Since I have no central idea to write about, I shall shamelessly adopt Quisp’s bullet-point format which I appreciate because I have the attention span of a preschooler. Here are some thoughts on the Los Angeles Kings through the first seven games of 2011-2012:
- 5-1-1 is a solid record. Remember how great the team did out of the gate last season. (6-1 through seven)
- Jack Johnson is a plus-4. Impressively it’s concurrent with his new assignment as the team’s top defenseman in all situations.
- Rob Scuderi had a great quote after the Phoenix game about JJ: “He is starting to learn that he doesn’t have to make a great play on every shift”.
- 5-0-1 .972% 0.81 GAA 3 SO. And it doesn’t even look like he is trying.
- I love the fact that Jonathan Quick is a horrible interview. All goalies are a bit odd in one way or another. Quick is clearly an introvert whose focus allows him excels in the mental aspects of the game as impressively as the physical.
- Simon Gagne is having success playing with Anze Kopitar. Big f#@&ing surprise. They are both incredible offensive talents. When they cool off temporarily and Penner gets swapped up to the first line, guess what will happen?
- Four of Mike Richards six points have been on the power play. He is great on the power play. But that second line seems to be struggling to find chemistry. I do think a Gagne – Penner swap is inevitable, which might be good for balancing the top lines.
- If you don’t know what the Mike Richards hype was about yet, you haven’t been paying attention. I gushed a little on JFTC after the home opener vs. the Blues:
Mike Richards is not the flashiest player. Not a lot of highlight reel goals and while he is productive, never quite cracks the elite level from a point production standpoint.
But there is something about his play that I think explains what it means to be a hockey player at the core. I like to think of it as hockey efficiency. He knows where to be, when to be there. That is a phrase that is mentioned a lot with guys like Robitaille and Hull- that he ‘finds himself in the right place at the right time’- to score. But Richards does it in ALL situations and in ALL locations- he is one of the best in the league at creating turnovers in the offensive end- he is great at standing up players in the neutral zone, and is terrific in the defensive end as well. Incredibly, it all seems rather effortless even though he’s out efforting opponents. Hockey efficiency.
A comparison I like to make, unfortunately, is to Brad Richardson. Both players dig into a puck battle in the corner with ferocity. Richardson expels the energy of a 5 year old on Red Bull and rarely comes away with the puck. Richards strolls in casually and always comes away with the puck. Hockey efficiency. It can’t be measured in statistics, but you never walk away from a game saying Mike Richards somehow wasn’t effective, even if he’s not all over the score sheet.
Take a look at the OT goals. Jack Johnson is credited for the OT winners. But Richards made both plays. And he made them look easy.
- And then Richards won the face-off assisting on JJ’s third GWG.
- Fine. I gushed a lot. If you picture me laying on my stomach with my knees bent and chin in my hands looking up at a Mike Richards poster, I won’t refute the perception.
- Jarret Stoll is a terrific third line center.
- The bottom six could really use some offensive punch. If only <Andrei> there was <Loktionov> someone <three goals> who could <eight assists> provide <in eight games> that <in Manchester> in the system.
- Slava Voynov has NHL ability. He is still too tentative. But dammit if he can’t skate.
- The Kings are without Drew Doughty and not missing a beat. He’ll be back soon.
- Will Trent Hunter get back in the lineup? It seems like he was ready for the speed of the NHL- just the preseason NHL.
- No calls for Jamie Kompon’s firing yet. Truthfully, the power play looks great, regardless of conversion rate. Lots of movement and quality chances.
- I’d like to get Stoll off that second unit, as they don’t have anyone parked in front of the net. It’s more of a puck-movement, cycling group of forwards and Stoll blasting away does not serve that strategy as well as it did when Handzus was parked in front.
- When will Jonathan Bernier start again? If it’s only based on performance, I hope it’s not for a while. [UPDATE: Tuesday?? If I haven’t mentioned Jewels From the Crown enough in this post, Quisp definitely expressed the appropriate reaction to this news.]