Friday Kings Links: On Defensive Struggles, Kelly Hrudey, and Realignment

Defense! - Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Plus, Mitchell and Lewis earn province and state athletic honors, the prospects are all right (and nicely ranked), and some insight on our new favorite #fancystats.

The Kings have won six of their last eight games! Awesome!

  • NHL.com's At the Rink blog has quotes on the scoring struggles of Drew Doughty, as well as the struggles of Alec Martinez upon his return to the lineup. Darryl Sutter mentioned that the defense was a liability, along with the goaltending. Consider this memorable quote from yesterday's postgame as he discussed what happened on the third goal, when Brenden Morrow was left wide open in front.

"Stoll in the corner, on his man, Slava shouldn’t go there and Rob Scuderi – I’m not really sure."

  • But as Fox Sports revealed, Sutter and Anze Kopitar were pleased with most of the young D-men on Tuesday. Hopefully the D finds their groove again soon.
  • Willie Mitchell was honored with the "Best of BC" Athlete of the Year Award last night. Come back soon, my friend. [Market Wire]
  • Meanwhile, there's still a month left to vote for Trevor Lewis as Utah's male pro athlete of the year, but after his snipe last night, why wait? [State of Sport Awards]
  • Tyler Toffoli tops the Hockey's Future midseason list of the top 20 Kings prospects. In case you missed it, Robert recently analyzed the play of our various prospects at all levels, and while Toffoli ranked highly there as well, he's not the only future King who's excelling.
  • Tomorrow is Kelly Hrudey's turn to be honored on Kings Legends Night. Wear a bandana tomorrow in his honor. Or rob someone from Toronto. [LA Kings]
  • [UPDATE, 4:00 PM: LA Kings Insider just posted an extended interview with Hrudey. It's definitely worth a read.]
  • According to The Royal Half, it's also Burger King Jersey Appreciation Night. That's how you end up with the wonderful photo below. And if you haven't seen it before, read his superb behind-the-scenes story of how the jersey came to be, from January 2011.

Hrudey_203rd_medium

via The Royal Half, lh5.ggpht.com

  • Robert has been tracking zone entries for numerous games this year, and we've begun touching on how this stat can provide insight on the Kings' effectiveness. Eric T and Geoff from Broad Street Hockey, Bob from Hashtag Hockey, and Corey from Shutdown Line submitted a research paper on zone entries, and last weekend it was featured at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Congrats guys! The full paper is here; warning, math. [Sloan Sports Conference]
  • Ryan Getzlaf gets an 8 year, $66 million extension from the Anaheim Ducks. He is now one of the five mostly highly paid players in the NHL. "Start the Corey Perry debate...wait for it...waiiiit for it...NOW!" [Anaheim Calling]
  • Finally, the NHL Player's Association consented to the suggested realignment plan, bringing it one step closer to reality. See SBNation's report on the NHLPA's approval, as well as the details of the plan. Battle of California has some brief analysis and a long list of suggested names from a California perspective. But how do you feel about the new plan? If you want some help before you vote, read Darryl Sutter's opinion at LA Kings Insider. We'll have more on the changes from the Kings' perspective soon, but for now, tell us how you feel in the comments.
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