Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers

Kings, Rangers fans set to engage in Twitter battle

Technically, you could probably say that fans engage in “Twitter battles” during every game of the season. In fact, people who hold a rival team in particular distaste rarely let the league’s schedule makers determine when they’ll launch their insults. Sometimes the results are charming and amusing; other times it gets ugly or downright creepy. Then again, that’s the danger and delight of the Internet: it opens up all kinds of avenues – not all of them are good, though.

Hopefully the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers will bring out the best in their fan bases this afternoon, though. The two squads are encouraging fans to participate in a “hashtag” battle on Twitter, while at least one of the teams will make sure that a local charity is the biggest winner. Here’s a quick rundown of the setup, via the Kings:

  • Fans can enter a tweet that includes one of two hashtags: #GoLAKings or #GoNYRangers.
  • Fans who use the #GoLAKings tag will be entered in a drawing to win a free round trip ticket via Delta Airlines. (Delta will fly anyone to one of their destinations in the United States or Canada.)
  • The Kings will donate $1,000 for every 5,000 tweets to the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles.

It’s unclear what the Rangers are doing for fans who go in their direction, but it’s likely that charitable organizations would benefit from their side as well. (Feel free to share the Rangers’ plans in the comments.)

In the spirit of the situation, it would be ideal if fans kept their tweets clean. Example: avoid controversial subjects like the two franchises’ battle to land Brad Richards and stick to common ground issues, such as communal mockery of Sean Avery.

Anyway, it’s a great way for the two teams to promote a game that will take place at unusual time for casual fans while also generating charitable donations. Much like the Washington Capitals teaming up with the Pittsburgh Penguins to benefit the families of the Lokomotiv victims, it’s fantastic to see “opposing forces” come together for great causes.

Bruins’ second line officially goes under the microscope

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While much has been written about the Boston Bruins’ depleted defense, there’s also a good amount of intrigue about the forward group, which will look dramatically different tonight compared to last year’s season opener.

Here are the Bruins’ expected lines versus the Jets:

Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronLoui Eriksson
Matt BeleskeyDavid KrejciDavid Pastrnak
Jimmy HayesRyan SpoonerBrett Connolly
Chris KellyJoonas KemppainenZac Rinaldo

The line most under the microscope may be that second one. In today’s Boston Globe, there’s a lengthy story on Krejci. The 29-year-old center with the big contract only played 47 games last season due to injuries. He finished with just 31 points.

So, where is Krejci’s game now?

Then there’s free-agent addition Matt Beleskey, a.k.a. Milan Lucic‘s replacement. Prior to scoring 22 times last year for the Ducks, the 27-year-old Beleskey had never tallied more than 11 goals in a season.

So, is Beleskey a legitimate top-six forward?

On the other wing, it’s David Pastrnak, the 19-year-old who, somewhat surprisingly, emerged as one of the top rookies in the league last year.

So, can Pastrnak take another step forward?

“It’s been a good three plus weeks where we’ve been able to kind of work individually, as a group, as a line, with different players and different personalities,” said coach Claude Julien. “We’re pleased with it. We’re optimistic and we just have to let things work themselves out too.”

Lucic: If I wanted to hurt Couture, ‘I would have hurt him’


Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.

Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.

This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.

“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”

While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”

And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.

Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.

In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.

Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks