Friday, September 7, 2007

Being that this is really our first full season to get a crack at previewing teams, we decided to contact other bloggers to have them tell the stories of their respective team's season.
We will be running a team per day, possibly two teams, all through September.

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Our next stop on the season preview tour flies us into LAX.

Rudy Kelly is a writer for one of the best hockey blogs on the planet, the Battle of California.

He was kind enough to share his thoughts on the upcoming 2007-2008 Kings season

BE WARNED:
This preview does include some profanities.
We didn't edit them because we wouldn't want someone editing our stuff.

Besides, we feel bad for Kings fans.

Division: Pacific
2006-07: ( 27 - 41 - 14 ) 68 Points
Playoffs: 14th ( missed -- jokes )

Leaders:


C Mike Cammalleri-LW Alexander Frolov-C Anze Kopitar
(34G-46A -80P)--(35G-36A-71P ) --(20g-41A-61P)


D Lubomir Visnovsky
(18G-40A-58P)

Imagine a couple of months from now: you're sitting at home, it's freezing outside, and you're trying to figure out what you should do that night. Sure, you could go out, hook up with some ugly chick, probably see Jeff Reed being a drunken asshole, but wouldn't you rather watch hockey? Get NHL Center Ice and watch the Kings! Sure, the games don't start 'til 10:30, but what do you have to do? You're from Pittsburgh, it's not like you have a job to go to the next day or anything. "But Rudy," you ask, "why wouldn't I watch the Ducks or the Sharks? They're actually good at hockey." First of all, fuck you. Second of all, the Kings offer a lot more than either of the lesser California teams. Here's why the Kings are worthy of your attention this season:

1) Young forwards. The Kings have the best collection of young forwards next to the Penguins. Anze Kopitar was far and away the 2nd best rookie forward in the NHL last year, but apparently no one on the east coast paid attention. I don't want to get into a big thing with you here, but Jordan Staal's Minor in Possession was not the only crime he was involved in last year. Both Mike Cammalleri and Alex Frolov continued to develop and look to tally a point a game. (Sleeper fantasy tip!) Dustin Brown and Patrick O'Sullivan are both in their early 20's and are expected to make the leap from "Why the hell did he do that?" to "I don't know why he did that, but it was awesome!" this year.

2) Jack Johnson. Johnson is a little over-hyped, but he nevertheless projects to be one of the best defensemen in the league in a couple of years. Don't you want to be able to say that you watched him play in his rookie season? No? Oh… God, you're so hard to please. Well, at least he'll probably hurt people and be kind of a dick, so you'll enjoy hating him. Plus, he's a friend of Sidney Crosby, so he should be a friend of yours.

3) New additions. The Kings made several quiet but effective signings this off-season to establish depth on the roster. The biggest was the signing of Michal Handzus to a 4 year, $16 million dollar contract. If Handzus can come back from a knee injury that cost him last season and give the Kings the #2 center they missed last season, he may actually end up a bargain. The Kings also added the talented but oft-injured Ladislav Nagy, the lumbering Brad Stuart, and the hirsute Tom Preissing. (Ed. Note: Preissing is not actually be hirsute. I don't think Kelly knows what that means.) They all have their flaws, but they nevertheless give the Kings options that they lacked last season.

4) Lubomir Visnovsky. Visnovsky ("Lubo" to his friends and me) is one of the best defensemen in the NHL. Often among the leaders in scoring by defensemen, Lubo is also very solid defensively. Unfortunately, he's overlooked because he plays in a place people would actually want to live in, which is unacceptable amongst hockey writers. Seriously, please watch Lubo when the Kings play against the Ducks in London to kick off the season or when they play the Penguins in March. He's really good and it's a shame he doesn't get any recognition for it.

5) Goaltending. Last year the goaltending for the Kings was bad that they traded for Sean Burke and I actually thought it was a good idea. This season it stands to be better, but there's always a chance that Cloutier will play. While that's not good for me, it's great for you; you will see some of the most spectacular blunders made by a goaltender in the history of the NHL. You thought Dennis Herron was bad? Wait 'til you see our boy Dan. The best part is that he's signed for two more years! What? No, I'm not crying it's just a little dusty in here.

So yeah, watch the Kings. Fuck, invite over Steely McBeam, make a day out of it. (Just don't invite over Roethlisberger; he might try to toss you the remote and break your TV.) You can catch a brief glimpse of what it's like to live in Los Angeles and maybe, just for one glorious second, pretend that you live there. Remember: we're from L.A., and we're better than you. Go Kings.



............................

Pensblog's Take

The Kings are poop.

The only reason that Pens Nation knew they existed last year was because the Pens peed all over the Staples Center in early November last season.

They've got some big-time talent up front, with a bunch of young, talented forwards.

But their goaltending is mud.
And that one factor could sink them.
Although they are gonna get a good look at the best goalie in the AHL last season, Jason Labarbera.


Lubomir Visnovsky silently finished 8th in scoring last year among defensemen.
Rob Blake is a liability on the blue line. The only thing he is good for now is molding Jack Johnson.

Alexander Frolov may become a beast this year. He's only 25. Had 35 goals last year.

If they can get .500 goaltending to start off the season, they will gain confidence.
Regardless, the Lakers and Clippers won't have to worry about scheduling conflicts in April.

Prediction: 9th place

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

why would anyone ever want to live in LA??? LA = JOKE

on more important news Tom Barrasso has been sighted in Carolina...

John Tarbett said...

Yea, Tom Barrasso is becoming the goalie coach or something I believe? Prediction: Cam Ward will let in a long shot from outside the blue line in Game 7 of the Conference Finals this year.

Earl Sleek said...

Nice work, Rudy. I didn't realize until now, but we don't really give you anyone to talk down to at BoC, do we?

wilsmith said...

that guy writes fun.

Anonymous said...

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?id=3008967

Here's the ESPN link to that Barrasso story.

Spencemo said...

Speaking of California...

Barrasso35 said...

How did someone post anonymously?

Staff said...

Barasso,

People can comment anonymous, but like everyone else they get put through moderation.

canaanregulatesblog said...

courtesy of lgp...

Crosby

Brian said...

By far the worst of the previews so far. Not much positive to talk about, so you resort to trashing Pittsburgh.

I am not amused.

PittPensFan said...

Predictions: No soft goaltender in Carolina will leave with their face intact. Stick-checking will increase. If Cam Ward doesn't score 10 points every year he'll be laughed at.

BTW Tarbett, Barrasso's official title is Director of Goaltending Development.

Hooks Orpik said...

Wowo, this boy from the left coast in comes in with pretty big swagger considering the other team in town won the Stanley Cup and they didn't win 30 games. They're the Washington Capitals of the West.

Seriously, who's next already.

Don K. Show said...

So with Tommy B as director of goaltender development, does that mean that Cam Ward will be all business on the ice and a douchebag once the skates come off?

Just a thought.

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