Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Our Kingdom for a Left Winger

Well, shit. The single reason for the Los Angeles Kings playing so well 22 games into this season is now out for a month. Oh you are right... Ryan Smyth wasn't the only reason that the Kings are playing so well... more like he's the reason Anze Kopitar is the NHL's leading scorer. I just don't know how to react to news like this.

No... not quite it.

Yeah... that's more like how I'm feeling right now.

So what does this mean for the Kings? Well, it means one Kings fan is ecstatic. But for the rest of us Kings fans, Smyth being out is not so good. It means one of the Kings veteran leaders (33 year old veteran leader!) is out for a crucial month. With the NHL schedule truncated this year because of the February Olympics, getting as many points as possible in November and December is more important than usual. In terms of the 1st line, when Justin Williams was out for 5 games, Wayne Simmonds stepped in and played excellent. But to replace Smyth is a whole other issue. You just can't jump onto a line and do the little things that Smyth does. So who does Coach Murray look to in order to fill the the giant wingspan of Ryan Alexander Gordon Smyth?

Ugh, really? This guy?

That's right. Alexander Frolov has been named as Smyth's replacement on the 1st line. 2 years ago, I would have been excited about this move. But this season... well I think this IM discussion between Half Season Ticket Holder Buddy and myself says it all...

I was once the biggest Frolov fan. In his rookie season, I remember watching him and saying "man, that guy can really hold onto the puck." But 6 seasons later... Frolov is still holding onto the puck and is probably the least impactful 30 goal scorer around. And yes, I know that Coach Murray has re-designed the type of player that Frolov is and made him into a great defensive forward... but I'm just tired of being frustrated by him. Frolov's contract is up at the end of this season and I can't imagine any scenario where Dean Lombardi doesn't trade him for an impact player for the playoffs or even a ton of draft picks, which I'd be fine with. So once Frolov fails on the 1st line tonight, who will take his place?

It's Scott Parse... there is no way you should have known this was him.

Even though Scott Parse is a right winger, I'd like to see what he can do with Kopitar and Williams. But then you run the risk of splitting up the hunched over, little guy line of Jarret Stoll, Dustin Brown and Parse. Man, being an NHL head coach is hard!

Teddy Purcell plays like he signs autographs... poorly.

Yeah, I don't think Edward "Teddy" Purcell is the answer either. Do you give another chance to this guy?

Moller in da house.

Short of making some trade, Coach Murray and Dean Lombardi will probably call up someone from Manchester when Frolov and Kopitar don't click and Purcell can't hang with Handzus and Simmonds. Maybe that player should be Oscar Moller? Wow, this team really has very little depth at the left wing. There was one left winger in the Kings system last year...what was his name again? Gosh, I wonder whatever happened to that guy.

What is it about the Islanders and former Kings prospects?

Ok fine, I have the answer. I'll play with Kopitar and Williams! I usually play center but I can slide over. I'll play for free Half Season Seats next season and lunch with Heidi Androl. Put me in, Coach Murray!

What up Valley Flames, circa '89!

This is game 23 for the Los Angeles Kings tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers. Every game is huge, but here is another great chance for the Kings to make a statement to the rest of the NHL about how serious this team is. Sure you can squeak by victories from the Carolina's, Tampa Bay's and Florida's of this league... but if you want to go deep in the playoffs... you gotta beat the best teams.

If you want quarter pole analysis of the Kings... then you are in the wrong place. Look here instead. But... after passing the 1/4 point of the NHL season... yeah, I'd say I've been pretty happy with the team so far. I might even be besides myself with how they've played. Smyth being out for at least a month will be the first real challenge this team has faced this season. It could be worse... have you seen Pittsburgh's defense lately? Or it could be Anaheim where former King Kyle Calder is now playing on their first line. (Wait.. what?!?)

Speaking of Kyle Calder's new team... it's not so much about how well the Kings have played during their first 20 games... but rather about how poorly the Ducks have. Check out this incredibly informative tweet from Battle of California's Earl Sleek:

Ahh... Ducks fans... this is how it's felt for 8 years. Get used to it.

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