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Arts and Entertainment

LAst Night's Action: Kings Stink It Up Against Blackhawks

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With white plastic clapping noisemakers given to the sold out Staples Center crowd of 18,118, the Kings mustered all of nothing in their 3-0 shutout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

It’s actually really difficult trying to come up with a reason for this kind of effort. The Kings hadn’t played since Sunday. The Blackhawks were down yet another defenseman after their Wednesday night game at Anaheim. The Blackhawks were using their backup goalie Antti Niemi with Cristobal Huet out with the flu. And let’s not forget: the Blackhawks played the night before.

“It wasn’t that we looked bad,” head Coach Terry Murray said trying to explain the loss. “I thought they looked very good.”

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So says the coach whose team was outshot 37-17 on goal. In fact the Kings were outshot 55-26 by the Blackhawks.

The Kings looked good in the first period when they successfully killed a four-minute power play on a Justin Williams double-minor high stick penalty. They allowed only three shots on goal during the penalty, and the Kings defense did a good job of absorbing the shots for Quick.

But everything changed in the second period when the Blackhawks woke up and hogged the puck while the Kings looked like hockey’s equivalent to the Washington Generals in a 20-minute long game of Keep Away. The Kings could not get the puck out of their zone at all. It was so bad Blackhawks goalie Niemi could have stayed on the bench the whole period sipping on margaritas.

“I thought our first period was a solid first period,” captain Dustin Brown said despite the Kings only getting six shots on goal in the first period. “Second period we didn’t have that jump.”

When the Kings had the rare opportunity of puck possession, they didn’t know what to do with it. After Brown won a faceoff 11:06 in the second period, Jordan Hendry picked away at it as Brown was trying to clear the puck into Chicago’s zone. That led to Troy Brouwer scoring the game’s first goal 30 seconds later.

“I turned the puck over twice in one shift and it ended up in the goal,” Brown said. “That kind of set the tone for the rest of the game.”

And it did. The third period was no different than the second when the Kings gave up two goals to Tomas Kopecky who only had four goals on the season.

It was frustrating to see the Kings mishandle the puck time and time again.

About eight minutes into the second period, Michal Handzus and Wayne Simmonds had a breakaway chance. They passed to each other about three times until Simmonds mishandled the final pass mere feet away from the net.

Another missed opportunity occurred 14 minutes in the period when Alexander Frolov made a pass to Rich Clune right in front of the net that inexplicably ended up in the side boards.

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“We’ve got to hit the reset button,” Ryan Smyth said.

Something needs to be done as the Kings are plummeting down the standings. And it’s interesting to note that 2006 is starting to be talked about more and more up in the press box.

Notable Notes

  • Anaheim Ducks defenseman James Wisniewski was suspended eight games by the NHL a day after his devastating hit on his former teammate Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook which sent Seabrook out of the game (as seen below). The severity took into account of the fact that Wisniewski is a repeat offender having been suspended for two games on October 31, 2009, that Seabrook didn’t have possession of the puck at the time of the hit and that Wisniewski jumped off the ice to launch into the hit. Wisniewski will lose $268,292.72 in salary which will go into the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
    While I certainly thought it was a cheap shot and that Wisniewski should be suspended, eight games seems a bit excessive considering that Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke was not suspended after leveling Boston Bruins forward Marc Savard who was left with a Grade 2 concussion. Also Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin, who is also a repeat offender like Wisniewski, got a two-game suspension after his hit on the Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell who will miss seven to eight weeks with a fractured clavicle and rib.

  • Is your bracket busted already? A 10-seed, two 11-seeds, a 13-seed and a 14-seed all notched upsets in the first day of the NCAA Tournament.
    • 10 St. Mary Gaels defeat 7 Richmond Spiders 80-71.
    • 11 Old Dominion Monarchs defeat 6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 51-50.
    • 11 Washington Huskies defeat 6 Marquette Golden Eagles 80-78.
    • 13 Murray State Racers defeat 4 Vanderbilt Commodores 66-65.
    • 14 Ohio Bobcats defeat 3 Georgetown Hoyas 97-83.

    As thrilling as these games were, it’s hard not to wonder whether this is parity or mediocrity reigning in college basketball.

Tonight’s Action

Minnesota Timberwolves at LA Lakers. 7:30 pm FSWest, AM 710 KSPN.

New York Islanders at Anaheim Ducks. 7:00 pm KDOC, AM 830 KLAA.