Weekend Returns: Can the Kings avenge a lackluster season?

The Avengers

Hockeywood Weekend ReturnsTwilight: Breaking Dawn was number one at the box office. Nope, still not talking about it.

The story I thought was interesting was how Paramount Pictures has positioned itself to unseat Warner Bros. for the top spot among movie studios. And it was able to do this with only 12 movies that released wide.

Paramount is the studio that released the last Transformers flick to the tune of $352.4 million. They also distributed the Marvel movies Thor and Captain America, as well as animated features Kung Fu Panda 2 and Puss In Boots.

But Warner Bros. isn't going down without a fight. The holiday season brings with it the last slobber-knocker between these two movie studios. Warner Bros. has New Years Eve and the second Sherlock Holmes movie (They made a second one? Hmmm. Didn't see the first one...)

Paramount counters with Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and The Adventures of Tintin. Gee, which two movies are you gonna go see?

All I know is this may be the last year either movie studio sniffs the top spot. Disney bought the rights of all the Marvel flicks, and will be making The Avengers for a 2012 release as well as Thor 2 and Iron Man 3 in 2013.

Don't forget, Disney also has Pixar, and they have two movies slated for next year: Brave and Monsters Inc. 2. (Which my son will go bananas for.) Yeah, Disney has the inside track for the foreseeable future.

But that's next year. 2011 is almost over and there's still plenty of fireworks left. Can Paramount regain the top spot in the yearly box office race? Last time they did it was 2007, when the twin towers of the first Transformers movie and Shrek 3 made over a half billion dollars.

Man, I'm hoping some movie knocks that stupid vampire movie from the top spot. I'm running out of things to write about. On to hockey. Last season, the Kings were ranked 13th in the Hockeywood Power Rankings. Have they improved on that? Well...

• The Hockey News' Adam Proteau's Week 9 rating: 9. Last week: 9.
Hard to believe given their talent, but Kings tied with Ducks for league's second-worst goals-for average (2.27).
• ESPN.com's Scott Burnside's Week 9 rating: 13. Last week: 18.
The goal-starved Kings are 6-3-1 in their past 10 games despite scoring three or more goals in only three of those.
• Fox Sports' Jim Rosen's Week 9 rating: 15. Last week: 18.
Justin Williams and Simon Gagne are going to have to get going if the goal-starved Kings are to stay afloat out west without Mike Richards, who was placed on IR with a concussion.
• Sports Illustrated's Adrian Dater's Week 16 rating: 16. Last week: 15.
Netminder Jonathan Quick continues to have an excellent season, but when are these guys going to start giving him some offensive support? Their 60 goals are tied for fewest in the West. At least Dustin Penner finally got one, in a 2-1 loss to Montreal on Saturday. In 34 games as King, he has three. Not bad for $4.25 million a year. Scoring won't get any easier with Mike Richards now on injured reserve (concussion).
• CBSSportsline's Adam Gretz's Week 9 rating: 17. Last week: 21.
They're still not scoring all that much, but Jonathan Quick has been great all season and they've managed to win six of their past 10 games.
• TSN's Scott Cullen's Week 9 rating: 19. Last week: 17.
Losing leading goal-scorer Mike Richards, after a hit by Panthers LW Sean Bergheim, could pose a significant problem that doesn't have a lot of scoring otherwise. Without Richards, C Anze Kopitar and LW Simon Gagne are the only Kings with more than five goals.
Take the average and you get the Kings' official Hockeywood Power Ranking of

14.8.

So, the Kings are off the pace this season. Disappointing. But rather than leave this on a dour note: here's an interesting looking movie starring Woody Harrelson, called Rampart. Pretty violent, intense stuff here...
 

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