Friday, November 13, 2009

13 Things to Know Before Tonight

Superstitions in sports are as old as the games themselves. Hockey is no exception, where guys tape their sticks a certain way, grow beards in the playoffs and there's the octopi throwing Red Wing fans.

Somebody forgot to tell the NHL schedule maker that playing games on Friday the 13th would probably only increase the weirdness. So - after walking across the street backwards, while rubbing my stomach with my left hand four times, then tugging my ear twice - I give to you, 13 things to mull over while preparing to watch the Kings take on the Thrashers tonight:

* Drew Doughty vs Zach Bogosian -
these two will probably be linked throughout their careers. DD was taken #2 in the draft, with Zach going right behind him at #3. Both are considered two of the best - if not THE two best - young defenseman in the league. And to think, neither of them has turned 20 yet. Wow.

* Canada vs USA - both defenseman could make their respective Olympic squads. Come February you could see Zach in red, white and blue; while Drew possibly suits up for host Canada.

* Making his point - Doughty has nine points in the last 10 games (1-8=9).

* He's baaaaackkkk - after some initial confusion, with the GM and coach giving conflicting information, Ilya Kovalchuk made his return to the ice last night in New York. For those wondering, he had a goal and two assists. Some things never change.

* Frolov vs Kovalchuk - While there has been plenty of conjecture in the last year that these two should be traded for each other, it probably doesn't make sense for either side. Kovalchuk is the face of the franchise in Atlanta and resigning him would help solidify a team still searching for an identity. Fro on the other hand, may or may not be part of the long term Kings outlook. LA's bright lights now shine on a guy wearing #11.

* The real main event - the Thrashers
homepage says it all "Kovalchuk vs. Kopitar Tonight".

* More on those two - last season when the teams met in LA, take a guess who the two stars were...Kovalchuk and Kopitar each had a pair of goals. Kings lost in a shootout (literally), 7-6.

* Making a point II - Frolov has 10 points in the last 10 games (3-7=10). If you like to pick a guy for first goal, go with Fro tonight.

* Quick vs well...? - the Thrashers are a mess in goal right now. Their main guy, Kari Lehtonen, is out with back problems. He just underwent a second surgery - which doesn't sound good. The two guys filling in have been decent, with NHL veteran Johan Hedberg actually playing pretty well. For the Kings, its back to Quick after letting Ersberg get some playing time on Wednesday.

* Heads Up - LA is 7-1-3 lifetime vs Atlanta. On the road they're 3-1-1. However, the Kings have lost the last two at Atlanta. With the first of those losses all the way back in December '03, the "streak" probably isn't relevant. The two teams just don't play each other enough.

* Back to Back - The Kings had last night off, while the Thrashers played at MSG. Does that give the Kings an advantage? Well, for the month of October the team playing the second night of a B2B had a record of 12-21-0 (just a 36% winning percentage). Hope it helps.

* Useless Trivia - Ten years ago former Kings winger Kelly Buchberger scored the first goal in Thrashers history. It came in the second period of their first ever game, a 4-1 loss to New Jersey.

* The Kings are 1-1 on the current roadtrip and play again tomorrow night in Tampa Bay. Going back to the first point, who was the only player taken ahead of Doughty and Bogosian in the 2008 draft...Steven Stamkos of the Lightning.

Stay away from black cats the rest of the day. Only eat the green M and Ms.  Oh...and if Scott Parse scores in the second period, clap fast three times.

The Mayor

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