1. We just spent two weeks adoring Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty. Obviously they had to have been awesome to have been part of The Greatest Hockey Team Ever, but can you talk about how they’ve contributed to the Kings this season, and what’s expected of them down the stretch?
Drew Doughty is one of the best defencemen in hockey right now and Jeff Carter is one of the best goal-scorers in hockey right now. They’ve been good performers for the Kings this season so far, particularly in light of Carter’s lingering injury issues and Doughty’s lingering being-partnered-with-Robyn-
tl;dr: They're really good and they should continue to be good.
2. LA, like Team Canada, seems to be running a little low on offence. Why aren’t the Kings scoring that much? (Only the Flames have fewer goals in the western conference.)
A lot of real and digital ink has been spilled about how the Kings can't score. Probably the most thorough answer that JFTC has put together can be found here. In sum: terrible luck, terrible special teams, and a system which creates fewer quality chances overall. (You remember Darryl Sutter, no?) The Kings are a below average shooting team playing an offensively conservative game – they rely on dominant possession to even out the percentages, score goals, and get wins. It's been tough sledding with bad luck recently, but they were a below average shooting team playing an offensively conservative game even when they won the Cup – their luck just soared at exactly the right time. Sports are stupid, is basically what I am saying.
3. Are the Kings going to be active at the trade deadline? Who might they trade for, and who would be available for trade? (Want Mike Cammalleri back??)
The Kings are expected to be moderately active at the trade deadline, and they’ve been linked to a couple of names, notably Sam Gagner (which apparently won’t be happening now). I definitely think moving for some 2nd/3rd line offensive talent could be a good call, but if the rumours about looking for another shut-down defenceman are true, I may throw up everywhere. Nick put together a good post about what the Kings might have to offer, noting that Clifford and Martinez are probably the roster players the Kings are most willing to move, with a couple of higher-end prospects like Tanner Pearson and Linden Vey who might (we hope) be in play only if the return is substantial.
JFTC has also started taking a look at potential trade targets, starting with Sam Gagner, Ryan Callahan and verdicts: maybe, no, and hell no). Other names floating around include Ales Hemsky (yes please – assuming his price will be as relatively deflated as I expect because lol Oilers), Thomas Vanek, Matt Moulson, and your boy Mike Cammalleri. Do you think he misses LA?
4. The Ducks and Sharks have pulled ahead of the Kings in the standings. What’s the expectation for LA down the stretch? Do you think they’ll be able to catch up with the other Californian teams, or have a good showing in the playoffs?
The Ducks suck and the Sharks suck so I anticipate that they will not win any games for the rest of the season, the Kings will seize the Pacific in triumph, and the rest of California will drown in tears as the Kings cruise to the Stanley Cup. Next question.
(Real talk: the Kings are just too far back to count on finishing higher than third in the Division. I’m not worried. They’re still a good hockey team and they’re still perfectly capable of a deep playoff run. They could be sunk by bad luck, bad goaltending, stellar opposition goaltending, etc. – but all other things being equal, I’d bet on the Kings in a playoff series against any team in the West save for the Blackhawks and sometimes the Sharks. Maybe the Blues. Wait. Nah, not the Blues.)
5. Ending on a sentimental question for Flames fans: Robyn Regehr played his 1000th NHL game just before the break. How’s he been doing? What’s his role on the team nowadays? (Don’t be mean!!)
We like to dump on Regehr at JFTC, which is not entirely deserved since the two primary issues we have with him (that he was too costly to acquire, and that he's been played on the top pairing) aren't really things he can control. He hasn't been particularly good at hockey, but he's been more or less adequate as a bottom four defenceman, and his deployment isn't his fault. But seriously, you can have him back.
Thanks, Langluy! For more game day information, be sure to check back here for the game preview; and for our opponents, check out Jewels From The Crown. I hope one day you will all grow to love the majesty that is Robyn Regehr, and see how wrong you guys have been.
by Ari Yanover