It's been a busy two weeks for the Kings.
The main story has to be Rob Blake going down with a broken foot.
He broke it when a shot hit him during the game against Tampa Bay.
Remarkably he kept on playing for two more games until an MRI
showed the break in the bone. Now he's out 6-8 weeks.
Now this injury is a definite blow to the Kings, especially coming
on the heels of Doug Bodger breaking his hand. But at least the
Kings have some depth at defense this year. Steve Duchesne and
Mattias Norstrom are now the two best defensemen on the team, which
isn't too bad. Many teams would love to have them be their number
one and number two blueliners. But any more injuries and the Kings
will be dead in the water.
Manny Legace continues to be the primary goaltender, waiting for the
return of the groinically challenged Jamie Storr and Stephane Fiset.
He's been spectacular, playing much better than his record shows.
This raises a big question: What do you do when you have three darn
good goaltenders? Could a trade be on the horizon?
With Jozef Stumpel out with his hip/abdominal problems the Kings
were runts at center, with Yanic Perreault being the biggest at
5'11". To remedy that problem, the Kings called up Olli Jokinen
(6'2" 210 lbs), their first pick in last year's draft. My hopes
were raised by him coming and centering the Luc Robitaille line.
The boy (he is 19) has come out and in his first games got himself
two points. He has been solid, and I don't think it is coincidence
that Luc Robitaille has gotten hot, scoring a goal versus Dallas
and two against Vancouver.
The Kings are also being hit hard with injuries to their forwards.
Sandy Moger has been out for the past few games with back problems
and is day-to-day. Steve McKenna has also gone down with an
abdominal strain that he suffered in a fight with St. Louis' Tony
The Kings offense is improving but still is subpar. They still
don't shoot enough and their power play is pitiful if not sad.
They are 5 for 62 for the season, which puts them at the bottom of
the league. This is real disappointing considering that Steve
Duchesne was supposedly going to help.
The Kings penalty-killing teams are not having any such problem.
They have been spectacular, with Russ Courtnall and Glen Murray
being particularly good. Murray scored the Kings league-leading
fifth shorthanded goal against Vancouver, which means that the
Kings have scored the same amount of goals shorthanded as they have
with the power play. That's odd.
The Kings traded Roman Vopat, who is big but has been a
disappointment, to the Colorado Avalanche for winger Eric Lacroix,
who returns for his second tour. Lacroix is a solid player who
will chip in the stray goal or two but is best known for his chippy
play. Now he is going to be paired up with Ian Laperriere, which
makes this line one of the harder checking in the league. All in
all a good move for everyone, since Vopat was stuck in neutral in
LA and Lacroix was being blamed for everything going bad in
Trade rumors abound. The Kings are in the market for a scorer,
especially with the opening of the Staples Center coming up next
season and they need an exciting team to fill the seats. Names
that I've heard: Ziggy Palffy of the Islanders, Pavel Bure of the
Nux, and Theo Fleury of the Flames. They apparently lust for some
of the Kings young players, mostly that pinhead Aki Berg and Josh
Green (who isn't a pinhead).
And finally there is good news. Jozef Stumpel is probably going to
play in the Calgary game on Nov. 10. That will give the Kings two
good offensive centers and also is good news for the Wonder Chimps,
Zippy's fantasy hockey team, which depends on Stumpel to step up
and beat down the punks on Jim Iovino's and Michael Dell's teams.
Lord knows that Iovino needs a beating. But this also means that
Ray Ferraro is once again the odd man out. Yanic Perreault has
been solid this year and Ian Laperriere is nutso on the "checking"
line, which means Ferraro is going to be sitting in the press
section wearing a suit often.