Umm, these guys aren't really going to be very interesting to write about this season. They're pretty bad so far. I still think they have the talent to turn it around, but as Mark Tupper has pointed out, they have yet to find someone who want to be a leader, and it doesn't help that their
As for Saturday's debacle, I didn't really see it. It was on at the same time as the UCLA - Oregon game, and once I saw what the score was after about 10 minutes, I decided it would be a waste of time. Sorry.
Had to happen sometime. Give credit to Oregon. They played extremely well, especially without Malik Hairston (speaking of that, maybe I just changed the channel every time it came up, but I didn't hear his injury mentioned once by the broadcasters - more on them later). Aaron Brooks played the game of his life, while the Bruins played without a doubt their worst game of the season (only including games against actually decent teams), and still had a chance to win or tie at the end. I've only seen one team in the last 20 years or so that I really thought could go undefeated, and this team wasn't it. Better to get this one out of the way on the road.
And while I'm on the subject, it should be interesting to see what kind of record U$C ends up with in the conference season. So far, thanks to the way the Pac 10 schedule works, it looks like they're either going to get teams that are looking ahead to UCLA (like Oregon and Washington), or teams that are drained from having just played UCLA
As for Barry Tompkins and Dan Belluomini, interesting exchange in the second half when LRMAM picked up his third foul. Howland sat him down, and brought him back on shortly thereafter, prompting Barry and Dan to comment that Howland was taking a chance bringing him back in with three fouls. A minute or two later, UCLA brought the ball down the floor, and a cross-court pass was knocked out of bounds by Oregon. Howland took LRMAM back out of the game. Somehow, Tompkins or Belluomini got convinced that there was a foul, and it was on LRMAM (his fourth). One proceeded to convince the other, and as a result, they were very shocked when Howland brought LRMAM back out a minute or two later with, in their view, four fouls. Finally, after figuring it out, they blamed it on a scoring mistake. Sure, guys. Whatever you say.
Nice 3-2 win over Detroit on Saturday after a dreadful first period. Before the season started, I said that the Kings would need more goal scoring from the blue line. Last year they had about 40 goals from defensemen, and about a third of those were from Joe Corvo, who's obviously gone. I said they'd need closer to 55 this year to be competitive. About halfway through the season, they've got 26, so they're ahead of last year's pace, but behind the pace I said they'd need to be at. Of course, a few more goals from the defense wouldn't make this team much better considering they have a hard time keeping it our of their own net.
Regardless, the Kings used two goals from defensemen to come back from a two goal deficit to tie the game before Michael Cammalleri got a good bounce on a power play for the decisive margin late in the third period. Lubo Visnovsky got his 13th of the season on a rush up the right wing, and Rob Blake tied the game on a fortuitous bounce from a Brian Willsie pass through the crease (though it still required a nice finish from Blake).
As for that power play goal that won the game, the man advantage was created by another jaw-dropping move from Anze Freaking Kopitar. He beat a man coming out of the Kings zone, pulled an incredibly timed pull and drag move at the blue line, smartly getting the puck into the zone before dragging it around a poke-check and splitting the defensemen for a great chance that probably should have been a penalty shot (he was a step behind the defense with a clear scoring chance - nothing in the rules says it has to be a clear break from the blue line). The kid is 19, folks. He's worth the price of admission.
*UPDATE - Nestor links to a Trojan Times article where Oregon State coach Jay John agrees.