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This isn’t the first time someone has told Tomas Kaberle to shoot more. He may be a world-class offensive d-man. He may be able to move the puck up the ice and quarterback a powerplay better than almost anyone on the planet. But his shortcoming as an offensive d-man is his reluctance to shoot the puck.
Kaberle ranks 52nd in the league in Shots on Goal among defensemen with 10 on the season. Let’s do the math here. 30 Teams. 2 Defensemen on each team’s top PP unit on the points. That’s 60. Take away 2-3 d-men away from that number for guys like Ovechkin and Kovalchuk manning the points as forwards. Kaberle ranks 52 out of approximately 57 guys on the points of top PP units. By the way, his partner on the point, our Captain, ranks 1st among all d-men with 24 SOG.
Now there will be some among you who say, “well, Kaberle’s job is to set up Dion’s shot on the right or Kessel’s shot on the left.” Well, there is no light way to put this so here it is: You are idiots. This conversation is for people who actually understand hockey.
As of today, our Powerplay ranks 16th in the league at 14.3%. The Rangers drew 10 minutes in minors on Thursday, yet we failed to convert on one. And Kaberle is largely to blame.
Leafs (4-1-1) at Philly (2-3-1)
The Leafs have something to prove this game. After a 4-0-0 start, the Leafs have lost the last two games: An overtime loss to the Islanders which the Leafs dominated from start to finish but could not pull out the W; and a regulation to the Rangers in which the Leafs looked more like the team from last year than the team that began the season with the franchise’s best start in almost two decades. Which team will show up?
Height: 6’ 3”
Weight: 220 Pounds
Height: 6’ 8”
Wight: 257 Points
For those who didn’t see the fight:
In recent years, the #1 seed in the Western Conference has been synonymous with both the Pacific Division and the San Jose Sharks. It would seem likely that this will be repeated again in 2011.
This article will suggest that not only will San Jose not take the first seed in the West, they will not even win their own division, as it is now the time for the Los Angeles Kings to do just that.
Here are the five reasons that the Kings can take their rightful place on the throne in the Pacific:
Add a hefty $3 million fine and the loss of two draft picks to the list of what New Jersey Devils have lost in their pursuit of Ilya Kovalchuk.
The Devils will lose a 3rd round pick in 2011 and a 1st rounder in one of the next four years as a punishment for trying to test the limits of the rules.
Excessive, sure, but there’s a price to pay for pushing the envelope the farthest, especially when you do the pushing in the direction of Gary Bettman.
What have the Devils already given up?
Yesterday Paul (KK) posted a bit of an interview with Anze Kopitar with links to the rest of it on lakings.com. There were 2 other interviews that were related to Kings fans by Rich Hammond on his blog LA Kings Insider
First was an audio interview with former Kings forward and current TV color commentator Jim Fox as he appeared on XM Radio’s Power Play show. Here are 2 links:
I’m sure most fans outside of Los Angeles will be surprised to hear that the Kings host an annual event for their fans called Hockey Fest. It coincides with the opening of rookie camp and all Kings fans can attend for a small fee. Season ticket holders get a discount.
From Rich Hammond’s LA Kings Insider blog here’s the schedule for this year’s event scheduled for Saturday, September 11th:
For those wondering about what the Kings’ “Hockey Fest” will look like this season, here’s a rundown of exactly how the day is scheduled to go. All events will take place at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo. Tickets are available for $20 (or $15 for season-ticket holders).
The fact that the Ilya Kovalchuk impasse will drag out at least another day shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. It would have been naive (read: I was naive) to believe reports that an answer would come from the League today.
This will-he-or-won’t-he question has lingered since the superstar left winger was traded to New Jersey in February. It stayed unanswered through weeks of courtship from the Kings and Devils in July and it could remain that way—God, forbid—if this contract is dismissed once again by the suits on Sixth Avenue.
Somehow, it doesn’t seem like that will be the case this time.
If Nick Kypreos was right on Monday, and this new deal really is two years shorter and more reasonably spread out in terms of payout, this might finally all be over.
But, how do Devils fans feel about that?
I heard a caller on the radio the other day talk about the effect the Phil Kessel trade has had on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Most people think that the trade was a disaster for the Leafs, but I was a proponent of the trade when it first happened. However, I did not think Brian Burke needed to give up 2 first round picks to get Kessel because he had the threat of the offer sheet and only needed to give up a first, second, and third round pick if he were to go that route (I know Burke lashed out at Kevin Lowe for the Dustin Penner offer sheet, but the biggest issue he had with Lowe was that he didn’t approach him first about a deal; he felt blind sided). That being said, I do not want to sit here and discuss how good or bad that deal was. Back to the caller, he made what I thought to be a great point, he essentially said that if Burke did not make the Kessel trade, some of the other deals he made later in the year probably would not have happened since the Leafs would have most likely been tanking the season and playing for Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin. So to judge Burke solely on the Kessel trade would not be fair. You need to look at the effect of that trade on the other moves he has made and I tend to agree with him. Thus, the Leafs most likely would not have made the Phaneuf or Giguere trades, which essentially brought the Leafs their young captain and also ridded them of bad contracts (Blake, and I would argue Stajan, and White as well).
I’m going to avoid calling this a “season preview” as I think I share the belief of most Kings fans that Dean Lombardi will make at least one more move this offseason that will alter the starting lineup. Instead I’ll take a look at the current team to try to identify what I believe are the strengths and weaknesses.
Top 6: Right now the top 6 forwards of the Kings appears to be Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, Ryan Smyth, Wayne Simmonds, Jarret Stoll, and Justin Williams. Micheal Handzus and newly signed Alexei Ponikarovsky could also push for playing time on the top 2 lines, depending on their production. Last year the Kings were tied for 9th in 5 on 5 goal scoring ratio at 1.07, tied with Pittsburgh. They were 7th in the league on the power play scoring the 5th most PP goals in the league with 64.
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