Note to LA Times: It helps if you know what to look for

"More yawns than yells" - Chris Foster - LA TIMES

[...] Penner's biggest contribution [to Thursday's game] was to stand still.

It's called a screen. It involves standing directly in front of the goalie so as to block his view of the 90+ MPH slap shot of a guy (Jarret Stoll) who frequently misses high. Your job is to stand your ground, despite the efforts of one or two 220 pound defensemen trying to move you, despite a goalie slashing at your ankles. while facing the shooter, knowing that there's a reasonable chance the puck will hit you in the mouth and you won't have time to react. 

Most people who are instructed to do this, and want to do it, don't actually have the nerve, because it's too f***ing scary.

You try it. 

Nor was it a performance to make conference opponents tremble, as the game seemed suited more for yawns than yells through two periods.

Conference opponents, though, understand air-tight defense and what it does. They are also familiar with the cliche, which happens to be true, "defense wins championships." Conference opponents -- especially their coaches -- do not like or wish to participate in "exciting" yawn-free games with lots of goals, 4-3, 5-4, etc., which this game could have been, were it not for several highlight reel saves by both goalies. And if that had happened, I'm willing to bet you would be writing about how so-and-so "found their offense."

No-hitters are similarly boring. Or, I guess a better analogy would be to a 1-0 pitching duel with a run in the top of the ninth. Unless you understand what you're looking at. Then you yawn less. 

A mostly lifeless game finally perked up for the Kings after the Coyotes' Rostislav Klesla was called for high sticking. Kopitar sent a pass to the blue line and Stoll skipped a shot past goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov 12 minutes into the third period. Penner, who is more lug than Lemieux, stood motionless at the crease as Stoll's shot whizzed past.

See "screen" above. "More lug than Lemieux" is catty and ignorant. It's as though you're describing a mistake, or a flaw in Penner's game, or some kind of deficit (in this case the deficit is "not as good as Mario Lemieux" -- ooh, he must suck then). When in fact you're mocking Penner for doing his job on a play that led to the game-winning goal. 

Penner had no shots, with his main spotlight moment came when he whiffed on a one-timer in the slot. 

You may not know that hits (of which he had 5, I believe) and take-aways (I counted several, at least 3, one leading to a scoring chance) are critical aspects of any game. Also, re one-timers: they're not routine, like throwing the ball to the first baseman from shortstop. Elite scorers mishandle passes and/or feeds for one-timers and/or rebounds several times a game. If they didn't, people would end up with 200 goals a season.

I also don't recall that play being in the slot, but I could be wrong. 

[...]

Bernier, who had a light workout through two periods, was the last resort on that grind-it-out game. 

I thought he was spectacular. But then, Jonathan Bernier plays a style that looks kind of boring, in that he relies on his (super-sound) positioning rather than flailing athleticism. When he's on his game, pucks just seem to always hit him in the logo. He absorbs pucks. There are few rebounds. But you have to imagine what might have happened had he allowed a rebound on this play or that, in order to understand why what he's doing is special. They don't count the shots that don't lead to a shot off a rebound that didn't happen. I suppose that's hard to appreciate if you don't know what you're looking at. 

If that sounds condescending -- and it does -- it's in reaction to the tone of the Times' coverage of the Kings, which is equal parts condescending and strikingly clueless. Whether that's out of ignorance, or due to cynical force of will, I really can't tell. 

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