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Kings Gameday: Fish Out Of Water!

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No Marco... at least not yet.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
No Marco... at least not yet. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Detroit Red Wings
@ Los Angeles Kings

Saturday, Dec 4, 2010, 7:30 PM PST
STAPLES Center

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So my idea is that the Kings and Bruins agreed to a deal in principle to trade Marco Sturm, with the assumption that Sturm would be ready to go some time next week. Then they looked at his medical records and realized he probably has a month to go before he's fully recovered from his knee surgery.  So, they decided to wait and see if Sturm is fully healthy before talking about a deal. In the meantime, the Kings will keep looking for a more immediate contributor while the Bruins will see if they can get more when Sturm is fully healthy. Seems plausible, right?

The Kings looked like they got away from their new lines last game and reverted to the lines they used against Anaheim in Thursday's game against Florida. They started with Brown-Kopitar-Williams for the first 2 periods but by the 3rd they had switched back to Brown-Kopitar-Simmonds and Smyth-Stoll-Williams. Oh, and the Kings' game-winning goal was scored by Handzus-Kopitar-Brown. So basically Terry Murray is just doing whatever. It's almost kind of fun right now; the Kings have so many options and so many players that can play multiple positions* that they can look completely different shift-to-shift.

Also, Drew Doughty played with Rob Scuderi pretty much all game, while Jack Johnson skated with Peter Harrold and Matt Greene at even-strength. Doughty played 22 1/2 minutes at even-strength. That's insane. One thing that's been lost in this whole "Drew Doughty isn't the same!" talk is that he's been playing absolutely fantastic defense, even if he's not scoring. He's on the ice for 1.37 goals against per 60 minutes, one of the best numbers in the league among defensemen who actually play, compared to 2.75 goals per 60 minutes when he's not on the ice. That's even more impressive when you consider that Doughty is usually playing against the other team's top offensive line.

Now, some of that praise should be tempered by the fact that Doughty's taking more boneheaded penalties, like the impossibly stupid interference penalty in the last game, than in year's past. Still, Doughty's been by far our best defensive defenseman since Mitchell went out and he would continue to be even if he didn't score another point this season.

 

Prediction: Kings win, 3-1. Goal scored during the 30 seconds Doughty is taking a breather.

 

*Players with multiple positions; positions listed by effectiveness

Brown-right/left

Smyth- left/center

Stoll- center/left

Handzus- center/left

Lewis- right/center/left

Richardson- left/center

Zeiler-right/left/center

 

A better way to list it might be players that won't play multiple positions, either because they can't or because the Kings won't move them:

-Kopitar

-Simmonds

-Clifford

-Westgarth