Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau played his outdoor hockey under the lights, Kings Coach Darryl Sutter under the stars.
Growing up in Finland, Ducks center Saku Koivu played not on Golden Pond, but on frozen swamps. Kings center Mike Richards spent almost every winter day skating up and down the outdoor community center rink run by his parents in Kenora, Ontario....
In a roundabout way, for player and coach, all those memories will merge Saturday in the most unlikely of venues, Dodger Stadium. For highly paid and occasionally jaded professionals, the excitement level for the NHL's Stadium Series game between the Ducks and Kings is genuine and palpable.
"You'd play with your winter shoes on," Koivu said. "After school, you drop your bag and know there'd be a lot of kids playing. When you think about it, that's what hockey is all about, at its purest.
"There was no pressure. You were just out there having fun, pretending you're somebody in the NHL or the top Finnish league. Now playing in an outdoor game at Dodger Stadium, it's a big step for the kid from Finland."
Kukla's Korner Hockey
LA Kings equipment manager Darren Granger discusses what adjustments have been made for the outdoor game at Dodger Stadium.
One of the challenges, keeping the players cool.
from Lisa Dillman and Lance Pugmire of the LA Times,
Where have I heard this before?
"It's a mans game and you'd better be prepared to be hit."
-Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau after beating the LA Kings 2-1 last night.
More from Scott Burnside of ESPN plus Custance on the Senators, LeBrun on the Leafs and Strang on the Blues.
Perry was given 2 for unsportsmanlike conduct.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Over time, Dodger Stadium has played host to Pope John Paul II and the Beatles, Real Madrid and Juventus soccer. Fleetwood Mac recorded there and movies from Transformers to Rock of Ageswere filmed there.
But on Jan. 25, Dodger Stadium will go back to being a playground of sorts when it plays host to perhaps the most unusual event in its history: an outdoor ice hockey game between the L.A. Kings and Anaheim Ducks.
Last Monday, after the world’s largest mobile refrigeration truck had pulled into the parking lot,3rd Base, Dodger Stadium had already been converted from baseball’s hot corner to the boundary of an elevated, highly engineered floor that will eventually form the base of the rink where the Ducks and Kings will play the 782nd game of the NHL season against a backdrop of palm trees and the San Gabriel Mountains.
There is some thought the NHL might be killing the golden goose by scheduling six outdoor games this season instead of just the one or two, but it is hard to dispute the appeal of this one – a warm-weather game played in California, which is suddenly the new state of hockey south of the Canadian border.
via the Anaheim Ducks,
Following continued pain and discomfort, Ducks defenseman Sheldon Souray had successful surgery on his right wrist today in Los Angeles at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic (Dr. Steve Shin). The procedure was to relieve arthritis symptoms related to his ligament tear. Souray will miss the remainder of the season.
Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray:
"This is a difficult situation for Sheldon and a tough loss for the team. Sheldon has been in pain for quite some time. This surgery was his best course of action in order to alleviate pain and discomfort, and regain full mobility in his wrist. Sheldon's long-term health is the most important issue right now, and we support his difficult decision to have this surgery."
via Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Veteran defenseman Sheldon Souray of the Anaheim Ducks is expected to undergo season-ending wrist surgery Friday, a source told ESPN.com.
Souray, 37, has not played a game this season as he tried to come back from the wrist injury that he suffered last summer.
Souray made a solid debut with the Ducks last season, getting seven goals and 10 assists with a plus-19 rating.
from Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun,
Monday night’s 1-0 loss to the Kings was called a statement game by the Canucks. But two nights later, they didn’t have a whole lot to say.
The players had talked about becoming tougher to play against after that emotional game against the Kings. Wednesday night, they were only tough to watch.
Coach John Tortorella had talked about “owning the ice.” The Canucks pretty much leased it out to the Ducks.
Tortorella was almost speechless after the game, refusing to say much about the team’s worst loss in ages.
“I am not even going to try and explain it,” he said. “It was one of those nights, so we plow on to our next game and get ready to play that one.”
Asked what disturbed him the most, Tortorella said: “A lot of things. It does me no good, it does the players no good to discuss what happened here. The biggest thing for us is we just need to get out of here and get ready for our next game.”
Until this team can solve its acute offensive problems, wins are going to be hard to come by against the NHL’s top teams.
added 8:58am, Below, watch Garry Valk of Sportsnet break-down the loss.
"There's not a chance in hell that I'm moving Jonas Hiller. "I'm tired of hearing about the rumors. I can tell you Jonas is not going anywhere."
-Bob Murray, GM of the Anaheim Ducks. A bit more from Pierre LeBurn of ESPN.
from Lance Pugmire of the LA Times,
Someone has to pay for Jonas Hiller's success. This season it has been the Ducks' opponents, but later this summer it could be the Ducks.
Should the Ducks' goaltender beat the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night, he'll become one of eight goaltenders in NHL history to win 13 consecutive games.
Hiller's hot streak has helped the Ducks (32-8-5) to the best record in the NHL and — considering he's in the final year of his contract — his pay should inflate significantly beyond his current $4.5-million salary.
Hiller said his agent and the Ducks have spoken "a couple times" since the season began. Given the team's depth at the position, he's unsure "what they want to see" before a deal would be finalized.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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