As a team the Kings are break even in their last 10 games and were only one game above .500 for the month of November. Not exactly setting the world on fire. Individually, the guy that carried the team for the first six weeks of the season - Anze Kopitar - has pulled a Frolov like disappearing act, having not found the back of the net in 9 games now. Back in early September I wrote about the budding bro-mance between Kopi and Ryan Smyth (click HERE for the 'love' article) and it sure seems like he's somewhat lost without him right now.
Then, there's Wayne 'the Train' Simmonds...he's scored a goal in three straight games now, the second time he's pulled that stunt already this season.
His ability to score timely goals is starting to shine through. Here are 10 things you might now now about 'theTrain':
* 109 and Counting - Was one of five Kings players to play in all 82 games last season. He's added to that total by playing in all 27 so far this season.
* He was born August 26th, the same day as former King Steve Carlson. Yes, that guy - 'Killer' Carlson from the movie Slap Shot. Steve played just one season for the Kings, back in '79-80. He played a few more years in the CHL and AHL before eventually coaching the Johnstown Chiefs of the ECHL. Life imitating art. By the way, if you've never seen the movie, your homework assignment for tomorrow night is to rent it. A true classic.
* Grew up in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada. Actors Mike Myers, John Candy and Jim Carrey also spent time in Scarborough during their youth. Candy also had (loose) ties to the Kings back in the '90s. He was friends with then owner Bruce McNall and Wayne Gretzky. The three also bought a Canadian football team together in 1991.
* While Kopitar won this year's Eddie Joyal Award (read article by clicking HERE), Simmonds did tie him for the preseason goal lead with 5...and he did it in just six games.
* In 2006-07 and part of '07-08 he played Junior hockey as part of the Owen Sound Attack - the same team that Brad Richardson played for from 2001-2005. It was the '04-05 season where Richardson scored...sit down for this one...41 goals in 68 regular season games. Anaheim's Bobby Ryan was part of that team and was still around when Simmonds joined the team (Richardson left the year before). To put Richardson's accomplishment in perspective, Ryan scored 37 goals in 62 games on that same team. Wow. Those two may never be mentioned in the same sentence again when talking about goals. King prospect Trevor Lewis also played there one year with Simmonds, 2006-07.
* With Owen Sound out of the playoff picture, Simmonds was traded to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for the final 31 games (and playoffs) during the '07-08 season. The legendary Greyhounds have a long long list of NHL alumni - including former Kings Charlie Simmer, Wayne Gretzky, Paul Coffey, Rick Tocchet - oh yeah, and Dan Cloutier.
* International Play - was on the 2008 World Juniors team for Canada, a gold medal winning team that included fellow Kings Drew Doughty; Kings prospects Jon Bernier and Thomas Hickey...and two kids named Steven Stamkos and John Tavares. Quite a line-up.
* From the age of 16 until joining the NHL last year, he had consistently been a point a game player each year. Last season, his first in the NHL, he averaged about a point every four games. He's picked it up this year, with 15 points in 23 games (.56 points per game).
* 2007 NHL Draft - Dean Lombardi turned a lot of heads that year, taking Thomas Hickey of the Seattle Thunderbirds with the 4th overall pick (Patrick Kane went #1 to the Blackhawks and Philly selected American born James van Riemsdyk #2). The Kings threw a huge, ultra expensive, open bar party at the new Hollywood and Highland that year to celebrate the draft day activities. They took Oscar Moller with their first of two picks in the second round (#52 overall) and then selected Simmonds #61 overall (the last pick of the second round). Interestingly, that pick had ties to Anaheim. The Kings acquired it on Feb 25, 2007 as part of the compensation from Vancouver when LA shipped Brett Sopel to the Canucks. Vancouver had originally received the pick when Anaheim hired coach Randy Carlyle in August 2005.
* Foreshadowing - In just his 3rd NHL game Simmonds scored his first career goal. Who were the Kings playing that night? Jean-Sébastien Giguère and the Anaheim Ducks.
Perhaps Wayne the Train and the rest of the Kings can ride the rails out of Anaheim with two points tonight. The puck drops in about an hour.
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