeks ago.. right before their long losing streak.

RudyKelly said...

Fuck, I just noticed Rich Hammond wrote about this exact same thing last night. I'm not disappointed because it's the same, I'm just mad that I went to all the trouble of looking this shit up when I could've just copied him.

Nut said...

When Kopitar comes behind the net to carry the puck, it's because it's a set play. He did that last season as well, along with o'sullivan and other fowards who can carry the puck. It's called a Breakout. Also, waiver wire is not necessarily an indicator of a players skill (bryzgalov, khabibulin, schneider). Who knows, maybe it was a good thing Johnson got hurt so we could get Quincey.

Ksy92003 said...

Who knows, maybe it was a good thing Johnson got hurt so we could get Quincey.

Right on. Back in 2002, the whole franchise pretty much imploded after injuries to Palffy and Deadmarsh. Everything just went down the tubes, and he haven't even sniffed a playoff spot once since then.

I'm not saying Johnson's injury and the pickup of Kyle Quincey is by any means going to revive the franchise, but Lombardi could not fill in for this devastating loss any better.