This Week in Kings (11/24/14)
To be honest I can barely remember this week at all. Should be a great recap of it then!
As you've probably heard already, the big story from this past week was Slava Voynov being criminally charged for domestic violence. The fact that we had nothing new to say on the story (at least on the blog) might have surprised some people, but: A) I think people have kind of figured out where we stand on this by now, and B) I think many of us are kind of in agreement that, in general, the criminal justice system is both misunderstood and given too high a priority by many when it comes to moral judgments (for more on that, I highly recommend this series of tweets from Canadian social commenter Jeet Heer, who was talking about the Bill Cosby story but his more general points on the limits of the US court system as a moral arbiter are definitely relevant to Voynov as well).
Voynov getting formally charged is certainly an important news story, but I'm unconvinced that it changes much of anything about the overall narrative for me. Had he been charged or not, this would have still been a story about an abusive athlete and, almost as importantly, the system of privilege and patriarchy that results in people making stupid jokes about it and even acting like his paid suspension from playing a game was somehow a great injustice that needed to be righted. Given the uncooperative nature of the victim (which I'm really tired of seeing held up as a defense of Voynov or proof of his "innocence"; read something on domestic violence victims, please) and the difficulty of trying these cases in general, I think we should all be prepared for the very likely possibility that Voynov is acquitted in the US criminal justice system. We need to recognize what that does and does not mean- parse "not guilty" from "definitely innocent" and explain why that difference is so important- and remain vigilant against those who will likely want to sweep the story under the rug forever.
Perhaps this is overly cynical of me when charges have just been filed, but it also comes after a week in which the NHL decided to provide the Kings organization with salary cap relief for Voynov's contract and decided to release a statement describing said relief as if Voynov was on long-term injured reserve. Given the nature of what Voynov is alleged to have done, that's an almost incredible oversight by whoever was in charge of releasing the information, but sadly I can't really even say it surprised me. That's the culture we live in, folks, where a wife-beater can be described as "injured".
Anyway. I suppose we need to talk about some hockey games now, though to be honest this week is kind of a blur for me so this might not be one of my better ones.
This Week in Games
(here's all the games involving the Pacific Division from this past week. we'll talk about the LA Kings' games in great detail, while the rest will mostly just be scores, unless there's something that really stood out about them. you'll also get links to Eric's awesome recaps which will expand on everything I'm saying in much greater detail if you missed any of them.)
Monday, November 17th
The only game on the schedule was Tampa-Rangers, which is obviously outside the scope of this piece's interests.
Tuesday, November 18th
-Buffalo Sabres 4, San Jose Sharks 1: Oh man. I'll just let The Neutral over at Fear the Fin handle this one, I think. From his recap: "There are probably casual fans out there who only watch Sharks games and otherwise pay little attention to the league under the impression that the Buffalo Sabres, particularly the Sabres teams of these past two seasons, are some sort of world-beating juggernaut. The Sabres aren't, of course. In fact they're arguably one of the worst non-expansion NHL teams ever assembled. But with their 4-1 win over San Jose tonight they've won eight straight games against the Sharks including a perfect 4-0 record spanning from the start of the 2013-14 season, when they finished dead last, through to this year, where they're a great bet to once again finish dead last. In fact Buffalo has just three regulation wins on the season and two of them have come against the Sharks." Hahaha yes, so this is a thing that just keeps happening. There's really almost no explanation for it, but there you go.
-Calgary Flames 4, Anaheim Ducks 3 (SO): #StopCalgary2014
-Washington Capitals 2, Arizona Coyotes 1 (OT)
-Los Angeles Kings 5, Florida Panthers 2: I think I may have figured out why I'm having more trouble than usual remembering things that happened from this past week, you guys (other than the drinking problem I've had since high school suddenly beginning to take its toll): some of it was so ridiculous that my brain may have just immediately discarded it, believing it to be obviously false. Take this game, for instance. First of all, the Kings scored four goals in the 2nd period, which is kind of crazy in its own right. But two of those goals were scored by Matt Greene and Robyn Regehr; Greene's goal in particular looks like something out of a fever dream, as he somehow ends up down right in front of the net and takes a beautiful slap pass from Brayden McNabb (of all people) and perfectly tips it right past Luongo. There's no way what I just described, and even linked to, actually happened. That's not a real thing. Mass hallucination or not, apparently this game counted as 2 points in the standings for the Kings, so that's good I guess. (recap) (gamethread)
Wednesday, November 19th
-Vancouver Canucks 5, Edmonton Oilers 4: This was already the Canucks' fourth game against Edmonton (which, as should probably go without saying, is more than anyone else in the division) and they're a perfect 4-0 against the Oilers (who have still yet to win a game against anyone in the Western Conference as I write this, fyi). Not saying that makes their record way less impressive or anything, but I mean, it is eight of their 29 points. If 27.6% of our points came against the Oilers, I'm sure people would be pointing it out too.
Thursday, November 20th
-Dallas Stars 3, Arizona Coyotes 1
-Chicago Blackhawks 4, Calgary Flames 3
-Anaheim Ducks 4, Vancouver Canucks 3 (SO): Hey, while we're talking percentages, how about this one: so far in November, the Ducks have played 10 games, and a staggering 7 of them have gone to either overtime or the shootout. For those of you who are incredibly math challenged, that's 70% of their games going past regulation. Seriously, what the hell?
-Los Angeles Kings 3, Carolina Hurricanes 2: Even though the margin-of-victory for the Kings was quite small, one look at the underlying stats should tell you that this was one of their best games of the season (right up there with the Vancouver contest, in fact). The Kings controlled 57.61% of all shot attempts at 5v5 in the contest, despite leading the game for a vast majority of it. The shots on goal were even more impressive, as the Kings outshot Carolina 33-21 at evens. Overall that shot counter would be 39-27 as the Kings largely controlled play and took care of business against a Carolina team that had been playing better throughout November. Good job, Kings! (recap) (gamethread)
-Florida Panthers 3, San Jose Sharks 2 (SO)
Friday, November 21st
-New Jersey Devils 2, Edmonton Oilers 0
Saturday, November 22nd
-Dallas Stars 5, Los Angeles Kings 4: This is a weird game to write about in hindsight. On one hand, the Kings fell behind huge early on the road (3-0 to be exact), continuing their rather troubling trend of very poor 1st periods in road games (they controlled something like 47% of shot attempts in the 1st). On the other hand, even accounting for score effects the Kings were dominant for the rest of the game, outscoring Dallas 4-2 over the final two periods and ending up with a crazy 64.71% of shot attempts at 5v5 for the whole game (so yes, even with their bad 1st period in there, meaning they were super-dominant over the final 40 minutes). If you have to fall behind 3-0 early on, at least the Kings made this one interesting the rest of the way, and came literally as close to tying it as you can without doing so. They need to work on their road starts (and they'll get a few more tries to work that out this coming week) for sure, but overall you would have to say this continued the Kings' recent trend of playing better, especially from a #fancystats standpoint. (recap) (gamethread)
-Calgary Flames 5, New Jersey Devils 4 (SO): The Flames trailed 4-2 with less than two-and-a-half minutes to go and of course that meant they tied it, with the decisive goal coming with just five seconds left to play in regulation, and SERIOUSLY THIS ISN'T FUNNY ANYMORE.
-Chicago Blackhawks 7, Edmonton Oilers 1: This, on the other hand, was pretty damn funny.
-Arizona Coyotes 4, San Jose Sharks 3: "Hey, we can lose to garbage teams from the West too!" said the Sharks, presumably.
Sunday, November 23rd
-Anaheim Ducks 2, Arizona Coyotes 1: Whoa, the Ducks played a game in November that ended in regulation! Alert the media! Stop the presses! Someone ask Corey Perry if he'll leap fully nude out of a giant cake in the Ducks' locker room as a banner overhead reads "YOU DID IT"; with any luck, several Ducks players will immediately claw out their own eyeballs in response to such a sight and we'll have a few less of them to deal with.
-Vancouver Canucks 4, Chicago Blackhawks 1
This Week in Standings
|Team||GP||W||L||OTL||Points||ROW||GF||GA||Diff||Home||Away||Last Week||5v5 CF%|
|4. Los Angeles||21||11||6||4||26||10||57||49||+8||10-2-1||1-4-3||2-1-0||51.68%|
|5. San Jose||23||10||9||4||24||8||62||64||-2||2-3-2||8-6-2||0-1-2||51.82%|
You probably noticed that I added a new column this week. No idea how that never occurred to me to include here until after doing a year+ of this, but here we are. Your immediate takeaways from the inclusion of the Corsi numbers should probably be: lol Calgary is bad, haha the Oilers can't even Corsi their way to respectability, and the Kings are creeping up towards 52%! (The Sharks, who were also quite bad for a while, are getting there a little bit faster though.)
At the top of the table the Ducks and Canucks each had very good 2-0-1 weeks to maintain their positions (in fact, once again this week no one moved in the standings at all). The Flames & Kings both went a respectable 2-1-0 to at least stay within spitting distance of them. Below them, the Sharks had a bad 0-1-2 week that now sees them 2 points behind the Kings despite LA having played two less games. Bringing up the rear were the Coyotes (1-2-1) and Oilers (0-3-0), neither of whom look like any sort of threat to move up anytime soon.
This Week in #fancystats
(all stats are total attempts, not percentages. thanks to extra skater war-on-ice.)
Kings 5, Panthers 2
Corsi: Panthers 59-Kings 53 (overall), Panthers 41-Kings 38 (5v5), Kings 28-Panthers 27 (5v5 close), Panthers 25-Kings 21 (5v5 tied)
Fenwick: Panthers 47-Kings 42 (overall), Panthers 31-Kings 30 (5v5), Kings 21-Panthers 19 (5v5 close), Panthers 18-Kings 16 (5v5 tied)
LA Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Doughty (+7), Lewis (+6), Gaborik (+5). Worst: Pearson/Williams (tied, -7), Stoll (-6)
FLA Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Campbell (+10), Robak (+8), Kopecky (+5). Worst: Mitchell (-9), Fleischmann (-7), Ekblad (-6)
Kings 3, Hurricanes 2
Corsi: Kings 62-Hurricanes 51 (overall), Kings 53-Hurricanes 39 (5v5), Kings 38-Hurricanes 23 (5v5 close), Kings 14-Hurricanes 7 (5v5 tied)
Fenwick: Kings 49-Hurricanes 39 (overall), Kings 40-Hurricanes 31 (5v5), Kings 28-Hurricanes 19 (5v5 close), Kings 12-Hurricanes 5 (5v5 tied)
LA Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Muzzin (+11), Greene (+8), Toffoli/Lewis/Doughty (tied, +7). Worst: Pearson/Clifford/Richards/Regehr (tied, -3)
CAR Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Nash (+8), Gerbe (+3), Lindholm/Bellemore (tied, +2). Worst: Gleason (-14), Skinner (-11), McClement (-9)
Stars 5, Kings 4
Corsi: Kings 71-Stars 48 (overall), Kings 55-Stars 30 (5v5), Stars 16-Kings 12 (5v5 close), Stars 11-Kings 10 (5v5 tied)
Fenwick: Kings 57-Stars 37 (overall), Kings 43-Stars 24 (5v5), Stars 12-Kings 10 (5v5 close), Kings 9-Stars 8 (5v5 tied)
LA Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Doughty (+17), Muzzin (+16), Pearson (+11). Worst: Lewis (-4), Regehr (-2), Clifford/McBain (tied, +3)
DAL Indv. Player Corsi 5v5- Best: Spezza (even), Roussel/Seguin (tied, -1). Worst: Demers (-14), Daley/Cole (tied, -13)
Next Week in the Pacific
(this is exactly what it sounds like: the next week's schedule for all 7 Pacific Division teams. all times are pacific because, um, duh.)
|LA||-||@NSH (5:00)||@MIN (5:00)||-||-||vs.CHI (7:00)||-|
|ANA||-||vs.CGY (7:00)||-||-||vs.CHI (1:00)||@SJ (7:30)||-|
|VAN||-||vs.NJ (7:00)||-||-||@CBJ (4:00)||-||@DET (11 am)|
|CGY||@ANA (7:00)||@SJ (7:30)||-||-||@ARI (7:00)||-|
|SJ||-||-||vs.CGY (7:30)||-||-||vs.ANA (7:30)||-|
|ARI||-||vs.COL (6:00)||-||-||-||vs.CGY (7:00)||-|
|EDM||-||@DAL (5:30)||-||@NSH (5:00)||@STL (5:00)||-||-|
It's an all-Central week for the Kings, as they'll begin with a tough back-to-back on the road against the Predators & Wild (two teams who are both playing well so far this season), before coming home to face the Blackhawks in a much-anticipated Western Conference Final rematch. Certainly the fact that said game is the second-half of a road back-to-back for the Hawks will work in our favor.
Meanwhile, the Ducks, Flames, Sharks, and Coyotes play several games within the division throughout the week, with Calgary's schedule occurring entirely within the division. The Canucks will host the Devils tomorrow before embarking on an Eastern Conference road trip, while the Oilers will also play an all-Central week (all on the road as well). The Oilers will play the Predators on US Thanksgiving (the only game involving a Pacific team on National Try to Pretend You Can't Hear Your Conservative Relatives Day), a marquee matchup if I've ever seen one.
That's all for another week in Kings and the Pacific. Don't forget to come back later tonight for another episode of the Jewelcast, when we'll be joined by David Wilson (@daveyssuitcase) from Defending Big D to talk about the end of the Kings-Stars season series, Dallas' surprising struggles, and the recent Hall of Fame induction of legendary Detroit Red Wing Mike Modano. We may also have a second surprise guest, a popular return guest from previous episodes, but I'll forego announcing it just yet as it's not quite confirmed. Cross your fingers and then come back to the front page later tonight to listen in live!