Halfway Mark Report Card: (Here's mine, let's see yours)
At the ľ point of the season, these grades were reversed, but with Garon righting the ship and LaBarbera losing his last 6 outings, there can be no denying who is going to carry the bulk of the load in the second half of the season. Amazing dexterity has been Garonís strong suit to this point, and heís stolen some games for his team. LaBarbera came in and won early, earning the adoration of the fans, but heís been only adequate in the backup role recently, and needs to get a solid ďWĒ under his belt soon, or the coaches will lose their confidence.
Honestly, from my vantage point, most of the Kings defense has been average at best while inside their own blue line, especially on the PK. Still too many weak passes to the point that are masquerading as clearing opportunities. The young Kings must be more decisive when moving the puck out of their own zone. Corvoís play has been a revelation to many (including myself) who didnít think he could distinguish himself as NHL talent. He has. Visnovsky is way over used, but when heís used in situations that he can prosper in, he shines more often than not. Norstrom has taken a beating in the speedy new NHL, but has added the responsibilities of power play point man, and has found his shot through to the net on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, heís miscast in that role, and highlights the Kings glaring weakness on the PP. Weaver is small, but has done an admirable job minimizing mistakes and finding the shortest distance between two points. He is rarely rattled, though sometimes overmatched. Gleason deserves both credit and further responsibility offensively. He is 5th on the team in assists, and would most likely see that number rise if he were given the PP opportunities that the coaches have afforded both Norstrom and Miller. Dempsey has played the role of the 7th defenseman, and has taken a huge stride backwards in terms of his development as a regular in the NHL.
While we are getting exactly what we expected out of Pavol Demitra, there has to be an element of surprise to what the Kings have gotten out of the other newcomers, Conroy, Roenick and Kostopolous. Conroy has rebounded from a mediocre-at best 2003-04 regular season, and has been a catalyst on the line with Frolov and Demitra. His offensive numbers come in spurts, but heís supplanted Eric Belanger as the key faceoff man in defensive situations, and his tenacious PK has been a revelation as well. Roenick, on the other hand, has done little to impress when healthy, and will need to return strong when his finger has healed, or will be faced with limited ice time as his glorious career winds down. Kostopolous was ticketed for Manchester when training camp commenced, but earned a role in the starting lineup with smart heads up play. Lately heís chipped in with the odd goal, coming in crucial situations. While not projecting to be more than a 4th line guy, heís always willing to give 100% and that makes it tough to unseat him in the lineup. The same can be said for Jeff Giuliano, who by yearís end may be back in Manchester, but heís more than acclimated himself in the NHL with his gritty dogged determined play. Belanger has been sensational in almost all facets of his game, but his usually dependable work in the faceoff circle has suffered this year, and he finds himself below the 50% mark to date. Perhaps the most dynamic Kings forwards have been Alexander Frolov and Michael Cammalleri. Frolov scores highlight reel goals, but has disappeared from the scoresheet for long stretches, despite playing some spirited hockey. Cammalleri rebounded from an early season benching and has been the most consistent member of the Kings impotent powerplay. A very strong snapshot, and a willingness to play in heavy traffic makes Cammalleri one of the top young up and coming snipers in the NHL. Gritty Dustin Brown has shown some flashes of brilliance, but Kings fans may still have to wait a year or two to reap the fruits of his labors. The mouth that roared, Sean Avery has made great strides as an NHL regular this season, but is still saddled with his inability to show restraint of tongue both on and off the ice. Luc Robitaille continues in his quest to capture honors as the all time leading goal scorer in team history, but has shown the inevitable age factor, and will most probably be seeing his final action of an illustrious career. Derek Armstrong continues to provide solid play as the teamís ďplug inĒ when called upon to fill a myriad of roles within the teamís lineup. Sparkplugs Jeff Cowan and George Parros have ably filled roles when healthy, and should have roster spots guaranteed them when they are good to go. Still missing in action is potentially high scoring forward, Valeri Bure, who has been sidelined all season with a back ailment.
That report card looks like a snapshot of the last 5-10 games, not the first 41.
LaBarbera (B-) (he played VERY well for a long stretch, as has Garon)
Corvo (A+) (he's not a top 4 d-man, but he's playing like one)
Weaver (B-) (he's not THAT bad)
Robitaille (F) (how you gave Luc a D is a mystery to me)
Demitra (A+) (he's been our best forward - bar none)
Roenick (D) (Not an F, because he has been a difference maker in at least one game (@ Vancouver).
This would have been nice over at the "other" site, but we both know about something called a "power trip"
I agree with MOST of your assesment, but I will add...
Power Play (C-) - the only reason why Van Boxmeer hasn't been shot by now is odds. Odds were that even if every player closed their eyes while shooting, eventually SOMETHING would have gone in. Current rank: 22nd
Penalty Kill (C) - We started the season in excellent shape then all of a sudden, 10 straight games allowing a power play. Miller is "good", but he ain't that good. Current Rank: 23rd
Shootouts (A+) - Considering we haven't allowed a single goal in the shootouts.
Holding Onto Leads (B+) The first game could have been a blessing in disguise. Everyone remembers that 4-0 lead turning into a 5-4 defeat. Since then, the Kings are 6th in the league when leading after the 1st period, 13th when leading after 2.
The New NHL (B+) - I'm just loving the new NHL. Fast, less whistles, touch up offsides, long stretches between stoppage in play. The only drawback is still the overabundance of penalty calling and the inconsistency between referees. When I see refs like Heier, I know both teams will spend the majority of the game in the box.
I guess I'll show you mine. I'm going to take a little different angle on the grades and start with what we expected from each player and then bumping up that grade based on how much they met or failed to meet expectations. So, this isn't exactly an analysis of performance. It's more of a comparison to pre-season expectations.
Garon (B+) - point gained for exceeding expecations by a little
LaBarbera (C+) - point gained for exceeding expecations by a little
Miller (A-) - points gained for exceeding expectation by a lot
Corvo (B) - points gained for exceeding expectations by a lot
Dempsey (C) - point lost for missing expectations by a little
Norstrom (B+) - point lost for missing expectations by a little
Visnovsky (B+) - point lost for missing expectations by a little (needs to shoot more, get puck on net)
Gleason (B+) - point gained for exceeding expectation by a little
Weaver (C+) - points gained for exceeding expectation by a lot
Armstrong (B) - met expecations
Cammalleri (B+) - point lost for rough start, but points gained for comeback and being go-to guy
Cowan (B) - point gained for exceeding expecations, but point lost for being hurt half the time
Avery (B+) - point gained for always working tirelessly
Robitaille (D) - points lost for missing expecations by a French-Canadian mile
Conroy (B+) - point gained for exceeding expecations by a little
Brown (C+) - points lost for missing expectations and wild inconsistency
Frolov (B+) - point lost for inconsistency
Belanger (B+) - points gained for hustle and exceeding expecations
Kostopolous (B-) - met expectations
Demitra (A-) - point lost for a little inconsistency
Giuliano (C+) - point gained for exceeding expecations
Parros (C) - point gained for exceeding expectations, but point lost for being injured half the time
Roenick (C) - points lost for missing expectations by a whole lot, but still provided a lot more than Robitaille
Corvo and Gleason have been our best defensemen IMO. Corvo not only has supplied offense, but he's been solid defensively and moved the puck well. Gleason has been really solid. He's filled a role well, and I rate him as a second pair guy since that's all one could realistically expect from him at this point. I love that he stands up for his teammates. Would like to see him get a chance on the PP.
Visnovsky has been great offensively, but defensive lapses including numerous odd-man rushes by the other side caused by giveaways at the opposing blue line take him into the B range. Miller has been solid, but not spectacular.
Norstrom has been solid defensively for the most part, although I think not as strong as we've come to expect from him. Has done a good job taking on a larger offensive role despite lack of offensive ability. You can't blame him for being forced to do things he shouldn't be asked to do.
Weaver has been much better than I anticipated. Rating would be higher if he maintained early season performance.
Dempsey has been a disappointment, but not as bad as many are saying IMO.
Demitra, Conroy and Frolov's numbers speak for themselves. Demitra has made me forget about Ziggy, Conroy has exceeded my expectations, and Frolov is developing nicely. While we'd all like to see him putting up even better numbers, he's still only 23!
Armstrong does everything one could ask him to do. Given his role, I think he's been great. Belanger also has been terrific, not only checking well and killing penalties, but he's put up decent numbers.
Avery has been one of our best players IMO. Great hockey sense, good skater and excellent defense. Chipping in offensively more than I thought he would. Many of the penalties he's taken have been BS IMO.
Cammalleri is starting to arrive. He's contributing offensively and working harder on the defensive end and in the corners. I think the early-season benching actually worked wonders for him. I'm anticipating continued development.
I think Brown may have been adversely affected by the kudos for his hitting. He's not performing as an offensive player, and seems content in a checking role.
TK has exceeded my expectations quite a bit. Excellent penalty killer and occasional point producer even if he can't fight to save his life. LOL
Giuliano also has exceeded my expectations. I never expected him to last in the NHL, yet he's done a nice job of supplying energy.
Parros also has exceeded my expectations. He's not a great fighter, but he has decent hockey sense and has earned a place on the team.
Cowan has been a big disappointment for me. Sure, he's been hurt, but he's not supplying the energy and hitting I expect from him.
I give Roenick a C because he's played good defense and killed penalties. Too bad he got hurt when it looked like he was ready to turn the corner offensively.
Garon has been absolutely stellar, especially for the last couple of weeks. One thing I like about him is he's really quick, and really flexible. Only reason he's not rated an "A" is because there are moments where he gives up those soft goals (I.E. the game against San Jose.) But he's been awesome.
Aaron Miller has been what we all want him to be. Doesn't come with the bone crushing hits, doesn't have Visnovsky numbers.. But has been quietly the most solid defensive defenseman the Kings have.
Norstrom at times this year has been running around, and I think the new rules have hurt him. Some of the new rules put in, were the things that made Norstrom great. Norstrom was great at pinning guys in the corner, being mean in front of the net. Now he can't do that.. But I think he'll come along.
Dempsey for the time he's been given I feel has done what he's expected. I wouldn't say he's 'sucked' by any means. But he hasn't done anything special to maintain a position on the big team I don't think.
Weaver sucks. At least Dempsey can make a pass, and somewhat play his position.
Tim Gleason has been awesome as well. Very solid defensively, and he's only gonna get better. There are times where he gets in trouble, and just bats at the puck anywhere. You know where he gets all hunched over?
I don't know how you can get a B for being probably the best offensive defenseman in the league. If the Kings PP was any decent Lubo would be ahead of McCabe. Also in Toronto when they get the PP thats all they look to is McCabe. Lubo has great position in his own end too.
Ok Ok.. how many times are we (well.. some of the people that know Corvo is awesome) that he's just 'BEEN playing as a top 4 d-man?' I'm gonna come out, and say he IS one of our top 4 defenseman. He turns the puck over sometimes, but he gets back. He's got the hardest shot of any of the defenseman. Up there in speed with Visnovsky. And can handle the puck with the best of em.
This year the Top 4:
3. Gleason (Yup, probably has played better than Norstrom.. Not saying Norstrom has been bad either.)
Armstrong could be our best player down low in the corners. Frolov can protect the puck well, but Amrstrong is up there as well. Army is proving that guys with not a lot of speed can still play in the NHL. (Not the case for Robitaille)
Cammeleri has been great despite being thrown into different combinations with the likes of Jeremy Roenick, and Luc Robitaille. You can put Norstrom-Miller on the point on the PP if you want, but IMO Cammy is a better choice.
Cowan has also done a good job for the time has been given. He's a great energy guy, and in no way hurts the team when he's in the line-up.
With AM's new restrictions on the guy (which I don't like) Avery has still been a good hockey player. But I still don't like how AM is gonna sit him for doing what he does best. I love when he mixes it up. Thats what he does. A lot of people say that it brings to much of a distraction to the team.. I've played hockey for awhile now, and when we are behind in the score, and one of our agitators has a shift where he mixes it up, and puts a hit on somebody. It fires everybody up.
Sorry, Luc.. retire.
Conroy has filled the role as a #1 center. He's good in the face-off circle, puttin points on the board. IMO he's exceeded what I thought he could really do. And good for him. He's another guy with not alot of speed, that can still be a very effective player in the new NHL.
Brown doesn't give a sh-t who he hits. The hit on Nicklas Lidstrom was just golden. You hardly see that anymore. Players shy away from hitting the star players. Not Dustin Brown. He goes after anybody. Brown also is not afraid to take it to the front of the net. He's a guy that will pay the price to score at any time.
Frolov's puck protection is probably top 3 in the league. You can't knock him off the puck no matter how hard you try. He's got great hands too. I can only imagine how good this guy is gonna be as he gets older. Amazing.
I knew Belanger would come around. People say that the new rules have helped Belanger.. I disagree. When people we're bagging on Belanger, I always said that players can have bad seasons. (maybe the case with JR?) And he had a bad season the last time we played hockey. But now look. If Corvo doesn't have this sudden re-incarnation into Jesus Christ, then Belanger is the bounce back player of the year for the Kings.
I like Kostopolous. He doesn't hurt the team when he's out there. But I think Jeff Cowan can probably do a better job than him at that role. Not saying Kostopolous is bad..
Demitra is sick. Definitley a difference maker. He's good in the shootouts, got good hands, a good shot. He is the complete package. The only thing is.. Palffy is even more so of a complete package. (I'm sorry.. had to throw that in there.)
Giliuano is a great energy guy. Good PK guy. He has a lot of speed too.
Parros kinda gets his *** kicked..
Roenick.. I'm hoping he's just pulling a Belanger. But he's been absolute sh-t.
question Osprey (or to whomever), did that one-way deal come before or after Trent Klatt decided to reitre?
I think before, since I recall being relieved when Klatt retired because the initials TK were no longer confusing as to the player in question. I believe, however, that DT signed Tom well after Klatt told the team that he wasn't returning (since he reportedly told them months before the official announcement). So, I do think that Tom was signed as a replacement for Trent (in more ways than just initials).
K signed at the end of '04 a one way, then was persuaded to amend the contract so he could play in the A. Think the Kings were good guys and made it one way again to start this year. That's the way I remember it.