Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles Kings’

L.A. Kings center Jarret Stoll, the cretin who’s cheap shot sidelined Cam Fowler for a couple of weeks, was taken to hospital after falling ill at his Hermosa Beach home.

Per tsn.ca:

Kings general manager Dean Lombardi told the (L.A.) Times that he visited Stoll in the hospital and the “bottom line is that he’s fine. Now the issue is what caused it.”

We certainly don’t wish any harm upon Stoll, who avoided penalty and a Shanaban following his cheap shot on Fowler. What goes around does tend to come around.

The 31-year-old Stoll missed all but the first game of the Kings’ second-round playoff series against the Sharks after suffering a concussion following a hit by San Jose’s Raffi Torres.

Play a cheap and chippy game the way Stoll does and eventually a bigger, badder player will make you pay for it.

Blog note: This blog has temporarily at least, suspended the practice of linking L.A. Times stories. For reasons unknown L.A. Times reporter Lisa Dillman has blocked and banned me from following her on Twitter @reallisa. I have asked her twice for an explanation on the block but she hasn’t responded. Was it something I said kiddo?
Eventually I’ll take it up with her editors and/or the Times legal department if she fails to respond. In the meantime, this blogs practice of respecting DMCA, Berne Agreement and Fair Use of Copyright material will continue.

Call me old school. Really, it’s okay. I’m a big boy and have been wearing long pants for years now. As a kid I was always grateful to be two years ahead of the switch to new math. I never had the patience to sift through 3 pages of processing instructions that could best be explained succinctly in 3 sentences. In many ways the Advanced Stats movement impresses like new math. A convoluted and unnecessary process.
Jeez, watch and learn. Or better yet, play and coach. It’s how medical doctors learn. See it, do it, teach it.

The advanced stat movement employs some very roundabout methods for determining who has the puck and what they do with it when they possess it. This would be Corsi.
In this edition of Backchecking with, we examine tsn.ca advanced stat guru Scott Cullen Shots, Save Percentages into the Stanley Cup Final.
As always, my take is italicized.

In the first round, the team with the higher expected goals, using these calculations, won seven of the eight series, with the Los Angeles Kings’ win over the St. Louis Blues upsetting the bid for perfection.

Round Two brought middle of the road results, 2-2, with Jonathan Quickleading the L.A. Kings to exceed expectations and the Pittsburgh Penguins tearing through Ottawa’s top-ranked goaltending.

A betting man relying on this system to determine winners, would show a profit in the first round and a loss in the second round.

Since I’m the first one to emphasize that overall statistics (or standings) are not necessarily representative of the current value for a team, especially with respect to injuries, these statistics merely provide a baseline for the series, perhaps providing an idea what a team needs to do in order to emerge victorious.

That’s among the most wimpy disclaimers I’ve read ever. How ’bout “Don’t try this at home kids. It will rot your brain. Since we’re measuring offensive production by examining this advanced stat view will arrive at the conclusion that the team that scores the most goals usually wins.

In some cases, teams will simply need to keep doing what they’ve been doing throughout the regular season; in others, they might need better goaltending, or fewer shots against, or more shots for — just something — to provide better expected results in a seven-game series.

Just something? It’s the Cup! It’s the game of their lives.

The calculations below are simple and the expected goals for each team in the series are determined by taking each team’s shots for and against over the course of the season and splitting the difference.

Simple, eh. Well okay. If you insist. I’ d look at the GAA for each team and multiply by 7, rounding fractions up or down to the nearest whole number. I get 14 GF by each team but we know that can’t happen.

So, Chicago has 31.4 shots on goal per game through the regular season and three rounds of the playoffs and Boston has allowed 29.7 shots on goal per game; the average of those two numbers is 30.6 shots, so that’s the number that is then multiplied by (1 – the opposing goaltenders’ save percentage) to determine an expected goals per game.

Finally, the number is multiplied by seven to indicate an expected goal total for a seven-game series. There’s no guarantee that scoring more goals in a series will result in winning four games first, but the odds certainly favour the team that scores more.

The past has no bearing on the future.

Team                 SF       SA        Goaltender             SV%            ExpectedGF/ Series
Boston             33.4    29.7    Tuukka Rask          0.934                     14.93
Chicago           31.4    26.7    Corey Crawford    0.929                     14.11

Verdict: This is an even matchup, with a slight edge going to Boston because of Rask. It’s not that Crawford hasn’t played well for Chicago — he obviously has — but Rask’s .943 save percentage in the postseason trumps Crawford’s .935 and Rask also held an advantage in the regular season (.929 to .926) so there is some reason to believe that Rask may turn aside a few more shots.

If the difference is about five goals per 1000 shots and a seven-game series might yield approximately 200 shots, then the goaltending difference is only going to be worth about a goal. By no means is that decisive, rather it’s reason for a slightly more favourable forecast. (Worth noting that the Blackhawks are -140 to -150 favourites to win the series, depending on the site.)

Let me get this straight. Cullen says Boston scores more goals than Chicago and credits Tuukka Rask? Rask must make one heckuva first pass.
Still, one need look no further than SV% to know that Tuukka Rask is slightly better than Corey Crawford. You can even surmise from a peek at GF that Boston is slightly better offensively than Chicago.

What these stats don’t factor at all is the quality of competition Chicago faced in the Western Conference. Overall, the West is better defensively overall than the East. The difference between East and West skews the numbers sufficiently to show a theoretical edge to Boston.

If I’m betting and I’m not, Boston at plus $1.30 to win is the value play. Laying 40-50 cents on Chicago is just too much to pay. The teams are closer than the spread (betting public) indicates.

While we’re looking at percentages, it’s also worth considering that, in a short series, players may exceed (or fail to meet) their established performance levels. Blackhawks LW Bryan Bickell has been one of the exceptional ones, scoring on 22.9% of his shots in the playoffs, while Bruins RW Nathan Horton (22.9%) and C David Krejci (21.6%) are both over 20% as well. Eventually, regression catches up to that kind of shooting, but it could still hang on through one more series; such is the magic of small sample size.

On the other end of the spectrum, Blackhawks C Jonathan Toews has one goal on 51 shots (2.0%) and LW Brandon Saad has none on 35 shots, so they’re due for better results. Bruins RW Jaromir Jagr is still seeking his first goal, despite 45 shots in the playoffs, and RW Tyler Seguin has one goal on 54 shots (1.9%), so those numbers wouldn’t last over the long haul. If any of these players actually start scoring, that would figure to improve their respective teams’ odds of success.

Boston must stop, Toews, Kane and Hossa. Chicago must stop Krejci and Horton. The first order of business is to neutralize the best scoring threats. The success or lack thereof will determine the length of the series.

These are two of the top four possession teams, in both regular seasonand playoffs, so it’s not like either one relies on their goaltender or special teams to an unreasonable degree. While neither team has been great on the power play in the playoffs (15.6% for Boston, 13.7% for Chicago) the Blackhawks have had the league’s best penalty killing in the playoffs (94.8%), while Boston’s 86.5% has been strong, just not the best.

Again, quality of competition or degree of difficulty is increased in the playoffs such that statistics, like power play efficiency is expected to drop.

As referenced by Cullen and noted in this blog’s Cup preview, injuries are something the stats don’t measure. Greg Campbell impacts both Boston’s PK and forces Coach Julien to shorten his bench.

A short series favors Boston. A long series favors Chicago.

While Advanced Stats are interesting, they don’t tell you anything you don’t already know from the traditional stats and/or from watching the games. As suggested, Advanced Stats are indicative, the stats won’t tell you how to shift and stay with a Hossa, Kane or Toews.

These Red Wings are little more than Chicago-lite. A smooth skating puck possession team that succumbs under the physical pressure imposed by teams like our Ducks. Noteworthy, these same Wings went 6-4-1 against the NHL’s big  bad three, composed of our Ducks, St. Louis Blues and the Los Angeles Kings.

It isn’t just our Ducks that these Red Wings give fits. Frankly, I’m baffled.

Kyle Palmieri says, “They are relentless in their pursuit. (of the puck)” is that it? You can’t hit what you can’t catch? In Wednesday’s game our guys got on top of these Wings often enough to deliver 20 hits in the 20 minutes of the first period. Following the first they caught the Wings with just 12 hits in the second, third and overtime periods combined.

The media is fond to point to Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard. The papers are full of stories about how Corey Perry is being kept off the score sheet. Big whoop. For as good as Howard has been, he’s only held our Ducks to less than three goals once in this series. Ducks GF is 16 goals in five games for a 3.20 GFA.

As good as our Ducks offense has been, they haven’t solved Jimmy Howard. He’s just no different from every goalie who’s ever played the game. Get him moving, screen him, force him to give up rebounds and get bodies into the low slot and Howard proves himself to be quite human after all.

Maybe it’s as czhokej shared last night, “Detroit is a very dangerous hockey team.” They have a lot of snipers, one of whom, Henrik Zetterburg has been held off the score sheet as well. Let them hang around and they’ll find a way with their relentless pursuit to make us pay. It isn’t just our Ducks but they’ve beaten our play-a-like teams as well.

Another 4-0 win would be sweet but something tells me these Wings will remain relentless to the final buzzer. Ducks fans don’t care how our guys close these Wings out. We care that they do and the sooner the better.

Note: If our Ducks and the Kings win their respective series, they will meet in the second round of the playoffs.

May as well shout it! We might even meet up with them in the second season.

Gabby’s out selling it, “It’s pretty hard to treat it like another game. It’s the Kings versus the Ducks. And more importantly right now, they’re nipping at our heels for the division championship. They might look 10 points back now, but that can drop in a hurry.” (Yes I cleaned up the quote. Not for F-bombs but for syntax.)

Kings are hot having gone 6-1-1 in their last eight games. So get out your measuring sticks. This is exactly the kind of opponent, current Stanley Cup champ and regional rival, where contenders and pretenders are separated.

Coach is absolutely right. Kings are nipping at our heels. This is an opportunity for our Ducks to make a statement. Kings are heating up at the right time just as they did last year. Are we good enough to push them back in our own barn?

It’s never easy. Our guys could be without Ryan Getzlaf. He’ll be a game time decision.

“I think, and I’ve always thought this, that they’re the best team in the league for us to play against. There’s nothing to sway me from thinking that. They’re a challenge and they’re starting to rev it up. It’ll be a real test.”

This is a game in which the winner earns the right to swagger. Two Stanley Cup contenders meeting in the stretch run.

With or without Getz, it’s time for our Ducks to step up and claim in one voice, “Big Bad Ducks are Back!”

This team is more than a slogan of course. These Ducks can win with speed, skill, goaltending, physicality. These Ducks can shut you down, open it up in  shoot out style pond hockey and anything in between.

You need only your rally cap to be ready for this one.

In a game of follow the leader the L.A. Kings picked it up a notch after captain Dustin Brown went top shelf on Viktor Fasth to tie the game at two. The Kings would score twice more during a during a nine minute barrage whereupon they simply raised the tempo and physical compete level.

Our Ducks didn’t match. We didn’t get a bounce during the onslaught. We got into penalty trouble. We got caught running around in our end. Kings just flat-out took over and didn’t let up.

Slava Voynov got wide open in the left face off circle when Matt Beleskey made a bad read and chased the puck. Voynov ripped one 5-hole on Fasth that just had enough velocity to get over the goal line.

Kings continued to dominate beating the Ducks to most if not every loose puck. Kings defender Jake Muzzin took a feed from Anze Kopitar, stepped in from the blue line a few feet, showed some mis-direction faking a cross ice pass to Justin Williams and placed a wrist shot that again beat Fasth high glove side.

A week or so ago, either here or Twitter I began questioning Fasth’s soft 5-hole and top shelf exposure. Tonight the Kings showed that they saw it too and exploited it. Now and going forward we’ll begin to learn if Viktor Fasth is real deal or not. Great goalies improve in their weak areas. you can expect Fasth to be tested 5-hole and top shelf during at least the next few games.

This was also a game where our best players were not the best players on the ice last night. We got the secondary or depth scoring from Cogliano and Koivu but nothing from the big four and nothing from blue line. Kings got 3 assists from Anze Kopitar and goals from Brown and Jeff Carter.

In the middle of 5 games in 7 days, Ducks have absolutely no time to dwell on this one. Next up are the Nashville Predators who are struggling of late.

Local media calls it the Freeway Series. How exciting. What’s at stake is SoCal Raz Rights. It happens at award shows, at pre-camp skates and at Golds Gym. Given the passion fans invest in the series it’s a rivalry deserving of its own trophy.
Last season Kings were the clear Raz Rights winner going 5-1 against our Ducks.

Stats and previous records mean nothing. Though how the Kings have managed to eke out a 2-2-2 record while scoring less than two goals (1.83) per game is noteworthy. Kings virtually must play perfect hockey to win these days. The fact their doing it even half the time is remarkable. Kings have scored more than two goals just once in their first six games, beating Phoenix 4-2 last Saturday.

Ducks are winning while in a state of flux. Getzlaf and Perry are on their third left winger in just six games. Nick Bonino was moved off the second line for the game last night against the Wild. Sheldon Souray is anchoring a PK unit. The Bobby Ryan to center experiment was revived absent any fanfare. Coach just did it. The fourth line is drawn from rotating call-ups, an enforcer and a rookie who can only play one more game. On the back line Fowler and Allen are the only ES pairing that has survived intact through the early going.

Last season the Kings won the Cup while seemingly hardly breaking a sweat. They were that dominant. Kings pushed our Ducks around like our guys were boy toys. This is the game in which Ducks fans should truly see the impact Dan Winnick, Bryan Allen and Sheldon Souray bring to our team. Nashville Predators aren’t exactly pushovers but these LA Kings may still be hockey’s most physically dominant team.

Ducks new compete level was on full display last night when Bryan Allen battled Zenon Konopka in front of Fasth.

Earlier in the week many eyes were fixed on the Sharks game as a measuring stick for our team. This game is an equally important measuring stick because these Kings will test our mettle and character. Prior to this short 3 game points streak the Vancouver Canucks got under the skin and exposed our Ducks for the bunch of whiners and crybabies they became on that night.

Our guys have done a great job of cleaning that up for 3 consecutive games. This game will show us if their newly found character is real. In other words, avoid the extra-curricular trash hockey, goof-ball retaliating and match the Kings physicality within the game itself; our Ducks are showing they can play with anybody, even Stanley Cup champions.

The Pacific Division is easily the NHL’s best. Three of the last four Western Conference finalists came out of the Pacific. Current Stanley Cup Champion L.A. Kings play in the Pacific. Two of its teams has won the Cup in the past six seasons. No other division in hockey can boast such accomplishments or anything even close for that matter.

Given the weighted NHL schedule a winning record in this division sets teams up for a deep playoff run.

The L.A. Kings came together in the second half of last season and rolled to the Stanley Cup. GM Dean Lombardi is bringing everyone back for an encore. Given the short season there’s no reason to believe the Kings won’t be heard from before the Cup is raised in June.
Anze Kopitar is the closest thing to a complete and under-rated hockey player. this side of Pavel Datsyuk. Catch a few bounces and Anze could compete for the Hart, Ross, Richard and Selke trophies in the same year. Drew Doughty sacrificed personal accolades to become a team player. A fact seemingly lost on Kings Nation. The only challenge Jamie Quick faces is maintenance so that he’s fresh for the key games and playoffs.
The supporting cast, led by captain Dustin Brown, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Justin Williams and shut down Dman Willie Mitchell provides a nice mix of complimentary.
No reason not to expect the Kings to win the division.

Phoenix Coyotes continue to prove the cliché, offense sells tickets and defense wins championships. If this group can find a few more goals they are best positioned to challenge the Kings. It just might happen with defenders Keith Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson are two of the hockeys best puck moving Dmen. The ‘Yotes can transition from the backline and arguably the NHL’s toughest to play against team.

Doug Wilson is among the most respected GM’s in hockey but it seems the Sharks window of opportunity may have already shut. The core of Dan Boyle, Joe Thornton and Philip Marleau is getting long in the teeth. Unless the supporting cast led by Brent Burns, Logan Couture, Martin Havlat and Ryan Clowe take it up a notch, the Sharks will be in trouble. The additions of Brad Stuart and Adam Burrish will help. With only two roster changes the short season should serve them well.

Seems as though Ducks GM Bob Murray retools his blue line annually. This year Bryan Allen and Sheldon Souray are added to the top six. Are they enough to help these improve on their 19th best GA? Jonas Hiller returns in net. The big three of Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan are again supported by Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu and a bunch of unproven youngsters. Recently, Coach Boudreau said that the Ducks are short one winger. Ducks should improve on their last place finish of last but everything must go right for them to advance beyond fourth place in one tough, competitive division.

Dallas Stars will go so far as Kari Lehtonen, Jamie Benn and Louie Eriksson can carry them. Stars have added Ray Whitney, Derek Roy and Jaromir Jagr to their top six. That’s a lot of change needing to come together quickly in such a shortened season.