Kings Preseason Game 1

By Tony Calfo
The Kings took on the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday for their first preseason game of the 2000 season. The lineup featured several youngsters. Here is a rundown of their performance.

Kevin Baker– Baker did not receive alot of ice time but showed some promise. Kevin’s stocky build and aggressive play showed when he got his shot on the power play. He drove to the net several times and was not afraide to crash the net. He appeared tough to move and got his stick on a couple rebounds. Baker also did not back down from veteran Brad May, even throwing a nice check on the Phoenix forward. Kevin may be a year away, but I definitely like his game.

Mike Pudlick– Pudlick started out strong. It is amazing watching him skate and pass because he moves like a left handed Rob Blake. His decisions with the puck were sound, although he made some mistakes in the third period. Mike was paired with Rob Blake and didn’t show much in the way of physical play, but he has a shot at the roster this season.

Andreas Lilja– Lilja is definitely big. His size gives him a shot at the roster this season, but other than that he didn’t do much. I thought he was sleepwalking through the first two periods. He had better show more of a physical presence if he wants to make the team.

Eric Belanger– I was very surprised with Belanger. I had basically written him off after the multitude of injuries he has suffered but he showed some grit, some playmaking ability and a sound overall game. His passing was pretty good and he threw a couple good checks. I don’t know where they would play him, but Belanger showed some offensive ability that is missing on this team.

Lubomir Visnovsky– Visnovsky got some time on the power play and seemed at home at the point. He is extremely small but he positions himself well and is very good with the puck. He would be a nice complement to the big defensemen on the roster. I would like to see him get a chance.

Tomas Vlasak– Vlasak is fast and skates well. There was not alot of offense in this game but Vlasak’s nose for the puck and skating ability makes me think that he could have a big year on a line with Stumpel and Palffy. I think he will surprise alot of people.

Many of the older prospects like Steve Reinprecht and Scott Thomas were quiet. The coming games should showcase more of the top-line prospects.