Hey Media, Does This Finally Qualify As Adversity? – Kings v. Blues 4-30-2013

Of course, the lead story in this game is the giveaway by Quick, which I will not dodge by calling it a takeaway. Neither did Quick dodge his blunder when speaking to the press. The team as a whole owned this loss, for themselves, and as is trademark behavior for this team nobody is blaming Quick for the loss.

Indeed, Quick’s game-ending play is destined to be revisited ad nauseum whenever the press wants to contrast Quick’s game with the great success he has earned. However, that highlight blip will not tell the story of this overtime game: the story is that it even got to overtime at all.

Quick had perhaps a dozen outstanding saves included among the steady Blues barrage totaling 42 shots, and at times single-handedly kept the Kings close on the scoreboard. The only reason the loss seems dramatic is that Quick held the team together until they found their game with only 32 seconds left in regulation.

Here is the Player X Ray, which by the way is beginning to have an influence on the media; Fist mine, and then a screen grab of the lines as presented by Fox TV, in a TV graphic they had never used before:

4-30-2013-St Louis Game 1bHere is the Fox TV graphic:

4-30-2013-x ray used by fox tv edited

It may not seem like much to you, but this is actually my first step towards worldwide domination.

Seriously, as with all good inventions, when people first see it they think, “Well, of course,” but the fact is Fox TV, for the Kings, has not used this format of having pictures of the players actually grouped by line combinations this season at all, and it has never been a regular feature.

Who knows if they will continue to use it: after all, it is only a no-words-required visual presentation being employed in a predominantly visual medium. Maybe eventually Fox will realize we already know these guys are on the Kings and won’t use the LA Logo 12 times, next to each single guy. Maybe they could put something else there, something not repetitive and more informing, like I dunno, maybe stats for example. We’ll see.

Back to the game…

I said earlier that Quick, and the Kings, owned this loss. That is vital in a successful team; they know what they did well, and what they did poorly. Honest self-appraisal is the only way toward improvement. Contrast that with these two quotes from the Blues, posted by Jon Rosen the LA Kings Insider, after they WON a game:

Hitchcock, on the “psyche” of the team coming back to win in overtime:
The hockey gods took care of us. They did. I mean, we played a great hockey game. Waking up tomorrow would have been a challenge if we didn’t win the hockey game today.

Backes, on the win:                                                                          “You don’t draw it up where you give up the tying goal with 30 seconds left. Those are the no-no’s of hockey. .. The hockey gods rewarded us, it seems like, for some good work tonight.”

As much as I’d like to think these guys are referring to the Kings as the hockey gods, that argument just doesn’t stand. Neither does the idea that the COACH and CAPTAIN of the team are both yielding that they think they are subject to the fickle whims of fate, or the capricious patronage of “hockey gods.” This is not winning thinking, and I am unable to reconcile this with normal thought processes.

The sub-text, the hidden message to the team, is that winning or losing is mostly beyond their control. That even when they dominated a game for most of the time, and when their opposition just barely made it to overtime on the low-percentage, desperation last-minute goalie-pulled attack, the resulting, ultimate success was, in  their thinking, out of their hands. They do not own this win, and it implies they do not own their losses, either. “It was them hockey gods what got us, guys, just keep plugging away and maybe those gods will let us win, some, too. Let’s hope so, anyway.”

The Kings, on the other hand, are proactive in thought and action. Here’s our coach:

On the overtime loss:
“You know what? They came out exactly how you expected them to. They played a work, speed game. That’s what they did, and we had a handful of guys that weren’t ready for that part of it. It made for a tough time. Actually, I thought we played really well from about five minutes left in the first for most of the second.

And, here’s our Captain:

Brown, on getting chances in overtime, followed by a “fluky” play:
“You might call it a fluky goal, but they outplayed us for the whole game. When you play the game that they did, you get the breaks that they get.”

On a one-goal game despite St. Louis’ dominance, which led to an equalizer:
“Well, Jon Quick was really good. He gave us a chance. Then we get a double minor power play, and they find a way to get a goal on it. They deserved to win the game.”

I would much rather rely on self-aware leaders grounded in reality, rather than buck-passing idolaters struggling for approval from fictional beings.

Now for the real-world steps taken by Coach Sutter to find the right line mixes. The X Ray shows the lines as used for the first two periods, mostly. Stoll was inserted for Richardson on a D-zone draw in the first period, and Penner was moved into Clifford’s spot for an O-zone draw in the 2nd.

Sutter’s regular line rollovers in sequence (1,2,3,4 or often 1,3,2,4) were thwarted by excessive specialty teams time, as in Blues Power Plays. He started with 1,2,3,4 and evolved by the 3rd into a mad scramble as lines were shuffled.

King and Clifford were nearly benched in the 3rd, Clifford getting just 3 shifts and King just one shift on a one-off combo of King/Richardson/Carter. Clifford skated his 3 with Kopi and Carter, but halfway thru Clifford was sat and never played with those guys at all during overtime.

As Sutter was “shopping” for line combos in the 3rd, he tried Penner (instead of King) with Stoll and Lewis, and it looked good. Penner, who may well be Sampson, seems to do better when there is a formal Playoff growth; in truth, Penner “stubble” equals other guys’ full growths. Penner was in beast mode: maybe the weight of his playoff beard forces him to skate harder just to keep from falling forward. I expect this line to remain intact for Game 2, as it was used all thru the 3rd and overtime, to good effect.

Sutter also moved Richardson up to the Kopitar line in the 3rd period, but that would not stick and was abandoned after 3 shifts. Richardson was simply more effective at the Center position. Also, taking him off the 4th line would totally gut that line and reduce the Kings to rolling just 3 lines, which Sutter never likes to do over an entire period. Sutter even tried Penner (Penner again! Mr. Go-To) with Kopi and Carter toward the end the 3rd. I say toward the end; Kopi’s line was out for the second to last shift of the 3rd, meaning it WAS NOT the last shift, the “goalie-pulled we-need-a-goal” line, with the game at stake.

Sutter recognized the game Williams was having as being the best of his team, and so it was the Brown/Richards/Williams who were saved for that crucial last shift when Quick came to the bench. Stoll jumped on the ice for Quick, joining Muzzin and Doughty. Some beautiful defensive play at center ice, when the Kings net was empty, prevented the Blues from icing the game, and then Williams just waltzed in to tie the game.

Williams had missed the net twice on prime scoring opportunities already in this game, trying to hit the corners of the net. His team-high game total of 5 shots, plus the two missed, shows why Sutter used him instead of Kopi and Carter; Williams was on. He cleverly took the ice that was given him on entry, and advanced to the faceoff dot, then moved actually into the defender’s path. In so doing, Williams disguised his release, so that Blues goalie Elliot never saw the shot coming. Top corner placement was perfect, however, and I don’t know if anybody was going to stop that shot whether they saw it or not.

With the game tied, Sutter had a 4th period to finalize his line combinations.

King was brought back from the dead to skate with Kopi and Carter; I dunno if he played up to them as much as they played down to his level. Carter was actually okay early but had a rough game after his shot hit the post and stayed out to end the 1st period.

Penner remained with Stoll and Lewis, and that line continued to be potent both as checkers and in the O-zone. Richardson skated with Clifford and Nolan, and the line of Brown/Richards/Williams was left intact, as they had been all game.

The Kings finally outplayed the Blues, in overtime, and although the Blues had good chances of their own, we saw extended possession in the Blues’ zone, we saw Kings with speed and possession thru center, we saw shots and chances and rebounds. The Kings had at least drawn the play even, as well as the score, but then it all fell apart on the Kings overtime Power Play.

I have no doubt that the Kings will successfully pick themselves up after this game. We saw the Blues at their very, very best, while the Kings were not. The game was lost in overtime, and the Kings looked better in OT until the stickhandling gaffe, meaning the Kings still have the “game” to beat this new Blues lineup.

Hitchcock, when not genuflecting, talked about how the Kings had not yet seen the new-look Blues, since the regular season games had come before the acquisitions of Leopold and Bouwmeester. What Hitchcock failed to mention is that the difference-makers, the new guys on the new-look Blues, had also not seen the real Kings yet. And, in fact those guys still have not seen the Kings when they play their best.

That’s what I expect in Game 2: Blues energy, matched by Kings intelligence and composure. If there is a storm to be weathered next game, it may well be the Blues looking for shelter that time.

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11 Responses to Hey Media, Does This Finally Qualify As Adversity? – Kings v. Blues 4-30-2013

  1. Crown Royal says:

    Well written, agree and disagree. I fully expected the Blues to dominate this game and was only surprised at how well JQ played. The Blues are probably the biggest, most physical team in the league and had their way last night using muscle, team balance, and good goaltending.

    The Kings who found their identity late last season had this season somehow lost it are still struggling to find the right line and defensive combinations. Nolan was good the first few games this year then suddenly seemed to be playing much more tactically (was it the coaches), Lewis flashed a bit of offense for awhile but doesn’t seem to be taking the body as hard as he was in last years playoffs. King is playing like a Terry Murray robot-no fire or intenstity. JP was back to being the enigamatic JP again and was good at times last night. Remember he played one great game against the Blues last year in the playoffs when they made him mad then they “wised up” and left him alone after the giant awakened. With smaller forwards like Richards, JW, and Stoll who all get significant ice time and along with Kopi, JC and Lewis who are not especially physical, the Kings are challenged when playing big, physical, hard-hitting teams. Some changes may be necessary next season to have a legitimate shot again at the Cup.

    On defense the Kings also have issues starting with the delicate balance of last season being upset with the losses of WM and Greene. There’s talent there but the chemistry isn’t. That’s going to have to be figuered out by DL.

    I hope I’m wrong but unless JQ continues to stand on his head again like last night and last season, I don’t think the Kings are going to be around long in this years playoffs. JQ is the difference maker one way or another but the fact remains this team, today has some problems.

    • Crown Royal says:

      In my recent post I said JP instead of DP. I was, of course, talking about Dustin Penner.

    • Player X says:

      I am more optimistic: I expect (or hope?) for the series to be 2-1 Blues after game 3, in whatever fashion or order that is reached. If so, and the Kings win game 4, I like our chances a lot better.

      Basically, if the Blues are even thinning about hockey gods, I see them as mentally fragile. That was the Kings best edge last year, mental toughness. hopefully, Quick will stay out of scrums within the first 7 minutes of the game, and not let the inevitable “contact” upset him.

      • Crown Royal says:

        Fifty percent to the Kings defense from last year’s playoffs was not dressed last night. There is no chemistry there. Kopi is mired in a what, 16 game goal scoring drought. The question as to who is the sixth forward in the top six is still unanswered. DP, King, Nolan provide size but none can be depended on at this point. Richardson, Clifford, Lewis, provide speed but none are scorers and neither is Stoll who is undersized, an average skater and is mostly a face-off and defensive specialist. There are only five scorers among the forwards, and not enough dependable big forwards. Plus the question marks on defense. I hope Kopi and Brown get hot (Carter too) and JQ can carry the team but I have doubts.

  2. Mik3ysfv says:

    ‘X, I haven’t checked in for a while because I have been having trouble posting with my phone. First off I hope all is well with you, it’s good to see you here too, Crowned, USHA#17. So the beautiful part of yesterday is that no good deed goes unpunished. My car was impounded doing a favor for a family member driving them to LAX. $309 later, I got to see the final 13 minutes of the third., and the overtime abortion. I will say however, I don’t think we would have made it to overtime without Jonathan Quick. I refrained from posting until now to allow anger to subside, mingled in with the anger of getting my vehicle impounded. The loss is on me, boys. I wasn’t home to perform my superstitions That result in Kings’ win after Kings win.

  3. Mik3ysfv says:

    Plus, my damn phone only allows me to see so much of what I post. BTW, ‘ X, you are one handsome Sleestack. Too bad Holly is in her forties/fifties now or I’d ask you for a hookup. I am going to say, what the Kings did to the Blues last night is going to be worse then had the Kings won. Now they will have the rug pulled out from under them, and be a bunch of babbling idiots when all is said and done. They will be a beaten team for more years to come. Like I said, I only got to see the last 13 minutes plus overtime, so I have no valid analysis to offer, I just think we would not have made it to overtime were it not for the play of Jonathan Quick. Even though he should be zapped with a cattle prod every time he tries to handle the puck. I hope all is well with you, once again, X

    • Mik3ysfv says:

      *worse THAN* GOD DAMNIT. I know the difference between then and than. Stupid voice dictation software.

  4. Mik3ysfv says:

    P.S. shouldn’t your trademark or copyright cover what that station is stealing from you? You should at least get a shout out or Your website advertise or plugged. That just really sucks that they can steal your idea and use it as their own.

    • Player X says:

      Thanks for all the kind words, been wondering what was up with you and so sorry about the whole car bullshit. We can excuse one game but you better make sure the pregame rituals are intact tonight, we need you.

      As for the copyright, I did officially register my X Ray, and I am choosing my words carefully here but in reality I kinda expect the format to be “adopted” widely, eventually, one way or another. The info on it does not exist all in one place anywhere else at all. I mean, all the stats are kept, but they are not kept in one place on one page, and for sure are not combined with the visual of the line combos and defense pairs grouped as they play.
      I don’t say that to make myself seem wiser or better, honestly, I really don’t. Having to go to the Kings site boxscore to get ice time for special teams, then go to the NHL game recap boxscore to get hits and faceoffs, and then going to the Kings Insider site to get the slated line combos and defense pairs, is freakin’ crazy. That’s what a fan (me) would have to do to review a game.
      To me, it’s nuts. It’s like having batting averages on the Dodgers site, but having earned run averages on the league site, and then getting the lineup from a message board.
      Eventually, the team and/or the league is going to realize they need to push the players, so why not use their pictures? Simple branding 101. Then, gather all the game stats in one place, and instead of some dry, complicated list why not just put those stats next to the player’s picture…

      • Mik3ysfv says:

        I know, but your trademark or copyright should hold some weight. It sucks that you had the vision to do this, and other people can parasite off of it.
        As far as my game rituals, I made a critical mistake in allowing a certain friend to come over. I take full responsibility for the loss in Games one and two. I will not allow a repeat in game 3, I would set my house on fire before I allow that to happen.

        • Mik3ysfv says:

          I really wish there was some way you can enforce your trademark/ copyright. It really sucks that someone can steal your vision. Oh well, I will get them in game 3, ‘X. Godspeed my friend.

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