Edmonton Oilers @ LA Kings
1:00 PST, Fox Sports West
Poor Lubo. First he gets traded up to the frozen tundra that is Edmonton, then he tears his labrum and will miss the rest of the season. My love of Lubo is well-documented, but I have to say that trading him might have worked out as the best move Dean Lombardi has made. Lubo played 50 games this season and played well, from what I understand, but Matt Greene has turned into a rock on defense (although he's occasionally prone to moments of retardation) and Jarret Stoll has been great on special teams and pretty good at even-strength. Stoll's on pace to pass his points total from last season and has been partnered with Kyle Calder and Dustin Brown to form a great ground 'n pound line for the Kings. Those two have given the Kings production they were missing last season, but the person that has replaced Lubo is... wait, hold on.
RK- What's up, Sugar Tits?
Girl- Here, I got you this.
RK- Chocolate heart? OK, thanks. (starts writing)
Girl- Umm, don't you have anything for me?
RK- No? Look, Papa's busy right now, why don't you grab me a beer.
(Girl stomps off, door slams)
RK- Huh, she must have gone to grab more beer.
OK, I'm back. The person that has made that trade so great, though, is Kyle Quincey. Both Lubo and Quincey have played 50 games this season, and they have the following stats:
Lubo-50 GP, 8 G, 23 A, 31 P, +6, 30 PIM, 23:00 TOI
Quincey- 50 GP, 3 G, 26 A, 29 P, +2, 38 PIM, 21:38 TOI
No one could replace Lubo, least of all in my heart, but the Kings have assembled a few different defensemen that have replaced his production. Plus, Lubo's 32 years old while Greene is 25, Stoll is 28 and Quincey is only 23; that trade is only going to get better.
The Kings absolutely have to win today. The Oilers are a good team (and Ales Hemsky is one of the best players in the league this season) but they just lost Lubo and are a team the Kings can beat. They're above them in the standings. The Kings have a very difficult road trip coming up. I'm the last person in the entire world that would use hyperbole, but I'd wager that if the Kings don't win today, they're not making the playoffs. Go Kings.
Prediction: Kings lose, 4-1. This is what happens whenever I think a game is important.