Welcome to the Game Day Fire Drill, for this, Calgary’s 29th game of the season on Dec. 7, 2009.
As always, I’ll give you the reason that I’m worried about this game: Anze Kopitar.
The reason, though, is a bit different from the last time the Kings and Flames played in LA and I was worried about Anze Kopitar. Where last time he was ridiculously hot, with 32 points from 23 games. And he added to that with another assist in that game, so that’s 33 in 24. Really, really impressive, that. But now I worry because if you look at the point total, he’s now sitting on 35 in 30. Two points in his last six. And no goals in his last 12. It got to the point that he had a lengthy meeting with Terry Murray about it just the other day. And so the fear, of course, is that this is the game he breaks out of the slump and hangs 12 on the Flames all by himself.
But even if he doesn’t, there’s still reason to worry. After Kopitar’s team-leading 14, there are two guys with nine goals, two with eight, two with seven, two with six, and a whole bunch of guys after that. But the thing is, when Kopitar and Smyth were scoring their asses off, none of the secondary guys were scoring. Now that Smyth’s hurt and Kopitar’s slumping like crazy, it’s nothing but secondary guys scoring. A sampling of the Kings’ most recent goalscorers: Jones, Richardson, Jones, Williams, Parse, Simmonds, Simmonds, Frolov, Greene, Simmonds, Richardson, Parse, Stoll, Frolov. That’s a crazy amount of different lines scoring.
And that’s why I’m worried.
The Calgary Flames (18-7-3 for 39 points. Tied for second in the West, first in the Northwest) and the San Jose Sharks (17-10-3 for 37 points. Fifth in the West, second in the Pacific).
8:30 p.m. Mountain time and 10:30 p.m. Eastern time. All other time zones should prepare to have your mind blown by atrophysics.
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California.
Calgary is 11-2-3 on the road this year, and just handed a far better team than the Kings just their second home loss of the season. The Kings are 7-4-2 at home, and already lost to the Flames in LA this year.
What (to hate about the Kings)
Terry Murray — The only reason to hate him, I guess, is that he’s got a team that can’t defend and isn’t getting any production from its top line running at 6-3-1 in its last 10 and only two points behind the Flames. But that’s reason enough for me.
Drew Doughty — So precocious it’s sickening. You want to talk about the future of Canadian defense, this is it right here. He played 81 games as a rookie and was very impressive in general (he should’ve won the Calder if not for Steve Mason’s ridiculous numbers). And this year, he already has more goals than he scored last year and is on pace for a 60-point season. And the swing in his plus-minus is, so far, a ridiculous plus-26, which is especially impressive because the entire Kings team is only plus-1 on goal differential. Oh and he’s 20 years old.
Wayne Simmonds — This kid has been on some kind of run in the absence of Smyth and Kopitar’s ability to produce points. He’s on a six-game point streak in which he has 4-4-8 and is a plus-8. It’s been a hell of a couple weeks for him.
Because this game is starting awful late for me. Enjoy the game and take some pep pills in the comments section.