Hooray, the Kings are back!
Remember those scrappy underdogs from Los Angeles that stole your heart? They're back! It's been a while, so you might not remember what was going on. I'm here to help, though, and remind you what was going on before the whole world went to Vancouver.
-The Kings were skating the following lines:
Ryan Smyth-Anze Kopitar-Dustin Brown
Alexander Frolov-Michal Handzus-Jarret Stoll
Richard Clune-Brad Richardson-Wayne Simmonds
I wasn't too happy about putting Stoll on the wing with Fro and Zeus because it puts our two best face-off men on one line and it doesn't have a whole lot of speed, but Terry Murray likes it because Stoll's a shooter, Fro's a set-up man and Zeus hits the front of the net. I don't know, we'll give it a few more games before I judge that line too harshly.
The Kings also called up the seeker of serenity, the protector of Italian virginity, the enforcer of our Lord God, the one, the only, Marrrrrrc-Andre Cliche! (You're going to be getting a lot of A Knight's Tale while Cliche is up, I'd get prepared.) Cliche was brought up so Oscar Moller could be put on the wing full-time. It didn't make a whole lot of sense to have Moller play center and then move him up to a wing later in the game because that left no one to center the 4th line if Terry Murray wanted to play them. With Cliche up, Murray can throw Oscar Moller up alongside Richardson and Simmonds and still have a capable 4th line center if he wants to ice that line. Cliche will have Oscar Moller as his squire and Raitis Ivanans as his noble steed tonight.
Terry Murray also started playing Jack Johnson with Drew Doughty more before the break. This is good because it puts out two best defensemen together and gives Jack Johnson a real partner for the first time since his rookie year, but it does kind of put all our eggs in one basket. The Kings don't have any defensive pairings that can really score besides Johnson-Doughty now, and the new shutdown pairing of O'Donnell-Scuderi is comically inept at getting the puck out of their own zone. I have a feeling we'll see a lot of running around now.
But hey, it's the first game in almost a month, we should be happy the Kings are playing at all. One more thing...
Ahh, it's good to have things back to normal.
Prediction: The Stars will be weighed, they will be measured, and they will be found wanting.
(Oh, and the Kings probably won't make a trade today since they have a game tonight and are off tomorrow but I'll keep you updated. Feel free to leave any half-assed rumors in the comments so we can all laugh at them together.)