Alright, I think I get it now.
It's not okay for Dustin Penner to grab Michal Handzus and throw him out of a scrum to protect his goaltender Jonathan Quick.
It's also not okay for Dustin Penner to finish his check on a speedy Blackhawk and keep him out of the play.
But it's okay for Dave Bolland to all of a sudden take a run at Mike Richards behind the Hawks net like Chuck Norris battling some Arabic terrorist with a flamethrower about to blowup an airplane full of innocent Israelis.
Still, the Hawks with Jamie Kompon's power play design does not scare me. And neither do the Kings offense scares me either at this point. But the officiating does scare me.
If you are going to allow for Dave Bolland to head hunt, but not allow Penner to protect his goalie and finish a good check against the boards, then screw this. This whole officiating fiasco has actually gotten worse.
Dave Bolland, you sure can dish them, but certainly cannot take em. Since Bolland has been a main fixture on the Hawks third or fourth line, he has been constantly in and out of the lineup as much as
They don't call a thing in last night's Bruins-Penguins game, with notorious head hunters like Matt Cooke and Brad Marchand lining guys up like military practice mannequins going up against some new weapon and getting blown to bits. Seems like those refs got the message but not the ones in Chicago, where everyone knew this would be a physical series.
As a fan, I just want to see it called consistently. So far in game one, I can tell it is going to be another stupid guessing game again.
But let's look at game one again. Without Jonathan Quick, the Kings would have been run out of the building. He saved their behinds way too much. And that is what I have been saying since the Blues series. Last year, the Kings did not sit back and rely on Quick's spectacular saves. They held their opposition to just about the bare minumum and actually found ways to score three to four goals a game.
This time, it has been the complete opposite. Now, we are seeing the defending champs being consistently outshot, outplayed and outworked. They cannot score, and cannot win on the road as they did last season, winning nine in a row before losing game five in New Jersey to send the series back to Staples Center where the Kings eventually trounced the Devils 6-1 to win the Cup.
To me, they look so tired and worn down, it's amazing how they were able to find a way to beat out the Sharks in the semifinals. Now, when the speedy, skilled and somewhat physical Blackhawks enter the challenge, the Kings finally seem to have meet their match once and for all.
For the past two seasons, the Blackhawks were riding high and playing like a bunch of privileged primadonnas, with Patrick Kane as the leading primadonna with all of his off ice shenanigans. After getting their rear ends handed to them in the first round twice in a row, and seeing their veteran leader Marian Hossa get destroyed by Raffi Torres, the Hawks finally decided to get their act together and dominate everyone as they are or have been more than capable of doing since 2010. Their ownership made some mistakes leading to several players leaving, players who were tough and did most of the gritty work, but they still had plenty of talent to go further than the first round.
Drew Doughty echoed what I have said for the past few years today. There is something about the United Center that has a bad "vibe" to it. To him and the rest of the team. Well, I have had enough living in Chicago and seeing them play their worst hockey in the Madhouse over the past several seasons.
Here is a list of Kings games at the United Center in recent history:
Mar 25, 2013: LA 5, CHI 4...Shots 36-25 LA
Feb 17, 2013: CHI 3, LA 2...Shots 37-27 CHI
Mar 11, 2012: LA 2, CHI 2...Shots 37-29 CHI (Kings win shootout 1-0)
Dec 28, 2011: LA 2, CHI 0...Shots 38-38
Dec 19, 2010: CHI 3, LA 2...Shots 28-24 LA
Oct 27, 2010: CHI 3, LA 1...Shots 34-28 LA
Mar 10, 2010: CHI 3, LA 2...Shots 43-30 CHI
Nov 9, 2009: CHI 4, LA 1...Shots 29-18 CHI
Mar 22, 2009: CHI 4, LA 1...Shots 32-15 CHI
Mar 1, 2009: CHI 4, LA 2...Shots 38-24 CHI
March 1, 2009 was Jonathan Quick's first start for LA in Chicago. But his first NHL action was relieving JS Aubin in 2007, allowing three goals on 27 shots over the final forty or so minutes.
The Kings have had some recent success at the United Center, especially last season on their way to a serious Cup run, when Quick finally figured things out on December 28th, 2011. He also stymied six Hawks shootout attempts in March's SO victory. But on all the other nights, the Hawks have had very little trouble beating Quick and the Kings consistently in every key aspect of the game.
The Kings were supposed to be the bigger, more physical team, but instead I am watching Dave Bolland and little defenseman like Niklas Hjalmarsson and Nick Leddy laying guys out all over the ice. That is plain unacceptable. If the Kings are going to let some soft defenseman knock them around, then they really have no chance in this series.
Time to put up or shut up tonight at the Madhouse. No more excuses. No more playing lousy, uninspired hockey. I am tired of it. And it sickens me that this is the best the defending champs can do. Defending champs aren't intimidated by crowds, buildings, fans (especially a bunch of bandwagoners the United Center has to offer) or the officials.
And if people out there think that the Kings will be just fine going home, guess again. The results against Chicago back at Staples have not been good either. Dating back to the 2008-2009 season, the Kings have won three, lost five, and recorded one shootout victory. But over the last six, Chicago has owned Staples winning all but one, and that was the decisive 4-0 victory late last season with the Kings well on their way to something special.
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