Hockey

Of course, we asked this question about Braden Holtby when the Caps were here and he proceeded to have his best game of the year against the Hawks. So we know what we’re getting into here.

There’s no soft way to put it. Jonathan Quick has been simply awful this season. He’s made six starts, and his SV% is .854. And it’s not like Corey Crawford, his main foil in that three year stretch in the middle of the decade, who has good numbers at evens but is getting clobbered and stripped of his soul on the penalty kill. Quick is at .850 at evens. That’s…real bad.

It would be the second straight season that Quick has been some kind of unnamed horrid beast in net for the Kings, who would probably have some serious decisions to make after the year if this continues. Quick put up an .888 last season over 46 starts, to go with some injury problems. It was those problems that probably gave the Kings the wiggle room to think that greater healthy would bring Quick back. So far, that hasn’t worked out at all.

But unlike the Caps, the Kings don’t have an immediate, in-house answer. They drafted Matt Villalta a couple years ago, but he’s only in his first year in the AHL and his numbers in the OHL aren’t exactly glittering. Then again, no goalie’s ever are there, given the offensive environs. He’s years away if he’s anything, though then again, so are the Kings. There are also a couple European goalies they’ve taken, but just like Villalta…who the fuck knows?

The Kings might not have the pressure to solve this anytime soon, because it doesn’t appear they’re aimed to do anything for a while. Alex Turcotte is clearly meant to take over for Anze Kopitar as the #1 center one day. But he’s currently getting drunk on State St. in Madison. That’s a couple years away. Kale Clague was another primed to be on the first pairing in visions of the future, but he’s in his second year in the AHL, and if the first one had gone that well he’d certainly have been able to scratch out a role on this Kings blue line. It’s kind of a mess. That’s what happens in the rubble of sustained success though, as we well know.

So what do the Kings do with Quick? He’s due $5.8M for three more years after this one, which will take him until he’s 37. And if he looks like this at 33, no one wants to see what’s going on at 37.

There’s probably always a team you can sucker into taking a chance based on simply his two rings and the idea of new scenery being a charge. Hockey is weird that way. You wouldn’t be able to recoup much, but you’d have the cap space. Again, given the trajectory of the Kings, are they really going to need the cap space anytime soon?

Quick’s legacy in Los Angeles is set, as he’s the only goalie to win a Stanley Cup there. And his 2012 performance basically brought the Kings to that one, even if he wasn’t all that good in 2014. Having two rings probably ensures he’ll get into the Hall of Fame, as every goalie who does ends up there. Unless you’re Chris Osgood. But that 2012 season was the only one where Quick had a SV% over .920, aside from two seasons ago which got the Kings four games in the playoffs where they were thoroughly outclassed by an expansion team.

The Kings aren’t going to be anywhere before Kopitar and Brown and Doughty are too old to do anything about it. Maybe they might as well hold onto Quick, cash in on nostalgia, and hope for a brief spurt of competence that gets him a trade to the Sharks. It’s just about their only hope.

Hockey

vs

Game Time: 6:00PM CDT
TV/Radio: NBC Sports Chicago, WGN-AM 720
Keep Pretending Drew Doughty Isn’t A Rapist: Jewels From The Crown

One thing about hockey’s often asinine scheduling that can be construed as a positive is that teams rarely have to marinate longer than 48 hours on bad losses, even if it comes at the expense of both sides playing their third in 4 nights having both played on the road yesterday, as is the case tonight on West Madison with the visiting Kings. And it’s a pretty clear sign that both teams suck when they are each looking across the bench and seeing an opportunity to get on track.

Hockey

While it’s fun to mock the Kings, in the end you’re really only mocking yourself (done played yo’ self, fool). It’s another team that sat on top of the hockey world for a few years, but now has too many entrenched contracts to have a full teardown and restart. And those big contracts make it also near impossible to slot in players who can move them down the lineup to lesser roles. Which is why the Hawks getting Kirby Dach is hopefully a coup as he moves Toews down for cheap in the coming years. Perhaps Alex Turcotte will be that down the road, shoving Anze Kopitar to a #2 center role. It won’t be this year though, and this year looks like it might be pretty damn ugly for the silver and black. Again.

2018-2019

31-42-9  71 points (dead ass last in the Pacific and West)

2.43 GF/G (30th)  3.16 GA/G (22nd) -60 GD

48.2 CF% (22nd)  47.0 xGF% (21st)

15.8 PP% (27th) 76.5 PK% (29th)

Goalies: Like death, taxes, and my inability to love, it’s Jonathan Quick in the Los Angeles net. But perhaps this is the time when he has to let go of the rope, even if his contract says otherwise. Quick was a big back of suck last year, posting a .888 over the full season. That kind of came out of nowhere, as the debate about whether he was overrated or underrated raged on without noticing he’d been pretty solid for the three years before (.919 SV%). At least when he was healthy. It’s highly doubtful Quick is now a sub-.900 goalie, unless there’s something chronically wrong with him physically. At 33 he shouldn’t be complete toast, but last year was awfully discouraging.

He might want to pick it up, because if he doesn’t Todd McLellan might have a real headache on his hands. Well, a headache other than watching this team getting turned into tapenade most nights. Jack Campbell massively outplayed Quick last year, to the tune of a .928 SV%. While the world has been waiting for Campbell for what seems like decades, this was his first regular turn in an NHL net. Now, maybe that was the anomaly, but if Campbell continues in anything like that fashion and Quick continues to look like be belongs in the fields of Elysium, there’s going to be a call to get Campbell more and more starts. It’s highly unlikely that Quick is going to be in net when the Kings matter again, whenever that might be, and a whole bunch of fans and some within the organization might want to start that process along.

Defense: Hope Doughnuts likes cashing that fat, $11M check because he’s going to have to do everything here. Except he can’t really anymore, and his metrics went into the red for the first time last year. When Alec Martinez is your #2 d-man, people should attend your games with gas masks. I could list the rest of the Kings defensive crew, but you would be sure I was making them up and trying to get away with something. The good thing, I guess, for the Kings is that every d-man after Doughty is only signed for this season, so they can completely start over next year if they so choose. And they probably have to. Otherwise, when you’re cold and alone at night, remember there are people out there choosing to watch Derek Forbort and Ben Hutton multiple times a week. You are not alone in your desperation and waywardness. You are not alone. You are not alone.

Forwards: Two years ago, Anze Kopitar flashed for a whole season in a big “I’m Not Dead!” sign. That gave us hope for Jonathan Toews. Well, Kopitar went back to needing a forensic team to figure out if he could fog a mirror last season, which doesn’t give us much hope. But hey, he was the only Kings forward to top 60 points. Which is…well it’s not anything and it means this team has all the dash and dynamism at forward as the rat carcass in the alley. Kovalchuk and Jeff “Wooderson” Carter are still around to cash a check, at least the latter is until yet another body part of his gets up and takes a walk for a couple months. They can’t seem to kill Dustin Brown, so he’ll take a top six role because that’s just what has to be. Look for Tyler Toffoli to have a better season as he heads into free agency and the possibility of getting the hell out of there. They’ll try and convince you that any or all of Adrian Kempe, or Alex Iaffalo, or Austin Wagner are things that definitely have to be paid attention to. They definitely intake oxygen but not much else. This team won’t score much and you can see why. When Trevor Lewis and Kyle Clifford still easily claim spots, you know your team blows.

Prediction: Don’t know why Todd McLellan took this job other than sheer desperation. At least with the Oilers he could watch Connor McDavid every night. Here he’s going to watch Kopitar wheeze and hear the fat on Doughty increasing on a nightly basis. If Quick isn’t terrible they probably won’t be a front to nature, and maybe even pass Anaheim on the standings. Maybe. But all of their kids that will form the next Kings team aren’t here yet, and what is is pretty gruesome. Another sub-80 point season seems on the cards.

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vs.

RECORDS: Hawks 34-33-10   Kings 28-40-9

PUCK DROP: 9:30pm

TV: NBCSN Chicago

YOU HAVE SELECTED REGICIDE: They all hate us so we won’t list any of them

It’s funny. There are a fair few fans who wish the Hawks would have done what the Kings have done, no matter how unpleasant it would be to watch or experience. And you get it, because it would appear the Kings are going to have a top-two spot in the lottery, meaning they can’t drop any lower than three. Though it would be pretty sweet if they went through all this and ended up with the third pick in a two-player draft. I’d get a chuckle out of it, at least.

What’s even funnier is the Kings didn’t meant this. The Senators did, but the Kings definitely didn’t. They thought tye could build off their playoff berth last year. That’s why they signed Ilya Kovalchuk, who at 35 can only shoot and complain. I’ll give you one guess which one he’s done a ton more of this season. Anze Kopitar couldn’t ride the percentage wave any longer, and has returned to merely being a good player and a cautionary tale for Jonathan Toews. Jeff Carter combs his hair a lot. Drew Doughty has his mind on his money and his money on his mind and that’s it. Jonathan Quick is going to make sure that everyone realized he was never really that good by being terrible for the rest of his career. It’s so much fun!

Worse for the Kings is there’s not a lot here or coming that they can get excited about, except whatever they get in the draft. Carl Grundstrom might be a decent middle-sixer, as well as sounding like an itchy patch somewhere sensitive and funny. That’s about it. Alex Iafallo is probably a guy. Put it this way, when Trevor Lewis and Kyle Clifford are on your second line you are an affront to nature. Welcome to Kings hockey.

For the Hawks, with both the Coyotes and Avalanche getting points last night, as well as the Wild, they were basically putting more knives in the corpse of the Hawks. Like that scene in Escape From LA when Snake finds the first agent they sent it. But I guess the Hawks have to convince themselves if they run the table maybe possibly something could happen, so until you’re officially out you might as well go for it. Which should mean no lineup changes or alterations other than the defensive rotation and hopefully not having to bench Brendan Perlini again. But you never know with this outfit.

The last time the Hawks were in LA they might have put in their most uncaring, simply embarrassing effort of the season.They were supposedly back in it, needed a buzzer beater to get past the Ducks, and then simply looked like me going through Bumble at Staples Center. Hopeless, aimless, pointless. They could have done the same in San Jose on Thursday after losing their last chance, but they didn’t. So it would be really weird for them to lay an egg against one of the few teams they should probably be easily getting by. But again, you never know with this outfit.

Folks, I won’t lie to you. If you think there’s something amiss in your life if your Saturday night is centered around Hawks-Kings, I can’t convince you otherwise. It doesn’t mean disaster, but you might want to do a quick once-over about what’s going on with you. They have to be there. We probably do, too. You don’t.

 

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Jesse Cohen runs the “All The Kings Men” podcast, and you can follow him @KingsMenPodcast.

Much like the Hawks, how do the Kings rebuild with this much bad money around? They can’t buy out everyone, and they can’t trade most of it either. 

I’m not sure there’s much the Kings can do but hope the contracts aren’t as bad as they seem. I don’t think there’s going to be a ton of interest in most of the players deemed to have “bad” contracts. Dustin Brown was considered one of the worst contracts for a few seasons but rebounded nicely.
Let’s say they have….   9 “bad” contracts? (oh god it hurt to write that): Kopitar, Brown, Kovalchuk, Carter, Toffoli, Doughty, Martinez, Phaneuf, Quick
I could see a scenario where they buy out one (Phaneuf), trade 1 or 2 (Quick/Kovalchuk), get moderate on ice value for three (Kopitar/Doughty/Brown…   don’t fight me on this one), get reasonable on ice value for 2 (Toffoli/Martinez).
BUT it’s a lot of “ifs”

Is there anyone under 30 on this roster worth caring about?

Under 30? Like presently in a Kings uniform? I think Carl Grundstrom has some interesting potential as a second liner? There are some decent role players but anybody like an Elias Petterson? No.

Are we far away from Jonathan Quick ceding the starter’s role to Jack Campbell or someone else?

The Quick issue comes down to other teams interest. If someone out there is willing to pay what the Kings want my guess is they’ll have no problem turning the net over to Cal Petersen if there aren’t any takers then I think we’re all Ride or Die for Jonathan Quick

Would Jack Hughes solve all the problems here?

Jack Hughes MIGHT solve ONE problem. Whoever they draft in the first round is for the future not the present.  Whether or not that would go any distance towards solving other problems… well… I kinda doubt it but I’m a pessimist.
*Smash cut to Jack Hughes lifting the Stanley Cup in LA next year as I am proven an idiot once more.*

 

 

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at

RECORDS: Hawks 27-28-9   Kings 23-33-8

PUCK DROP: 3:00PM CST
TV/RADIO: NBC Sports Chicago, NHL Network, WGN-AM 720
PLEASE NO MORE CALIFORNIA SONGS: JFTC

How the mighty have fallen. It’s a cliche, but given the matchup between these two former titans, it’s applicable. And while the Hawks are threatening to make a useless playoff appearance this year as the Kings did the previous season, the opponent they find for themselves today has no such delusions of grandeur.

At the start of today’s games, the Kings find themselves with the second worst point total in the league, and dead last in the Western Conference, with only the fetid corpse of the Ottawa Senators providing the buffer between them and the dirt. The problems for this team has remained constant even coming from the salad days, where their team offense is 30th in the league, but only this time there hasn’t been any defense and goaltending to bail them out. Age and workload and everything else has caught up with Jonathan Quick, whose .891 overall save percentage (.905 at evens) wouldn’t even be good enough on a team that boasted some high octane offense on occasion, and he need look no further than the squad in white today as proof of that. Quick is now 33, and his contract will take him until he’s 37, so if this is the rate of decline that Rob Blake and the Kings are going to have to live with, it’s not going to get any better anytime soon. But rest assured, despite Rob Blake not being able to make a solid transaction to save his life, much like he couldn’t ably perform any of his other post playing career duties, he’ll somehow manage to get promoted to executive VP or some shit, because that’s just what happens to Rob Blake.

In front of Quick the Kings’ blue line is still anchored by accused rapist Drew Doughty,  whose play has also completely fallen off the table. While he’s still taking assignments in any and every situation as a true #1, he has not been able to flip the ice this season as in years past, and only has one goal all year for his troubles. The latter is a bit of bad luck, and now with longtime partner Jake Muzzin gone he’s dragging around Derek Forbort, but if this is the new standard with his new contract kicking in at $11 mildo per NEXT year for the maximum 8 year term, the Kings are going to have to hope he rebounds at 30, and again, ask the guy wearing the XXXXXXL #7 sweater on the other bench how well that works out. With this season lost, the Kings are not at least trying to get a look at whatever they’ve got in their barren prospect cupboard, particularly with Alec Martinez hurt, so people named Kurtis MacDermid, Sean Walker, and Matt Roy are rounding out the bottom two pairings along with the overrated corpse of Dion Phaneuf.

Up front, Anze Kopitar hasn’t been able to repeat his career year which saw him gain a Hart Trophy finalist nod primarily because no one else on the Kings was scoring last year. Well now Kopitar has backslid to what his usual numbers had been, but no one else on the Kings has picked up any of the slack. Yes, it’s completely shocking that a 36 year old Ilya Kovalchuk has been a giant floaty turd on a team going nowhere, and he also has four more years left on his deal. No one on the Kings has more than 20 goals, which is probably most shocking from Jeff Carter, but again, the miles have more than likely caught up with him. Kyle Clifford and Trevor Lewis are still here, and it’d be easy to point and laugh about being permanently attached to 4th liners, but Marcus Kruger is still getting paid fairly nicely on the other side.

As for the Men of Four Feathers, this is an absolute must-have game in regulation if they’re going to continue to delude themselves and everyone else that they’re still vying for a playoff spot. The Nuclear Option of Saad, Toews, and Garbage Dick returns with The Drake now concussed, making the Hawks’ forward group even more top heavy. But again, if they’re going to do this, it’s not going to be because John Hayden and Wide Dick Artie are going to start dominating from the third line. And given that there’s no fathomable combination of defensive pairings that are going to slow anyone down, even this Nerf gun Kings offense, there’s no reason not to lean on the proven weapons they’ve got. Any run is also going to require solid goaltending from the likely still dizzy Corey Crawford, who in all likelihood will go tomorrow night in Silicon Valley, leaving Cam Ward to hopefully not shit his pants this afternoon. It’s a big ask, but he provides veteran leadership and and big game experience so hopefully he’s up for it.

When these two played at the UC back in November the Hawks were just getting acclimated to Coach Rod Belding and the game was an unwatchable slog. According to Stan Bowman, the team is still learning his system, which apparently must be like learning Sanskrit given the on ice results in the defensive zone. While the Hawks have at least become some form of black comedic fun since then, the vultures have continued to pick at the Kings, but afternoon hockey is the great equalizer and almost always results in shitty play and shitty ice conditions, so expect the same this afternoon. Regardless of that, if this team wants to convince itself it should be playing past game 82, beating the worst team in the West is nothing short of mandatory. Let’s go Hawks.

 

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 vs. 

RECORDS: Kings 5-11-1   Hawks 7-8-4

PUCK DROP: 7:30

TV: NBCSN Chicago

NO MORE CALIFORNIA SONGS: Jewels From The Crown

It’s ok if you mourn the end of the Hawks Era. It can be a tough watch at times, especially when the memories of what a fine, oiled machine it was still so fresh. No team ever exits the spotlight gracefully, or at least it’s pretty damn rare. The fall is always painful. Especially in the callous world of the salary capped NHL, the tumble comes quick and the tide always wins. Maybe it was an impossible task set ahead of the Hawks, even without the mistakes they’ve made.

Then again, they could be the Kings.

It’s an interesting record. Since the Hawks last Cup win, they have three playoff wins. The Kings have one in the four seasons since their last win. They’ve missed the playoffs twice. And whereas the Hawks have tried to dance around their rebuild or collapse, the Kings have fallen face-first into theirs this year. Those days of Kobe and Kershaw wearing Kings’ jerseys are over, because this is a mess only identifiable by dental records. And given that it’s a hockey team, even that’s dicey.

They may provide a lesson in what happens when you cling too tightly to things that have past. The Kings for too long still tried to be a roving horde of barbarians that they thought won them two Cups, and watched as their team got slower and dumber while the league got faster and more skilled. Seriously, this outfit traded for Milan Lucic once. Firing the GM and coach is nice and all, but not if you’re not going to try anything new.

They also bought into fortune-stained results as reality far too much. Last year’s playoff berth was simply due to a magnificent Jonathan Quick season, which is not the norm or anything you should count on, and Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown shooting the lights out. No matter how much their fans bitched and whines that Kopitar should have been the MVP simply because no one stays up late enough to watch their dog-assed team, he was never likely to replicate that. And if he didn’t, he wasn’t taking Brown with him either. That’s what’s happened.

Jeff Carter is 33 now and looking it. Ilya Kovalchuk‘s style of impersonating waiting for a bus until a pass comes was never going to improve the team much, and it hasn’t. Beyond whatever this top-six is, and that’s clearly still very much a mystery, there’s simply nothing on the bottom-six. It’s more of the Kyle CliffordTrevor Lewis Axis Of Yuck that it’s seemingly been forever.

The real treat is at the back of course, where Drew Doughty got his money and seemingly doesn’t care anymore. He’s playing with something called Derek Forbort, not that it matters. Alec Martinez and Jake Muzzin are starting to look like the remnants of that Big Mac you left on the coffee table at 3am last night and discovered this morning while guzzling gatorade. Dion Phaneuf is even more of a monolith than he was, which shouldn’t be possible but hey, L.A. is the land of fantasy and dreams!

Quick isn’t around to bail this out, which he’s only capable of once every four or five years. He’s out for a while. So is his backup Jack Campbell, which means they’ve brought Statler and Waldorf in to play goalie.

Robb Lake the GM seemingly has recognized all he’s built here is kindling (too soon?), and the sell-off might already be under way. This week he sent Tanner Pearson to Pittsburgh for Carl Hagelin, with Hagelin a free agent after the season. Whatever isn’t battened down should probably be sold at auction, so Muzzin, Martinez, Forbort, and Toffoli could and should be on notice. They’re the only ones whose contracts aren’t an atrocity.

For the Hawks, Marcus Kruger returns to the lineup after Brandon Davidson was informed that he’s hurt, replacing Dream Warrior on IR. SuckBag Johnson will sit. Alex Fortin remains out in favor of John Hayden. Sure. Corey Crawford will attempt to ride the momentum of Wednesday’s shutout, and against this decidedly broken squirt-gun of an offense you’d think that wouldn’t be too hard.

I don’t want to put too much on the Hawks, but there’s really no excuse to not get a regulation win tonight. The Kings are already getting the white flag out of the closet if not waving it already. They’re on their third-string goalie, maybe fourth. They’re slow and dumb, and the Hawks have done all right with the rare slow and dumb opponent you see in the NHL these days. As long as you don’t do anything too stupid, the Kings can’t really find a way to score enough to beat you. Don’t make this any harder than it has to be.

 

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We really have to reach into the depths for our Kings Q&A. It’s best if you don’t know. Just know that he’s truly warped. 

Boy, your lot really sucks, huh?

Last Saturday, Sportsnet flashed a graphic that the five leading scorers on the Flames had more goals than the Kings have scored all season. In the two games since, the Kings have added one goal to their total of 34, which is also the season total of the quartet of Kane, DeBrincat, Toews, and Saad combined.

You mean Ilya Kovalchuk and his five goals weren’t the answer?

Where would this team be without its leading scorer, Ilya Kovalchuk? The answer is in exactly the same spot standings-wise, and possibly the same place points-wise, depending on how a theoretical Knifey Spoony against Lundqvist and three friends turned out. If you pretend the Kings have two additional Kovalchuks? Well, they would break the salary cap by over $12 million, but also finally pull into a tie for 30th in goals with Anaheim. The only unrealistic part of this scenario is imagining the Kings bringing in multiple players in one offseason.

Anze Kopitar has six points. What’s the deal there?

And only three of those six points were at evens, where his most common wingers are Alex Iafallo, and since his return from injury, Dustin Brown. Playing around with sortable categories on Natural Stat Trick, one notices that his current numbers are still above 50% (hovering around 52-53% for Corsi and Fenwick). However, they are mostly below either his rookie 2007-2008 season or his broken wrist 2016-2017 season. He’s 31 and it has become easier and easier to concentrate on just shutting his line down. But I bet if Eastern Conference writers stayed up to watch him play more often, he would have at least eight or nine points by now.

Does Rob Blake have any idea what he’s doing?

He knows exactly what he is doing: firing everyone under him before people realize this team is going nowhere. Was it really John Stevens’ fault after just 95 games?

What does the immediate future hold? What should it hold?

The immediate future holds rooting against any hot streaks that pull them ahead of other bottom-feeding teams, or convince upper management not to make more drastic changes. Everything with a pulse should be traded, but the team’s most liquid asset is Carl Hagelin, whose best case scenario is being flipped for a fifth-rounder to a team looking for #SPEED. Their youngest defenseman, Paul LaDue, is 26. Dion Phaneuf is still signed until 2021. The immediate future does not look great, even with a big lottery win, so maybe it is time to revert to planting drugs on albatross contracts.

 

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You’re getting a twofer today, as we look to get back on schedule. There’ll be another one somewhere this week. Am I gonna tell you when? Sure won’t!

Ah yes, the other fallen dynasty. The team that made missing the playoffs after being a Cup contender the year before a trendy thing to do. Those Los Angeleans, always setting the trends. The Kings returned to the playoffs last year, except no one knows why. They didn’t want to be there, played like they didn’t want to be there, and were home before anyone noticed anything was amiss by them being there. They got a revival season out of both Jonathan Quick and Anze Kopitar, which are the only reasons they did anything anyone might notice. And they’ll probably need both to do so again if they’re not going to drown in anonymity behind LeBron and of course, Jimmy Butler (in his own mind).

Let’s take a look at the silver and black, because we honestly might not talk about them ever again.

2017-2018: 45-29-8 98 points  239 GF 209 GA  50.0 CF% 48.0 xGF%  7.8 SH% .930 SV%

Goalies: See that last mark up there? That was fourth-best in the league, and the major reason the Kings were able to come in from the cold, come down from the wire and make the playoffs. Quick had his best season in five last year, with a .921 SV% overall and a .926 at evens. He was certainly helped by a nuclear October where he went for a .942, but he backed that up in February and March with a .928 and .926.

The problem for the Kings is that all of his marks last year were above his career norms, which despite what crusty old white guys tell you have always been just about average. Quick won the Kings the Cup in ’12, this much is so. He was along for the ride in ’14. And he’s been along for the ride most of his career. In a season where he’ll turn 33, it’s probably ok to expect him to return to his career norms, which are just about league-average. And that won’t get it done for this squad.

Looking to back him up is Jack Campbell. You may remember him from such films as “Once Was A US World Junior Goalie” or “Was Gonna Save The Stars Five Years Ago.” It never happened for Campbell, and this could be his first dip into full-time NHL waters. The Kings don’t really have much of a net if Quick either gets hurt or is just some guy. Some guy named Quick.

Defense: After the Leafs threw all the money at John Tavares, there really wasn’t much of anywhere Drew Doughty could threaten to go if the Kings didn’t sign him. So they signed him until he finally goes to prison hopefully, for $11 million a year. Doughty is just about still one of the league’s premier puck-movers, and had his best year points-wise and possession-wise last year. He’s going to have to do it again. Because the rest of this blue line is covered in ants.

Jake Muzzin has always been a product of whatever Doughty could do, which somehow got him a Team Canada spot once upon a time. Alec Martinez is losing his fastball, and spent most of last season getting his head caved in. I don’t know what an Oscar Fantenberg is, but I do know that I don’t have to know what an Oscar Fantenberg is. Do we really need to go over Dion Phaneuf again? If you insist…he’s awful and terrible and slow and bad and stupid and ugly and expensive and slow and bad and did I say stupid already? Yeah, sucks. This team needs to put Kale Clague and his dumb name on the second pairing yesterday, but won’t because the Kings are SO TOUGH AND GRINDY AND YOU EARN IT HERE LOOK AT HOW BIG WE ARE WE EAT STAPLERS HARF HARF HARF.

Forwards: As you probably can guess, I cannot wait for this Ilya Kovalchuk hail mary to go balls-up by January 1st. He’s 35, hasn’t played in this league in years which in the meantime got a whole lot faster and I’m fairly sure he’s here to soak up the sun and cash a check. This is the hockey version of Michael Anthony. Oh sure, he’ll probably still score 30 goals, maybe even more, maybe even a lot more. A majority of them will come when the Kings are already trailing 3-0 late in the 3rd. It’s gonna be fucking special.

Anyway, Kopitar still rips. Jeff Carter does too, when he’s healthy, Which he never is and now he’s gonna turn 34 during the season. They probably expect Dustin Brown to shoot the lights out again. Dustin Brown will return to putting his left skate on his right foot this season. Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli are still here to do whatever it is they do.

The bottom six however…woof. This would lose your entire security deposit. And I think they’re all named Alex. Kyle Clifford? Nate Thompson? Trevor Lewis? Aren’t these all the same guy? Does it matter? I’m sure it does not.

Outlook: There was a brief time, at the beginning of last season, when John Stevens looked to bring the Kings out of the deep, dark cave they had lived in under Darryl Sutter and actually try and play some hockey that wouldn’t be considered narcolepsy. Then he quickly realized they couldn’t do it as well as about half the teams in the league, and they went back to dungeon hockey and hoping Quick could save enough shots and Kopitar could make enough along with Doughty to squeak them by. It worked once. It’s unlikely too again, and this team is not built to deal with a league getting faster and younger.

Most likely Quick has a small regression, Kopitar does too, and there just isn’t enough scoring to eke out the 3-2 wins they used to specialize in. This blue line spends most nights getting tire tracks implanted on it by the likes of Vegas, San Jose, and even Calgary and Edmonton could do a number on them. And given the age of the roster, it could be a long trip into the abyss for them.

Can’t. Wait.

 

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