Preseason Game #2 Observations

A few quick notes and thoughts from last night's game.

I went to last night's exhibition game and it was fun. By and large the Kings were the better team, though they didn't run up the score in a similar manner as they did on Monday, which was slightly disappointing to me.

Since the veterans were mostly treating it as a tuneup game to get ready for the season, everything should be mostly taken with a grain of salt. That said, here were go:

  • Perhaps it's quality of competition (i.e. the Coyotes' B roster is awful), but Dustin Brown didn't fall down once at all the entire game.
  • He also looked faster. But I have my doubts that it was him and not the opponent just sucking.
  • Milan Lucic, Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik look like they're still trying to figure out their chemistry, but I can see a lot of goal potential there, especially with Gaborik's speed.
  • Kurtis MacDermid and Derek Forbort looked totally lost in the first half of the period. Forbort looked like he couldn't decide if he wanted to cover MacDermid or his own spot, but eventually Forbort settled in.
  • Despite being a good, smooth skater, Forbort is not very fast and will have to make a lot of adjustments at the NHL level on how to counter that.
  • For the most part, the Kings really controlled the run of play, although they particularly seemed to enjoy the penalty box as they were whistled for six infractions (including an extended 5v3, which the Coyotes scored on).
  • Except for the early PP goal, their PK was excellent. And it got a serious workout.
  • Their power play was still rather awful and allowed a shorthanded goal (what a nice goal, though). Their final PP of the evening, they worked it pretty well but wow, Niklas Treutle had some kind of magic working for him most of the night. IOW: It was a great looking PP that threatened several times but somehow didn't score. Kind of a typical Kings PP for the most part, really.
  • Michael Mersch will not be staying in the minors for long. Again, it's probably QOC but he comes as advertised. He was definitely battling in the corners and parking himself in front of the net, where he was rewarded with a goal.
  • Mersch isn't the fastest skater but he gets to where he needs to go (and yes, his skating can be fixed) and then he appears to have the hands to finish around the net.
  • I can't wait til Mersch comes up so we can start calling him "Magic Mike" since he does magical things with the puck.
  • Christian Ehrhoff took a hooking penalty while he was killing a penalty, but he looked great otherwise. He was incredibly calm under pressure. With two players bearing down on him, he didn't panic and trusted his experience and instincts to safely negate a possible scoring opportunity. It's going to be exciting to watch him this season. Hopefully Ehrhoff can stay healthy because he will be a major asset to the Kings. Oh, and he wasn't afraid to shoot!
  • Jordan Weal is sneaky fast. One minute he's in the defensive zone, blink, and he's suddenly in the offensive zone. He was also great in the corners and his puck protection skills were among the best of the evening (again, given that this was an exhibition game, etc).
  • Weal is also deceptively strong. There are guys hanging all over him and he finds a way to advance the puck to a teammate or to maintain his position with the puck along the boards, which is easier said than done.
  • It'll be interesting for Weal in the rest of the preseason games. So far he's proven that he deserves a shot. But does that mean he'll get it in LA? (I'm skeptical to say the least.)
  • The Coyotes have a lot of very good prospects. Most of them aren't NHL ready but Dylan Strome and Christian Dvorak are going to give the Kings major headaches in a year or two when they come up.
  • Also, as a top-rated prospect, Strome, so far, lives up to the hype. He has great speed, good awareness on the ice and he wasn't intimidated at all by LA's more veteran roster (even if they were half-assing it). He's going to be exciting to watch when they bring him up.
  • Both of Arizona's goalies were good. After the first period, the Kings seemed to have trouble getting anything past Louis Domingue while Arizona's defense strategy seemed to be abandon the front of the net, hope the goalie stops what he can see.
  • And it took 3-on-3 OT with a great wrist shot from Ehrhoff (and subsequent tip from Weal) to finally put one past Treutle, who was also having himself a good night.
  • The future is bright for Arizona, so that's gotta be exciting.