Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Mike Richards, it sounds like anyway, kept his word to the Mad Professor.
Faced with the possibility of his contract being bought out by the Stanley Cup champions, the 29-year-old Richards vowed to Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi in June that he would be more committed to his workouts this summer to help bring back the Mike Richards of old. He would commit himself to trying to bring back the player that Lombardi traded for in the summer of 2011, the one that help transform the Kings from pretenders into winners.
"This summer, I put in the work," Richards told ESPN.com over the phone Monday. "Of course, injuries can happen, but at least going into the season right now I feel good and I’ve skated a lot more than I have in the past. I feel prepared and I’m excited for the year."
As Richards pointed out, who knows exactly how that translates to his on-ice performance once the season starts, but he says he feels much better at this point than he did a year ago.
from Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider,
Los Angeles Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi isn’t one to surrender his own analytics blueprint, however.
“You can get my book when I’m done,” he joked.
He acknowledged that he has spoken on the phone “a number of times” with former Boston Red Sox General Manager and current Chicago Cubs Director of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein about the use of analytics, but won’t divulge how his own club’s decisions are based on the statistical resources that they’ve compiled.
“Like if you have a secret formula, why would you tell the world about it if you’re trying to win? You know what? Here we come.”
“It’s unbelievable, that question now,” Lombardi said about the analytics discussion. “Every guy from Toronto’s calling me now because they did it. So all their writers call. There’s a perception out here that we have the Holy Grail – some magic formula – that that’s why we’re winning, and Lombardi’s got this blah blah blah. And so, just like you’re talking there, it’s not only the way you play, right, that they copy you, but now they want to know what you’re doing. So, yeah, maybe we have been [using analytics]. But don’t forget, too, like I’ve always said. There’s a big difference between data and knowledge, and how you use it. Be careful. And the other thing, too, is that you’ll never convince me that emotion isn’t a huge part of this game, more than any other game.”
from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,
The Kings general manager talked about the current approach from his players as they get ready for their Stanley Cup defense. It is, he noted, a subtle contrast from when they first won the Cup in 2012.
“They were on a mission when they left [for the summer],” Lombardi said. “We’ve never had so many players back this early. When I saw them, they looked really good. There seems to be a different focus … something better than even the first time.”
He later joked that the players were all trying to be like their teammate, the ultra-lean Jeff Carter.
Lombardi provided an update on goalie Jonathan Quick, who had offseason wrist surgery. Quick has suffered no setbacks, according to the Kings GM.
“He just started talking shots now … but he’s still got to go slow,” Lombardi said.
The regular season starts Oct. 8 against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center.
Will Quick get into any preseason games?
“It’s going to go right down to the wire, but we think we’re fine,” Lombardi said. “We’ve got [Martin] Jones if we have to go short-term.”
a bit more
“Knowing any more is just going to throw me off my game. I am what I am because I have to be those things. I’m not an overly skilled guy. I’m not the fastest guy out there. I don’t have the hardest shot. I have to do things that make me effective. That’s corner work. That’s winning battles. That’s making plays in my zone and in the offensive zone so that we can keep the puck. It’s making plays at the blue line. I’ve just done what I have to do to stay in the league.”
-Justin Williams of the LA Kings on advanced analytics. Craig Custance of ESPN talked with numerous players on this topic and it is for subscribers only. I
I suggest you sign up as anESPN Insider, it covers all sports and just the hockey insiders and topics are worth it.
from Curtis Zupke at NHL.com,
Is there a cumulative effect of playing 64 Stanley Cup Playoff games the past three seasons? -- Listen to Lombardi on how the Kings finished the playoffs last season.
"I remember coming back to New York after losing Game 4 and walking in the back of the [trainer's room]," he said. "It was like Gettysburg. It was unbelievable how banged up these guys were, and nobody knows."
The Kings were also one of the most penalized teams in the League in 2013-14, sometimes a sign of mental fatigue. But the Kings are now less of a grind-it-out team and play more of an attacking style, which would seem to lend itself to less wear-and-tear that caught up with them in the 2013 playoffs.
Will the Kings sleepwalk through another regular season? A better question might be, does it matter? -- The Kings have finished eighth, fifth and sixth in the Western Conference the past three seasons and come out with two Cups. No one will blink an eye if they don't get home-ice advantage for the fourth straight season, except for coach Darryl Sutter grumbling about travel and schedule.
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
Dionne, who amassed 1,771 points over the course of his 18-year NHL career, said he enjoyed his time playing, even if the financial landscape was such a contrast from the multimillion-dollar mega-deals players are signing now.
“When we played, it was for thousands of dollars; now it’s for millions of dollars,” Dionne said.
He holds no hostility toward current NHL players despite that disparity in pay, however. Dionne said he’s adapted to the game and its changing salary structure.
He credits the NHLPA with the help it has given former players, but said that some of his contemporaries still can’t get their mind around what the top players are making these days. Explaining why P.K. Subban deserves to be making $9 million on average per year isn’t always easy, but Dionne is content with the livelihood he earned during his playing days.
“Some guys don’t understand and think the game owes them something,” Dionne explained. “The game owes me nothing. It’s not what you make, it’s what you do with your money.”
the story is actually about the LA Kings so read more if interested...
from Bill Plaschke of the LA Times,
The road to the heart of hockey's greatest team is covered in gravel and clouded in dust.
The road is bumpy, barren, stretching out from a town with no stoplights into a vast and desolate countryside blanketed in an interminable silence interrupted by the occasional chirping from a tree or rumbling of a train.
Make a left on Range Road 120, bounce past Township Road 472, continue rattling through holes that shake tires and giant insects that splatter across windshields. Stop in front of a narrow driveway that leads back to a cluster of trees, barns and bales. Make a right turn at a metal sign stuck in a rusted wagon, its wrought-iron letters distinct and startling.
Yeah, it's him.
Grass flattens and rocks spit as a car slowly crunches up the driveway and into a parking spot in a ditch. The door is opened into thick air cut by the twang of an accordion, laughter of children and the swatting of mosquitoes.
continued (great read)...
LOS ANGELES – Former Los Angeles Kings captain/defenseman and current club executive Rob Blake will have his No. 4 jersey retired by the Kings as part of a special pregame ceremony at STAPLES Center on Saturday, January 17, prior to the Kings-Ducks game, the club announced today.
Blake – who is also being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November – will become the sixth Kings player to be so honored by the organization, joining Luc Robitaille (#20 / 2007), Wayne Gretzky (#99 / 2002), Dave Taylor (#18 / 1995), Marcel Dionne (#16 / 1990) and Rogie Vachon (#30 / 1985).
Outdoor hockey is returning to California for a second straight season, the National Hockey League announced Wednesday. This season's game features two teams which have become quite familiar with each other in recent years.
The San Jose Sharks will be the home team against the Los Angeles Kings at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara on Feb. 21, 2015 at 7 p.m. PT (10 p.m. ET) as part of the 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series. The game will be broadcast by NBCSN and Hockey Night in Canada.
No two teams in the NHL have played against each other more than the Sharks and Kings have since the start of the 2010-11 season. They have played 41 games, including the Stanley Cup Playoffs, in the past three seasons, highlighted by seven-game series in each of the past two postseasons.
added 12:04pm, NHL release below plus logo for the game...
His scheduled arbitration date was this Friday.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
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