Saturday, March 5, 2011

Kings vs Canucks: The War Continues

The last time the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks met, the hockey season looked a lot different than it did today.  It was the first game of the season, in Vancouver.  Our boys were starting off on a high note, full of promise and potential after a solid training camp and positive additions to the roster during the summer.  There was left over bitterness against the Canucks, who ousted the Kings from their first play-off appearance in eight long years.  Combine all those factors, and the first meeting was a battle royale eventually decided in a shoot-out resulting in a 2-1 Kings win.

Some Kings bore the battle scars longer than others.

Remember how ugly this was?
After that initial meeting, the Kings and Canucks went their separate ways until today - 141 days later.    While the Kings have had ups and downs the entire season, the Canucks have torn up the Western Conference and hold the best record in the NHL.   But no matter where they sit in the standings, when these two teams meet it's a play-off atmosphere.  It's always a war, and today was no different.

Things were chippy from the opening face-off, with the end of every play resulting in a scrum.   Then the Kings drew first blood as Dustin Penner logged his first goal as a King only 5:28 into the first period.  Four minutes later the Canucks answered back with their own goal, and the period ended tied 1-1.

Someone drew blood on Smytty too!  The Queen is NOT amused!

The second period was more calm than the first, almost as if both teams knew this would be a bitter fight to the end and some energy should be conserved.   With no additional score, the warriors headed into the third -- and then all hell broke loose. 

The Canucks scored the go-ahead goal on a controversial play that involved cross-checking to Drew Doughty and possible goaltender interference on Jonathan Quick.  Neither penalty was called and the goal was not subject to review.  The Kings anger got the best of them, and an ugly exchange between Keith Ballard, Alex Burrows and Drew Doughty resulted in some of the worst officiating of the night as Doughty was called for diving after being struck in the face and falling to the ice.  The kid lost it. The team lost it.  The empty net goal that sealed the Kings fate added insult to injury.  So did the additional 10 minute misconduct Doughty received after the game was over.

He looked calm during warm-ups, but he opened a serious can of whoop-ass on the zebras...

Final score: 3-1 Canucks.

There is no denying the officials did a terrible job in this game.  I've never seen so many guys thrown out of face-off circles in my life.  Yes, Drew Doughty needs to watch his mouth, but these refs did not deserve respect.  They deserved the tongue lashing he gave them.  When Coach Terry Murray gives a pissed off interview, you know things were badly managed.  That said, the Kings need to learn how to control their emotions.  These kind of games happen every night in the play-offs, and to win a team has to overcome the adversity and not let it rule them.   

The Kings power play has also been their Achilles Heel all season, and tonight was no different.    It's gotten to the point where the fans don't even get excited about a 5 on 3 opportunity because this team NEVER converts on them.  To win the war, the Kings have to find a way to win those battles within the game.  Getting rid of Jamie Kompon and finding someone to craft a fresh power play strategy will not happen this season, but it needs to be a priority this summer.  In the meantime, we have to find a way to battle through it.  Shooting the puck would be a great start.

The great thing about the Kings is they are WARRIORS.  Today's battle was lost, but the war is far from over.   Wounds will heal, and the Kings will live to fight another day.  Count on it.

Warrior.  Enough said.

Now on to happier topics:
  • I like Canadians, but they're kind of odd creatures sometimes.  And there were far too many of them at Staples Center today.  Thanks for visiting and spending your money boosting our economy, but please leave now.
These folks have the right idea bowing to The Great One...

...although I'm not sure the shorts and hockey jerseys are helping you blend in.  Especially you with the boots....
  • Happy Birthday to Bailey, by far the BEST mascot in the entire NHL!  Although looking at some of his competition, it's not exactly tough to be the best.
And there's no way Fin could be the best mascot in the NHL...WAY too violent.
  • Last but not least, the BEST part of my entire day was seeing Andrei Loktionov and his surgically repaired shoulder taking in the game.  I just want to take him home and mother him until he's all better.
Hello, My Little Russian!  The Queen loves you.

Now it's time to forget this day happened and prepare for the Kings next opponent.  The Dallas Stars are headed to town Monday, and if the Kings goal is to win the Pacific Division title, they're one of the teams in the way. 



  1. Great article, but the Kings have played the canucks 3 times with the opening day shootout and a 4-1 victory at staples a week later

  2. The black on their jerseys must describe their mood. Get used to it.