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What happened to the L.A. Kings? An introductory look

For any of you BoC site enthusiasts who are clamoring for more James O’Brien (count me as one of them), he shot me a quick e-mail today:

"I'm the editor of the newspaper at my college this fall, which sits aside Garth Snow as GM and the Kings signing Jeremy Roenick in the Mount Rushmore of bad decisions. Chances are, my main contributions will be on weekends and will be of the more silly variety. After mid-December, however, I should be pretty good to go. If I'm still alive that is."

No worries, O’B! This ship has steered well in the past without competent leadership; no need to kill yourself over Kings coverage.

However, is there reason to kill yourself over the actual Kings? Let’s take a look at the following graph, which plots how the BoC teams scored and got scored on in 20-game segments:

(Click to enlarge)

Generally, we can see that Anaheim was able to increase its goal-scoring as the season moved along without affecting its goals-against. San Jose was able to improve both its goals-for and goals-against, although the offensive output shows some fluctuation. Both these CA teams were able to use these turnarounds to leapfrog into the playoff picture by the end of the year (and make some noise in the playoffs also).

Los Angeles, on the other hand, is a story about a team falling apart.

20 games into the season, L.A. was tied for 3rd in the western conference, and they were rolling offensively and defensively. As the season moved along, however, their ability to score got worse and worse, and their defensive puck ability worsened also.

Arguably part of the decline was that they mirror the improvement of the other California teams. As they improved, the Kings got worse results. And yeah, we can say that Coach Murray lost the lockerroom, or that the famous King ‘injury demon’ took his toll again this year.

But I dunno, these are very drastic, different results. There must be something deeper going on here, especially moving to the 4th quarter of the season.

And as much as it in interesting to think about reasons why Anaheim or San Jose were able to improve over the course of a season (see some thoughts here in one of my first BoC posts), it should be just as intriguing to understand the fall-apart of the Kings. Hopefully, this deterioration is correctable, or our boy James is going to come back to blogging just in time to watch his team fall apart.

At any rate, more exploration coming in the next few weeks. Feel free to shoot some 'fall apart' theories (or just general encouragement about the Kings hopes this year) in the comments.

[Edit: In cased you missed them, here is James' top 5 hockey video games, an excellent list, now all in one easily-accessible place:
#5 NES Blades of Steel
#4 NHL Hitz 2003
#3 ESPN NHL Hockey
#2 PS1 NHL 98
#1 NHL 94
plus: Chen's Honorable Mentions]