Kings left confounded by Coyotes in home opener

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 03: Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings jumps over a sliding Scottie Upshall #8 of the Phoenix Coyotes and Matt Greene #2 during the first period at the Staples Center on October 3, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)GAME 1: Coyotes 6, Kings 3

Do you know how much it rules to live in Los Angeles? Traffic was snarled on the 110 Freeway, just outside Staples Center. One of the possible reasons? Saturday’s home opener for the Kings coincided with AdultCon, a fan fair and lifestyle expo, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. That’s right, a porn convention. Only in L.A.

The Kings pregame festivities were nice outside at LALive. Good music,lots of stuff for people to do. (For an outstanding look at the goingson, check out The Royal Halfblog. Kontos is hilarious, especially his play-by-play of the PurpleCarpet. I LOLed) All of which I passed on to get my grub on. I met somefriends down at the ESPN Zone, and wolfed down a chicken Caesar saladand an iced tea before ascending to the 300s. As my friend pointed outto me, it was like the first day of school. It’s nice to see all yourold friends come out, talk about what they’ve done over the summer.

There,I watched the Kings roll out a flashy video, giving a visual tour ofthe Kings castle, highlighted by snippets of the Kings’ storiedhistory. It was all there: the Miracle on Manchester? Check. The Frenzyof Figuroa? Check. The Triple Crown Line? Check, check and check. Kingsbeating the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1993, to win the Smythe Trophy? Um,check. There was no mention, however, of McSorley’s curved stick or theKings losing to Montreal in the Stanley Cup. Guess that’s better leftunsaid. But they did highlight Luc Robitaille scoring the most goals infranchise history to cap off the video. Tell you what, I’d like to see THAT video go up on Kings Vision. The one thing I DON’T want to eversee if a replay of that game.

And the pre-game introductions proceeded, with each Kings playerpushing through a facade of two old castle double doors before skatinginto the ice. The video on the ice included a streak of fire thatreached from the corner they skated out to center ice, where itexploded in a fireball. It was delightfully cornball, and I can appreciate all the work put in. Especially on that video. Among the players getting a large round ofapplause was Wayne Simmonds, surprisingly.

Personally, I’m blaming this loss not on the turnovers or the lack ofscoring. I blame Lisa Loeb, who sang God Bless America instead of TheStar-Spangled Banner. What’s up with that? After she finished, fans didn’t know whether to sit down or not. It was bizarre. Doesn’t matter, ’cause she’s still hot, even if she’s preggers.

Well, it looks like what I said in the season preview is correct. There are too many holes on the Kings offense for the team to take anyone by surprise. Last season, the Kings were dead last in scoring 5-on-5, and this season hasn’t started off like they wanted. The Yotes outscored the Kings 5-0 at even strength. Many of the Phoenix goals came off of turnovers, a few by Doughty surprisingly. And just when you thought the momentum had shifted in the Kings’ favor, the Coyotes would capitalize.

One thing that I think every fan could agree upon: Anze Kopitar left iton the ice last night. Talk about pressure, this kid has the weight ofan entire franchise on his shoulders. With a goal and an assist,Kopitar is already ahead of the pace I figured he’d hit: a point agame. Now, let’s see if he could sustain it.

All in all, a very frustrating night to be a Kings fan. It’s been a long summer, and hopes are always high when preseason starts. And for the majority of the preseason, it seemed as if the Kings were ready to kick the tires and light the fires. But then they came out with an absolute dud of a game, after which Terry Murray said “That’s probably the worst scenario that you can have on an opening night. We looked very out of synch, we were not passing the puck well,we were over-handling, a lot of turnovers, just sloppy play.”

• AP: Vrbata’s two goals lift Coyotes past Kings

    Phoenix made it 2-0 when Matthew Lombardi was credited with a goal at 17:48 in the opening period. Kings defenseman Matt Greene inadvertently knocked the puck into his own goal when he tried to block a pass from Lombardi to Upshall.

• L.A. Times: Coyotes are guests, but it’s the host Kings who play ugly

    The Kings approached this season with hope, stability and a lineup that oozes promise at every position. The Phoenix Coyotes approached this season with Coach Dave Tippett in place for only a week, no clue about where they’ll play next season and a hodgepodge lineup sprinkled with untried kids and retreads.
    The clueless team Saturday was the Kings, whose defense collapsed in a6-3 season-opening loss before a stunned sellout crowd at StaplesCenter.

• Daily News: Kings have a familiar beginnning, and it isn’t good

    “It just wasn’t there 100 percent,” Quick said on his performance. “I felt good all day. I felt good going into the game, but at the end of the day I didn’t make the saves I needed to help keep my team in the game.”

• LAKINGS.com: Kings fall to Phoenix 6-3 in season opener

    “Definitely not the start we wanted,” Kings forward Anze Kopitar said. “I don’t know where we went wrong. We didn’t manage the puck good and we didn’t pass the puck good. The puck was bouncing all over the place. We had some breakdowns in the defensive zone that led to goals.”

More royal observations

• Frozen Royalty: Frozen Royalty Audio: Coyotes Bankrupt Kings, 6-3

One of the questions making its way through the Bob Miller Press Box at Staples Center on Saturday night was: Which team is bankrupt and has no owner again?

• Examiner.com: The Dean of Patience

On the eve of the season opener for the Los Angeles Kings, their general manager exuded a quiet confidence that his young pups can continue to move up the stack and end a franchise playoff drought that stretches back to 2002.

• Press Box Perspective:  Why Can’t the NHL Learn from the NFL, MLB, & NBA?

• Joe Caligiuri’s blog Offsides: Before the National Anthem – What Really Happens

Not knowing how my night will play out tomorrow, I’m going to paint a visual of what takes place before the National Anthem is sang and long before the first broadcaster, blogger, or beat reporter gets there first questions off their tongue.

They said it

“Maybe we didn’t win all the preseason games, but I thought we had made good habits we built in practice. You have to be able to play your system and stay together as a team. We aren’t going to go anywhere if we fall apart like that a little adversity hits us.” – Rob Scuderi, Kings defenseman

Looking through purple-hued goggles

• A Queen Among Kings: Pee-yew! Coyotes 6, Kings 2

Just when you thought the Los Angeles Kings had it all figured out, they open the 2009-10 season with the poorest performance I’ve seen… since last season! But at least at the end of last season they were playing with full effort for entire games; tonight lacked consistency and teamwork.

• The Royal Half: Game ONe

Well someone at the Los Angeles Kings marketing department was working overtime today as the Kings threw together a pretty big home opener celebration. It was enough to even make an unemployed man smile.

• HockeyBuzz’s Matt Barry: I know it’s only one game

The Taylor Hall countdown has officially begun!

• The Throne Room: Getting Fired Up for Saturday

I will also be the first to remind all the doom-and-gloom-sayers who didn’t expect this team to get to the postseason yet again once it’s all over with. That said, having been a fan for 20+ years now, I understand where people are coming from. That’s where faith comes in for me.

• Mayors Manor: Kings Fail to Turn Over a New Leaf

New season. Another loss. This is maddening. Look, the Kings aren’t going win every game this season. Yet, you want to see them compete every night. Tonight was bad, real bad. And the first loss always hurts the most.

• Kings Kool-Aid: Kings Exceed Expectations Tonight

…in Manchester.

From across the aisle, the Phoenix viewpoint

• Five For Howling: Coyotes Win Season Opener, Down Kings 6-3

Not a lot went wrong for us last night. As someone that’s watched the Coyotes a lot over the past few years, this squad knew what they were doing like never before. The only weak spot we saw in our team last night was the Penalty Kill. That’s something we have got to work on.

• Hipchecks: Blog

LA’s goaltender Quick has some major potential but he still needs some work. Although the best thing he did all night? He had to play leapfrog over one his players and Scottie. I have never seen a goalie jump like that! Scottie apparently liked to invade Quick’s personal space. He ran Quick down and put himself in the net, instead of the puck. I’ve told the guys before, you don’t get extra points if you go in the net. Two of our goals trickled into the net when Quick wasn’t able to quite locate the puck.

Peeping the dailies

<a href=”http://video.msn.com/?mkt=en-us&brand=foxsports&from=metadatawidget_en-us_foxpsorts_videocentral&vid=65ae05dc-ac50-4597-a995-c0c1a6237e6f” target=”_new” title=”Kings Report: Bad start”>Video: Kings Report: Bad start</a>

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