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Game 28: Kings At Avalanche, Preview And Open Thread

Los Angeles Kings
Colorado Avalanche
11-11-4 December 9, 2008 13-13-1
Pepsi Center
Denver, CO

"You know, I think they proved that they're a bunch of homers. I don't think they have the balls to play like that in our building, and, you know, they proved that."

Even though former Avalanche grinder Mike Keane spoke those words more than a decade ago, and after playing a different team, those words could have easily applied to the Los Angeles Kings after their despicable showing on November 22nd. With apparent orders from coach Terry Murray, the Kings' fourth line, led by bush leaguer John Zeiler, hit the ice with every intention of hurting somebody on the Avs. Unfortunately for Adam Foote, he was the "lucky" recipient of one of the worst boardings in the NHL so far this year. Zeiler used his arm to purposely shove Foote head-first into the boards, injuring the veteran defensemen so severely that he has yet to return to the Colorado lineup. He is reported to be skating again, but is still not ready for full contact.
Zeiler received a three-game suspension, which, when compared to the six-game suspension Sean Avery received for just being a douche bag, doesn't seem all that significant. I suppose the league thinks purposely injuring another player's body is less of a problem than purposely injuring another player's self-esteem. Such is the world in which we live, I suppose. Zeiler's suspension has been served, but since he's a terrible hockey player and at least three Avalanche players (Lappy and the Codys) would be quite happy to beat him to a pulp, it's unclear if he'll play tonight.
ADDENDUM: Dater says Zeiler will play, and that he didn't mean to hurt Foote, despite all the evidence to the contrary. That's nice. Nobody here is calling for him to get injured, but to put up his dukes and face some chin music for his troubles. Face-to-face, fist-to-fist, no cheap shots or anything remotely resembling the Bertuzzi Battery. Just in case that wasn't clear. (Hat tip to Dario.)
The Avs have won both of the two prior meetings between the teams this season. They will look to extend that streak to three. Peter Budaj will be in net (still on pace for 72 starts this year), with Jason LaBarbera staring at him from the opposing crease. LaBarbera's last game was a 3-0 shutout over the Blue Jackets, which would be impressive if it hadn't been against the Blue Jackets.
I wish I could watch this game (or any game, really). My last final exam is on Thursday and I'm a busy bee studying for it. For the rest of you, thread the hell out of this one for me. And I'm not just talking to the usual suspects (SlamDunkTheFunk, Savage33 and texacogirl). I want to see some new names involved tonight. Go Avs!
ESPN preview.

2008 - Jason LaBarbera 15 792 5 6 2 1 33 2.50 355 322 .907 2

2008 - Peter Budaj 24 1395 10 12 1 1 64 2.75 648 584 .901 1