In Like Flinn?

By Tony Calfo

The Kings called up Ryan Flinn and gave him his shot. The result has been a shot in the arm for the Kings.

21-year-old Ryan Flinn came to the Kings a week ago. After being scratched against the Ducks, he got his shot last Thursday in a game against Minnesota. His first scrap was with Brad Brown- a tough customer but no heavyweight. The results- a TKO and Brown has not returned to the ice yet. Flinn showed a vicious right as he disposed of Brown. The fight energized the team and the person who should benefit from Flinn’s arrival the most, Ziggy Palffy, scored a short handed goal just minutes later.

After an uneventful game in L.A. against Colorado, Flinn and the Kings took the ice in Denver Monday night and the fans got what they wanted- Scott Parker and Ryan Flinn squared off. Flinn stung Parker with a solid right that did major damage to Parker’s face. Parker kept his face away from Flinn for a few seconds and then threw a couple crushing rights, one that sent Flinn to a knee. A great fight with Parker getting a slight edge, despite the fact he did not skate again the rest of the evening.

Two fights and two impressive showings. Ryan Flinn has inflicted some damage on two NHL tough guys, and stood toe to toe with one of the toughest- Scott Parker. After watching the Kings get pushed around in the first half of the season, it is apparent that Ryan Flinn is the man right now.

If the choice comes down to the three enforcers who have skated for the Kings this season (Flinn, Brennan and Ken Belanger), Flinn has emerged as the clear leader. Flinn’s fight against Parker has been ranked anywhere from a win to a “pummeling” in favor of Parker, as listed in the local paper. Whatever your interpretation of the fight, the bottom line is that Flinn hurt one of the NHL’s toughest customers. His punching power is undeniable and he seems to fear no one. Brennan is only 21 and can still develop his game in Manchester. Belanger is another story. He has no value to another team and is too injury prone to rely on. Replacing Flinn with Belanger would be a mistake.

Flinn does need some work. As previously stated, he does need to develop his skating. His puck handling has been average and he is aggressive towards the net. One thing he absolutely will need to work on is avoiding the big punch. He took a couple from Brad Brown and Parker did knock him to a knee. Even during his ECHL stay, Flinn was not adept at eluding punches at that would take its toll if he stays with the big club. As the stories of Flinn’s power grow, he will find many willing combatants who want to try him. The NHL level fighters could lay a hurting on him if he tries to trade punches.

The bottom line is that Flinn has showed he is the guy. He is ahead of Brennan right now and is generating some excitement in Los Angeles.