Los Angeles Kings vs. New Jersey Devils
June 4, 2012, by Homme de Sept-Îles
NewLa Musings and In-Game Scribbles
My English is as good as yours, I just write these in a stream-of-consciousness mode that I insist excuses me from small things like rules of grammar or general etiquette. Let’s call it conversational English, hopped up on beans. You know what kind of beans (no, Carl Mellesmoen, not the magic ones).
STANLEY CUP FINALS
Los Angeles Kings
New Jersey Devils
Monday, June 4th, 2012
Game Three. LA leads 2 games to none
Missed it? Musings capture the game in writing. A written transcript typed during the game, posted and edited about thirty minutes afterward. Based on the RDS French telecast of the Montreal Canadiens game, Musings take about 23 minutes to read. More detailed than an article, fresher than a looping highlight and good with morning coffee. Or late-night italian pepper cheese and grapes. A unique way to re-experience the game.
click here to expand post (it looks prettier)
As usual, the anthem hogwash is over the top, made worse by the singer’s faux face, fashion and accent.
Wayne Gretzky is on hand to drop a ceremonial puck.
Dan O’Halloran and Brad Watson are the refs.
Force against force says Pierre, both teams having started their top scoring lines. Parise and Zajac on the one side; Kopitar’s crew on the other.
Early puck hits an official in the face. They redo it.
Puck is sent into Kings ice and is whistled. Faceoff to Quick’s right, Zajac loses it; a long shift for all three. Interesting; faceoff was with about fifty-seven elapsed.
Only 13% of teams down 2-0 come back. To win.
It’s a, um, guideline. History won’t dictate the future. But the Devils, we may say with living room certainty, are in trouble.
Peter DeBoer is a ruddy man tonight, yet the one hand stays in the pocket. It hasn’t been a disaster. Au contraire, the Devils could easily be up 2-0. Devils fans must take hope in the Devils ability to forecheck more aggressively in game two without giving up an increase in quality scoring chances.
King entry. Brodeur is splayed. Four Devils in the screen. Kings are faster than in game two. The puck hits legs, sticks and is backhanded out of the slot after a Brodeur pad-lick.
Kings entry. Offside. Is Wayne watching closely? Or is he wine and cheesing it? It’s a rare appearance for the leading point-getter in NHL history; his tenure as Phoenix Coyotes head coach fading quickly.
He’ll take a break, weigh options and we’ll see him again. Not behind the bench. Perhaps in the league office. More gong for your show.
He’s respected but he’s not an administrator. It’s hard to imagine what he might enjoy at this stage. His business interests have ranged over the years including a short stint as co-owner of the Toronto Argonauts. He, along with then-King owner Bruce McNall and famed comedian, the late John Candy, were co-owners. Heady days for our little league that could. That still can.
Gretzky et al moved on and the Argonauts still row a southern Ontario boat, most recently winning the Grey Cup in 2004. Under Gretzky, the Argos managed a win in 1991.
“It’s the end of my shift” isn’t good enough in the Stanley Cup finals. Stephen Gionta takes a seat following a weak effort on a short pass from his zone. Kings take the gift, pass once and twice and are in on Brodeur, bowling shoes slipping to and fro. He’s a fallen goalie and needs more help than ever.
This time the puck remains out.
Eleven and a half and the Kings are deep in their zone, taking and winning a draw. Peter Harrold does the job and the home team, pressing for a three game to none lead, are in Devils ice for four seconds.
Nerves, sure. But the Kings should press with panache. Kopitar has been closed off by the Devils, as well.
The big centre had four shots and a goal in game one but was neutralized, held to just one goalless shot in game two.
Both games were overtime wins.
The pace remains nearly languid and finally Parise, the Devil captain, closes to the net, his specialty. They buzz and carp. Quick drops, the post is covered. A whistle. Against the Kings.
No Wayne to help kill it with one or two two-on-ones besides. Gretzky was traded in the summer of 88 to the Kings, as infamous a trade as any in sports history. Despite what Wayne may write in the foreword of Pocklington’s book (I’d Trade Him Again), never you mind.
Peter Pocklington is no Canadian hero.
He engineered the trade of the Canadian icon and no amount of excuse-making or spin will change this man’s legacy.
Henrique takes an accidental stick to the face; Carter with an errant wave in the slot. The Devil drops, the whistle is shrill and it’s two in the box with four and twenty-four.
Henrique is ok.
Kings clear it immediately. The five on three will last about fifty seconds.
Zidlicky is the lone man on the diamond point. Kovalchuk is advanced from the left point and waves back and forth.
The Devils manage one middling shot. Now a second and Quick is across to smother it. The crowd is losing their minds. This is what a Stanley Cup final should sound like.
We’re in the New Western Forum. They call it something else. Thumbtack Central or some such.
Kings get through the worst part. We’re at four on four.
Doughty leads a rush, two Devils back. The fence slats close.
Now the Devils. They, too, are blunted and the teams settle into short bubbles connected by cautious passes and close coverage. It’s hermetic white-board hockey and spacemen aren’t welcome.
Zidlicky returns and the Devils have about thirty-three seconds of man-advantage.
Kopitar challenges a puck at the blue and carries, nearly fully erect across mid-ice. Stop that.
Crowd rises and cheers the team’s effort, seating themselves in concern as the Devils apply late-period pressure. The horn goes and an official rushes into Devil ice to stop perceived animosity. It amounts to little and the Devils led on shots 7-6.
Though it’s zero-zero, count that period a win for LA. They killed the five-on-three and the visiting team didn’t get the one or two goals they needed. With this crowd, the theory stands.
LA 0, New Jersey 0
Vincent takes Guy’s place at the big granite puck and they discuss some CBA stuff.
Vincent and his two sons. His square head reminds me of Crawford’s.
Hey, I have a hook nose. I like Vincent.
He’s our ex-captain. Unlike that other Vincent. Who isn’t our ex-captain. I like him, too.
But what about Vincent Price?
What about Tomas Vokoun. What. What. He’s a Penguin. Mario cites how likeable Vokoun is and agrees this is a message to incumbent Marc-Andre Fleury. Damphousse agrees and calls it a good move.
Some coach talk. Vincent thinks the decision has been made and hopes the announcement will be made this week.
This is not going to be good. How good a decision can a man who hired Scott Mellanby make? We’re doomed.
Tomas Vokoun. The East is doomed. If Crosby can somehow retain his head, the Penguins will lead the league.
Boy, Coors has a spotty history. A bit ragged but interesting.
More Coors. It’s yours to do the detective work with.
Renaud “I Know Everything” Lavoie interviews a Franco King. What about all the Indo Kings? Simon Gagne, the former Flyer. Remember that horrible hit? Was it Kapanen? Oy loy.
LA 0, New Jersey 0
My living room affiliate joins me on the beanbag and I note that Kovalchuk is on the first shift. Zubrus weave with him but the puckless shift ends with forty seconds gone.
Kopitar passes to Penner but the puck skips past and over the blue.
Devils respond. Dump and gone. Kings surge in return. Tangled up in tails.
Devils Control on the boards. Kings are out of position, briefly.
Gionta around the net, the question mark and dot. Quick has a limb.
Kings crack the code and they’re out on the left.
Quick circle shot is stopped a scoop-arm save by Brodeur. The puck falls and he follows it, bent sugar and flour knees to cover it. It’s an old man, a sack and an old barn. He’s forty now.
Faceoff to his left. Right point. Kopitar. Fired wide. Kept in on the left point. Kings are one of the best at keeping the errant puck in control. At least in the eight or ten Kings games I’ve seen this season.
Where’s the sixth gear? This is the Stanley cup final. You’re down two games to none. Too much caution. Has it been coached out of them? Or has it been cowed out of them. That silver and black California bovine.
Blue shot. Rebound. Zubrus swings. Quick Stays put, the knees flat and the torso straight. Quick, yes and calm.
The crowd goes gasless. Two on one. Devils. But it’s handled.
Puck at Brodeur’s left pad. Can’t hold on. They bang. They force. It’s free. It’s in.
Dwight King. Great work. And it’s an old-fashioned, at-the-net force goal.
But where was Brodeur’s mighty glove?
LA 1, New Jersey 0
They begin chanting Marty, Marty, teasing the old pro.
He should have had it.
Devils control. Delayed call. Scuderi touches it and the Devils go to power.
DeBoer’s expression is nearly inscrutable as he gazes up and then across.
What can his team do? Perhaps more of the same. It’s a match of small turnovers. So many smart plays, the teams chop up the ice into many smaller parts, it’s graph paper hockey. Play within your spaces. Win the small battle, let God and the coach worry about the war.
Kopitar, sporting the A, is in the box.
Brodeur was talking with the ref after the play. Both of them, actually. Typical Brodeur. And they’ll hear him out.
Did I mention he’s forty?
Speaking of forty and silver. And black. Duncan should be in the middle of the first quarter. Game three, they’re down two games to one against Oklahoma City. Who? Yeah. Exactly.
First minute is rather tough for your visiting Satanists.
One Carter shot. And then a Stoll knockdown of Kovalchuk. Strolls in. The hard wrister nearly cracks glass.
Devils set up one last time.
They work the perimeter.
To the right circle. Slowed and stopped. Where’s the one-timer. Now the shot comes. A second. It’s way too late. Quick is not only ready, he’s further out than a table hockey goalie. Easy saves.
Penalty is over.
The Devils aren’t representing us well. Flyers or Penguins would have done better. Flyers, really. Where have all the good times gone? I mean goalies. Lundqvist, sure but his team. I mean his team. Have you seen his team? And the good teams… the decent outfits. Have you seen some of the goalies out there? Philly (hateable but good) with Bryzgalov? Tittering. Or Penguins with Fleury? Chuckle.
Penner is called. Goalie interference. Sutter looks about ready to light a barrel of cheese on fire.
Really ticky-tack. Brodeur’s complaint was heard. Oh my wow.
Mollifying Martin Brodeur.
Adam Oates talks over the power-play with his boys, especially Kovalchuk. Robinson looks on. We really wanted this staff to win. Didn’t we.
Pierre spots Mary Hart formerly of Entertainment Tonight. She insured her legs for one million once upon a time. One. Million. Dollars! <insert Mike Myers overbite>
The Kings penalty-kill is one of the best I’ve seen this season; not as aggressive as Montreal’s (the number one unit for most of 11-12) but unflappable and advancing like wolves to a dwindling campfire. One leaps in, then the next. Then they’re back. Just wait til it gets full dark.
Penner is back.
Devils enter offside. Some deep scarlet booing from the crowd.
Reseau asks viewers how many points Wayne finished with in the 93 playoffs. First choice is 25 points. I’d go with that. He was in decline. And the series only went five games. Remember when he put the puck in his own net? Worst thing that cold have happened. Kings went on to win 4-1 and Gretzky was making up for that own-goal the whole game. How are we ever going to beat these guys, I thought? We can’t even get a legit goal against them.
He had forty points to lead all players. Forty. In twenty-four games. As a counter-point, Montreal’s leading scorer, Vincent Damphousse had 23.
The Kings light the train horn. Brown from the circle bottom; Kopitar from the circle dot opposite. And it’s a one-timer in.
The red blare light. The full train horn satisfaction. It echoes. And the fans can call out Marty twice.
Sutter keeps the worried expression stitched. Hands on hips, his muppet mouth frowns down at alarming gloom angles. His nearly red face belies the nearness to his goal.
Has he ever won the big mug?
No. Not as a long-time Blackhawk. Nor as a coach, his closest with Calgary in 04, a seventh game loss to John Tortorella’s Tampa Bay Lightning.
Hey. Why did Sutter’s career end at the age of 28?
Simon Gagne is called for slashing. Sutter’s worry is real now, not forced. He keeps from shaking his head and his mouth twists, a sheared flesh-lemon. Third letter of the alphabet.
His mouth twists to a “c”.
Kings penalty-kill has been good. They continue the work. And they force a puck out for offside.
Denis suggests he’s seeing the first signs of frustration from the Devils.
Nothing’s worked he says.
There are far too many people behind the Kings bench. Three coaches and four guys with King jackets and lots of towels. One’s a shorter beardy fellow, chin jutting up in concern. A second is too skinny for his massive head. He’s nearly apoplectic.
The siren goes.
Martin Brodeur skates off the biggest NHL stage and contemplates his team’s fate and his place in it.
Shots were tied at 9.
LA 2, New Jersey 0
Sutter was the only scoring Sutter of the six siblings (each of the Viking natives played in the NHL). After dropping in 86-87, he went unsigned. Or so it seems. As a coach, he’s been good. Untapped one might suggest. He’s never stayed past his peak with any team. So we don’t know how long he might extend any such success.
Pierre interviews Luc Robitaille. Robitaille is a very honest man. And he provides some of the same. He understands the game and is able to think in competitive terms despite his distance from the game. I can’t help but think two things; Pierre Houde is out of sorts with Robitaille as an interviewee and, second, Luc Robitaille should have been named Canadiens GM. I know he said he wasn’t available but, uh, we should have made him. Then. Ok?
LA Kings 2, New Jersey Devils 0
Our impresario references the Al Michaels call of the US Miracle On Ice (yeah, I shouldn’t have capitalized it, I know.).
I ask my living room affiliate if she thinks he might be reading these musings (on occasion). She says it’s possible. I referenced Al’s work a few days ago.
Kings go to the power-play.
Mark Fayne sits in the box and once again I note that the Devils have no jersey numbers above thirty.
My living room affiliate asks why that might be. I suggest Lou Lamoriello and describe some of the iconoclastic manager’s doings including his firing of Claude Julien late in the 06-07 season, despite a 47 win record.
He does things his way. And he has three Stanley Cups and a tenure dating back to 1987 to show for it.
This series is over.
Unless Sylvester Stallone finds John Candy’s Delirious typewriter.
LA 3, New Jersey 0
Devils are called. Brown tried to wood chop Brodeur along the way. Brodeur has a nice-guy rep but he’s one of the dirtiest goalies in traffic.
And he’s beaten again. Rebound. Shot. Goal.
LA 4, New Jersey 0
Williams. Wrister from the dot. Rebound under the arm. Brodeur should have had it. And once again, a goalie is a weakness in a Stanley Cup final. And once more, it matters.
Cheering for the underdog is a bad habit. And yields bitter fruit.
Remember when the Nets were in the final in 02? Does the East Have a Chance? Jason Kidd and the New Jersey Nets say yes. That was an SI cover at the time. I wonder what David Stern thought of that.
These leagues. This coverage.
Can New Jersey concede the fourth game?
The action has tilted to the Kings, the Devils trying long passes and stretching spaces in ways this series hasn’t yet seen.
A long left point pass. Kings are out of gas. They watch the puck along the boards in their zone. Devils slow down as well. Zajac to the net. He floats right and then left. Back right. He’s found. Flips one. Quick frustrates him.
The minutes pass. I peruse various Houde entries on Google. Whatever happened to the highlight feature on Google’s cache? Again, Duckduckgo is the able number two. And there are many others. Having one dominant provider is never good for the consumers. Whomever those might be.
My living room affiliate complains that she keeps sinking. I remind her that it’s a bean bag.
When rugged becomes ragged. Not with New Jersey. They’ll play frustrated but they won’t allow it to dim their integrity.
They’ve long been that way. The exceptions are maybe one. Two. And I couldn’t tell you who they are. So it isn’t even predictable.
Long King puck is called for icing. Sutter is looking a bit more relieved.
With about a minute left, four goals are nigh impossible.
Nigh impossible. Now where did this annoying saying come from? And can other things be “nigh”? Nigh delightful. Nigh salty. Nigh in my neighbourhood.
Ok, I’ll stop.
One oh one.
This crowd loves it. It’s quite loud. Nigh halcyon.
Forty-three. Towels shake at nearly random junctures.
The team is up 3-0. Nineteen seconds, sorry.
Puck stays on the ice.
Small collision at the end boards. Long puck. Waved. The very eastern, very pleasant train horn (boat horn) and the players congratulate their goalie.
Jonathan Bernier, the backup, gets a glove on his head and a glove on Quick’s.
Win, win, win.
LA Kings 4
New Jersey Devils 0
HDS Stars: Dwight King, Anze Kopitar, Jonathan Quick
RDS Stars: Jonathan Quick, Jarrett Stoll, Willie Mitchell
More than kings for a day. LA Kings lead the best of seven series three games to none.