All Hands on Deck

Michal Handzus celebrates a goal over the Colorado Avalanche

By now, we’ve all replayed the Anze Kopitar injury about a million times in our heads already. We’ve wept. We’ve drank our weight in vodka. We’ve kicked holes in our apartment’s walls.

Time for us to get past it and look at the immediate future.

Penner.  Handzus.  Moller.

Monday morning, Terry Murray assembled his 1,000,768 first line combination this season in Dustin Penner, Michal Handzus, and Oscar Moller. One unproven King. One proven King. One King we are kind of undecided on.

If kept together, this line will be the reason the Kings advance in the playoffs.

Dustin Penner – I think we all have had higher hopes for Penner in a Kings sweater than he’s given us thus far. But has he really needed to produce? Since he donned the black and purple (or silver), the Kings are 8-2-2. He has 2 goals and 4 assists in that span, but nothing in his last 5 games.

It’s time for him to live up to the hype. If Penner can get on a semi-regular scoring schedule (which shouldn’t be that far-fetched after scoring 32 goals last season), the Kings can make up for Kopitar being missing. Kind of. Just go with it.

Michal Handzus – Hasn’t been the best season for him offensively, either. Though Zeus can’t really be counted on for more than 20 goals a season, he should at least come close to that mark. He’s known for being a defensive forward with offensive capabilities and flashes of brilliance on his setups. He hasn’t been this snakebitten since his first year with the club during the 07/08 campaign. Of course, there has never been a more needed time for him to step up.

I think being lined up with Penner could help. Handzus hasn’t really been on lines with talented scorers this season, and when he has, he’s thrived. Remember that pass to Dustin Brown in front of the net a few games ago? That’s what we need from Zeus and Penner.  Starting Tuesday.

Oscar Moller – Oh, Moller. Moller, Moller, Moller. Kings fans are in love with the kid. Myself included. But, why? Is it because he’s small? Is it because he’s Swedish? It’s not because he’s an accomplished goal scorer. His most impressive season was his rookie year when he netted 7 in 40 games. On pace for 14 that season if he had played the whole thing. Not mind-blowing numbers by any means.

But, he never really had the opportunity to play with the team’s elite. He’s got skills. He’s got speed. He’s got the chance to prove himself to management that he belongs at this level (something he has yet to be able to prove). He is the perfect winger to complete the trio: a scorer, a playmaker, and a speedster.

Why is this line so important? Because realistically, I’m not expecting anything from any of them. If this line can figure out a way to produce a goal a game, it’s basically free money. They have the talent to do it. I don’t think anyone disagrees with that. But it’s time for all 3 of them to stop living on expectations, last year’s goal totals, what-ifs and “he coulds.”

Time to step up and show LA what you’re made of.

All hands on deck.

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