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Old
09-26-2006, 10:43 AM
  #1
TubbyTerrion*
 
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There Are More Questions Than Answers

...and yes, it's the title of an old Johnny Nash song, though most of you would be too young to remember Johnny Nash, and those that do would probably not remember that particular song, but it's certainly an appropriate thread title for the 2006-07 Kings.

Kings management is in a tough position. They have to be realistic and know that barring the bizarre and unforeseen, this team has about as much of a chance of making the playoffs as the list of players that have worn #6 in a Kings jersey getting inducted into the HHOF. Yet, here they are having to rethink their almost iron clad decision to ship Anze Kopitar off to Manchester, for two reasons. The first being to hone his skills in a league that he could clearly dominate and gain the confidence necessary to make an impact within the National Hockey League in 2007-08. The second being the need to shelter him from bad hockey. Character building aside, the Kings brass are smart enough to know that throwing their best-in-show out into a potentially losing scenario for much of the season may breed frustration. Now, after a handful of exhibition games, fans, coaches and opponents have to think Kopitar will more than hold his own in the NHL this season, but will the supporting cast support his efforts? Most probably not likely, and if the "Kings Assign Anze Kopitar to Manchester (AHL)" transaction appears at the end of training camp, will the publicity spin, obviously not touching on the latter, be strong enough to quell suspicions from the 10-12,000 faithful Kings fans in Southern California who had high hopes that the kid was the answer to all the offensive questions surrounding the team they cheer for?

Similar questions surround newcomer Patrick O'Sullivan, who came to the Kings attached to a significant price-tag (Demitra) and based on his short but successful resume in the OHL and a season in the AHL, should be ready to step in and produce in an offense-oriented role for the Kings. But, again, who does O'Sullivan have to use in a "mentoring" role in his maiden season in the big show, and will he exhibit any willingness to pay the price to score the points. So far, as creative as he's been, he's rarely seen anywhere but the periphery of the scoring zones, and has not given any indication that he's ready to play in traffic. While the gifted winger is clearly talented, the transition to the NHL may not be as swift as first hoped for.

Then there's returning youngsters like Dustin Brown, Mike Cammalleri and Alexander Frolov. The learning curve may have been sharp for them last season, but this season they are going to be counted on to impress the fans and the coaches with their seemingly endless offensive talents. So far, training camp may have them working hard, but little has been seen so far to indicate that they are all ready to improve on their prior numbers. While the puck hasn't dropped officially on the regular season, there has to be SOME concern that Frolov will once again maintain his consistent inconsistency and that Brown is still searching for the magical formula that will make him as effective with the hands, and the stick as he can be with the body. Cammalleri is a given when it comes to the mathematical equation "ice time = scoring opportunities" but can he rise to the level of his size challenged NHL counterparts like New Jersey's Brian Gionta? Time will tell, and Cammalleri is going to get plenty of ice time, because there's not a whole lot else that Coach Crawford can justify when he's trying to grind some offense out of this gang.

Veterans. What's the ceiling on guys like Conroy? Armstrong? Thornton? Willsie? McCauley? The answer is most probably behind them when perusing their lifetime stats, but can they provide the foundation for the youngsters to build on? Lombardi and Co. are banking on it, but forgive me for being skeptical. There is little upside to any of these players, and when you throw in the mid-level bubble guys like Avery, Belanger, Cowan and Kostopolous, it feels like there are going to be many frustrating nights watching a team that will get a dozen or so shots on goal from their forwards, while relying on blasts from the point from the blueliners like Blake and Visnovsky.

On the backline, has Kevin Dallman played his way onto the team? Common sense would say so, and actually should get a reasonable amount of ice time, playing in powerplay situations. While he's not the booming powerplay specialist like the Wild's Kurtis Foster, he's a skilled offensive defenseman who twice led his junior (Guelph) team in scoring. In fact, a young forward named Dustin Brown was the recipient of many of Dallman's assists. The six degrees of separation in hockey is never more evident than in this group of kids.

And what about Tim Gleason? Sure he's earned his spot on the roster (for now) but really, can he afford to look like he's looked in the pre-season for much of the regular season? He has a chance to become the whipping boy for those who will give Sopel and Miller the "veteran" pass, and Blake and Norstrom the "elite status" pass. None of those four names should strike tremendous fear in the eyes and hearts of Conference foes, at least on defense. Blake should chip in his offensive creativity, and his addition will absolutely help the skillful Lubomir Visnovsky, but we're already not in love with the crop of forwards, and now we're thinking that the majority of the defense is suspect either because of past defensive indiscretions or general fears of health concerns.

Goaltending is not a question from the standpoint that management has decided to sink or swim with Dan Cloutier, but while Lombardi burns cell minutes trying to unload Mathieu Garon, he's not going to find (m)any takers this early in the season, at that price. Consequently, Garon will be a not-so-cost-effective backup and Jason Labarbera, who would fit in the economic structure a whole lot easier, is destined to either model suits in the concourse, or find playing time in New Hampshire.

Other general questions include the health and status of "enforcer" George Parros, and if he is not ready for the regular season, do the Kings break camp with Raitis Ivanans on the roster? Will serviceable 7th-defenseman Mike Weaver clear waivers if Dallman is retained? And, if Dallman is not retained, will he be able to secure safe passage to Manchester? Defensemen are dropping like flies around the league, and a number of GMs are watching the waiver wire with interest. When do we see a healthy enough dose of guys like Alyn McCauley and Brian Willsie to know whether the team can afford to send the youngsters down to develop in Manchester? How much of a teammate has Sean Avery been in camp? When Lombardi interviewed all his new charges during the off-season he learned a lot about Avery's character. How has time healed all wounds? Or, has time further wounded all heels?

The final couple of exhibition games should help the roster take shape, but the questions linger. Will management make the decision to give the fans hope (Kopitar) or despair as October turns the corner and the wins and losses start to mean something, and the march for golf in April brings further futility to an organization soon to turn forty, where life may actually just begin.

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09-26-2006, 11:06 AM
  #2
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Originally Posted by TubbyTerrion View Post
Kings management is in a tough position. They have to be realistic and know that barring the bizarre and unforeseen, this team has about as much of a chance of making the playoffs as the list of players that have worn #6 in a Kings jersey getting inducted into the HHOF. Yet, here they are having to rethink their almost iron clad decision to ship Anze Kopitar off to Manchester, for two reasons. The first being to hone his skills in a league that he could clearly dominate and gain the confidence necessary to make an impact within the National Hockey League in 2007-08. The second being the need to shelter him from bad hockey. Character building aside, the Kings brass are smart enough to know that throwing their best-in-show out into a potentially losing scenario for much of the season may breed frustration. Now, after a handful of exhibition games, fans, coaches and opponents have to think Kopitar will more than hold his own in the NHL this season, but will the supporting cast support his efforts? Most probably not likely, and if the "Kings Assign Anze Kopitar to Manchester (AHL)" transaction appears at the end of training camp, will the publicity spin, obviously not touching on the latter, be strong enough to quell suspicions from the 10-12,000 faithful Kings fans in Southern California who had high hopes that the kid was the answer to all the offensive questions surrounding the team they cheer for?

Is Manchester going to give him the winning attitude though? Yes, he may dominate the league with points but I think that's where it may end. I'm not sure how Manchester ranks against the rest of the AHL, but he may just as well end up on loser there as well. I am going to be the ever optimist and think that the Kings have a solid foundation that will give Anze better experience than Manchester.

Last night the Ducks pretty much brought there NHL team out there and Anze proved he could create, skate and score with the best of them.

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09-26-2006, 11:08 AM
  #3
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This should be submitted to the LA Times. It's better than any hockey article they've written.

I honestly believe Kopitar is going to open the season with the Kings. From all reports, it sounds like he's been the best forward on the team. Someone on another LA Kings fan forum mentioned a meeting with Hextall in which he said that even though they'd probably prefer Anze to be in Manchester, the way he's played this preseason justifies him being on the opening night roster.

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09-26-2006, 11:12 AM
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What has also been consistently absent is Marc Crawfords "we're going to rotate 4 lines" policy. Cowan (7:28), Clark (5:39) and Ivanans (a whopping 2:39) made it seem like Derek Armstrong was shifting a lot more than he normally would and when was the last time Tom Kostopolous skated 12 minutes in a game?

I also haven't seen any improvement on the penalty kill. 6 power play goals in the last 3 games? Ouch

Sure, the Kings have improved on THIER PP but those seem to come on 5 on 3. At frozen fury, the Kings were 0 for 7.

I tend to disagree on the Kopitar analysis for Ovechkin and Crosby certainly had a lot of fun playing on crappy teams. I'm not saying Kopitar is Crosby but one scout DID have him rated #2 and the boy can finish. And what makes you think Manchester is going to be any better?

Neither of us expects much out of the Kings this season and I doubt we'll be "pleasantly surprised" once the season begins. For now, two comeback wins is nice when half the rosters are playing.

But facts are facts and the fact is: The Kings have the single worst first line in the NHL.

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09-26-2006, 11:58 AM
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Good stuff Tubby...

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09-26-2006, 12:30 PM
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This post is better than any blog on MySpace and I'd agree it rivals anything in the LA Times lately. Man, when you get all analytical and knowledgeable, it's good stuff!

Questions abound, yes. That's all we really have at this point with the Kings. Will a retooling make them any better than last year's second half debacle team? Will it be for the benefit of the organ-eye-zation or the detriment of the rookies to play in the NHL this year. I don't know. And, as the optimists would wish, if every single issue you outline falls in our favor - how good can this Kings team really be? Are we looking at a potential Buffalo 06 situation? Or is our best case scenario an "Islanders West"?

I'll stay in the optimist camp after the off-season moves and the last couple of pre-season games. Let's hope the new staff doesn't fall back to old Kings ways. I don't think they will.


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09-26-2006, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBGB View Post
But facts are facts and the fact is: The Kings have the single worst first line in the NHL.
It took actual research to even come up with one remotely as un-awe-inspiring as ours, but Yashin / Satan / Trent Hunter or Mike Sillinger is all I can come up with. So, yeah, one would have trouble arguing that "we're #29" instead of #30. Eesh.


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Neither of us expects much out of the Kings this season
Maybe we (me, you, everyone reading) NEED to expect more out of the Kings. Maybe this is part of the root cause of so much average-ness. When WE all raise the bar and hold them to that standard, the players and the coaches will feed off that. I expect each of the Kings players to have career high or career resurrecting years and for the team to compete for home ice in the playoffs. The odds might be a little longer than in previous years, but that it what I expect.

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09-26-2006, 01:07 PM
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Personally, I expect nothing... THIS YEAR... and maybe a little NEXT YEAR, but by the third year of the Lombardi regieme, I WILL EXPECT A LOT.

This year, it would be foolish to expect anything. If something good actually happens, color me surprised.

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09-26-2006, 01:19 PM
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Well done, Tubby.

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09-26-2006, 01:38 PM
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I tend to disagree on the Kopitar analysis for Ovechkin and Crosby certainly had a lot of fun playing on crappy teams. I'm not saying Kopitar is Crosby but one scout DID have him rated #2 and the boy can finish. And what makes you think Manchester is going to be any better?
I see what you're saying, but Crosby and Ovechkin are head and shoulders above the level of talent both supporting them on their respective teams, and are world class players that are really in their own category. There was no Kopitar "sweepstakes" --- He's good, no question, but he's not someone that is going to singlehandedly carry a team on his back.

I don't expect Manchester to be one of the AHL elite, but there's a core of kids that are going to grow up together and be a part of the Kings organization for a while (we can only hope) and if they gel together and have a successful season in 06-07, it can only help Lombardi see the forest 'fore the trees next year.

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09-26-2006, 02:00 PM
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Is there a Johnny Nash song entitled "There is More Pessimism Than Optimism"?

Seriously, very good post, Tubby, but taking a "Debbie Downer" angle is really no less unreasonable or off-base than being the "Rosy Rita" that you loathe of some others. Sure, there are many question marks with the team, but the same can be said for every team. You can always take a pessimistic view if you so choose. Every team has question marks throughout their line-up (especially now, with more parity in the league) and you can always make them. You can go down the line of any team's roster, even with the star players, and pose the question, "Will this player come through for the team or be a disappointment?" You can do this with Carolina, Anaheim, anyone. This isn't unique to the Kings and it's not necessarily a bad thing, as the four conference finalists last year were all teams with the greatest question marks 8 months previous. It's just the state of the game right now.


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09-26-2006, 02:34 PM
  #12
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Okay, I'll bite.

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The first being to hone his skills in a league that he could clearly dominate and gain the confidence necessary to make an impact within the National Hockey League in 2007-08. The second being the need to shelter him from bad hockey.
Playing with men in a Euro league obviously isn't enough. Consistently being among the best players on the ice isn't enough. No, in order to show he has the skillset, he has to dominate the AHL as a rookie like Patrick O'Sullivan.

And keep him away from bad hockey? Just because a team loses, it's bad hockey? I guess Crosby and Ovechkin needed to be kept off the team. Lundqvist should have been kept off the Rangers last season because they have been historically bad (oh, and he didn't play in the AHL ) Ward should have been kept off the Hurricanes because, well, they weren't considered a playoff team.

Bad hockey is last season, when players cared more about themselves, disliked each other, and had a lot less character and leadership to develop a strong work ethic than we thought. Bad hockey is Roenick blaming his skates for sucking, not players kicking each other (as well as themselves) in the backside to improve their game.

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But, again, who does O'Sullivan have to use in a "mentoring" role in his maiden season in the big show, and will he exhibit any willingness to pay the price to score the points.
Just a guess, but... character players who are willing to mentor? You pointed out that O'Sullivan stays in the periphery, but isn't that why we have these character players and grinders to hang out in front of the net?

Quote:
Then there's returning youngsters like Dustin Brown, Mike Cammalleri and Alexander Frolov. The learning curve may have been sharp for them last season, but this season they are going to be counted on to impress the fans and the coaches with their seemingly endless offensive talents. So far, training camp may have them working hard, but little has been seen so far to indicate that they are all ready to improve on their prior numbers.
Frolov has been lambasted for being lazy, and now the only thing he's doing is working hard? I'm sorry, but is this supposed to be disappointing?

Cammalleri says he wants to do things his way, and now the coach is making him work hard? Again, is this supposed to be analytical in any way?

Brown, I agree. He worked hard, but his skillset needs to improve, as does his mental game.

Quote:
Veterans. What's the ceiling on guys like Conroy? Armstrong? Thornton? Willsie? McCauley? The answer is most probably behind them when perusing their lifetime stats, but can they provide the foundation for the youngsters to build on? Lombardi and Co. are banking on it, but forgive me for being skeptical. There is little upside to any of these players, and when you throw in the mid-level bubble guys like Avery, Belanger, Cowan and Kostopolous, it feels like there are going to be many frustrating nights watching a team that will get a dozen or so shots on goal from their forwards, while relying on blasts from the point from the blueliners like Blake and Visnovsky.
Can they provide the foundation for the youngsters to build on? Is this not supposed to be a developmental/transitional year where players actually like each other and lay everything on the line for each other? You want veterans with "upside" to teach the youngsters with upside on... how to score? How about veterans teaching youngsters with upside on playing as a team? When playoffs come around, that's what counts. The Kings will never win a cup as long as they lack the team spirit, no matter how much talent they have.

The other questions about defense and such are fine.

There's only one question that should be with the forwards... What's more important: a talented but lazy and selfish team like last year, or a less talented but hard working team like this year? Honestly, I'm looking at this year as a year for the youngsters to develop a work ethic that's NHL worthy, so then in the near future we'll have a real TEAM to compete for the cup.

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09-26-2006, 02:44 PM
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The question is "Are we still gonna be the walking wounded?" The team was over .500, even though it had massive injuries again.

We've added more defensive quality, and will see results from the draft and hold policy. OK, we lost Demitra and Corvo. (Not exactly the end of the world). It seems we are moving from a finesse team to a hard-nose team. Blake and O'Sullivan should ease the blow of losing these guys.

New management and coaching will change the lockeroom atmosphere which was a contributing factor to the January swoon. I have little to complain about yet. Teams are strange conglomerations of relationships that go beyond raw talent and situations. Last year we were dysfunctional. There is really no way to tell how the team's psychology will develop. The Kings are the only ones to beat the dux and avs in pre-season, counts for bupkis, but I'm of the opinion we are holding our own.

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09-26-2006, 02:59 PM
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KingsPawn,

I don't know if you noticed, but in the middle of the 3rd, Thornton and Avery had a miscommunication and collided with each other in the Ducks zone.

Thornton (the vet) came over to Avery (the non vet) and motioned that Avery was supposed to go "over there".

Avery just walked away from Thornton shaking his head.

Nice example, huh?

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09-26-2006, 03:21 PM
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And keep him away from bad hockey? Just because a team loses, it's bad hockey? I guess Crosby and Ovechkin needed to be kept off the team. Lundqvist should have been kept off the Rangers last season because they have been historically bad (oh, and he didn't play in the AHL ) Ward should have been kept off the Hurricanes because, well, they weren't considered a playoff team.
if im not mistaken last year Kopitar played on a team that ended up being demoted. i would think that hes able to handle playing on a losing team. i dont see any reason to send him down. in my opinion it could only benefit him to play against the best talent available

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09-26-2006, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
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KingsPawn,

I don't know if you noticed, but in the middle of the 3rd, Thornton and Avery had a miscommunication and collided with each other in the Ducks zone.

Thornton (the vet) came over to Avery (the non vet) and motioned that Avery was supposed to go "over there".

Avery just walked away from Thornton shaking his head.

Nice example, huh?


i thought i was the only other person who noticed that... that was a really bad switch.

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09-26-2006, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBGB View Post
KingsPawn,

I don't know if you noticed, but in the middle of the 3rd, Thornton and Avery had a miscommunication and collided with each other in the Ducks zone.

Thornton (the vet) came over to Avery (the non vet) and motioned that Avery was supposed to go "over there".

Avery just walked away from Thornton shaking his head.

Nice example, huh?

The fact that Avery acts like a snot nosed kid time in and time and out and does not respect his team does not mean that Kopitar, O'Sullivan, Brown, etc will react the same way.

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09-26-2006, 06:01 PM
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Thornton (the vet) came over to Avery (the non vet) and motioned that Avery was supposed to go "over there".

Avery just walked away from Thornton shaking his head.

Nice example, huh?

So?

I'm not sure what this is suppose to mean? And Avery is a vet....

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09-26-2006, 06:07 PM
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And Avery is a vet....
No... not by a longshot... not in the eyes of players who have paid their dues and been in the league for any length of time.

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09-26-2006, 06:14 PM
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the only thing i think you have to concede, Tubby, is the lightning in a bottle scenario. each and every one of these young kids have just as good a shot as any (the Ducks kids, for instance) to boom, and possibly overachieve at the same time.

last season, the Ducks started out rather poorly before something just clicked... and a BIG factor in how the Ducks' kids fared had a HELL of a lot to do with the one thing that will be most important to not only the organization as a whole, but the fans as well... a physically and mentally healthy team.

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09-26-2006, 06:24 PM
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the only thing i think you have to concede, Tubby, is the lightning in a bottle scenario. each and every one of these young kids have just as good a shot as any (the Ducks kids, for instance) to boom, and possibly overachieve at the same time.

last season, the Ducks started out rather poorly before something just clicked... and a BIG factor in how the Ducks' kids fared had a HELL of a lot to do with the one thing that will be most important to not only the organization as a whole, but the fans as well... a physically and mentally healthy team.

Heh, trying to figure out what "clicked" --- I came up with Fedorov for Beauchemin (and Tyler Wright.)

There are 8 teams in the conference that will make the playoffs. You can shake it, you can bake it, you can slice it, you can dice it... There is NO WAY the Kings make the playoffs. NONE. Hell, I think Columbus and Minnesota make the playoffs... that makes it that much tougher. But, true... the games have to be played.

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09-26-2006, 06:56 PM
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No... not by a longshot... not in the eyes of players who have paid their dues and been in the league for any length of time.
Did not know you are a player in the league.... Umm there is absolutely no way Ward wins MVP wait he did, no way Carolina makes playoffs (They won the cup). Really stating there is no way it happens is just retarted man. You took a lot of time to make a post, which does bring up a lot of good things, BUT a lot of stupid comments too.
Also our 1st line is definately quite bad, but how is it the worst line? We lost one player (Demitra) from what for a while was thought to be the best line last season. Frolov has improved every season so should be better, and Cammalleri can takes Demitra's spot (As good possibly not, but not 30th).

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09-26-2006, 07:17 PM
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No... not by a longshot... not in the eyes of players who have paid their dues and been in the league for any length of time.
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Originally Posted by AnThGrt View Post
Did not know you are a player in the league.... Umm there is absolutely no way Ward wins MVP wait he did, no way Carolina makes playoffs (They won the cup). Really stating there is no way it happens is just retarted man. You took a lot of time to make a post, which does bring up a lot of good things, BUT a lot of stupid comments too.
Also our 1st line is definately quite bad, but how is it the worst line? We lost one player (Demitra) from what for a while was thought to be the best line last season. Frolov has improved every season so should be better, and Cammalleri can takes Demitra's spot (As good possibly not, but not 30th).
Why did you pick that particular passage to quote? It has NOTHING to do with your statements. That quote is about Avery being a veteran player - while he has played in over 200 NHL games, he's hardly who I would look to as a leader.

Tubby doesn't believe that the Kings have a credible chance to make the playoffs this season, and I happen to agree with him. The important words in that statement are THIS SEASON - that isn't stupid or RETARDED, it's just an opinion that is different than yours. We both see better things in the future as the kids get more experience - that's reasonable to expect.

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Old
09-26-2006, 07:18 PM
  #24
Puck U
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Tubby ......

Maybe the harsh words I, multiball and others tossed at you out of frustration last week did something, because this was an exceptional 1st post without being just about a bash at the expense of the Kings {you waited until the replies to do that } ... very nice read, and worthy of Newspaper or Magazine print, you should be getting paid for that work ... anyways, I think we can all see a light at the end of the tunnel again with this team, let's just hope fate doesn't derail us like the last few years when we got our hopes up ... regardless of the disagreements we have with each other about the team and/or the various players, we are all Kings Fans and want this team to win and bring home a Cup some day sooner than later, I agree maybe not this, maybe not even next but within three years for sure we should be closer than we've been since '93.

btw ... I happen to think there IS a chance we make the playoffs THIS year, and then we all know anything CAN happen ... but I expect us to make a GOOD showing in the playoff's by next year, and hopefully if it goes our way a Cup within the next 3 years.


Last edited by Puck U: 09-26-2006 at 07:26 PM.
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Old
09-26-2006, 07:19 PM
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puck U View Post
Tubby ......

Maybe the harsh words I, mulletball {sp?} and others tossed at you out of frustration last week did something, because this was an exceptional post without being just about a bash at the expense of the Kings ... very nice read, and worthy of Newspaper or Magazine print, you should be getting paid for that work ... anyways, I think we can all see a light at the end of the tunnel again with this team, let's just hope fate doesn't derail us like the last few years when we got our hopes up ... regardless of the disagreements we have with each other about the team and/or the various players, we are all Kings Fans and want this team to win and bring home a Cup some day sooner than later, I agree maybe not this, maybe not even next but within three or four years we should be closer than we've been since '93.
Please don't give yourself THAT MUCH CREDIT

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