Goalie issues?

There’s obviously been a lot of debate, here and elsewhere, about Jason LaBarbera. Last night did nothing to calm those discussions. LaBarbera allowed four goals, but how many could he reasonably been expected to stop? Here’s what Matt Greene thought, along with LaBarbera’s thoughts…

GREENE: “I think we held them. They didn’t get that many shots against us. I think we did a good job. It’s just that the chances they had, they buried. They jammed the net on the first one. The second one was a great shot. The third one was a nice play and the fourth was a deflection. I think Barbs played well for us. It’s just a matter of us cutting down on the `Grade A’ opportunities and eliminating the lesser ones.”

LABARBERA: “What did they have, 11 in the first 10 minutes and then seven after that? They made a couple pretty good plays on some of their goals and got a good bounce too. Those are tough, definitely tough for a goalie. I was feeling great, and then a couple unlucky bounces. That’s kind of how it’s been. It’s kind of been up and down like that. One game you get bounces and one game you don’t get them. I felt great out there.”

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A tough start

The Kings couldn’t have asked for a worse start last night. A double minor in the first minute and a 5-on-3 five minutes into the game. The Kings basically spent the first five or six minutes of the game killing penalties, and not only did they end up trailing 1-0, but it seemed to set the tone for the rest of the game. Here’s what a couple people had to say about the start and how it impacted the rest of the game…

JASON LABARBERA: “It’s not ideal to start 5-on-3 like that. I was doing my best to try to keep us in it, and they just got a lucky poke on the first one. We just never seemed to recover from that. They just played a smarter game than we did, I think. They did a real good job of collapsing to their net and didn’t really give us a whole lot of opportunities, and obviously Luongo was there for them.”

MATT GREENE: “Yeah, it’s tough. You take a 5-on-3 that early in the game and they get one (goal), you’re basically starting the game down 1-0 at the six-minute mark. But it’s something you’ve got to rebound from. That’s what good teams do. Good teams can overcome those early deficits and get back in it. That’s what we’ve got to learn to do and learn to work toward.”

TERRY MURRAY: “It was a tough start. We got a double minor in the first minute of play and it ends up on a 5-on-3. That’s a tough start. You’re just trying to get the game going, get everybody into the game with good flow and get involved, but that does happen obviously. We just about got it killed off, and they end up poking a loose puck and get the first goal. But it was a game of special teams tonight. They end up with a couple power-play goals. We have, I don’t know what the final tally was, but six or seven power plays, and we don’t get the job done on that. We had three pokes, two on the power play and then later in the third period we had another one. It was a game of special teams, and they won that game tonight.”

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Beating Luongo

Picking up some of the stuff from last night, here’s what Terry Murray said about the Kings’ inability to beat Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo…

MURRAY: “Against Luongo, you need traffic. When I was in Florida, we traded for him, and you know what you’re getting. You knew what you were getting when he was going to be 27, 28 years old. He is that. He’s one of the premier goalies in the league, and if you give those top goalies lots of free looks, then they’re going to get the job done. You have to make sure you’re getting a lot of traffic and putting a lot of pucks at the net. The percentage of pucks that go in, the number is pretty high. You’ve got to get 20 pucks to the net for one goal, or hopefully one goal. He was good tonight. He made a couple really good stops, a great glove save early in the third period where I thought maybe we would at least get the one (goal).”

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Congrats, Helene

This is a late-night special.
Tonight I attended the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation awards dinner, where L.A. Times hockey colunmist Helene Elliott was honored as the sports writer of the year. Luc Robitaille presented her with the award.
“Anything she ever wrote about me, good or bad, was the truth,” Robitaille said. “… She felt she had a responsibility to deliver the truth to her readers.”
Elliott’s award was presented first so that Robitaille could leave to attend the Kings’ game against the Canucks. I checked the score when he left, and it was 0-0. Not sure how many of Vancouver’s four goals he saw.

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Postgame notes, quotes (10/30)

– This was (almost obviously) the Kings’ largest margin of defeat of the season and their second shutout loss in nine games.

– Special teams were huge. Vancouver scored two power-play goals in five chances while the Kings went 0 for 7 with the man advantage.

– Shots were even, 11-11, after the first period. From there, the Kings outshot the Canucks 17-7.

– Dustin Brown recorded a game-high eight shots on goal. Denis Gauthier was credited with a game-high seven hits.

– Kyle Quincey played a game-high 24 minutes, 19 seconds for the Kings but was minus-2, as were Oscar Moller and Jarret Stoll.

– The Kings out-hit the Canucks 29-17 tonight. Los Angeles has only been out-hit twice so far this season.

QUOTES

Oscar Moller: “The energy wasn’t there tonight like it was against Detroit and we have to regroup and come out with a better attitude.”

Terry Murray: “It was a tough start. We got a double-minor in the first minute of play and then it ends up on a five-on-three, that’s a tough start. You’re just trying to get the game going and get everybody into the game with good flow and getting involved, but that does happen. We just about got killed it off and they end up poking in a loose puck and get the first goal.”

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Murray on juniors

As the Kings make their decision regarding wether to retain Oscar Moller or send him to juniors, Terry Murray gave his thoughts on what juniors can do for a player.
“It would never hurt a player to play his junior eligibility out, unless you’re a real special player coming out, the first pick overall and then you’re ready to play. It never hurts a player to go back. Absolutely not. I think it develops your game. You can learn to dominate and learn to do a lot of good things. Maturing physically is probably the No. 1 thing that takes over. We’re making this decision based on our needs only and also with the mindset that we’re aware of Oscar Moller, who he is, what he’s done and what we see in the future from him.”

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