The honeymoon’s over. Hola, hockey.
For the Kings, it’s a roster that has been hit with some unexpected misfortune in the health department. It’s also a roster that is being carried, as well as it can be, by the unexpected.
Scoring has come at an unsatisfactory rate through the first two contests of the campaign, with red-light inducers provided only by the three forwards that embody the Kings’ fourth-line, and two defensemen which rarely trigger reaction from scorekeepers.
Offensive output has been activated by Kyle Clifford (3pts), Jordan Nolan (2pts), Colin Fraser (1pt), Rob Scuderi (1pt), and of course Matt Greene (1pt), who will likely see his assist in the Kings’ opener be his final point of the season. Alec Martinez also has one point, but that’s not a shocker.
Those are the Kings’ leading scorers.
The depth ain’t done, however. Trevor Lewis, who has been rotating between third and fourth-line roles, leads the entire Kings roster in shots-on-goal through two games with eight.
It’s a bit ironic how three of the few powerful offensive bodies seen from the Kings’ roster through the first two games of the season spent some time during the NHL lockout playing in the ECHL. The skill-level between these two leagues is night and day.
Kind of like Tuesday’s performance compared to Saturday’s.
The effort, focus, and overall performance was much better at the Pepsi Center last night against the Colorado Avalanche. If you’re expecting perfection, or a miraculous carry-over from last spring, you’re in for an agonizing ride.
And it doesn’t have to be, because most of what is happening, said, or done today, will likely be irrelevant in about a week.
Lend an ear: It’s already renown that head coach Darryl Sutter was the most vital factor to the Kings’ success last season. The guy knows what’s going on, and he’s got a way of stubbornly expressing it to the media without openly disgracing them.
It’s open-fire. But he does it respectably. It’s like the reporters don’t know they asked a shit-stained question.
Don’t be offended by the truth, which Sutter spits. However, he regularly has a field-day with reporters with his simple, and extremely blunt responses. He brought up an extremely valid point following the Kings’ opening contest Saturday:
“Hopefully, our first and second lines give us some quality minutes instead of just playing them.” – Darryl Sutter via Frozen Royalty
You’ve got to love the subtle, yet oh so blatant messages that flow through Darryl Sutter‘s one-sentence responses.
Guess who showed up in Colorado? It wasn’t the aforementioned first and second lines, that’s for certain. All offensive assets showed improvement, but that was a given following Saturday’s debacle. Tough to get worse, eh?
It was Kyle Clifford and the utterly antagonizing fourth line that ran the show, completed by the likes of Colin Fraser and Jordan Nolan. This trio was used aplenty in Saturday’s opener, and was clearly the best offensive group in the lineup.
The fourth-line returned to the spotlight again Tuesday in Colorado with Kyle Clifford‘s first period goal off of a Jordan Nolan shot. This shot, purposely placed by Nolan himself, granted a friendly carom that would direct access to Clifford’s stick.
Fourth comes forth
Cliff-Hanger: Kyle Clifford practiced with the second line Wednesday, skating alongside Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. It’s yet to be confirmed whether or not Clifford steps into a top-six role for the Kings’ third game of the season Thursday night.
Back to Edmonton
In Edmonton: Willie Mitchell will not play.
Hopefully the Kings can put forth a performance resembling that of an oil-change.
You can always use one of those on the road.
My bad, Gretz.
Puck drops at Rexall Place in Alberta against the Edmonton Oilers Thursday 6:30 PM PST.