Wednesday, October 7, 2009

HIGH / LOW : Jim Fox returns for more

Like most fans, Jim Fox was not that impressed with the Kings opening night performance. While he had positive words for Ryan Smyth and the power play, his sharpest Low was delivered to the doorstep of #8 - calling Doughty's performance his "worst game as a King." Say what you will, but you can't really argue with Fox. You're talking about a guy who has arguably seen more Kings games over the last 20 years than all but a handful of people. The man knows his hockey.

A veteran of Kings broadcasts and NHL coverage, both on radio and TV, Fox has continued to enlighten fans with his hockey insight since hanging up the skates in 1990.

MayorsManor is proud to have Jim back for his second of three columns. He'll be providing thoughts after each game of the opening week home stand. With the Kings beating San Jose on Tuesday night, the final score was certainly better than game one. However, things weren't all roses, as the Kings let the Sharks back in the game and made a lot of people nervous throughout the third period. How did he see things?

Jim's take on game #2:

  • Huge key to the game was Handzus/Frolov/Simmonds outplayed Thornton/Heatley/Setoguchi 5 on 5.
  • Overall, much better on the fore-check. The spacing allowed for immediate support and some sustain offensive zone play, Simmonds goal was a perfect example.
  • Solid play from the “unheralded” defensemen - Harrold, Greene, Drewiske.
  • Bounce back game from Drew Doughty, 24:08 TOI, +3, we expected it and he delivered.
  • Jarrett Stoll was 11 of 15 on face-offs (73%).
  • Recapturing composure in the 3rd was a key issue, 4 or 5 solid shifts preceded the Purcell goal.
  • Coming to the aid of Drewiske after the Staubitz hit is an intangible area the Kings are trying to address. The Kings did it effectively, without taking any unnecessary penalties.
  • Must state the obvious, the PK is completely out-of-sync. The fine line between being aggressive and running around has been crossed. Fundamentals like sticks-in-the-lanes must get better.
  • No “bad” goals vs. SJ, but your goalie has to be your best penalty-killer.
  • Last season a big key was face-offs. Stoll was solid, but in the 2 games so far the Kings were 43% and 41%, this must improve.
If you read Jim's first High / Low article (click here to read if you didn't), you may recall that he commented Doughty "rarely lets it linger" when discussing the possibility of the kid's poor play in game one carrying over to the second game. Well...he called it. Doughty was a stud in game two, like so many games last year during his rookie campaign.

Thursday night the home stand concludes when Minnesota comes to Staples Center. The Wild are predicted to finish out of the top 8 in the Western Conference by most experts. Thus, the Kings need to capitalize on their (perceived) weaker opponent and capture the two points. A two game win streak would be a nice way to start the long trip out east.

We'll have another High / Low feature with Jim following the game on Thursday. In the meantime, feel free to leave him a comment below with your reaction to the game and/or his thoughts on the team's play vs. San Jose.

The Mayor  (more ticket giveaways coming soon - hint, hint)

photo courtesy of NHL / HHOF


  1. For the most part it was a much better effort by the Kings last night. The first period and a half was very impressive, they just need to put it all together for 60 minutes.

    After 2 games watching Kopitar, I think he is about ready to be the superstar all of us have been expecting since the first time we saw him play.

    Thanks to "the Mayor" and Jim for the article.

  2. Thank you for your thoughts, Jim. Your honesty is always appreciated, especially compared to a lot of other NHL color guys out there.

    It was a great game to see live. I have to agree that the goaltender has to be the best penalty killer on the ice. San Jose had a few PP goals, and I know we have seen better from Jon Quick.

  3. Hopefully with the return of OD from his suspension the PK will get a boost!

  4. As long as they don't get the same kind of dead end-game the ducks showed I think they have a great overall game for thursday.

    Only thing I'm not happy with so far is how long they waited at times before getting on the puck carrier. You give a team like SJ enough time in your zone and they will score.

  5. I agree, it was a great game to see live. A real nail biting finish.

    It certainly wasn't the best game I've seen from Quick, but he had some great moments. The last two goals seemed more a matter of tiring him out in goal with a constant volley of shots. If the defense could just tighten up during the second period, they could have a solid performance throughout the game. It's great to be the come-back kids, but sometimes you may run out of time.

  6. I just hope the "highs" category gets bigger after tonight's game against Minnesota.

  7. Sticking with the highs... the boys fought to get the win last game.

  8. Love the way Jim Fox doesn't hide his feelings and says it like it is. We Will always love and appreciate your work Foxy!!!

    Dory Guedikian

  9. Jonathan Quick was outstanding against the Wild last season, going 3-0 with a 1.95 GAA. Couple that with O'Donnell's return to the lineup and this should be a very winnable game for the Kings. They just need to make sure they play the entire 60 minutes with the intensity shown in the San Jose game.

  10. I think tonight with Sean O'donell back in the line-up the PK will look alot better. Also i agree with you on the agressive fore-check because i noticed against Phoenix all the Kings would do is dump the puck into the offensive zone and lose it right away. They need to help and support each other.

  11. Jim, Thanks for taking the time to give us your insight. The Kings played a much more solid game in the first half of the game. Their PK will imporve. Hopefully tonight they can correct some of their mistakes and take a win with them on their upcoming roadtrip.

  12. I am really looking forward to seeing if we can keep up the momentum tonight against the Wild.

    Our defense and goaltending is going to have to be better because we probably won't score 6.

  13. I thought the fact that Harrold was put into the lineup gave the Kings a boost. He's one of those under rated players that ALL teams need.

    Also what can I say about Ivanans? The guy looks lighter, hits harder and was about as mean as I've ever seen anyone during a game. It's about time he stepped up and unloaded.

  14. Sure is easier to come up with highs when the team wins. I still thought Quick was questionable at best for the last 40 min. Smyth didnt play as hard as the first game. The Kings came out strong and then faded as the game went on. That worries me. On the positive side, Anze is playing huge this year. Good to see. Having Sean back tonight will make a difference on D.

  15. Loved seeing the guys jump on the Sharks after Drewiske, loved watching Smyth play man the guy has great ice awareness and made some nice no look passes.Obviously the pk has to get better and that will happen with Odie coming back but it will take a little time. Quick was better as well.

  16. Definitely a game filled with highs and lows. Hate that the Kings always let it almost slip away when they have such a strong lead.