Do you believe in unpredictable outcomes? Yes!
Canada did the expected and routed Austria 6-0 on Friday, one day after turning in a jittery 3-1 victory over Norway. Kings forward Jeff Carter scored three goals, a natural hat trick, for Team Canada. Not a big surprise since Carter is one of Canada’s top goal scorers. I guess the surprise was Carter actually stopped to talk to reporters after the game. Here’s what he said of his hat trick: “I didn’t really have to shoot many of them — or any of them. I just drove the net on basically all of them. It’s a good sign if you’re getting offense like that.”
The United States looked so good in the second period of its 7-1 rout of Slovakia on Thursday morning that i might have to change my opinion on the Americans’ medal chances. Could be playing for the gold Feb. 23. I mean, if the Kings’ Dustin Brown is scoring goals for the Americans, anything is possible. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick was sharp when there was pressure, which wasn’t all that often.
Canada looked so jittery at times in the first period that you almost had to feel sorry for the gold-medal favorites. Drew Doughty’s dance through the Norway defense on his way to the third goal for the Canadians seemed to loosen things up. The Kings’ defenseman accepted a centering pass from the Ducks’ Ryan Getzlaf and went all Bobby Orr to give the Canadians a 3-1 lead.
Russia’s victory over the Kings’ Anze Kopitar and Slovenia was all too predictable. But despite the flashes of brilliance, there were signs of Russian vulnerability. It shouldn’t have been as tight a game as it was.
Finland has some amazing skills in addition to fine goaltending and maybe I should think about moving them into medal contention, too.
Here’s the brief Q-and-A between NBC’s Jeremy Roenick and the Kings’ Jonathan Quick, who will start in goal for Team USA’s Olympic opener Thursday morning:
Roenick: Jonathan, you just got named starting goaltender for the Olympics 2014, how does that make you feel?
Quick: “Ah, well, I believe it’s just for tomorrow’s game. Yeah, continue to focus on what we have to do to win tomorrow’s game. Obviously, in a short tournament you want to make the most of every time you’re on the ice, whether it’s in practice or in a game. So, we’ve got to do all that preparation tonight and tomorrow get ready for the game.”
Roenick: What are your impressions of the team? You guys have skated a couple of times now. What do you see in front of you? What are the strengths of the team?
Quick: “We’ve got a lot of speed. We’ve got a lot of guys that are skilled and could put the puck in the net and create opportunities. We’ve got guys who can grind and try to tire out their team deep in their corners. So, on the D end, we’ve got some good stay-at-home guys and some good puck-movement guys. At the end of the day, you’ve just got to try to out-work the other team and be more prepared than they are.”
Roenick: What about the Olympic style and the bigger ice? What kind of challenge does that pose for a goaltender? Anything different with the big ice sheet?
Quick: “It changes the angles a little bit, not much that it’s that significant. You just … it kind of … it just makes you … it keeps you on your toes a little more. You make sure you’re on the puck ready to roll at all times. It’s obviously not what you’re used to playing on, so mentally you’ve got to be on top of it. Make sure you’re on your angles.”
Colin Fraser cleared waivers Sunday and the Kings assigned him to their American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, N.H. Fraser has two assists and 30 penalty minutes in 33 games with the Kings this season. Overall, he has 58 points, including 20 goals, and 290 penalty minutes in 358 games in his NHL career with the Kings, Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks.
The Kings re-assigned goaltender Martin Jones and forward Tyler Toffoli to their American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, N.H., for the Olympic break. The team also recalled goalie J.F. Berube. Jones won his first eight NHL starts and is 8-4-0 overall with a 1.71 goals-against average for the Kings. Toffoli has 19 points (10 goals, 19 assists) in 38 games for the Kings. Berube has a 19-13-2 record and a 2.43 goals-against average for Manchester.
Here’s what the NHL’s department of player safety said Friday, on the day after the Kings’ Dustin Brown cracked the Columbus Blue Jackets with a shot to the head: “As per Rule 48, we have taken into account point (ii) Whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position by assuming a posture that made head contact on an otherwise full body check unavoidable. At moment of contact Brown’s elbow is tucked & his skates are on the ice. Arm flare & elevation are AFTER contact.”
The Kings and Montreal Canadiens swapped minor-league forwards Thursday. The Kings acquired right wing Steve Qualier from Montreal in exchange for forward Robert Czarnik. Qualier, 24, is expected to be sent to the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, N.H. He was Montreal’s third-round pick in 2008 and has played for Hamilton of the AHL for the past two seasons after playing at Northeastern from 2008-12. He had five points, including one goal, in 15 games for Hamilton this season. Czarnik, 24, also was a third-round pick in 2008. He had five points, including one goal, in 29 games for Manchester this season.
The Kings returned defenseman Jeff Schultz to their American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, N.H., without actually playing him in a game. Schultz has played 41 games with the Monarchs, recording seven points (one goal, six assists), plus 14 penalty minutes. The move comes before the NHL freeze on player movement begins Friday in advance of the Olympic break.