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Kings Gameday: His First Name Should be Lance

Los Angeles Kings (2-2) vs. Colorado Avalanche (2-3)

7:30 PST, FSN West


Brian Boyle is 24 years old. While others from his draft class are firmly established NHL players by now (Dustin Brown and Patrick O'Sullivan, for example), Boyle is still struggling to find his place in the league. Boyle doesn't have the speed or the hands to really become a top offensive player so the plan was to get him used to playing in a bottom role. The Kings only played him about 9 minutes a game in preseason in hopes that he could adjust and use his body more. The Kings hoped that Boyle join forces with Derek Armstrong and Raitis Ivanans to become a terror to opposing teams.

Instead, Boyle's line has been embarrassing and Boyle has accrued a -4 rating in 3 games. That's awful when you consider that Boyle has been playing sheltered minutes and he's only played in home games so far. I think the problem isn't that Boyle isn't using his body like the Kings have asked; the problem is that he doesn't know when it's appropriate. Being physical in hockey isn't just about being able to knock a guy down, it's about being able to knock a guy down and affecting the play. Boyle seems uncomfortable out there because he is playing a completely new role. I think he'll figure it out, because Boyle is a solid player, but right now he needs to either get sent down to Manchester or given a new role on the team.

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Do you ever wonder why Earl doesn't let anyone write about the Coyotes on this site? This is why.

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The Avalanche have averaged 4 goals for and 3.8 goals against so far this season. Ruggedly handsome Joe Sakic and just plain rugged Paul Stastny each have a goal and 7 assists this season, but the numbers I like to see are these:

Andrew Raycroft- 2 GP, 3.00 GAA, .875 SV%
Peter Budaj- 3 GP, 4.38 GAA, .824 SV%

I bet Sakic hates both of those guys. Peter Budaj is getting the start tonight.

Prediction: Kings win, 8-6. Goals by Kopitar (x3), Handzus (x2), Frolov, Simmonds and Moller. Peter Budaj and Andrew Raycroft are "accidentally" left in LA after the game.