Two things to take away from the Kings’ first-round series against St. Louis Blues in the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs: Kings fans are spoiled and have no appreciation for goalie Jonathan Quick.
Sure, Quick is the reason the Kings lost Game 2 of the series against the Blues. It was the last game the Kings lost.
How quickly Kings fans forget how the team won the Stanley Cup last year. Timely short-handed goals were part of it. But make no mistake, Quick’s stingy net-minding were a big part of it too. Whenever the Kings scored a short-handed goal in the playoffs, Quick made sure it didn’t go to waste.
It took him a couple of games to gather his playoff legs, but Quick looks like he is back on his game.
It is the bandwagon Kings fans who want to blame Quick for every loss. Those fans need to keep their mouths shut and their eyes open.
Alas, there are those fans who expect nothing less than another Stanley Cup. Those fans have no room to complain. Those fans weren’t at the Forum with 300 of their closest friends watching coach Tom Webster playing dump and chase with Wayne Gretzky.
Those new Stanley Cup demanding fans have not suffered enough. The Kings’ winning the Stanley Cup last year was nothing short of a miracle. They were the eighth seed in the playoffs, the last team to qualify for the playoffs. They were road warriors playing unconscious hockey in places they had no business winning. They were a good team that hit a hot streak at exactly the right time.
To put it in perspective, the Kings have been so bad in recent years, that the next series against the Sharks is the first time since 1992 that the Kings have had home-ice advantage in the playoffs.
The last time the Kings won a playoff series with home-ice advantage was in 1989, when the Smythe Division existed and the San Jose Sharks didn’t. (Thank you, Arash Markarzi.)
These Kings are definitely Stanley Cup contenders again, perhaps even better than last year’s team. But if they fall short, it takes nothing away from what they accomplished last year.
Expectations are high, but only one team can win the Stanley Cup. Until they’re eliminated, go Kings go!
Saugus sophomore Abbey Weitzeil won two individual titles at the CIF Southern Section Division 1 finals at the Riverside Aquatics Complex and set two records in the process.
She won the 100-yard freestyle in 49.01 seconds breaking the Southern Section Division 1 record of 49.26 seconds set by Courtney Cashion of Irvine in 2004.
Weitzeil lowered her mark to 48.83 seconds in the first leg of the 4×100 freestyle relay. Because it was the first leg of a relay, the 100-yard freestyle Southern Section Division 1 record is 48.83 seconds.
She also won the 50-yard freestyle race in 22.25 seconds, breaking her own Southern Section Division 1 record. She was 0.01 seconds off the state record of 22.24 seconds set by Maddy Schaefer of St. Francis High in Mountain View in 2010.
Weitzeil’s time in the 50 freestyle was the fourth fastest in the country, according to the National Federation of High Schools Association.
Six high school baseball teams from the Santa Clarita Valley are in the CIF playoffs. Three are from the Foothill League and only one of those teams has a home game.
West Ranch, which reached the semifinals in the CIF baseball playoffs last year, opens against Los Alamitos at home on Thursday. Los Alamitos is the third-place team from the Sunset League.
West Ranch won a share of the Foothill League championship with Canyon.
The Cowboys, making their first CIF playoff appearance in six years, play on the road on Thursday against Loyola, the second-place team from the Mission League.
Canyon perhaps has the worst draw of any team from the Santa Clarita Valley. Loyola is 19-10 and stumbled into the playoffs after losing a pair of games to Chaminade to end the season.
Before that, Loyola put together a 12-game winning streak that started with a 9-4 victory over Hart on April 4 in the Scott Boras Classic.
Loyola and Canyon met once already this season. Canyon beat Loyola, 4-3, in the Anaheim Lions Tournament in April. The Cowboys scored three runs in the fourth inning to erase a 3-1 deficit.
The Valencia baseball team, the third-place team from the Foothill League, opened the CIF playoffs in the wild-card round on Tuesday against Westlake.
The Santa Clarita Christian baseball team won the Heritage League and will open at home in the Southern Section Division 7 playoffs against Delphi Academy.
The Trinity Classical Academy baseball team, the second-place team from the Heritage League, plays Coast Union High in Cambria in the first round of the Southern Section Division 7 playoffs.
The Albert Einstein Academy baseball team made its first trip to the CIF playoffs and played Faith Baptist in the wild-card round of the Southern Section Division 7 playoffs on Tuesday.
The West Ranch softball team opens the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs against Rancho Cucamonga. West Ranch won the Foothill League championship with an undefeated 10-0 record. Rancho Cucamonga is the third-place team from the Baseline League.
The Saugus softball team plays Orange Lutheran on the road in the first round of the Division 1 playoffs.
The Valencia softball team opened in the wild-card round of the Southern Section Division 1 playoffs against Santa Margarita from the Trinity League on Tuesday.
Tim Haddock is the sports director for KHTS AM 1220. He also writes for the Ventura County Star, the SCV Beacon, the Team USA website, SB Nation and covers NASCAR for the K&N website. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @thaddock.