LOS ANGELES 2
We're almost there people. I feel at this point that even I am dragging a couple limbs that have given out behind me and staggering towards a finish line that is guaranteed to be there but at so many points this season has seemed so far away and so pointless all at the same time. It reminds of hobbling the last 6 miles of the half marathon I ran in Vegas because I had leg cramps the likes of which I couldn't have previously imagined. I wonder if the players feel that way. I imagine that for them the cramp is located several feet higher in a part of the body safely ensconced in a large plastic helmet.
This isn't going to be the usual game report. There was far to little of any consequence, either positive or negative, to write in the conventional fashion tonight. A ton of games this year have been listless and borderline painful, but this one joined the select few that featured almost nothing worth watching and were an effort to keep your attention on. It was really sad that they put THAT effort out for Rod's last game. Also, when you give a radio guy a banner, it's supposed to have a microphone on it, not the number of games he called. Sitting next to numbers such as 99 and 31 will now be 3542...yeah...
The goals we allowed fit with the game in that they were sad. LA didn't look like the kind of team that wanted a playoff spot in that they were almost as bad as we were. Their second goal came because Jason Strudwick somehow managed to have Theo Peckham deke him out...that's an accomplishment I never thought I'd see for several reasons. The other was some sort of slow-developing play that left Ladislav Smid laying there awkwardly in the crease. That's never good. Smid made more exceptionally strange plays tonight than I've seen from him in the last 20 home games combined I'm guessing. It was just strange.
I felt bad for Jordan Eberle because it looked like tonight the weight of trying to carry the team right now finally came crashing down on him. I saw him dump a puck to the middle of the opposition zone during a 5-on-5 situation...you'd never see that from him during "go time". He looked tired and a little lost tonight. I hope we're not beginning the process of ruining a sublime talent and sublime hockey mind somehow.
Once again, Teemu Hartikainen was one of the only decent reasons to watch the game. He made a couple really excellent plays; one was a drive to the net that started with a between the legs move to get past an LA defender and ended with a shot from his knees, then he made a beautiful rush play in the third that somehow found the post and bounced out to VandeVelde, who failed miserably on the conversion. It wasn't a night for goal scoring. #56 didn't thump anybody tonight, but did match up well physically with several large Kings, including Matt Greene. There seems to be at least 2 times a game so far where you could very well think that his last name should be Selanne.
Our goaltender looked like he was sleepwalking through the game. As I mentioned, the goals were iffy and LA put forth a pretty sad effort, so he wouldn't have had to do a lot to stop everything. Tonight's another one of those games that shows just how much relying on shots for a picture of a game is a mistake.
Looking down the lineup, there wasn't too much else to see really. Linus set up some nice plays but none were converted and he just missed out on a third period goal; Magnus skated a mile and didn't generate chances as LA played sturdy D; Andrew skated a bunch as well...but I was randomly watching some clips of 2008 compared to then, this guy has fallen so far back. It's really unbelievable.
We couldn't even get a good fight going tonight to at least provide some spark or entertainment...not from MacIntyre, Peckham, Strudwick, Jacques (we're so bad he was out during the final minutes trying to score btw...all he did was hit Liam Reddox) Jones or anyone. This game was totally devoid of any passion whatever. I had a feeling they wasted the last of what they had against Calgary and it appears that was true. Perhaps the only way for us to beat Vancouver next week is to dress a lineup of goons and chuck batteries on the ice.
I certainly don't enjoy writing such a bitter account of what is usually, even on a bad night, a much better experience than most other things. But there are times when it might as well have been on the TV or radio...and this was one of them.