I've been covering sports around the world since 1974 and my legs are killing me! So here I am to share words and pictures of champions and others who are striving to become one. Please also follow me on twitter (@tedsobelsports).
The Angels bats have suddenly awakened and they belted their usual whipping boys the Seattle Mariners 12-0 on Mike Trout pint glass night. And did Trout’s glass runneth over hitting for the cycle for the first time in his life and the 7th overall in Angels history and he did it with an 8th inning homerun that he describes nicely in our postgame chat below. The Angels are now an amazing 78-41 against the M’s since 2007 the best record by one team over another during that stretch.
Trout hit for the first Anaheim cycle at home since 2004 and he’s the youngest in American League history to do it, something he was very proud to hear me tell him about afterwards. He’s also the youngest since Vin Scully’s boyhood idol Mel Ott did it for the New York ‘Baseball’ Giants in 1929. And I just had to ask manager Mike Scioscia if he was at that game? But he wouldn’t take the bait stating it was more likely that I was there…actually I missed that one due to not being born yet (just a minor excuse, I know) but nice try Mike!
It was also right fielder Josh Hamilton’s 32nd birthday and he celebrated with his first ever homer on his special day along with a triple and a pair of rbi’s. And Josh’s bat is finally starting to heat up with 4 of his 6 dingers in the last 13 games.
And it was a great night for Halos starter Jerome Williams who pitched 8 innings of shutout ball for a 6 hitter and he of course was all-smiles afterwards as well.
Angels 2b Howie Kendrick who went 2 for 4 with two rbi’s:
Angels 1b Mark Trumbo who was 1 for 5 but all smiles in the clubhouse:
So it’s now 3 straight wins for the Angels as they try to get off the floor in the American League West at still an incredibly awful 18-27 record…but remember that it’s still only May or a quarter into the season which is the worst way to see it as a Halos fan.
It’s only been since last Sunday night that Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau has been dealing with a longer off-season than hoped for after losing a tough game 7 on home ice to the Detroit Red Wings. But today he has a nice reason to smile again being named as one of 3 finalists for the NHL’s Jack Adams Award given to the head coach who has contributed most to his team’s success. The other two are Chicago’s Joel Quenneville, and Ottawa’s Paul MacLean.
But how about Boudreau’s brief successes here in So-Cal after his first full season in Anaheim (and a lockout shortened one as well), he led the Ducks to the Pacific Division title and the second seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Anaheim was third overall in the NHL standings after finishing 25th the previous season. And Boudreau previously won this award in 2008 with Washington.
I was able to join Bruce and several other media types on a conference call this morning to get his thoughts on his nomination along with a few other questions that I had for him…like how he sees his up the freeway rivals the Kings doing in their run for back to back Stanley Cups and how crazy this business is that he’s up for this prestigious coaching award again after the Capitals didn’t want him there anymore?
Enjoy this special Ducks call folks with coach Bruce Boudreau:
I’ve said it too many times to recall that the Stanley Cup playoffs are THE best of team sports and game 2 at Staples Center was another perfect example of that. And the Kings continue to roll with a fantastic finish 4-3 win over San Jose for their 6th straight playoff win since falling down 0-2 in the first round and it’s also their 12th straight victory on home ice tying their all-time best from 1992.
Did I say pickle juice? Well ‘Pickles’ is the obvious nickname of Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic…yes as in Vlasic pickles (if I really need to explain more?). And he was a huge part of tonight’s finish, first scoring San Jose’s go ahead goal at 8:56 of the 3rd period after his club had fallen behind 2-0 and it was his first in 74 playoff games. But Vlasic then turned into the goat (or should I say Vlasic Stork–his other nickname) when he shot the puck over the glass in his own zone to give the Kings a 2 man advantage with just 2:19 to play. And the rest was all-Hollywood as Captain Dustin Brown tied it up with a 5 on 3 power play at 18:17 followed by the goal of Trevor Lewis’ life only 22 seconds later and just like that the Kings are halfway to advancing to the conference finals again. Ok maybe not his whole life after scoring two in the Cup clincher last season, but it certainly was Trevor’s biggest game winner in the clutch!
My view of theTrevor Lewis game winner from the upper press box
Jeff Carter’s unassisted blast from the right circle 3:06 into the game gave the Kings an early lead after the Sharks put 4 quick shots on goalie Jonathan Quick and despite being outshot 11-4, L.A. had a 1-0 lead after the first 20 minutes. And then Drew Doughty’s 2nd goal of the playoffs (on the power play) in the 2nd period put them up 2-0 before the Sharks chewed their way back on back to backers by Patrick Marleau and Brad Stuart for a 2-all tie going into the 3rd when the hometeam heroics eventually took over.
Quick made 28 saves for the Kings, tying Kelly Hrudey’s franchise record with his 26th career playoff victory. And Antti Niemi stopped 27 shots for the Sharks, but couldn’t deal with the Kings suddenly powerful power play as they went 3 for 5 with the extra man (or men).
One thing that stood out to me (but not admitted to by Coach Sutter) was the Kings regularly looking for the perfect pass or shot when they just needed to shoot and crash the net. I didn’t invent that folks…it’s hockey at it’s purest but L.A. was tentative too often in this one (no matter what they admit to). That’s exactly how they scored twice in the final minutes to pull this one out and they’ll need to do much more of that in San Jose the next 2 games to get to where they want to go. That is, unless they continue to get the breaks and have to take advantage of them the hard way…like tonight!
The sounds of the game from the locker room tell a story of a team that’s feeling relieved as much as joy after one of the great playoff wins in their club’s history.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter who started out with a stand-up routine about having to buy expensive reading glasses before this whole night unfolded:
Sharks coach Todd McLellan who began talking about the Raffi Torres suspension before I asked him about what he did like in his club’s play?:
Kings center Trevor Lewis after finding a nice time to score his first goal of the playoffs:
Kings captain Dustin Brown:
Kings center Anze Kopitar who talked with stitches above his mouth after taking a puck in the face but told me it felt much better after those 2 late goals:
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick:
Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr who described how fortunate his guys are to be in this position after knowing they were outplayed 5 on 5 much of the night:
Remember that the Kings played without their best faceoff man Jarret Stoll, who didn’t return to Game 1 after a hit from San Jose’s Raffi Torres late in the second period. Torres was suspended earlier today for the rest of the series by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for his illegal check to the head after a hearing in New York.
I hate to say it…but you know I will anyway , even though it’s only 2 games, it looks like another case of the Sharks being the Sharks in the playoffs!
So Kings fans can you say “Shock the Sharks” really fast 3 times? Practice makes perfect as your reigning Stanley Cup champs take a 2-0 series lead into San Jose on Saturday night and the Shark Tank will be rocking…as one of the tougher buildings to play in—and just how it should be in playoffs!
Reality has finally set in that there won’t be a first-ever Kings-Ducks playoff matchup so at least we have an all-California series. And Kings fans are rejoicing after their first playoff series opener at home since 1992 as their boys took care of the San Jose Sharks 2-0. The Kings were outshot 35-20 but it was last year’s star of stars goalie Jonathan Quick who stood out again and he’s now stopped 202 of 212 shots during these playoffs for a fantastic .953%.
The Kings grabbed the early lead on a Slava Voynov goal with just 12.9 seconds left in the first period. And then they had to kill off a poorly called penalty against Anze Kopitar (who’s struggling enough offensively-so at least don’t send him to the box for something he didn’t do!) against one of the most impressive power play units I’ve seen in quite awhile. The Sharks pass that puck around like few other clubs can, finding quality scoring chances that Quick was able to keep out of his net on every occasion tonight. Voynov was also credited with the Kings second goal (midway in the 2nd period) until the replay showed that Mike Richards had re-directed it in and that was all they needed—although a few more would’ve made this one much easier than the final score indicated.
The following are my sounds of the game from the locker rooms:
Kings coach Darryl Sutter who was in an even much less talkative mood than usual, which isn’t easy…Thank God they won the game! :
Sharks coach Todd McLellan:
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick after franchise record 6th playoff shutout:
Kings center Mike Richards after scoring the 2nd goal on a deflection of a Voynov shot:
Kings captain Dustin Brown with some solid takes on his team’s first game with home ice advantage in 21 years:
Kings Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Miller who’s relegated to being an analyst for the rest of the playoffs sat down with me after his postgame duties and we broke down game 1 and what might lie ahead?:
One big concern for L.A. is the possible loss of center Jarret Stoll (their best faceoff man) who was hit in the head by San Jose’s Raffi Torres (who’s had his illegal hit issues in the past) late in the second period, and he didn’t play at all in the third. Sutter declined to critique the call, but said the Kings “weren’t resting” Stoll while he sat out and McLellan added: “Clean hit. Not even a charging penalty, in my opinion.” Typical coaches responses which mean nothing compared to Stolly’s health. That could be a huge void in the faceoff circle for the Kings, something they’re probably already strongly thinking about. L.A. defenseman Drew Doughty was also shaken up on the same shift by a hard hit from Patrick Marleau but it didn’t keep him from playing the rest of the game. The question is how will Doughty feel when he wakes up in the morning????
So the Kings have now won 11 straight at home which is just one shy of their all-time club record set by the Gretzky-led team also in 1992. One other stat of note: when winning game one of a playoff series, the Kings have won 10 of those 16.
Game 2 of this series is Thursday night at 7 here at Staples and how the Kings would love to dig a big hole for the Sharks to swim out of. Of course, L.A. knows all too well what losing the first 2 games of a series on the road can mean…they’ve won 5 straight since that happened to them in St. Louis so don’t be suprised if this is still a long series. But I can also honestly say that this could be a short one if the Kings use their wear-down game until the Sharks don’t have many large teeth to bite with. Either way…plenty of playoff fun is ahead and we’ll do it again on Thursday night!
The Wings celebrate while the Ducks skate into the off-season with their tails between their legs
As my old mentor at the University of Wisconsin the legendary coach ‘Badger’ Bob Johnson used to always say “It’s a great day for hockey” while his rallying slogan was “60 minutes, No alibis, No regrets”! Well that’s what a game 7 is all about in the NHL playoffs and the Ducks played less than 60 minutes with a few alibis and plenty of regrets. The Detroit Red Wings stunned them with a 3-2 win to advance to round two while it’s an earlier golfing season than expected for the Ducks.
Anaheim got off to another slow start falling behind just a minute and 49 seconds into the game and then it was battle from behind all night long trailing 1-0, 2-1, 3-1 and then finally running out of time on the clock and the season. The Ducks had an NHL best 15 come from behind wins during the regular season but their magic also ran out something that was one of my themes of questioning in the postgame locker room. I also wanted to know about the guys feelings on missing out on what would’ve been the first Ducks-Kings playoff matchup in their 20 year history…something that bums me out more than most from what I could gather (although some of the players and Coach Bruce Boudreau admitted that it was on their minds as well).
Another thing that’s a reality again is whether this was 42 year old Teemu Selanne’s final NHL game something that he said he’ll need more time to think about. But he did admit to us that having a solid team returning next season could be a factor if he decides to give it another shot!
Once again, it’s not been an easy few weeks for me and others who do my job of gathering postgame sound…as I’ve had to endure totally pissed off locker rooms with the Lakers, Clippers, and now the Ducks all losing their elimination games at home. None of them are in the mood to talk to anyone, especially us media types…but hey, somebody has to do it and that’s why they make the big bucks (and most of us don’t!).
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau:
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf who was the first disappointed player we reached in the room afterwards and he pretty much said that his guys were simply out-played when it mattered:
Ducks right winger Corey Perry who never scored a goal in the entire series…and it was hardly fun having to ask him about that!:
Ducks rookie right winger Emerson Etem who’s a native of Long Beach so I had to ask him about not getting to face the Kings in the next round and if he’d ever followed my Long Beach Ice Dogs games back in the day?…and yes, this was the first time I had the chance to introduce myself to him:
Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller on his tough way to end the season:
Ducks right winger Bobby Ryan who’s always candid about his feelings but he was at a loss for words when I asked him how does he explain what happened in this home game 7?:
Not Selanne’s seating choice to watch possibly his last game from
And finally Teemu Selanne who I believe him when he says that he needs time to think about his future plans (and NO, this isn’t like the Dwight Howard situation-not even close!):
It is NOW for any Ducks-Kings playoff matchup!
So now it’s down to the Kings around these parts to take care of biz in round 2 against San Jose with L.A. enjoying home ice advantage in the post season for the first time since 1992. That series is projected to start on Tuesday and Thursday nights at Staples Center while Honda Center’s next ice appearance will be only in the drinks of Rolling Stones fans next week!
One personal observation, Ducks fans should be embarrassed to be out-cheared by Red Wings faithful through-out much of the game…how you can allow that to happen and in a game 7 of all times is unthinkable. Of course this is hardly Hockeytown but c’mon…where’s your team pride? Many feel it would’ve hardly been a home ice advantage in Anaheim against the Kings anyway as L.A. fans always get their share of tickets for the games in the OC something that will always keep L.A. ahead of Anaheim concerning the local hockey spotlight. I can only assume that’s mainly because the Kings were in existence 26 years before the Ducks were ever a team, that they’ll always have the more loyal following…but in your own barn???? NEVER…No alibis and No regrets!
Kings eliminate the Blues again, and the perfect picture for the home fans
I said before game 3 when the Kings trailed their first round series 0-2 that the winner of that one would win this series. And the L.A. skaters made me look good by winning the next 4 including tonight’s clincher 2-1 to advance to round 2 against either the Ducks (who lost in Detroit tonight) or Sharks (who will be well-rested whomever they next play).
You can thank Dustin Penner’s game winning howitzer slap shot with 0.2 seconds left in the 2nd period that fortunately deflected off of a Blues defenseman just enough to fool goalie Brian Elliot and that was enough for Kings goalie Jonathan Quick to pick up his 24th career playoff win (just 2 shy of Kelly Hrudey’s team record). Quickie stopped 21 Blues shots including a few too many on the doorstep but that’s why he won last year’s Conn Smythe trophy and he’s getting hot again at just the perfect time!
Penner’s shot is in the net with plenty of time to spare…no waste clock management!
As you can imagine it was a happy locker room after the game and the following will give you a taste of it…
Kings RW Dustin Penner after scoring another playoff game winner and I suggested to him to make some 0.2 T-shirts reminiscent of the Lakers Derek Fisher’s 0.4:
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick who’s ready for an all-California series:
Kings center Jordan Nolan:
Kings TV analyst Jim Fox talks with me about the series win over St. Lou and then we look ahead to the next round vs. either Anaheim or San Jose:
The Kings may’ve done it the hard way (especially compared to last year’s sweep of the Blues) but they’ll take a hard-fought 6 game series victory as they are once again playoff tested and obviously ready for the task before round 2. It’s almost a footnote that the Kings have now won 10 straight at Staples while the Blues have lost their last 8 here and L.A. would have home ice advantage against the Sharks. BUT it would be a great start to making it a TRUE classic So-Cal rivalry against the Ducks who must win Sunday night’s home game 7 over the Wings to get there. And you know that I’ll be there to give you all the post game sound your ears can handle…Oh and sorry Kings fans, but GOOOOOOOO Ducks! We need that matchup for hockey to get to another level in this town, like it or not!
FYI-Kings 2nd round playoff series tix go on sale Monday at 2pm.
Not long after the L.A. Kings won their game 5 in St. Louis 3-2 in overtime, the Anaheim Ducks pulled out the same 3-2 score in OT over Detroit thanks to center Nick Bonino who’s first three career playoff goals have come in each of Anaheim’s three victories in this series which his team now leads 3 games to 2.
The Ducks survived a rough 2nd period specifically killing off a big 5 minute Red Wings power play which immediately was followed by a Ryan Getzlaf tying goal before the end of stanza, which set up an exciting 3rd period and overtime that put this series totally up for grabs! Fortunately for Anaheim their only lead of the game came at the right time…sending the faithful home happy and hopeful of a series clincher on Friday night in Hockeytown.
The following are my postgame locker room chats with several key players in this one…
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau:
Ducks center Nick Bonino the hero of the night:
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf:
Ducks RW Kyle Palmieri who scored his 2nd of the series in the 2nd period
Ducks center Andrew Cogliano who provided plenty of energy all game long:
Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller who made 29 saves and saved his club’s bacon on a few breakaways and very close-in Detroit opportunities:
Ducks dee-man Francois Beauchemin:
And the exciting thing for me (and I would think any local fan) is that it’s FINALLY a very realistic chance that the Ducks will face the Kings in round 2 if they each advance this weekend…something that’s never EVER happened during the playoffs and something that would mean more to hockey in So Cal than even a trip to the Stanley Cup Final. ONE MORE…so don’t screw this up guys!