Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Peepin' Foes Preview Edition: Los Angeles Kings

As another unfortunate spin of the NHL scheduling wheel, Alex Frolov will face his former team just once this coming season and it will be in New York. While the L.A. fans won't be able to give him any kind of reception, at least that means that we will get to see one of the most exciting young teams in the league. Los Angeles seemed to feel they were just a superstar scorer away from Stanley and went hard after Kovalchuk. That sales pitch failed and it lost them Frolov in the process. Their loss is (hopefully) our gain. But even without the one-way Russian, the Kings are still pointed towards the top with a fantastic core of young players and a few wiley vets.

Familiar Foes: Ahn-Jayyyyyyy! Anze Kopitar keeps getting better and better, bringing the skill while Dustin Brown wears the C and brings the grit. Ryan Smyth will look to have a healthy campaign and Wayne Simmonds still hasn't found the ceiling of his capabilities. Sloppy Seconds Jarrett Stoll and former Flyers Justin Williams and Michal Handzus also wear the purple, black and silver. St. Anthony's finest hockey player Rob Scuderi came to the Kings last year and helped solidify a defensive core long on talent but short on experience. Team USA's Jack Johnson and Matt Greene are both quite capable and then the Kings have that Drew Doughty kid, who's name will soon be synonymous with Norris.

N00bz: As if Doughty needed any more support, Los Angeles added Willie Mitchell (a Scotty Hockey favourite) this summer. Blue chippers Tom Hickey and Colten Teubert should both push for the final spot on the defense while hopefully another young stud, Andrei Loktionov can push for a position up front. As if Jon Quick wasn't good enough racking up 39 wins in 72 games last season, he will have tough competition from Jon Bernier this fall. Aside from the aforementioned Big Willie signing, the Kings were only able to grab consolation prize Alexei Ponikarovsky in the fight for left wing talent.

Last Year: Wednesday, October 14th 4-2 Ranger win and Tuesday, February 2nd 2-1 Kings win.

This Year: Thursday, February 17th @ MSG.

What They Mean To Blue: A look at what the Rangers may have been like had they foregone the Drury/Gomez free agent route as Jagr's NY career began to come to a close. And a good late-winter test at the start of the inevitable push for the playoffs.

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