NHL: New Kings Help Old Kings Put up Stinker in Nashville, Tennessee

Reed KaufmanCorrespondent IMarch 5, 2010

Newly acquired Jeff Halpern and Fredrik Modin were both in the lineup for the first time as Kings on Thursday night, when the Kings faced off against the Predators in Nashville, TN.

Unfortunately, it seemed that only the Predators were informed that an actual hockey game was to be played that night.

Jonathon Quick uncharacteristically misplayed the puck multiple times, two of which directly resulted in goals.

Perhaps these miscues caused the rest of the Kings to play erratically and carelessly throughout the game.

Sometimes, the way a goalie plays can influence the mindset of the skaters.  It’s impossible to determine whether this change occurs out of a conscious concern for the goalie’s abilities or whether the changes are an unconscious transmission of frustration and stress.    

Whatever it was, the entire group of Los Angeles Kings did not look like a playoff team Thursday night in Nashville.

Halpern and Modin were thrown together on the fourth line with Scott Parse, and although that line did not play badly, they certainly were not on the same page.

This is not to say that the loss and the poor play is to be blamed on the newcomers. In fact, it was quite the quite the contrary.

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Many might say that Jonathon Quick should own up and take the blame for this loss, since he did make two critical errors.

But that's not the way it works with the goaltender and a team.

Quick has been a consistent backstop all season, putting the Kings in position to win night after night and even stealing some games that the Kings failed to perform particularly well in.

Because of that, if Quick does have an off night, it is up to the men in front of him to step up and make plays to keep the team on top. In this game in particular, Quick’s play in net was not atrocious, he simply made a few errors while trying to play the puck.

Unfortunatly, nobody stepped up.

It felt as though the Kings expected Halpern and Modin to resurrect the team and take the game over. But they were not brought on to be the second coming of Jesus.  They were brought on to supplement the current system and help out with the defensive and the mentality of the team.

It is in situations like this that a team captain’s role becomes eminent. He needs to either motivate or perform.   Either talk some sense into your team or make a big play on the ice to snap your team team out of it. Dustin Brown is so versatile that with his skillset, he could make a huge hit on someone or make a hard play to the net.  But in this game against the Predators, he was nowhere to be found.

Hopefully, he will quickly learn that the pressure is on him to keep his team focused and motivated, because even though he is a terrific player, he has already failed in this area a few times this season.

It will be interesting to see what time of game the team brings back to Staples Center on Saturday versus the Montreal Canadiens. Game time is 7:00pm PST.

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