January 09, 2009
Peter Harrold is a defenseman for the Los Angeles Kings. If anyone can locate either his skates or his jock, please inform the team. Because Anaheim Ducks winger Bobby Ryan faked him out of both last night with this spin-o-rama goal that gave him a natural hat-trick:
Ross mentioned it in giving Ryan the No. 2 star last night, but enough can't be said about this: We're talking about three goals in the span of 2 minutes and 21 seconds to single-handedly rally his team to a 3-3 tie. (Go ahead and be a stickler about the first goal coming at the end of the second period, Debbie Downer.) As individual efforts go, it's one of the season's best so far, without question.
He's also been one of the season's best stories, too. The No. 2 overall pick in 2005 behind Sidney Crosby (and really, that draft is looking more surreal as the years go by), he toiled in the AHL and had to play through strong indications that he could be moved out of salary cap concerns earlier this season.
Instead, he was called up on Nov. 16 and has posted 11 goals and 14 assists, and nine points on the power play; most importantly, 14 of his 25 points overall have come since Teemu Selanne's self-inflicted skate injury. That's pimp.
Of course, the bottom line is that the Ducks lost the game, 4-3, to the Kings after another effort of periodically sluggish hockey and a boneheaded "too many men on the ice" call that led to Alexander Frolov's power-play game-winner.
We were teased with this kind of parity in the Western Conference last season before Columbus and Phoenix faded; but as of right now, six teams are within four points of the eight seed, including Los Angeles. When you think about how vital the playoffs are to teams like the Blue Jackets and Coyotes -- and to a coach like Craig MacTavish, for example -- this playoff race is absolutely captivating.