Dancing in the Reign: Homeward Found
Working Overtime: The Kings have closed cases on both of their victories in two fashions that would surprise most, considering the club’s recent past. Both defeats have come in the extra frame while on the powerplay, and off of Jack Johnson‘s stick. How about some deserved breathing room for Jamie Kompon, and some substance to Johnson’s healthy contract extension he took the ink to in January. Sure, you could call both of these Mike Richards – Jack Johnson connections botched plays. However, the recovery, or impressively quick reaction/adaptation to a fumbled setup is what what makes both of these finale’s absolute gold. In both instances against the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist and the Flyers’ Ilya Bryzgalov, Richards’ exploited his ridiculous ability to make plays in touchy situations, where Johnson’s aggressive positioning opened opportunity. This is your diamond found in the Kings’ early mediocrity.
A fair guage
Sideshows aside: We’re done with Europe, we’re done with the North American opener, and we’re done with the homecoming-reunion affair in Philadelphia. Dennis Bernstein, the Senior Writer and Director at the Fourth Period Magazine said it best over the weekend through twitter, citing:
“True barometer for #LAKings early season will be next week when they go STL/at PHX/DAL.“
And yes, that is certainly the case. The Kings have the St. Louis Blues, Phoenix Coyotes, and Dallas Stars on the week’s slate. All Western Conference opponents, two of which reside in the Pacific Division – all teams the Kings are expected to beat, the Kings need to beat. Regardless of the early starts these opponents have chalked up, their season outlook doesn’t behold the level of expectations, or talent, that the Kings do. All three of these opponents would consider their 2011-2012 campaign a success with a playoff slot. For the Kings, it’s renown that multiple playoff rounds conjoined with a threat to be a Stanley Cup favorite is the tag-line.
Speaking of tag-lines
It’s also time for a new marketing department.
Kings O’Clock – The hype’s ripe: Hockey’s back in Los Angeles, where excuses for failure will be as valid as your reasoning for scrapping 5th period Algebra in 10th grade. That’s what makes the week’s schedule stand out. This roster has developed serious credentials to look down upon lesser opponents. That’s baggage for attention, that’s being a target, that’s being good. This week should see absolutely no less than four points attained, unless another home-ice relapse is witnessed. For the first time this season, the setting is steady, especially with the only road game this week taking place in Phoenix, which has to be one of the weakest road environments to perform in. The downside? The Kings are without Drew Doughty, but not for contract reasons.
V for Voynov
Slava-Rama: After falling victim to a solid cross-ice hit in Philadelphia, Drew Doughty has been placed on the Kings’ Injured Reserve list for the next 7-10 days with an undisclosed upper-body injury. This opens up another opportunity for prospect Slava Voynov, a defenseman that would grace most NHL rosters out of training camp. Voynov, who made a case for himself during the preseason with steady defensive coverage coupled with a goal and an assist, is coming off of a 2010-2011 campaign in the AHL with the Manchester Monarchs that saw him record 51 points in 76 games. Voynov, who was assigned to Manchester following Doughty’s signing, has called for a goal and an assist in two games with Manchester – along with a +5 rating. Expect Voynov to get regular time, even ahead of Davis Drewiske, and maybe an appearance or two with the Kings’ second powerplay unit.