LA Kings (meh) vs. Vancouver Canucks (surprisingly good)
7:30 PST, Fox Sports West
Canucks point of view here, where they bask in the glory of the Burger King jerseys
I don't know... anything about Justin Williams. I'll be honest, I couldn't give less of a fuck about the Eastern Conference or the South, so his name was just some obscure collection of letters that sounded vaguely familiar. To help get an idea of what kind of player Williams is, I sent an e-mail to fine folks over at Canes Country to get a quick report on him. Corey was kind enough to write:
First off, Williams has been hit by some tough injuries, but I wouldn't call him injury-prone. He's not like Marian Gaborik and his wonky groin. That being said, he's now had two serious knee injuries and a torn Achilles, plus he just has some bad luck.
The good news is speed wasn't his top skill. Williams is a great two-way player who knows how to finish. He and Rod Brind'Amour were the team's top PK forward unit for most their time together, and they also played on the same line most of time. I'm sure his contributions were a big part of Brind'Amour finally getting his Selkes. He's a fierce backchecker and he hustles all the time. He's also very skilled and has a very good wrist shot (though it can be errant from time to time).
The thing I'll miss most about Justin's game is he's not afraid to get his nose in the dirty places and stand up for his teammates. He won't really fight, but he's not one to shy away from a post-whistle scrum and also does a great job at getting under the skin of his opponents (especially the goalie), without it being in a Sean Avery or Steve Ott way. That being said, he's not a dirty player and he plays the game right: with integrity, determination and skill. After his high stick to Saku Koivu in the playoffs during the Cup run, he made a point to call him and apologize, even though it was an accident.
I hope he can get back to health — I imagine he'll be a half step slower (it was hard to tell since he came back b/c he was just rounding into form when he got hurt again) — and I don't know that he'll ever score 30 again, but 20-25 wouldn't surprise me and you can expect him to be a 50- to 60-point guy if he's healthy.
Thanks Corey, and I'm sorry we had to kick your ass a while back. What's that? Don't remember? It was a little thing called the CIVIL WAR! USA! USA! USA!
I don't know... if I'm still supposed to care about Mats Sundin. I couldn't walk across the street without some dickhead bothering me with news about Sundin, but I've heard nary a peep about him since he signed with the Canucks. Did he fall down a well, is that why he was important? Anyway, I guess he's been OK, with 16 points in 23 games, but I'm still confused why there was so much fuss over him. It's funny when you live in LA, because the center of the hockey universe is thousands of miles away. Call me crazy, but I don't care about Mats Sundin and have never considered him one of the 10 best players in the league; on the other hand, I get furious when people talk about Jonathan Toews all day without once mentioning Kopitar. Ah well, such is life. What's that thing the French say, "I smell like shit?" I think that's a saying.
I don't know... how Ryan Kesler is so good. Keep an eye on him tonight (if you can see past the glare of the lights off the Sedin Brothers' pasty white skin) and watch him play; I think he and Dustin Brown may team up next year to drive Canadians crazy at the Olympics.
I don't know... who is starting in net tonight, but I hope to God it's Jason Labarbera.
Prediction: Kings lose, 4-0. Labarbera gets the shutout and then waves his dick at the incensed Los Angeles crowd.