Los Angeles Kings Pregame: Lords of Bumtown

Doug Johnson of the Puck Buddys issues this pregame report. Follow @PuckBuddys.

Los Angeles is just New York lying down.” – Quentin Crisp

The Puck Drop: As hockey analysts go, it’s a fair bet the late Naked Civil Servant numbers among the more improbable. Yet we can’t find a better clear-eyed summation of the 2012 Los Angeles Kings than Mr. Crisp’s tart bon mot. Where the New York Rangers are a team that is on its toes, the L.A. Kings are lazing in a recumbant slough with nary the will to move. (“Someone get me a bucket!”)

Their last game before Monday’s dance with the Caps should illustrate the point. A sorry 31 shots on goal, with eight power plays (one 5-on-3) and not a single puck finds the twine? Against the Blue Jackets? At least in Versailles the ruined monarchy mustered the spirit to play a rousing set or two of tennis, and look what happened to them. Awkward!

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Photo credit: Richard Wolowicz

On Sunday Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov returned home after Russia lost to Sweden in the 2012 Word Junior Championship gold medal game. Kuznetsov, who was named the MVP of the tournament and to the WJC All-Star team for the second year in a row, did not smile for photos or wear his silver medal after the game.

When he arrived at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, Kuznetsov was greeted by SovSport correspondents and asked his thoughts about winning silver, beating Canada, and his plans for next year. Below the jump, I offer a translation.

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Video: Mike Green Reinjures His Groin or Something

Photo credit: Greg Fiume

In the Capitals’ 3-1 victory over the Flames Tuesday, Mike Green made his grand return to the line-up after sitting out nearly two months with a groin injury. We made him signs. It was a thing.

The best part of the win was that Green made it completely through the game without re-injuring himself. In his last two comeback attempts from injury, Green has found himself back on the shelf his first game back (concussion on February 25, groin injury on November 11).

Well, two games into his latest return, Green took a rough run from San Jose Sharks’ center Andrew Desjardins behind the Capitals’ goal. Take a look for yourself:

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Dennis Wideman swims with the sharks. (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)

The Washington Capitals had a good bit of time off before heading to California to face the San Jose Sharks. In that time, Mike Green continued his rehabilitation, Alex Semin returned to game-shape, and Nicky Backstrom’s head kept him out of action. No one was expecting an easy opener to the road trip, but this was ridiculous.

The back of Tomas Vokoun’s skate knocked in the first goal of the night, but Jason Demers got credit for it. Dennis Wideman crashed the net on the power play to tie it back up. Brent Burns converted a late second period power play with the help of a few screens. Joel Ward scored his first goal since November 5th to tie it up, but Patrick Marleau re-established the lead just 16 seconds later. Marc-Edouard Vlasic put the Caps in a pickle with a 4-on-4 goal, then Torrey Mitchell got the empty netter. Sharks beat Caps 5-2.

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