Thursday, September 22, 2011

Kings vs Coyotes: Don't Worry, It's Only The Pre-Season

Pre-season games are like going back to school after summer break. You wander the halls, screaming and hugging every old friend you spot and talking about expectations for the year. You probably don't learn much the first few days, but you enjoy the renewed camaraderie before getting down to the hard work you know is coming.

Hey guys! What'cha been up to this summer?
There were new faces and old on the ice last night, along with new moves and old rust. It's too early to worry about the fact that the power play wasn't really working, and new rookie goalies aren't supposed to be great in shoot outs. So even though the Kings lost in the shoot out 2-1, there were still some good takeaways from the game. And at least Patrick O'Sullivan wasn't the Coyote to net the overtime game winner. Small victories, people.

Here are The Queen's notes from the evening.
  • Mike Richards does a relatively short warm-up skate. He was the last one on the ice and the first one off. Based on fan demand for Richie photos, this will require a change in strategy.
  • I was happy to see Boedeker got a boarding call and game misconduct for nasty hit on Muzzin. Hopefully this is the start of some improved discipline around the league.
  • There was a lot of discussion on the ice before the first power play. Mike Richards led the talk, which probably went something along the lines of "OK guys, I know we haven't gotten to this in practice yet, but someone just feed me the puck and I'll try to hammer it in." IF that was the strategy, it didn't exactly work, but at least I saw different guys shooting from different locations so it wasn't the "old" power play. Rome wasn't built in a day, so it's going to be a work in progress for a while.
  • Loktionov is going to kick ass if they give him a chance.
  • I thought Stoll's shot had actually improved there for a bit. Maybe he can see better with that visor? Or maybe not based on his shootout performance.
  • Voynov looked incredibly solid and confident. Muzzin was a mess at both ends of the ice. Before this game, Muzzin was my pick to stick on defense, but I'm rethinking that idea. 
  • Thomas Hickey held his own last night. Not outstanding, but solid in both ends. He looked a little nervous in warm-ups, and you just look at his face and know the pressure he's feeling to make this team. He played well that under pressure, which is a great sign. There is still hope for The Thomas Hickey Experiment.
  • Poor Kyle Clifford had a rough night. Too much time in the box with penalties from maybe just trying just a little too hard. He should have had a goal in the first but for an AWFUL goalie interference call.  And his tilt last night was not one of The Big Red Dog's better fights either. But I still love watching him give the death stare to opponents.

  • Brad Richardson worked his butt off tonight. There is no assignment that guy won't take if it helps the team and lets him play in the NHL. If everyone on this team had his work ethic 100% of the time, you might as well give the Kings the Stanley Cup now.
  • Scott Parse didn't do a whole lot for me -- or for the team. Not especially fast, not a fantastic shot. I don't know where this awesomely skilled guy Dean lauded last season went, but he's not wearing #21 this season.
  • Jordan Nolan still needs some seasoning. His passes weren't great and he looked really tentative at times. Nerves might have come into play as well.
  • I love watching Quickie flip his hair when he takes his helmet off. It's like hockey porn. 
Is it October yet?


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