Thursday, December 3, 2009

Let's Get Ready To...

Much has been made this year about the role Raitis Ivanans plays for the LA Kings. Some argue his fighting minutes are down because guys don't want to exchange with such a big heavyweight. Others argue he doesn't play mean enough. Or perhaps, its just that he's been picking his spots this year.

One thing is for sure, when the puck drops tonight at Staples Center the opportunity for a rumble will certainly be present. Ottawa is 4th in the league with 22 fighting majors. The Kings are 26th with only 11. Further, the Senators feature two of the top three leaders in penalty minutes...and also have the 15th ranked player. WOW - three in the top 15. The Kings have only one player in the top 35 (Ivanans) and he is all the way down at #23.

Coming into the season the Sens Matt Carkner had played a whopping two games in the NHL. This year is a different story though. He's played in every game and is third in the league in penalty minutes, with more fighting majors than anybody in the league. has him at 3-1-6 in his 10 fights this year. His 18+ minutes a night are more than any other tough guy mentioned in this article, giving him plenty of opportunity to select his dance partner of choice.

Chris Neil, the Sens forward sitting at #2 on the list of penalty minute leaders, is on pace for a career high - already at 76 PIM in just 22 games. According to he's had 6 fights this year, sporting a 3-2-1 record.

Also on pace for a career high in PIM is Jarkko Ruutu. His 52 PIM in 25 games ranks him 15th in the league. The Finish left wing has just two fights this season, going 1-1 in the pair.

For the Kings, the heavy lifting has been done by Ivanans - it just hasn't been done very often. He has six fighting majors this year. Interestingly, 5 are on the road, with only 1 at home. He's listed with a 2-1-3 record.

Tonight's game will be an interesting affair, as the two teams don't meet very often. Last year in Ottawa the Kings won the only contest played between the two all season, 1-0.

Ivanans dropped the gloves versus the Ducks on Tuesday night. Could he be in store for back-to-back, with a rumble vs. Ottawa?


1 comment:

  1. would have been nice to see the Latvian Hammer drop on someone...instead the only penalty minutes he picked up was for that slash.

    having met him at one of the Meet The Players events a few years ago, he's a way nicer guy than you'd expect for basically being a giant ass-kicking hunk of meat that somehow found his way onto skates, but if he's not pulping players, is he necessary?

    tonight he had the least minutes on the ice of any player (5:19 - and I'm sure that's typical for him too), and while he's certainly the biggest and scariest deterrent out there, Brown, JmfJ, Stoll, Greene, and even Simmonds(!) have more aggressive with physical play this season.

    there could have been a few nice combinations given the Sens roster of pugilists, but I guess we'll have to settle for just beating them up on the scoreboard and not also on the ice.

    I hope there's a few more swings still left in him, because he's a frightening specimen and fun to watch once he puts his dancing shoes on, but Keven Westgarth will likely fill that roster spot next year. he's not as intimidating - what beats a ripped, toothless Russian - but Westgarth is big, will throw down, and has decent enough stickhandling to fill a spot on the 4th line.

    and if that is the case and they don't resign Ivanans, what team would he kicking ass for? let's hope an Eastern Conference one, because some recent ex-Kings have found form and stepped up for other teams (Cammalleri playing around Canada, Matt Moulson-with a hat trick tonight and 14 goals this season!) more often than not (O'Sullivan...enjoy the sinking Oilers, you prissy jackass).

    and on that side note, Frolov continues his 3rd straight season as prime trade bait. dear God we need to shore up the LW spot! the absence of Smyth shows how weak we are there. Frolov should be earning that contract extension, but isn't - even though he should be our next Robitaille. it's heartbreaking to know how good he can play but just doesn't reach that level. Parse has played with heart since getting called up, and I'm tired of Purcell now playing on all 4 lines with little impact.

    what say you, oh mighty Mayor, about who you'd like the Kings to get in a hypothetical Frolov trade situation. and assuming he is wearing another jersey this / next season, do you suppose it will come back to haunt us if he gives somebody else he play we want from him? that's what scares me the most...