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Post-Game Bullets: and the game isn't even over yet

  • I'm going to go out on a limb and call this game. Avalanche wins.
  • I would like to pretend I'm cleverly trying to fake out the hockey gods by "walking out" early. But no. I am certain the Kings will lose this game. (Kings, feel free to come back and make me look stupid.)
  • How am I so sure? I'm sure because the Kings are playing like they not only have already lost the game, but have already failed to make the playoffs.
  • Brian Engblom just used the word "deflated." Yeah.
  • Mike Milbury was hilarious on the topic of Dustin Penner vs. Jeff Carter (short version: "no character", though Carter isn't as bad as Penner).
  • I have complained in the past (in the Murray era) that one problem with trying to win every game 2-1 (or 1-0) is that if you find yourself down by 3, it's over.
  • But this is more than that. This feels to me like the four or five games before Murray was fired. The team knows (or believes) that something bad is about to happen, and is just waiting. Waiting.
  • I may be going too far with this, but I genuinely feel the Kings are playing like they're depressed.
  • Probably one prerequisite when you spend to the limit of the salary cap should be that you pay for leadership that -- when it's time for clutch -- doesn't just look sad or lost.
  • I would like to not believe this, but since I've been saying in so many words for about three years now: I think Anze Kopitar is an excellent #2 center getting paid to be a #1 center; and Dustin Brown is either a hit-and-miss top-six winger, or the best third line RW in hockey. He's not a consistent top-six player. He doesn't have chemistry with either Kopitar or Mike Richards, and that's built into the job description, since Richards and Kopitar are not (likely to be) going anywhere.
  • And neither of these guys should ever have been captains. Look, it was a nice experiment. It would have been great if it worked for Brown the way it worked for Crosby or Toews. But it hasn't. In each of the last three years. The Kings need leaders who know how to win, which means, for one thing, having had the experience of winning, having won. The Kings, under these guys, haven't learned to win. What they've learned to do, whether it's playoff collapses in consecutive seasons, or season-crushing losing streaks, is exactly what they're doing right now.
  • Oh, the game is over.