LaBarbera goes 9-for-9

Jason LaBarbera will be back in goal for the start of tomorrow night’s game, at which point he will have started all nine Kings games. The last Kings goalie to do that was Felix Potvin, who started the first nine games of 2001-02. I’ve have to consult with unofficial team historian Nick Nickson, who gave me that stat, to see the last time a Kings goalie started the first 10 games of a season. Here’s what Murray said about sticking with LaBarbera…

MURRAY: “Yes, Barbs will go back in. It’s that kind of a schedule right now, when we’re playing every second day, that clearly your No. 1 goalie is able to handle the workload. The game that he played back-to-back, at Nashville, I thought he was, as far as being alert and strong and moving and doing all the right stuff, he was fine that way. So physically, he’s in good shape. He’s ready to play and wants to play.”

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  • anthony

    This settles it.
    Barbs literally owns TM.
    He must sleep with Jason’s picture under his pillow.
    He must also have a picture of Ersberg (as a target) that he uses for his darts

  • Anonymous

    that kind of schedule? what kind of schedule??? 4 of the first 7 games were back to back…

    and yes, labarbera looked sharp out there in nashville when he gave up 3 goals in 12 minutes…

    the only goalies to start every game so far: martin brodeur and jason labarbera. are you kidding me???

    and yes, TM, everybody WANTS to play. including Ersberg. all anybody is asking for is to give the kid ONE CHANCE.

  • cristobal

    Anthony, is that necessary?
    Do yourself a favor and go lace up some skates. It will give you some perspective.
    Jason has been average, and average is good enough for now.
    An average NHL goalie gives his team a chance to win the game if they don’t make mistakes.
    An average NHL goalie is a gifted athlete and plays one of the most demanding positions in sports.
    Haven’t you heard the line that goes – “how would you like a job where every time you make a mistake, a red light and an alarm go off and 15 thousand people start yelling abuse at you?”
    O’Sullivan is on line 1.
    Be happy.

  • Anonymous

    Everybody keeps going on about ersberg, and how terrible labarbera is. I really dont get it. Keep in mind the games played last year, and what time of year ersberg was playing. He had a few decent games when the Kings were playing well. He NEVER did anything to stand out.

    Now, 2 NHL coaches have decided that labarbera should start over Ersberg. And it’s not like they are switching off. But hell, what do they know anyway?

  • Anonymous

    Cristobal said: Haven’t you heard the line that goes – “how would you like a job where every time you make a mistake, a red light and an alarm go off and 15 thousand people start yelling abuse at you?”

    Cristobal> they play a game for a living, and for a hell of a lot of money to boot. for as much as they make, i’d take the job it in a heartbeat. every player gets put under the microscope, he just has more flaws than others.

  • Dave

    Anonymous said: Everybody keeps going on about ersberg, and how terrible labarbera is. I really dont get it. Keep in mind the games played last year, and what time of year ersberg was playing. He had a few decent games when the Kings were playing well. He NEVER did anything to stand out.

    Ersberg never did anything to stand out? they were real games, and he was a damn sponge. while the kings were out of it, the teams they were playing were not. everyone else was fighting for playoff spots and positioning, and he STILL played well. just because they were meaningless games for the kings doesn’t mean they were for the rest of the league. in fact, as the season winds down, all the other teams probably turned UP their intensity.

  • anthony

    cristobal my friend, I agree with you completely. Barbs is average at best. And he’ll never be more.

    Shouldn’t TM give Ersberg a chance. Just a chance to prove that he might be better than average, I mean the poor guy doesn’t deserve to be untested. And if he screws up, get rid of him. Call up Bernier or Quick.

  • JDM

    mmm… I don’t hate Jason, but he doesn’t belong in the same breath as Potvin, our last legitamate number # 1. Felix could and often did steal games. Labs, while not bad, and reliably decent, never has (to my memory at least) and never will steal a game.

    Regardless of when Ersberg played or the situation, he stole atleast 3 games last season, and gobbled up rebounds in every game he played.

    I’m not annointing Labs as terrible or Erbserg as the messiah, but I see absolutely ZERO reason for Labs to start all 9 games in a row. Ersberg should get one of the first ten, minimum.

  • Ru

    The thing about starting Labs is that the team needs to be prepared to start the game off down 1-0. Usually with Labs he lets a goal in on one of the first 5 shots…so playing with Labs is like a handicap, and the team has that extra baggage to make him look good.

    Sucks, give Ersberg a chance please…just one full game!

  • lakingzfan

    JDM- i think i remember barbs playing really well(stealing) when the kings were outshot in a game in vancouver last year, his home town…he does play really well at times and makes some great saves…his porblem is he gives up goals that you think should have been stopped, the so-called soft goals that can deflate a team…barbs deserves the #1 spot right now and a majority of the workload as he has more experience, BUT i am very puzzled why he has to start ALL the games. i was very upset that he started the other day in nashville in a back-to-back and at least statistically had a bad game (didnt see 4 myself). Ersberg does deserve a shot to prove he can take the ball and run with it, and one game is not going to prove or disprove it.

  • nykingfan

    fellow sufferers

    If someone would have told you that after 8 games the kings would be 3-4-1 would you have taken it?
    So lets relax with the goalie situation for now. He’s not winning or losing games for us.
    As I’ve said before..he’s the caretaker until the young kids are ready to take over. Neither Barbs nor Ersberg will be the goalies during the Kings upcoming dynasty!

  • mark4kings

    Well said, and after the boys open a can of whoop-ass on Vancouver tonight, it’ll be 4-4-1.

  • MS

    nykingsfan is right. They have to play Labs so it creates playing background, and thus makes him tradeable if need be.

    It’s the same thing for guys like Calder and Preissing; You can’t trade a player that’s been sitting on the bench all season.

  • Anonymous

    why do we settle for mediocrity? you’re basically saying he’s not great, but we should be happy at 3-4-1. i am pleaseantly surprised at how the season has started, but i also hope for more. Ersberg may be a better caretaker, he might be worse, but how will we ever know? you are partially correct that labarbera will not be here in the future (thank god!). but how can you be so sure Ersberg isn’t our future? nobody is a sure bet, not even Bernier. Ersberg has been nothing but awesome for us at the nhl level (blowout relief appearances notwithstanding). i’m not saying give him the #1, but at least a couple starts.

  • nykingfan

    It’s not a question of settling for mediocrity, it’s about reality! I hoped that they would go 82-0, but that’s not realistic. Coming into this season tell me what you thought they would be..realistically? If you thought they would be better than their record, please tell me why?
    I was realistically hoping that the team would improve from last season and be competitive in their games. Through the first 8 games, they have lived up to what I was expecting. If they continue to improve, maybe a playoff shot is possible. I’ll certainly be rooting my a$$ off for it.
    I have to trust the coaches and management’s judgement in what they are doing with Barbs and Ersberg. From how the off-season went to how the season has begun, they’ve earned my trust.
    It was just my opinion that they are showcasing Barbs and that Ersberg is not who they consider the future. He might very well be. Time will tell!

    I saw Ersberg play last year for 14 games..same as rest of you. I was impessed with his play and his numbers backed it up 6-5-3 GAA 2.48 save%927
    BUT it was only 14 games.
    His numbers at Manchester were a little different, with more of a body of work 30 games 10-13 GAA 2.92 save%897
    Now which is the real Ersberg? Maybe somewhere in the middle. We don’t know, but I think the coaches and scouts have a better read on the guy than we do.
    As a fan, I want to see Ersberg play, but I’ll leave that decision up to the coaches and not question their motives or intelligence. They have given us no reason to do so.

  • Anonymous

    ny – i agree with you on many fronts actually. i do not question the coaches’ intelligence at all, and it very well might be the case that labarbera looks better in practice, especially since ersberg was first sick and then banged up during training camp. i do have to say, though, that there are certain people who are simply gamers, and i’d much rather have someone mediocre in the ahl but good in the nhl, than the other way around.

    i do, however, question management’s motives, not because it isn’t “smart,” but rather because if your main goal is to showcase a goalie for trade rather than go with someone who might be better for the team, why should we as fans support a team that management is not? rebuilding and watching the kids grow in front of you is one thing, but to knowingly go with a worse product is another.

  • Anonymous

    As for the person who said “He NEVER did anything to stand out.” Please remember the highlight reel save he made that ended up on Sports Center top 10 plays. Small accolade? Yes, but can you tell me the last time you saw an LA goalie there?

  • Moondoggie

    Nykings fan….Ah yes, still the voice of reason. I do enjoy your commentaries and on this, as usual you’re right on. I’d like to see Ersberg too and we shall. But…for the moment, Lababs is the No. 1 guy. The defense has been playing well in front of him and he’s actually been decent, not great but decent. As the defense continues to improve (remember, we’ve got a brand new corps back there folks) it will allow the goalies to set up better, read the plays coming at them better and stop more pucks. It does seem tho that neither Lababs or Ersberg are the goalies of the future, think why the entire bunch of kids are in the minors working on their skills? Personally, I don’t want our young goalies exposed to a defense that is still developing. Remember, that was one of the primary reasons Bernier was sent back last year. Again, patience! The plan is working.

    NyKingsfan, again I totally agree. No, nobody is happy with a 3-4-1 record. But if you had told me that’s where we’d be at this point in the season at the beginning, I too would have been thrilled. I truly thought it would be worse, most of you did too. We’re hovering right around .500. For a team many and I do mean many had picked to finish dead last, please, count your blessings. And yes, I know we still have a very long season ahead of us and we may very well finish 1st in the John Tavares sweepstakes (we’ll probably loose the lotto anyway….). Somehow with this team, I just don’t see last place. The Kings are going places. I talked to a friend yesterday, a lifelong Wings fan. He was amazed as to how good the Kings really are. He also said he felt LA had outplayed Detroit and, barring that bad pass, should have won the game. I’m inclined to agree, we’re going places everyone and the future is certainly bright.

    Mark4Kings – I do hope they bring that can of Whoop-ass you’re referring to. Somehow I have a feeling they will…..Nice to see Sully back on the No.1 line, that will help out Kopi immensely and won’t hurt Brownie either, the No. 1 line should thrive and it will open things up for Stolly and Zeus; they can’t cover em all!

    Anthony – dude, sleeping with Jayson’s picture under TM’s pillow??? Even I’m not that prosaic….

    Go Kings!

  • nykingfan

    based on their numbers, the difference is minimal. You can’t say that putting Barbs on the ice is giving games away or putting a lesser product on the ice.
    Their save percentage wasn’t much different last year. Barbs was .910 Ersberg was .927. I don’t see how that’s knowingly going with a lesser product. Again, the showcasing was just my opinion. They may very well feel Barbs gives them the best chance to win over the long term.

  • nykingfan

    Thanks moondoggie As usual, your analysis is right on. I agree we shouldn’t expose a young goalie at this point. Let the defense gel and then watch the magic.

  • Anonymous

    ny – it’s not that Ersberg is better, again i admit he may very well be worse. but to not even give him even a single start when our “#1” is anything but just perplexes me. labarbera will probably soon be the ONLY goalie in the entire NHL to start every single game, and honestly, that’s the only thing about this team that dumbfounds me. preissing sits 4 games in a row because of one bad pass, and then we have this, there just isn’t much logic to it.

  • mk_42

    Has anyone been to the practices lately? How’s Ersberg playing lately? Maybe he’s stinking it up and THAT’s why he’s not getting a start.
    I remember them saying he might be starting in Manchester instead of Quick…so not only was he not the #1, he was just barely the #2. I have a feeling maybe he’s not playing as well as all of you remember.

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