He tells it like it is …
“If you look at the game it wasn’t a matter of them making great plays it was a matter of us making poor plays. They were able to capitalize on a lot of the mistakes we made in the second period. When you make that many mistakes it’s tough to win games.”
It seemed like they were always chasing in this game after falling behind 47 seconds in. They did take a brief 2-1 lead after Patrick O’Sullivan’s goal early in the second but then fell down 3-2, tied it, fell down 5-3, got within one and ran out of time. Two goals for Brown and one for Kopitar, giving each 28 on the season. Rob Blake did play and got more than 20 minutes on the ice. I couldn’t tell you how he looked since I don’t have Center Ice, but one of you who does give your impression. He was even but did lead the team with three giveaways.
Looks like he could be available tonight …
With the trade deadline past, the Kings can concentrate on the final 18 games of the season. You’d think this might mean we’re going to get a look at a lot of the younger players in the organization, but that’s not the way the Kings have handled things so far. Teddy Purcell was sent down this week and 38-year-old Jon Klemm brought up. So if the point right now isn’t to win games or to see the future, I’m not really sure why they are playing. But the Kings are going to be on the ice tonight in Edmonton anyway to start a four-game road trip. Unfortunately, it’s not going to be televised on regular cable. So most of you won’t be able to catch a glimpse of what prospects like Scott Thornton and Klemm look like for the future. One thing to watch, or listen for, is what goes on with the defensive pairings now that Stuart and Modry are gone. Crawford doesn’t even seem to know what he’s going to do. Assuming Blake is out, you can put the names of Johnson, Visnovsky, Preissing, Harrold, Dallman and Klemm in a hat, mix them up, pull them out two at a time and make as good a guess as I could. In fact, that might be the way Crawford decides it.
Edmonton is in a similar place as the Kings, in last place in the Northwest and without a real chance at the playoffs. The Oilers have won five in a row at home. The Kings are 2-0-1 against Edmonton this season and are trying to take the season series for the first time since 1998-99. Dan Cloutier is expected to get the start in goal for the Kings.
“I still have pain when I put my neck back. Its improving but not really what Im expecting. If its not going to get better in the next 2-3 weeks, then Im going to have to think about surgery. I dont want to have surgery. Its the last option. But, if its not going to get better, then maybe I have to do it. If I have surgery, then its done (his season).”
He gives injury updates, talks about how the players handled the trade deadline, that defensive pairings will probably be fluid other than Blake-Johnson (once Blake returns) and the reasoning behind pairing Harrold with Visnovsky.
Short one …
On the possibility of sticking with the Kings the rest of the season now that Stuart was traded: “You hope so. This is where I want to be. Stuarts a great guy and was very nice when I was here. Its sad to see him go. But, at the same time, I have an opportunity here to prove myself so Im going to take advantage of it.”
On Blake staying and the possibility of learning from him (he hasn’t really been able to play with or watch Blake play much because of Blake’s injury): “Obviously hes going to be a Hall of Famer. You try to learn as much as you can from him since hes a wealth of knowledge. You try to watch him and do as he does. Its really cool for a young kid to come in and get to learn from a guy like him.”
–Klemm was called up from Manchester.
–Nagy could be done for the season. He had a third shot and there was only little improvement. He’s going to see another doctor to get a second opinion. He says if it’s not better in 2-3 weeks, he will have surgery.
–Nagy, Armstrong and LaBarbera will not make the trip. Armstrong tried to skate today and there was still too much pain. It is officially a knee sprain for Armstrong.
–There no longer is a roster limit. However, the Kings still only have 21 active (22 once Blake comes off), and that includes LaBarbera.
–I’ll have Crawford’s interview as well as interviews with Harrold and Nagy coming up after I get home and transcribe them.
Lombardi certainly didn’t do anything special at the trade deadline, but I liked the deals he did make. A second and a fourth for Stuart was as good as you can expect. That he got anything at all for Aubin was a minor miracle. You also have to include the recent Modry deal, which did well to net the Kings another third rounder. The deadline might be remembered more for the deals that weren’t made but, when it comes to Blake and Thornton, Lombardi was handcuffed. Granted, he may have put the handcuffs on himself by giving them no-trade clauses in their contracts. However, as he said in his interview, no-trade clauses have been running all the rage in the NHL the past few years. You have to figure he could have gotten for Blake the deal Colorado gave for Adam Foote — a conditional first-round pick. It’s less than he wanted, but perhaps he should have taken it. Basically, to justify not making that deal, he has to re-sign Blake to a reasonable contract in the offseason. Lombardi also was handcuffed by injuries when it came to guys like Nagy and Armstrong. I think the Kings should move Cammalleri in a deal for a promising, young defenseman. But perhaps this wasn’t the right time. There’s no reason that trade can’t wait until the offseason. For making solid deals for the future, though not nailing the big trade, I’d give Lombardi and the Kings a C+.
I’m interested in your take with these two polls …
Cliff notes: He’s satisfied he did everything he could do. The Adam Foote deal with Colorado probably impacted what the Avalanche would offer for Blake. For Stuart, he did the same deal as what Brent Sopel brought last year. There was some contract talk with Stuart and the Kings decided based on that to move him. Thornton, who also had a no-trade clause, gave him a list of four teams to which he would accept a trade. They almost had a deal with one but it fell through because of a bigger deal the team pulled.