Tonight, I was able to attend the Kings/Ducks game in Anaheim as a fan, which was quite a treat. I hadn’t attended a Kings game as a fan since 2006, I think. I got to wear one of my Kings jerseys, sit with my friend in a Ducks jersey, and cheer for the Kings. Fortunately, for me, the Kings gave me a lot to cheer about and the Ducks put up a good fight, making the game exciting and at times nerve wracking. Everything one would want in a game as a fan.
Jonathan Quick played for the Kings in both games against the Ducks even though they were back to back games and he had to win last night’s game in a shootout. Clearly, this was a good decision on Terry Murray’s part, since Quick looked great in net for the Kings. Dan Ellis was in net for the Ducks tonight. I would have played Hiller at home instead, since he generally gives the Ducks a better chance to win, but I’m sure Randy Carlyle had his reasons.
I was surprised that the game was still relatively empty (especially for a SoCal rivalry or “Freeway Series” game). Tonight’s game at the Honda Center in Anaheim had almost everything a fan could want in a game. The Kings scored a short-handed and power play goal (scored by Simon Gagne & Slava Voynov) and the Ducks got a power play goal (scored by Corey Perry). In fact, if you count the empty net goal at the end of the game, the Kings had two short-handed goals. One of the Ducks’ goals was reviewed and the call on the ice of a goal stood. Kyle Clifford and Sheldon Brookbank fought.
Jonathan Quick’s save percentage of .921 stood up with the Kings’ five goals. Star Kings’ player Anze Kopitar scored his 9th goal of the season, Mike Richards had two goals, Gagne had a goal and an assist, … what more could a Kings fan ask for in a game?
There was an odd problem with the lights tonight I can’t remember seeing in a hockey game before. The teams came back out for the third period and had to wait while the Honda Center employees rushed to fix the problem. The teams were waiting so long that they had to let them warm up some more. Practice in the middle of a game is definitely not typical, but the teams needed to stay active. Fans were a little restless, but a problem like that isn’t typical and gives fans something to talk about the next day other than the win or loss.
Perhaps this set of back to back games against the Ducks is exactly what the Kings to kick their season into gear and get them to start playing consistently like the team everyone expected to see this season – the contender.
Though it’s still early in the season and the Kings have played more games than all the teams in their division other than the Ducks, they took over the division lead with tonight’s win, putting them in third place in the western conference. Perhaps this is the beginning of a good streak that will keep the Kings near the top for a while.
Tags: Anze Kopitar, back-to-back games, Corey Perry, Dan Ellis, Ducks, fans, Honda Center, Jonas Hiller, Jonathan Quick, Kings, Kyle Clifford, Mike Richards, NHL, Randy Carlyle, Sheldon Brookbank, Simon Gagne, Slava Voynov, standings, Terry Murray
As the Kings took the ice yesterday morning in El Segundo to start training camp, fans definitely discussed the absence of Drew Doughty. Everyone knew he wouldn’t be there, since his agent and Kings GM Dean Lombardi have yet to come to an agreement, but #8 was certainly talked about a lot yesterday. I realize he’s a great defenseman and definitely a key player, but I think fans should concentrate on those who WERE on the ice and be happy.
Anze Kopitar, Kings leading scorer (in spite of playing 75 of the 82 games), was greeted by enthusiastic applause by the fans watching training camp. Kopi said it was “a little bit tough to be in the skate for about three hours, but other than that it’s all good.” He said he hasn’t had too much pain and that it’s more uncomfortable than anything else and doesn’t seem to think it’ll affect his skating or play at all. This is definitely good news for Kings fans who had to watch him break his ankle just before the playoffs earlier this year, which was certainly a big factor in the team being knocked out in the first round of the playoffs.
Dustin Penner looks better than I can remember him looking – ever. He seemed faster and in better shape, which could be a very good sign for Kings fans. Penner, who trained very hard during the off season reduced his body fat percentage by 4%, but would not tell us what his body fat percent is (or was). When asked about being on the ice with Kopi and Williams, he said they probably only got to play in about 6 games together due to the timing of his arrival and Kopi’s injury, but said that “the chemistry came a lot quicker with those two guys.”
Training camps always bring new faces to a team and this year is no exception for the Kings. Mike Richards, Simone Gage, and Trent Hunter seem to be fitting in well with the Kings. In fact, team captain Dustin Brown found himself having to fit in with Richards and Gagne, who know each other’s style of play well.
The Kings’ first pre-season games are split squad games (home and away) against the Coyotes this Wednesday night. I’m not sure which players will be in Staples Center, but hockey returning to LA is always a good thing for the fans. Since it looks like there won’t be a season for the NBA this year, the Kings should find themselves having more Saturday night games than originally scheduled. Most fans I’ve talked to about this change are happy about it. Traffic for 1pm games is always bad for me both ways, so I’m sure the same is true for many fans traveling to Staples Center. SoCal hockey is back! If you have a chance to get out to the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, all Kings Training Camp practices are open to the public.
Tags: Anze Kopitar, Coyotes, Dean Lombardi, Drew Doughty, Dustin Brown, Dustin Penner, Kings, Mike Richards, Simon Gagne, Staples Center, Toyota Sports Center, Trent Hunter