Hockey! Yeah! (Photo by Joern Pollex/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Was it just me or was that the longest off-season ever? Maybe it's because I didn't follow baseball this year because I didn't need to distract myself from how horrible the Kings were around March like I do almost every other year but this off-season seemed interminable. But now it's over! Hooray!
This season should be pretty fun. This is the first season in I don't know how long* where I felt pretty confident that the Kings were going to make the playoffs. We have 2 elite centers, an amazing #1 defenseman, and 2 solid goaltenders. Our top-six wingers should all get 40+ points assuming reasonable health and our top-six is filled with a nice mix of skill & grit. Our defense is deep as hell, too, with 2 or 3 guys in the minors that are probably NHL-ready. It should be fun!
*I guess the last time I felt this confident was... 2001-02? Then we lost Allison, Deadmarsh and Palffy and... shit. Jesus, was that 10 years ago? Where has it gone? What am I doing with my life? My God, I gotta make some changes...
The only downside to this season opener is that Dustin Penner is out with a "lower body injury," so Simon Gagne is moving up to Kopitar's line and Brad Richardson is moving into Gagne's slot. I like the move; Scott Parse is more skilled but I think Richardson fits in better with Mike Richards and Dustin Brown if they are matched up against the Rangers' top line of Dubinsky-B. Richards-Gaborik. Richardson and Brown have had good chemistry in the past and all 3 of the guys on that line are fast and should be able to counterattack well against the Brad Richards line. The only downside is that the B. Richards line will face the M. Richards line (featuring Richardson!) and we'll be hopelessly confused.
So yeah. Hockey! Kings! Rangers! Sweden! ...Wait, scratch that last one. But anyway, hooray!
Prediction: Kings win, 4-2. Goals by M. Richards (x2), Parse and Doughty.
P.S. It's my brother's birthday and he doesn't get off work until 4 so I have to wait 'til then to watch the game. Or at least watch it and not tell him and act all surprised at the stuff that happens when we watch it again. Either way, feel free to comment and then I'll join later to either tell you why the Kings are Cup favorites this season or why they're doomed, depending on if they win this game or not.