NEWARK, NJ - OCTOBER 13: Ilya Kovalchuk #17 of the New Jersey Devils scores a shoot out goal against Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings at the Prudential Center on October 13, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Kings 2-1 in the shoot out. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
It's too early in the season to be having this conversation, but it's a Friday, the Kings are off, and everyone else is writing about Mike Richards' return to East L.A., I mean Philly. Nothing that I'm about to say rises to the level of accusation or firm belief; at this point, I'm just making notes (and that's kind of what a blog is, anyway).
- The Kings have allowed 6 goals at even strength so far.
- On ice for 3 even-strength goals against: Dustin Brown, Richards, Jack Johnson, Rob Scuderi.
- On ice for 2: Brad Richardson, Trevor Lewis, Matt Greene, Alec Martinez, Kyle Clifford.
- On ice for 1: Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams, Simon Gagne, Kevin Westgarth, Drew Doughty, Willie Mitchell, Trent Hunter, Ethan Moreau.
- Not on ice for any even strength goals-against: Dustin Penner, Scott Parse, Jarret Stoll.
- So far this season (!), the Kings lead the league in time spent 5-on-5 (51 minutes on average). The team that spends the fewest minutes? Philly, 39 minutes.
- So far this season, the Kings rank 22nd in team plus-minus 5-on-5.
- Brown/Richards are drawing the toughest match-ups so far.
- They don't appear to be as effective on this front as Michal Handzus/Wayne Simmonds. Obviously, it's too early to tell. Just something I'm noticing.
- If Richards/Brown are going to be the "stopper" line, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me to have Richardson/Stoll/Hunter as a line whose value is primarily offensive. Wouldn't Richardson/Stoll/Lewis be better? Or Stoll/Andrei Loktionov/Lewis?
- I keep coming back to this thought: is Dustin Brown defensively a good fit for a stopper unit?
- The Gagne/Kopitar/Williams line is great so far. Brown and Richards, not good yet.
- I wouldn't be surprised to see Brown moved to Stoll's line, and...see, this is the problem. Richards and Lewis (I prefer this), Richards and Hunter (blecch), Richards and Richardson? If, having gone to great lengths to acquire a superstar center, the best we can do for his winger is Brad Richardson, there's something wrong.
- On the other hand, I can see Brown and Stoll reuniting and doing just fine. But doesn't that mean that Mike Richards is kind of the third line center? I know, the line numbers don't really mean anything.
- Maybe what we have here is the makings of a great third line in xx/Stoll/Brown -- as long as they aren't required to play tough minutes -- and a second line with a big hole at right wing.
- I guess we'll all have to wait for Richards and Brown to develop some of that chemistry we keep hearing about.