Friday, October 20, 2006

Really weird feeling

I've just quit my job. Only, no one here knows that I've quit my job. I've accpted an offer from another consulting firm. Just sent the email a couple hours ago. More money, overtime pay, identical to slightly better benefits. A little more uncertainty than you experience at a huge firm, but a good opportunity to grow with a new practice.

But it is really weird walking around here, looking at everyone, and not being able to tell them that I'm leaving this job. Starting up a new project? Sure, I'd be happy to help! That staff meeting in December? Hit accept on the old Outlook and add it to my schedule!

It's really quite surreal.

Everyone will be clued in on Monday. The ruse will be over. But for now, it just feels really strange.

The Blueprint

The Kings aren't going to play Phoenix every night, and they definitely aren't going to play Phoenix with a backup goalie every night. Let's face it, they did a lot of things right tonight that no reasonable person can expect them to do night in and night out. But that, quite frankly, is the blueprint for a successful Kings game.
  • Success on both the power play and the penalty kill;
  • The discipline to avoid taking too many stupid penalties (which doesn't mean they didn't take any stupid penalties);
  • Better than average goaltending; and
  • Production from Brown, Frolov, Kopitar, and Cammalleri.
It's that simple. The only thing they were missing was a goal from a defenseman, which is something I identified early in the season as a key to maintaining last year's pace.

Seriously, how good is Anze Kopitar? His first period power play goal displayed a poise that simply can't be taught. He avoided swinging at the puck with a high stick, choked up, waited for the puck to drop below the cross bar, and literally bunted it in. It's hockey IQ, and it can be learned, but it can't be taught. Some players just have the ability to pick it up.

Kudos also go out to Sean Avery tonight, who aside from the stupid dive, kept his emotions in check until Shane Doan basically took both of them off the ice. He was instrumental in creating the Dustin Brown goal. Brent Sopel gets a major thumbs up for his absolute destruction of Dave Scatchard. It was a monster hit, and a joy to watch. Obviously Garon deserved to be singled out for the Kings first shutout of the season. And Cammalleri, wow! What a rocket shot. Thing of beauty.

Nice effort tonight in the second of back to back games. It would have been easy to take a step backward after last night's excellent performance but poor result. That's all we ask for. Effort, and some promis of what's to come.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Free stuff....For me, I mean

So today I get an email from Sprint saying that someone there had read my blog (yeah, this one), and since I'm such a cool guy, they want to send me a free cell phone with six months of free service just so that I can check it out tell them what I think, or not. I'm talking free everything. Unlimited minutes, web, whatever video crap you can download, music downloads, the works. For nothing. Seriously, check it out:
As a qualified participant, we will send you one Sprint Power Vision (mobile broadband) phone and provide you with 6 months of all-access service (at no charge). In addition to NFL Mobile, you?ll have access to the Sprint Music Store, live TV broadcasts, gaming, and more. Yes, you will also have unlimited free calling and data service. It?s a pretty good deal and all we ask for in return is your candid feedback (you decide how much and how often).
Pretty bitchin, huh? And I don't even write about the NFL. Unfortunately, I just bought a new phone and re-upped my Sprint contract about two months ago, and even then I never go over my minutes. But hey, if it's free, it's for me.

Seriously, this blog has now gotten me a free book, a free cell phone and six months of free service. Note to potential advertisers/product development types - you are hereby authorized to send me more free stuff. Have at it.

Kings lose again

Actually, the title isn't completely fair, as they at least managed a point, but man, they played easily their best game of the season tonight, completely outplaying the undefeated Minnesota Wild, but it still wasn't enough, as former King Pavol Demitra got a gift bounce against a goaltender who refuses to poke check and banked it in for the game winner in OT.

Despite the final result, there were a lot of positives. As I said, they played their best game of the season. They had a ton of pressure, a ton of shots, and simply couldn't find the net. They lack a lot of things right now, but chief among them seems to be an ability to finish. Among the "goal scorers", for lack of a better word, the only guy I can really pin blame on right now is Frolov. He's been an offensive black hole for more than half a season now, and he's the one that they really need to find the net. Kopitar, O'Sullivan, and even Cammy and Avery, their goals are going to come (that's right, I said Avery). But Frolov has had a number of years to develop, and it seems like he just stopped about two months into last season and, if anything, has regressed.

Congratulations to O'Sullivan, who picked up his first goal tonight. Although it sure looked to me like it was kicked by Willsie and probably shouldn't have counted. But who among us hasn't collected his fair share of garbage goals. Hell, I practically made a living out of it.

I can't really single anyone out as having a bad game tonight. Even Cloutier played well, although both goals can be attributed to his own misplays. On Rolston's goal, he should have gloved a shot he saw clearly all the way in. The subsequent rebound led to a scramble that ended with the puck on Rolston's stick with a wide open net. The OT goal by Demitra could have been avoided with a simple poke check.

But we'll take out positives where we can get them, and the Kings did everything right except for putting the puck in the net. Baby steps. I actually see them as being a team that will struggle for four months, then hit their stride sometime in February. It will be too late to make the playoffs, but they'll be a fashionable pick for the playoffs next year, and in 2008-2009, they'll be legitimate contenders.