Kings Player Grades, Crowned Royal Style (Update: Scuderi, Johnson)

In this series, we will post a new grade daily for each player that suited up for the Kings in 2010-2011. Since no one at Crowned Royal is a credited teacher or NHL scout, we will rate players in the way we are most qualified: by comparing them to the alcoholic beverage that best represents their play on the ice.
Your Los Angeles Kings: leading cause of alcoholism among Southern California hockey fans since 1967.

Jonathan Bernier - Clos Saint Jean, Deus Ex Machina, 2006 

"The wine is backward, powerful, full-bodied, and more of a long-term proposition than the four other cuvees. It possesses massive concentration and depth as well as extraordinary balance, freshness, and laser-like focus"
-Robert Parker

Of course, most any wine enthusiast wouldn't purchase this fine wine with the intention of drinking it right away. Not that it wouldn't be enjoyable, but storing wines made from the finest grapes for several years produce the best and most complex wines.

Next year may figure to be the time to finally open this bottle of potential for regular drinking, but with Quick in place in Los Angeles, this leaves some questions:

  • Will Bernier remain in the cellar, starting 20-30 games next season?
  • Will the Kings instead let them split time as a tandem?
  • Or will Bernier be traded to another organization that doesn't have the goaltending depth that the Kings have?

Read the rest of this post here.


Jonathan Quick - Tito's Vodka

"Tito’s Handmade Vodka is designed to be savored by spirit connoisseurs and everyday drinkers alike. It's time-honored method of distillation requires more skill and effort than modern column stills, but it’s well worth it."
-Tito Beveridge (actual name)

Tito's is still not well known enough to have any major online publication reviews, but most of the booze blogs said basically, "Tito's is worth twice what it sells for". Those who know it, swear by it's value. In fact, it has been rated among the best vodkas on the market. This is an actual picture of the bottle:

..And some rate it higher than names many have come to know as the best. Obviously, this isn't the most commonly held opinion, but it's safe to assume they have their reasons.

The bottom line right now with Jonathan Quick is value. At $1.8MM through 2012-13, he is the best bargain in the NHL at any position, and this is tremendously important with the Kings' dire cap situation for next season.

Read the rest of this post here.


Jake Muzzin - Keystone Light

"Always Smooth"
     -this guy:

When I was, we'll say 21, I probably would have thought the Keith Stone commercial campaign was hilarious. Still I don't think I would have bought the idea that either he or his beer were, "always smooth," but that's not to say I would have turned one down at a party.

Keystone Light is a beer that only seems like a good idea when you're in a frat house- not the worst thing you could drink, but it's a bit immature.

Read the rest of this post here.


Davis Drewiske - Georgia Moon Corn Whiskey

"Just like they drink in the back hills of Georgia."

I've never heard of it either. Yes, it does come in a mason jar.

Read the rest of this post here.


Alec Martinez - Ku Soju

"For centuries, Soju was the choice of spirits for Kings and nobility; now it is available to all those who know a good thing when they taste it."

Though Soju, a beverage similar to vodka, has been around for almost 1000 years, but it is fairly new to us in California. It has a crisp, clean taste and mostly free of hangover inducing impurities. For some reason, however, I'm still somewhat on the fence on this beverage, which is slightly odd, because I like vodka and love sake.

Read the full post here.


Matt Greene - Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon

"101% Flavorful; 101% Unbreakable."

Wild Turkey packs more of a punch than it at first seems to with its 101 proof rating. It has a cinnamon flavor that helps it go down smooth, but once it hits your stomach you know you're well on your way to feeling wobbly.

Matt Greene is the anchor to the Kings' defense's edginess and the core of the team's toughness. You've all seen the photo a hundred times of his bloodied head after blocking a shot with his face in the closing seconds of a game. The photo is of Greene congratulating his goaltender after the horn sounded- which is the remarkable part of the moment: not just that he blocked a shot with his forehead, but that he do not immediately seek medical attention as blood started to impede his vision.

That's what makes Matt Greene vital- his willingness to overlook the moment for the end goal.

And that's why you shouldn't drink Wild Turkey. Let the Matt Greene's of the world do it.

Read the full post here.


Rob Scuderi - Chivas Regal Scotch

"Here's to knowing what's right and doing it."

There isn't much flash to Scuderi's game and he seems to like it that way. He is soft spoken both on and off the ice, and just always seems to do the right thing.

Scuderi had the unfortunate assignment of playing with Jack Johnson this season. That seems harsh, but the numbers don't lie.

If you'll remember correctly, Scuderi was paired with Drew Doughty last season, and finished third on the team in plus/minus at +16. This season playing with Johnson, Scuderi finished as a +1, the second worst season of his career in that category.

I don't recall seeing Scuderi running around with his head cut off in the defensive zone covering for Johnson all season long, but I also don't recall him being as effective as Mitchell or as he was last season, and perhaps it was because he was covering for Jack most of the time.

Scuderi was a large part of the reason that the penalty kill was the team's most successful asset this season. He led the team in overall shorthanded minutes played and was second on the team in average SH-TOI- Willie Mitchell was first. Mitchell however, missed 25 games this season and Scuderi valiantly held down the fort during his absence.

Any goaltender is lucky to play behind a player like Rob Scuderi, though he doesn't bring much to the offensive game, he plays defense the way it is meant to be played in today's NHL.

Original Article here.


Jack Johnson - Tuaca

"Go beyond the usual."

There aren't many more polarizing drink options than Tuaca. It looks, and to an extent, smells like whiskey, but taste it with that expectation and you are in for a sad surprise. It is certainly unusual, as they say.

Jack Johnson is the most polarizing player among Kings fans. There is no question he exhibits superior talent: his athletic ability is supplemented by very soft hands for a defenseman, and his offensive instincts are an incredible asset; his commitment to defense and occasional poor decisions often outweigh his talents.

Despite these criticisms, Lombardi signed Johnson to a seven year contract extension with a cap hit of $4.3 million. In accordance with the rules of following Jack Johnson, the reviews were, you guessed it, mixed. Some praised it as a steal; others a Sather-esque move. With Johnson's numbers, age, durability and talent, the number is not far off from what was expected by most.

Lombardi has been known to be conniving however, especially after signing Johnson to his previous two-year $2.85MM (in total) deal. This affordable contract was followed with speculation about Johnson being traded after the two had a bit of a public rift. Things seem to be smoothed over now.

Even after signing his new seven year contract, Johnson's career with the Kings seems anything but certain.

Last season, he got off to a great start, posting 4 goals and 29 assists in the 50 games before the all-star break; in the remaining 32 he only notched 9 points, accompanied with a -15 rating. He again finished the season last on the team in plus/minus for the third year in a row. This statistic is not always the best measure of a player's worth, but if there is any sort of separation in the trend from a player's linemates/teammates, it definitely says something.

A more in depth analysis is provided by Edmonton Oilers blog Copper and Blue, by comparing each player's scoring chances for and against. Much like plus/minus, the theory is that if a player is on the ice for more scoring chances for his team than against, he is an effective player. This can be considered more telling than plus/minus, however, because 1) not every goal is a considered a scoring chance, thereby indicating that it may not have been the defense's fault; 2) a player can horribly botch a defensive assignment and get bailed out by his goaltender, thereby not getting the minus but still screwing the pooch.

If this theory sounds good to you, prepare to be disgusted. This is a chart from the San Jose Sharks playoff series, listing the Kings players in order of scoring chances for versus chances against, expressed as a ratio per 15 minutes of even strength play:

# Player CF/15 CA/15 CD/15
9 Oscar Moller 3.690 1.845 1.845
27 Alexei Ponikarovsky 2.401 1.601 0.800
8 Drew Doughty 3.494 3.364 0.129
17 Wayne Simmonds 3.571 3.750 -0.179
15 Brad Richardson 4.131 4.310 -0.180
33 Willie Mitchell 3.363 3.737 -0.374
53 Alec Martinez 2.230 2.899 -0.669
19 Kevin Westgarth 1.997 2.796 -0.799
94 Ryan Smyth 2.451 3.326 -0.875
13 Kyle Clifford 3.456 4.416 -0.960
14 Justin Williams 2.066 3.569 -1.503
25 Dustin Penner 1.886 3.562 -1.676
28 Jarret Stoll 3.160 4.966 -1.806
2 Matt Greene 1.636 3.636 -2.000
23 Dustin Brown 2.470 4.587 -2.117
22 Trevor Lewis 1.963 4.581 -2.618
26 Michal Handzus 1.931 5.019 -3.089
3 Jack Johnson 2.111 5.277 -3.166
7 Rob Scuderi 1.883 5.359 -3.476
21 Scott Parse 1.866 9.328 -7.463

OK, Johnson wasn't the worst on the team according to the chart, but Parse only played in two games, and Scuderi was bound to be right above or below Johnson, as this is only measuring even strength play, and the two are an even strength pair.

The only thing worse than that is this:

Kings w/ Johnson:  14 / 35 - 28.6%
Kings w/o Johnson:  36 / 45 - 44.4%

That is a measure of scoring chances for and against, with 100% being perfect and 0% being useless. When Johnson was on the ice, the Kings had 14 even strength scoring chances for and 35 against; when he was off the ice, the Kings had 36 scoring chances for and 45 against. Compare that to:

Kings w/ Doughty:  27 / 26 - 50.9%
Kings w/o Doughty:  23 / 54 - 29.9%

and that is just f***ing staggering.

Does this suggest that the Kings were better off with Johnson on the bench than on the ice? ___.

Am I suggesting that the Kings' future might be better off without Jack Johnson? Taking into account the the statistics posted here, the prospects that are coming up through the system as addressed in the Muzzin post, and the return that the Penguins got for Alex Goligoski, it would be hard to argue that it's not.


This article was originally posted on Crowned Royal, a Los Angeles Kings blog, and can be found here.

This item was written by a member of this community and not by an author of JFTC.

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