Glen Andresen's In-Game Commentary at Los Angeles
Thursday, 12.08.2011 / 8:29 PM / Features
By Glen Andresen - Manager of Social Media
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Hey yo State of Hockey legion! It's time to wake up friends. I can only assume that you're well rested from an evening power nap so you're on high alert tonight. By now, you should know the drill for late night road games on the West Coast. On days like this, it's important to knock off work right around 3:00 p.m., put down a few hours of eye resting and then be ready to go. Your Minnesota Wild is about to run its winning streak to six games, and do you really want to miss that because "you've got a big day tomorrow?" No, you don't. Your big day is tonight, and that's just the way it is.
I am coming to you live from the Bob Miller Press Box inside STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, where all anybody talks about is hockey. The local baseball and basketball programs try desperately to get in the headlines by trying to entice professional athletes to play here, but to little avail. This here is a hockey town and it's buzzing with the best team in all the land here to play their Los Angeles Ignoramuses (also knows as the Kings). California knows two things: how to party and hockey. And they know they're in for a long night with the Minnesota Wild.
For one thing, they have to watch Matt Hackett man the crease for the Minnesota Wild. Hackett has never allowed a goal in his NHL career, and I don't see a reason for him to start tonight. The kid is unflappable and he won't be intimidated by a team just because they wear black jerseys, or because he's playing in the house that Mark Madsen built.
The Wild will be without a few key contributors tonight. Devin Setoguchi and Cal Clutterbuck are both out of the lineup with lower body injuries. Josh Harding is out with an upper body injuries. And of course Justin Falk (upper body), Guillaume Latendresse (concussion) and Marek Zidlicky (concussion) are all back in Minnesota, most likely hanging out together and following their teammates via in-game commentary presented by Sun Country. It's just what people do.
Please welcome Jeff Taffe to the Wild family tonight. Even though he's a former Gopher, he's apparently pretty good at hockey so we should give him a fair shake. He becomes the 11th Minnesotan to play for the home team, and the fourth this season. One of those four Minnesotans - Nate Prosser - will be scratched.
For the third straight game, the Wild will go with the road whites in this one. The Kings are sporting their road blacks trimmed in purple and white with the crown of King Vitaman on the chest.
We're done with an...umm...interesting rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by American Idol finalist Didi Benami, and we're set to go.
19:36 - MIN 1 - LAK 0 - We'll take this start even though we prefer to give up the first goal. Jared Spurgeon cranks a shot wide of former UMass-Lowell Riverhawk Jonathan Quick. The puck dies behind the net where Mikko Koivu swoops in, circles the net and tucks in a wraparound. Taffe gets an assist on his first shift as a Wild which now has the club's fastest goal ever scored to start a road game. If you're wondering, the fastest Wild goal ever came at the 20 second mark on a goal by Matt "Boom Boom" Johnson.
17:28 - Right after taking a big hit from Dustin Brown, Taffe jumps right back into the play and punches a rebound right on, but Quick comes up with a big stop.
16:29 - Nick "The Hammer" Schultz shows off his physical play by stepping up and smoking former Miami University Redhawk, Alec Martinez. That starts the play the other way, which ends with a Nick Johnson scoring chance.
10:10 - Hackett has had a little more time to breathe than he did the last game. His first test comes here on a low shot by Drew Doughty that Hackett gets just enough of to send it skittering out of the crease area.
8:59 - That Brown loves to hit, but the problem with this check is that he lays it on Pierre-Marc Bouchard well after Butch gave up the puck. We do not need any of our skill guys getting run into the boards.
8:02 - Bailey the Kings mascot is causing all kinds of ruckus with the fans sitting directly in front of me in the press box here. When I think of Bailey, I think of the time I was here two years ago when there was an intermission contest with people in sumo outfits. Bailey jumped on the losing sumo wrestler, who then remained on the ice for about the next 15 minutes and had to be carted off. Always good when your mascot hospitalizes a paying customer.
6:38 - Butch makes a great block of a shot from the point and he's off to the races on a breakaway. He catches up to the puck and then makes a move to the backhand, trying to tuck one through the five hole. Quick stays with him and is able to make a stop with the leg pillows.
2:05 - Oh my! The Kings best scorer, Anze Kopitar is hit with a pass at the bottom of the left circle. He's got a wide open net but can't get the shot off right away. But the time he does, Hackett slides over and flashes the lobster mitt up in time to knock the puck away. A huge save for the youngster.
0:00 - We'll take two more periods just like that, but first the guys need to rehydrate and I need to dominate some press box popcorn.
18:35 - MIN 2 - LAK 0 - Count it! In the home building of Kobe Bryant, it's the Kyle Brodziak line "doin' work." It all starts with Johnson throwing a shallow angle shot on goal. Quick makes that stop but the trio keeps storming the net and Quick can't recover. After several whacks, it's Darroll Powe that punches home the loose puck. Those guys never stop making hay do they?
15:12 - Brodziak takes Kopitar hard into the endboards. This doesn't look dirty at all as he gets him from the side while both are going for the puck. Kopitar goes hard into the boards and head first, and he's down. That brings in several Kings who exchange some punches with Brodzy, who is giong to get a five minute major out of this and a game misconduct. That seems pretty excessive for a hit from the side, but the Wild are going to go shorthanded at forward for the rest of the night.
14:22 - A lot of open ice right now with the teams skating at four-on-four. Andrei Loktionov puts a wicked tip on a shot in the slot but Hackett plays it beautifully with a pad stop.
10:11 - The five minute major...killed. And the Kings really didn't even have a premier scoring attempt the entire time.
10:06 - Former Michigan Wolverine Jack Johnson steps up into the zone and snaps a hard, low shot pegged for the far corner, but Hackett again comes up big with a stretching glove save.
6:26 - Right off the draw in the Wild zone, the puck is won back to Brown at the top of the circle. He one-times a blast and once again, it's not a problem for Hackett as he turns away the 21st Kings shot tonight.
3:58 - MIN 3 - LAK 0 - Boom! This building is deflated. It's as if they just found out a blockbuster basketball deal fell through, but worse. On a lengthy delayed penalty, the Wild carries the puck from its own zone into the Kings zone. Heatley puts a pass into the slot where Marco Scandella is joining the rush. Scandella picks the puck up off a bounce and then rips a wrister past Quick. Another team effort with everyone contributing tonight. As Chris Rock said about cornbread, "Ain't nothin' wrong with that."
1:38 - The Kings are just getting undisciplined right now. Already down a man, Kopitar takes a hooking penalty, which will give the Wild a two-man advantage for 59 seconds. Mike Yeo calls timeout to draw up a play that will put this thing away.
0:00 - This one isn't over yet folks, so don't go to sleep. You'll want to be awake in about a half hour to celebrate a California Sweep.
19:04 - The Wild has come out steaming to start each period. The boys nearly bag another early one as Powe gets the puck and gets loose in the slot. He zips a wrist shot right on that Quick snaps out of the air with the glove.
17:11 - Casey Wellman gets a step on former Boston College Eagle Rob Scuderi up the left side. He's able to muscle a backhander on goal that Quick denies.
16:01 - MIN 3 - LAK 1 - Apparently, Matt Hackett won't have a 0.00 goals against average for his entire NHL career. But he sure did post a long shutout streak of 102 minutes and 36 seconds to start it. The Kings finally break through when Hackett kicks out a Jack Johnson shot, but former Maine Black Bear Dustin Penner is camped in the slot and he fires the rebound into the gaping net.
14:29 - The Kings have come to life and won't roll over on this one. Kopitar dangles in the slot before putting a low shot on goal. Hackett makes the stop but the puck bounces around in the danger zone and Kopitar has another chance, poking the rebound just wide of the cage.
14:02 - Bouchard nearly ices this one. He steps up and steals an errant clearing attempt right at the top of the circles. He takes one step and then rips a slap shot that glances off Quick and then off the post.
11:11 - Hackett doesn't seem to be fazed by his first NHL goal against. He comes way out of his crease to make a huge stop on a Doughty blast, and he recovers quickly to take a rebound attempt away from Trent Hunter. He's now posted 36 saves on the night. Kid is the real deal.
8:18 - MIN 4 - LAK 1 - Cody Almond with the dagger. He gets loose in between the circles and does what coaches preach at an early age, puts the puck on net. He lets a wrister go that looks pretty harmless, but it squeezes through the padding of Quick and slides gingerly over the red line. It's Almond's first of the year and his first since scoring his first NHL goal at the end of the 2009-10 season.
6:54 - Koivu gets the puck on his stick about 20 feet out and he pumps a rocket right on that Quick has to be catlike to grab with the lobster mitt. The Wild are looking for more. Winners are never satisfied.
3:28 - MIN 4 - LAK 2 - It's not quite over. After Kyle Clifford puts a nice tip on a long shot from the point, Hackett is forced into a tough pad save. Hunter follows up the play and is able to poke one in during the scramble. It's the 100th goal in Hunter's career and his first as a King.
2:27 - Slava Voynov, who I'm guessing is from Russia, has a chance from the right circle. Hackett has to slide over from the opposite side, but he is perfectly positioned to make a gorgeous glove save with a bit of a flourish at the end.
1:36 - Quick is out of the net.
0:00 - Nothing like a trip to California with sun, celebrities and six points in the suitcase. So long Cali. You were good to us!