These are weird times to be causally talking about hockey games. Ottawa was shot up by some folks, Slava Voynov got arrested and subsequently suspended, and the Kings are up against a team who appear to be actively trying to lose so they can land Connor McDavid. I suppose I could laugh about how the Sabres are a team that make no sense since their logo appears to have two large swords impaling a buffalo, which only reasons that they are a team of self-loathing. Or perhaps I could complain how much I hate BuffaloWings since their food is overpriced and leaves me shitting my pants for several hours the next morning. Also, their commercials bug me.
No, instead today is sort of a special occasion. It's my asshole brother's birthday! He's 24 (23?) and moved out again recently. Good for him! He works for some housing group and knows where Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry live. He has some good details about Perry, but he has never talked about them ever because that is wrong. He sort of looks like me, is sorta Jer sized, and has a windowless van driver type mustache.
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Also, I just realized the guy that runs TMZ was on People's Court. Huh.
Anywho, my brother and I played hockey together growing up, though this resulted in learning less about good hockey chemistry and instead lead to learning some good hockey fighting. I *accidentally* tripped him when he was like eight or nine and he fell, knocking out his new adult front tooth. Whoops. Also, I never told him that it was me that tripped him. Good thing he never reads this blog, that asshole. For a few years in high school we were on the same team (since I was on every team my junior year due to a lack of goaltenders) and we enjoyed beating up other people for a change. After I graduated high school I went back to only one game, and my brother got in a fight. He tore the kid's jersey, broke his helmet, went after him again after the ref broke the fight up initially, and essentially sucker punched the opposing player. I guess that was the one time I was actually ever proud of him. Way to go Kevin, ya dirty cheap bastard.
This is Kevin's second sort of appearance here at BoC. His fine work showed up in earlier post, and a link to it can be found here. Be sure to give it a listen.
So the Kings are back at it finally after having three days off. Thankfully, they had a completely uneventful break and were able to refocus in on their season, devoid of distractions. Or one of their teammates got arrested and is under suspicion of domestic violence. Because of that, Slava Voynov is suspended until the NHL decides to reinstate him, if at all. The defensive lineup is in a bit of disarray now, though it appears Jake Muzzin is healthy enough to come back into the fold. Tactically, hopefully that is the case or the Kings will likely only be using five defensemen. Brayden McNabb is with Matt Green, so who knows how that will go. Robyn Regehr and Alec Martinez are also paired up, which is possibly bad news for Alec as his fancy stats take a beating with Regehr (as is the case with everyone who's been paired with him), though Martinez has shown he can succeed with a "stay at home" defensive partner like Greene and is also used to playing on his off-side on the right.
Seeing as the Kings have been defying fancy stats lately, what with getting killed in possession but still winning games, I'm cautiously optimistic for the defense. Largely because even if the defense does suck, which it has been doing, Jonathan Quick is in superhuman mode lately. It's a lot of pressure to put on a goalie, sure, but oddly I think goaltending gets easier with regular action occurring at your end of the ice rather than waiting ten minutes before you even have to worry about facing shot. At least, that's my experience.
The offensive lines have Dwight King and Dustin Brown flanking Anze Kopitar, Andy Andreoff and Justin Williams with Jarret Stoll, and Mike Richards centering the fourth line of Kyle Clifford and Jordan Nolan. Way to go there, Mike. I'd actually prefer having Richards on the left with Stoll and Brown/Williams, but I guess Darryl Sutter wants to try rolling four lines. Or Mike Richards is already stuck on the fourth line because he's a whole lot of suck. Good luck doing all the scoring again with that 70s line. I feel dirty after typing that.
Prediction: The Sabres are awful so the Kings, even with their lineup scrambled like my brains after a meth binge, should still win. But they won't. They out shoot Buffalo three to one, but lose three to one. We have a good laugh.