Waking up with the Kings: May 29 - LA Kings Insider

Chicago is a wonderful city, a beautiful city, and despite some thunder and lightning over the past 10 days, the climate has been mostly cooperative. The Kings would like nothing more than to cancel all potential trips to this world class destination and plan its next return sometime when the weather isn’t as agreeable. With that in mind, Friday’s Game 6 at Staples Center must be approached with the same desperation summoned during the team’s now renowned elimination-facing games, because any return to the Midwest with momentum on the side of the defending champs would obviously spell Significant Concern.


That’s not to say that there was a lack of desperation in Wednesday’s thrilling 5-4 overtime loss. Perish that thought from a game that will certainly disprove the notion that games must be won by the Kings to qualify for the summer I Was There series. Overtime was a breathtaking display of finesse, athleticism, strain and desire, a mostly 180 degree turnaround from the fun but sloppy and occasionally October-esque display between Montreal and New York the night before. The Kings battled back from two two-goal deficits by virtue of a crucial Jonathan Quick save or two that shifted numbers in the opposite direction. They relied on standout performances by top six forwards, a Drew Doughty-Jake Muzzin pairing that was as good as it ever has been, and Corsi percentages by a pair of rookies that very nearly would’ve qualified for a passing grade in high school. Even though he ranked eighth amongst forwards in ice time last night, Tyler Toffoli was on the ice for more shot attempts than any other player up front for Los Angeles. “Damn near got it,” Darryl Sutter said following a game in which both teams were deserving of praise for their efforts in channeling a goofy opening period towards the best National Hockey League game of the season.


At this point in a playoff series between the last two Stanley Cup champions – and, yeah, the coaching staff is almost sure to disagree with this – is there much use in analyzing the detail, the special teams play, the individual performances, the types of tweets I receive when a center is beaten down the ice or a defenseman is unable to hold a puck in at the blue line? No, there is not.

This abstract was explained so, so well in MGoBlog’s recap of the USMNT’s 1-0 win over Algeria four years ago. Read this excellent piece of sportswriting, and try not to blanket any feelings elicited.

When Dodgy At Best put out an Algeria preview, his bolded section headers read “Karma,” “Revenge,” “Hope,” “Fortune,” and “Fate.” Because I am who I am mine were “stop Nadir Belhadj” and “get a lot of set pieces”; DAB got it right, and I got it wrong. I can break down a football game all day. Basketball is given over to tempo-free numbers. Baseball could be played between computers these days and no one would notice. If you are so inclined, you can delve into the details of any and reject the narratives people layer on top of them because randomness can’t happen and everything must have meaning. The analysis will be better and smarter but the experience a little poorer.

That’s a bit of a cliffhanger; seriously, read the entire piece, especially the last sentence in the article. Wanting It More is a derided sports cliché but isn’t unreasonable or out of place at this time of the season. The Kings are one win from advancing to the Stanley Cup Final, they will be playing in front of their home crowd, and the desperation, the intangibles – the abstract – will be what endures from last night’s game, not the individual assignments or the mistakes or the details.


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Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.