Advertisement

Just No Defense for Loss by Kings : Hockey: Hrudey is last-minute starter. He faces 51 shots in a 6-2 loss to Blackhawks.

Share via
TIMES STAFF WRITER

In pregame warm-ups Thursday night at Chicago Stadium, Daniel Berthiaume, the Kings’ scheduled starting goalie, took a shot between the eyes from teammate Jeff Chychrun that cracked Berthiaume’s mask and sent him to a hospital with a splitting headache.

It could have been worse. Berthiaume could stayed in the net for the game.

Talk about splitting headaches.

Teammate Kelly Hrudey, filling in for Berthiaume, faced a whole night of blistering shots, tipped shots, spinning shots, slap shots and wrist shots.

Fifty-one in all.

Six of them found their way into the net as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Kings, 6-2, before a sellout crowd of 18,142, largest of the season in Chicago. The victory ended a five-game losing streak for the Blackhawks and extended the Kings’ losing string to four.

Advertisement

It’s not just that the Kings are losing. It’s how they are losing.

They have surrendered 100 shots in two games. They were outshot by Chicago, 51-24. In two games, they have been outshot, 100-52. The Kings were outshot, 20-7, in the first period of both Thursday night’s game and Tuesday night’s loss to the San Jose Sharks. It doesn’t take a hockey genius to figure that any club giving up that many shots is going to give up a lot of goals as well.

There are a lot of places to point the accusing finger--too many rebounds, too few black jerseys in front of the net to clear the puck, too many Blackhawks beating the Kings to the puck.

But King General Manager Rogie Vachon pointed his finger at an all-inclusive factor.

“The last two games we have been outworked,” Vachon said, “and I don’t like it. When it’s time to go get the puck, we don’t do it.”

No argument from assistant coach Cap Raeder, who, along with fellow assistant Rick Wilson, is running the team while Coach Tom Webster serves out a 12-game suspension for stick throwing.

“We have to pick up our work ethic,” Raeder said. “For three games we’ve been caught outnumbered on the rush and losing the battles in front of the net. You can hang your head or pick your head up and go to work the next day.”

The offensive star for Chicago was wing Brian Noonan who scored the Blackhawks’ first goal and added two more to give him the first hat trick of his career and double his season goal total.

Advertisement

Noonan’s last goal went into an empty net with a little more than 1 1/2 minutes to play after the Kings had pulled Hrudey.

Also scoring for Chicago (11-12-5) were Keith Brown (his fifth goal), Jeremy Roenick (18th) and Dirk Graham (seventh).

The Blackhawks had a 2-0 lead after one period, made it 3-1 after two and then sealed the victory with three third-period goals.

Scoring for the Kings were Charlie Huddy (his first of the season) and Mike Donnelly (13th) as the Kings dropped to 11-11-6.

Even after Berthiaume was hurt, he indicated to Hrudey that he was going to play. When Hrudey finally learned he would start, only two minutes remained until the opening faceoff.

“I don’t care if you’re a veteran or a rookie,” Hrudey said, “it’s a scary situation when you don’t expect to play, you don’t prepare and you get thrown to the wolves.”

Advertisement

Teammate Larry Robinson has seen a few slumps in his 20 seasons in the NHL. But even he has to shake his head at this one.

“We’re not executing,” he said. “Our power play stinks, we’re not being assertive in front of the goal, we’re not shooting enough and we’re not being intense.

“Kelly should sue us for non-support.”

King Notes

Although the injury to Daniel Berthiaume was not believed to be serious, he was held overnight in Illinois Masonic Hospital for observation. . . . Former King John Tonelli had two assists and teammate Steve Konroid had three.

Advertisement