Tag Archives: Los Angeles Kings

The Conn Smythe Trophy Frontrunners

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Dustin Brown (pictured above) is a major favorite to bring home the Conn Smythe Trophy.

By Nick Craddock

The 2012 NHL playoffs are coming to a crescendo.  Between a closely contested Eastern Conference Finals featuring the rival New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils and what has turned into a one-sided Western Conference Finals featuring the Los Angeles Kings and Phoenix Coyotes, the muddled playoff picture which began with 16 teams vying for Lord Stanley’s Cup is coming into focus.

Of all the players who have made their mark this postseason in helping their teams to this stage, these five look poised to have the best shot at capturing the Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded to the NHL playoffs’ Most Valuable Player.

1. Dustin Brown, right wing, Kings: Brown is proving why he wears the “C” on his jersey this spring. He leads his team in scoring with seven goals and eight assists, including three game-winning goals. He’s tied with teammate Anze Kopitar for the best plus/minus rating of any player in the playoffs. He delivers crushing hits. And even when he’s not making an incredible play, he influences the game to such a degree that it affects his opponent’s psyche (i.e.Phoenix’s Martin Hanzal cross-checking Brown from behind into the boards during Game 2, resulting in a one-game suspension).  All in all, Brown’s outstanding play makes it unfathomable to think the Kings contemplated trading Brown at the trading deadline. Simply put, the Kings’ stellar play through these playoffs thus far would not be possible without Brown. That description sounds like the embodiment of a Conn Smythe winner. Continue reading

Advertisements

Food for Thought 5-15-2012

Photo courtesy of clippers.topbuzz.com. Chris Paul (left) and Blake Griffin (right) are two of the main reasons why the Clippers currently find themselves in the Western Conference Semifinals. Can they advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history?

By Josh Kramer

The opening round brought the city of Los Angeles to a fever pitch.  Round two will bring heartbreak.  In a little over a week, people will be referring to Los Angeles as “Heartbreak City,” rather than “Basketball Central.”  Even if you are not a fan of the Lakers or the Clippers, you have to admit that an all LA Western Conference Finals showdown would be special.  “Lob City” versus the Kobe Bryant Show.  What could be better than that?

Unfortunately, I am going to go out on a limb and say that it isn’t going to happen.  This is not the same Lakers team that made three consecutive finals appearances from 2008 to 2010.  They are full of flaws, lacking the effort and determination to lay it all on the line every night. The Clippers are not only tired and injury riddled, they are overmatched against a very experienced and well coached San Antonio team.  Gregg Popovich is arguably the best in the business for a reason.

Kobe Bryant will have to play out of this world for LA to stretch this series more than five games.  The Nuggets made the Lakers look like they were standing still at times during the opening round.  What do you think the Thunder are going to do?  Not to mention the Thunder are much bigger inside than the Nuggets with Ibaka and a now healthy Perkins.  I tip my hat to the Clippers on taking down a very good Grizzlies team.  But the Spurs are even better than Memphis.  Plus, both of the star players on the Clippers are currently struggling with various injuries.

It has been a great year for Los Angeles in terms of NBA basketball.  As a consolation prize though, the Kings appear unstoppable in terms of the NHL and the Dodgers currently boast the best record in the National League.  In terms of basketball though, Los Angeles should start thinking about the 2012/2013 season. Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 5-13-2012

Photo courtesy of guestofaguest.com. Two former number ones left Madrid as Champions. Will Roger Federer (left) and Serena Williams (right) both make deep runs at the French Open?

By Josh Kramer

Playoffs, playoffs, and more playoffs.  It is a great time of year in sports.  And the best part is the playoffs are just starting to really heat up as we enter the later rounds for both the NBA and NHL.  Last week was a blast and the English Premier League’s heart stopping finale was the cherry on top, but this week should be a good one in its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  Despite a good few months until the NFL season officially kicks off, the trash talking and storylines are just as juicy as ever.  Chad Ochocino has warned Goodell at the possible storm that seems inevitable in the wake of Junior Seau’s death and the heavy emphasis on head trauma.  In addition, two familiar NFC East foes were jabbering during yesterday’s holiday.  Osi Umenyiora wished LeSean McCoy, a “Happy Mother’s Day.”  Lastly, the Vince Young train has landed in Buffalo.  Talk about a major bust.  It may only be May, but the excitement is mounting.  Who else is excited for some NFL football?

4.  Madrid was full of surprises over the course of the past week.  In the end though, two familiar faces came out victorious (Roger Federer and Serena Williams).  Many of the top players were none too pleased with the blue clay.  Maybe this displeasure correlates to the frustration that opponents feel when they travel to Idaho to take on Boise State in football ?  Either way, the French Open is nearly upon us.  Next stop Rome though for what is always a great event. Continue reading

Food for Thought 5-8-2012

Photo coutesy of zimbio.com. Albert Pujols (pictured above) and the Los Angeles Angels have not had much to celebrate during the early going of the 2012 season. Will the Angels turn things around and begin to live up to expectations?

By Josh Kramer

Is it me or has the MLB been turned upside down?  Derek Jeter is batting over 400 at age 37.  Albert Pujols has one home run (he finally hit one on Sunday).  And Ryan Dempster leads the National League in ERA (all of these stats were heading into play yesterday).  How about the current standings though?

Cellar Dwellers:

-Philadelphia “We are the cream of the crop in the NL East” Phillies

-Chicago “We have fun at Wrigleyville” Cubs

-San Diego “This is not a shocker” Padres

-Boston “We are always a contender” Red Sox

-Minnesota “Ron Gardenhire is a savior” Twins

-Los Angeles “World Series Favorite” Angels

Divisional Leaders:

-Washington “Never gone over 500” Nationals

-St. Louis “Albert Pujols-less” Cardinals

-Los Angeles “Divorced” Dodgers

-Baltimore “We play in the same division as New York and Boston” Orioles

-Cleveland “We are more famous for a movie” Indians

-Texas “Going for a three-peat” Rangers Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 5-7-2012

Photo courtesy of thenewsportsguru.com. Robert Griffin III (pictured above) and other rookies are getting their first reps with their new employers already.

By Josh Kramer

The word “playoffs” is the best way to describe the wide world of sports over the past week.  And guess what.  “Playoffs” will continue to be the heart of the sporting world this week. Here are the main events to keep an eye on.

5.  Wednesday was one of the most wild days in recent memory regarding the NFL.  It even topped the Manning/Tebow bonanzaThere was some good, some bad, and some sad.  Well rookies like Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and others are getting their first real workouts in with their new employees.  Keep an eye out as rookie minicamp finishes. Continue reading

“30 for 30 Brilliance”

Bill Simmon's "30 for 30" documentaries idea has taken the sporting world by storm over the past 11 months.

 Last evening, I was at the gym getting a work out in after a long day at the office.  While working out, I would fixate on the clock every few minutes.  Typically, I am never in a hurry to leave the gym in that it is my relaxation for the day during the work week.  It is kind of closure to my day before I sit down to eat dinner and watch the Red’s game.  But realizing that the “30 for 30” special featuring Michael Jordan was on at 8, I made sure to keep track of the time.  And once it hit 8 on the dot, I darted out of the gym, and sprinted all the way home.  From 8:05 until 9:00 (yes I was 5 minutes late), I did not move from my chair, even during commercial breaks as I watched, “Jordan Rides the Bus.” 

This has been a common thread for me and many other sports fans during the past 11 months for these “30 for 30” specials.  These specials have truly become a phenomenon.  And rightfully so.  The idea originated from one of the best in the business.  One of the guys in the sporting world, that whether you agree with his opinions or not, you are still going to read his column.  And his columns are some of the longest I have ever read regarding sports, but you better believe I read every word.  None other than Boston’s biggest homer, the “sports guy,” Bill Simmons. 

Simmons proposed the idea because he felt that some of the events that have occurred during the past 30 years, throughout the ESPN era, could really be more than just a another blip on the radar.  They could be turned into documentary specials.  There are many fine directors out there.  Why not really delve into some of these special events and capture the interest of current, past, and future sporting fanatics?  The first special of the 32 part series filmed in October of 2009 documenting the story of “The Great One,” Wayne Gretzky, leaving Edmonton for Los Angeles, and completely changing the scope of the NHL.  Other “30 for 30” specials that have really caught my eye have been “Muhammad and Larry,” “Without Bias,” “The U,” “Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs the New York Knicks,” and last evenings, “Jordan Rides the Bus.”  In total 18 of these 32 specials have aired.  And you better believe I am hyped for the next 14.  

I will admit I love Sportscenter and all of the shows that the greatest sporting network in the world (ESPN) has to offer.  Even at times if items get entirely too repetitive, that is all a part of the world we live in today.  Communication is constant and connectivity is at a premium.  But these specials, are done so well, are extremely informative, and very entertaining at the same time.  I guess that is what you get when you take big time directors and let them put out footage on sporting events.  Last evening, really brought back some memories of my young childhood.  I mean I could not have told you all the details of what had happened when Jordan left the League to pursue an ambition of playing professional baseball.  I was just a little kid.  This special last night though, provided me and probably the rest of America with some much-needed perspective.  I mean how many people knew that Terry Francona, the current manager of the Boston Red Sox, was Michael’s manager for the Birmingham Barons?  

These specials in essence, connect the dots for people.  They bring these major stories of the past to life and provide some closure.  Many of these stories may have been analyzed and shown on various sporting news shows over the years, but never has their been a major director showing the facts through expert cinematography. 

So thank you Bill Simmons.  America appreciates you coming up with this simple, yet innately innovative idea. 

And make sure to tune in next week for the special entitled, “Little Big Men,” which will document when the 1982 Kirkland, Washington All Stars shocked the world, and brought the Little League World Series Title back to the United States. 

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze. 

-TheSportsKraze