February 6, 2013

steve laidlaw


The Kings’ rough road ahead, Vasilevskiy’s a real threat, Timonen returns and more…




Time to hit the panic button for the Kings. I know that there is lots of time remaining with 31 games left. I know that they are only five points out of a playoff spot. I know that their possession numbers indicate that they have been unfortunate and that their 1-7 record in the shootout points to further bad fortune than bad play. I know that we've seen this rope-a-dope regular season thing before. I know all of that and I still think that it's time to panic.


Here are some realities:


The Kings are five points out but are now behind the Avalanche in the playoff race and tied with both the Stars and the Wild. So they don't just have to pass one team here they have to pass and fend off several others. That's where the whole five-point deficit really becomes much wider than it appears.


The Kings have been dreadful on the road to the tune of a 5-12-6 record and a minus-15 goal differential. They play 18 of their final 31 games on the road. It's going to be tough to make up ground with that sort of adversity at play.


If you are wondering whether or not that road split is relevant, consider that Los Angeles really hasn't been all that strong of a road team these past few seasons having gone 49-39-18 (which if you read between the bullsh… err… loser points, is actually a losing record) with a minus-two goal differential over the previous three seasons.


It's not uncommon for teams to have road woes. Even some of the best teams have struggled with travel. Maybe these early road woes are an aberration that the Kings overcome down the stretch. Doesn't seem so likely though. Might be time to start shipping out your Kings, if you can find buyers.


The problem with trying to sell now is that virtually everyone is already at a reduced value. We've now got nearly 100 games worth of evidence that post-Cup Jonathan Quick is a reduced Jonathan Quick. He could actually use a nice long summer of rest and training to bounce back strong next season. Of course, we know he has the ability to go unconscious when the Kings need it but he'll need some help here.


The Slava Voynov situation (there are some ugly allegations) has crippled the Kings' blue line and it's had effects up and down the roster. Obviously Quick has felt the brunt of that but the depth scoring hasn't been there either.


Chris Pudsey covered much of the Kings' cap issues in his article yesterday we don't need to rehash too much of that discussion but one important note is just how much Kings GM Dean Lombardi is griping about the cap:


"It's a matter of how all these pieces fit into the puzzle," Lombardi said Tuesday, after the Kings prepared for their game against the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center. "Then we also have this whole thing with the Canadian dollar. I've been talking to other GMs about that. It's a crazy way to run a cap. Do I need a stat guy or do I need a currency trader to figure t