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Kings Gameday: Low Standards

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Have the Kings played down to their opponents this past season?

Play better, assholes
Play better, assholes
Jeff Gross

Over the past few seasons, the Kings have earned a reputation of playing down to lesser teams. On one hand, hey, that's pretty cool. The Kings are good enough to play down to someone else! Quite the welcome change after the dark years of 2004 to 2009. The bad news is that the Kings are screwing up against lesser teams apparently. Or so that's the thought process. So let's take the past season as a sample.

First, let's categorize who's a good team, a bad team, and a middling team. Most of Canada sucks, so they are in the B.A.D. (known as Big Awful Disasters) category excluding only Montreal. Also included are the horrendous train wrecks Buffalo and New York (Islander edition). Non-playoff teams that we saw coming like Carolina, Nashville, New Jersey, and Florida are also in this bunch.

As for good teams, this is also very subjective. However, since I am infallible, don't worry about it. For this group we have Chicago (obviously), Boston (no surprise), San Jose (ignoring collapses), Pittsburgh (cause Crosby), New York (Ranger variety because why not), St Louis (because I needed another team to fill this category out a bit) and Montreal (so Canada can hate Quebec even more). Yes, these teams finished high in the season standings and have performed relatively well in the post-season (again, San Jose being the exception).

Lastly there is the middle teams. Teams on the verge of playoff appearance but not heading to the Finals, and with rosters full of young players that may be decent in the future, but still aren't exactly what you would call  a contender. Groups like Colorado, Minnesota, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Dallas, and Columbus. Then you have the bubble teams like Phoenix, Washington, and Philadelphia. Finally, there are the Ducks who we all know are terrible, yet are successful anyways. It's a cruel jape by God, so they are a mid-tier team.

Anyways, results, with some notes. How exciting.

Main note, shootout goals are removed. Those shouldn't count for squat besides deciding a game, which is also ridiculous. Second, points are added up as one point if the game ends in a shootout (like a tie!), and two points for a win. A loss gets you nothing. Pretty much a winning percentage (or the perfect system for the NHL). So...

The Kings averaged 2.32 goals for, and 1.96 goals against throughout the season. They picked up "points" at 1.10 per game.

Against the bad teams, the goals for were at 2.62, goals against were at 1.53, and points per game were at 1.38.

Against good teams, the splits were 2.26 / 2.11 / 1.11

And the middling teams, 2.28 / 2.62 / 0.76

Obviously, the Kings don't play so far down to their opponents, seeing as their numbers were well over their average when it came to the worst teams in the NHL this year. At the other end, when facing the better teams in the league the Kings numbers were a bit down against them. Except in terms of winning and losing, which were right about even with the average the Kings had for the year. And then there's mid-tier bubble and younger teams. The goals for stayed close, but the goals against were a nightmare. The Kings were also a sub point per game team in this case.

Perhaps they really do play down to their opponents, but can get away with that against bad teams. That the decent teams don't let them waltz through despite the Kings not taking them seriously. Maybe it's just that these teams, which boast a lot of young players, are simply faster squads that can exploit the Kings style of defense. Or maybe it's just these bunch of teams the Kings have lost to for whatever other unexplainable reason are in the midst of slumps and things just are not going L.A.'s way. Like, say, with pucks going in the goal thanks to the protective netting.

Of course though you could also say I just cherry-picked stats in a way to rationalize that the Kings are on the verge of being beaten by the Ducks, the Ducks for fucks sake, and just want to drink myself into oblivion. Yes, there's a chance of that also. A fairly high one because the Ducks aren't a very good team and this makes no sense. They are winning with defensive castoffs from Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and spare centers from Washington. Anaheim ditched Bobby Ryan and have essentially the same roster from 2012 when they missed the playoffs altogether. Fuck this [cracks bottle of Jameson].


Prediction: I set a new high/low for drunken hockey behavior.