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Game #60 – Kings vs. Hawks Q&A: Our Normal California Jackass

We found @atf13atf digging through our trash one day. Not for food, just because it was his thing. Turned out he was a Kings fan. As all the other Kings fans wouldn’t piss on us if we were on fire, he’ll have to do. 

Dion Phaneuf?

Last week’s blockbuster trade with Calgary for Dion Phaneuf boosts an already strong defense featuring Drew Doughty, Matt Greene, and Rob Scuderi. Just over a year removed from being the Norris Trophy runner-up, Phaneuf turns the Kings from a team just sneaking into the playoffs into a legitimate threat. In fact, all of the Kings’ acquisitions this year have been home runs. Coming into the Olympic break, both Mike Cammalleri and Jussi Jokinen have 26 goals in 60 games. Even Phaneuf has scored 10 himself. It seems unlikely that the Kings would pass San Jose or Phoenix, but if they come in hot as a lower seed, they could be an early roadblock to the Blackhawks’ effort to return to the Western Conference Final.

What do you mean the Kings traded Cammalleri FOR Jokinen? And then lost Jokinen on waivers? They got Phaneuf from Ottawa and he sucks now? No Olympic break this year? The Blackhawks are 11 points out and there’s a team in Vegas? Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in 2010 anymore.

 The Kings have gone 6-11-0 since the turn of the year. What went off the boil?

Start 9-2. Follow by going 1-7. Win six in a row, then get swept out of the New York Metropolitan Area. Lose six in a row to start the new year, bookend the All-Star Break with a pair of Jonathan Quick dodgeball tryouts. Pass Go and collect free wins against Glendale and Edmonton, lose narrowly to Stanley Cup contenders in Tampa and Pittsburgh, while giving up a touchdown to Carolina in between. Add a few wins against Atlantic Division bottom-feeders, and some losses to Pacific rivals here and there, and you have the entire Kings season. It’s been a trip.

 

Are the Kings in the same spot with Drew Doughty that the Senators are with Karlsson? IF he won’t sign they have to move him, right?

As of right now, the Kings seem fully ready to park the Brinks truck in Doughty’s driveway, and he seems fully ready to sign for the delivery. If he ever left Los Angeles, he would probably need to find a new lawyer or three, among other things.

 

Things kind of went south on Alex Iafallo, didn’t they?

He started off the year looking fast, but shooting a hair over one percent. He finally broke through for a second goal around the start of December, before racking up minuses and eventually taking a few healthy scratches around the new year. In the past month, Iafallo is back to playing 15 minutes a night and has scored four goals with three assists.

 

What’s been the key to Kopitar’s bounce-back season? Hawks fans would be particularly interested in the answer…

Last season, Anze Kopitar started slow coming off a busy September with an Olympic qualifier for Slovenia and playing for Team Europe in the World Cup Of Hockey. On November 11, with only eight points in 15 games, Kopitar injured his hand in a game against Ottawa and kept quiet about it. A few months ago, Kings president Luc Robitaille described the effects of the injury on Kopitar: “He couldn’t shoot for three months. That hurt his numbers. The goals weren’t there because he couldn’t shoot.” The numbers back it up: four goals from the injury through February, and six goals in 19 games to close out the year.

 

Blackhawks fans better hope it’s that simple.

 

Where do the Kings go from here? If they miss the playoffs then it’s Blowup City, right?

At the risk of hoping the team doesn’t put too much stock into a four-game sample before the deadline (at Chicago and Winnipeg, home against Dallas and Edmonton), it’s still entirely up in the air. The Kings don’t really have a great stock of pending UFAs to sell, unless someone really wants Darcy Kuemper for some reason, so it would have to be a bigger piece (Muzzin? Martinez?). Of course, their huge acquisition might cost nothing: Jeff Carter, whose last game was the night of the most recent Cubs win, is set to rejoin the team at practice this week once the road trip ends.

 

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