Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mark Whicker of the LA Daily News,
The Kings are in a blissful place. They live in a no-news zone.
They’re quiet, like a hamlet in Nebraska, where the front page reports on births, deaths, lost dogs and the guest speaker at the Rotary Club.
The players are the same. The coaches are the same. There are no burning contract issues, especially since the Kings signed 25-year-old defenseman Jake Muzzin to a five-year deal Wednesday, worth $20 million.
There are no imminent trades, no lingering doubts, no unresolved issues, thanks to two Stanley Cups in three years and some nimble salary-cap management.
There is only the yawning canyon of 82 games. Whether you ride a mule or hire a guide, it’s a mandatory hike....
The trick is to remain sufficiently engaged, in the combative West, to make the playoffs. And then to arrive healthy and fresh. But that’s not easy. Fifteen Kings are still here from 2012. How do you convince your kid that algebra matters when, in real life, it doesn’t?
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings have signed defenseman Jake Muzzin to a five-year contract extension, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi announced today.
Muzzin, 25, has been a part of the Kings organization since signing with the team as a free agent on January 4, 2010. He has played in 132 regular season games for the Kings and has 41 points (12-29=41) and 93 penalty minutes. He has played in 43 career playoff games and has 15 points (6-9=15) and 14 penalty minutes. During the 2014 Stanley Cup championship run, Muzzin played in all 26 games and had 12 points (6-6=12). Among league defensemen, Muzzin ranked first in goals, second in PPG (three) and fifth in points.
A 6-3, 216-pound native of Woodstock, Ontario, Muzzin’s new contract extends him through the 2019-20 campaign. He has not played in a game with the Kings this season yet due to injury.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Two minutes after LA Kings’ winger Tyler Toffoli made like Brett Hull, lacing a 25-footer under the crossbar after spinning away from a check, halfway through the first period Tuesday, Edmonton Oilers’ goalie Viktor Fasth went to the bench and then to the safety of the dressing room, hobbled by a sore groin. Most likely that wasn’t the only body part hurting a proud guy, but at least Fasth wasn’t put through 60 minutes of a nightmarish show.
There was no “we were in the fight” quote from coach Dallas Eakins after this one. The Oilers flat-out didn’t compete; they were like Wal-Mart greeters in the first period and into the early part of the second, waving the Kings in and asking if they could help them find anything The Kings didn’t any help finding the net. For a time it looked like it might rival the 11-0 decimation by the Hartford Whalers in 1984, but the Oilers dug in a bit and wouldn’t let the Stanley Cup champions hit double figures. But make no mistake, this was a subterranian low.
Watch Coach Eakins post-game below...
from Rich Hammond of the Kings Blog at the OC Register,
Marian Gaborik is expected to miss tonight’s game, and perhaps a couple more, with a lower-body muscle injury. If that’s the case, the Kings are one more injury away from a serious roster pinch.
The Kings started the season last week with a 23-man roster, one that nearly took them to the NHL’s salary-cap ceiling of $69 million.
Since then, the Kings have had three players -- Gaborik, forward Trevor Lewis and defenseman Jake Muzzin -- sidelined with injuries. They now have 12 forwards, six defensemen and two goalies, and zero healthy ''spare'' players. What happens if another player gets hurt before one of the three injured guys returns?
In that case, the Kings will have a tough decision to make.
The salary cap is rigid for the first 33 days of the season, meaning teams have to stay under it no matter what. The only exception is for players on long-term injured reserve, whose salaries do not count under the cap.
STAMFORD, Conn. – October 9, 2014 – Last night’s NHL opening night doubleheader on NBCSN was the best on record, according to The Nielsen Company, generating record ratings and viewership, as well as digital consumption.
Wednesday Night Rivalry’s Philadelphia Flyers-Boston Bruins matchup (7:27-10:06 p.m. ET) delivered 956,000 viewers and a 0.57 household rating, making it the most-watched opening night game on cable on record (data available since 1993) and the highest-rated NHL regular-season game ever on NBCSN. The game also set live streaming records for uniques and minutes consumed.
Last night George posted a story from James Duthie of TSN did on LA Kings head coach Darryl Sutter.
Here is the video which goes with it. Good stuff.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
In the NHL’s age of parity, when the salary cap was supposed to guarantee that teams at the top couldn’t stay at the top, the Kings and Blackhawks are defying expectations. They’ve won two championships apiece over the past five seasons, and they go into 2014-15 as the favourites to win again. The oddsmakers have Chicago opening as a 6-1 pick, L.A. is next at 15-2 and the third-ranked team is the only other one to win a recent championship – the Boston Bruins.
“It’s a tough time to win multiple championships in a row, but I still think it’s possible,” Blackhawks’ winger Patrick Kane said. “I still [think] there are teams out there that can do it, including us. We feel we were close to winning last year, and that would have been a couple in a row, three in five years. So yes, I think it can happen.”
Kane’s Blackhawks were juggling salary-cap questions right up until the moment training camps ended in order to get under the $69-million (U.S.) ceiling for the 2014-15 season. The Blackhawks made little noise this past summer other than signing Kane and captain Jonathan Toews to monster contract extensions that will kick in at the start of next season. Beyond adding Brad Richards as a modestly priced free agent to play on a line with Kane and Brandon Saad and trading away Leddy, the Blackhawks returned essentially the same team.
So, for that matter, did Los Angeles. The Kings signed last year’s key trade-deadline acquisition, Marian Gaborik, to a seven-year contract extension, but they look as if they will go into the new season with no new faces in the lineup.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Would a repeat by the Kings make them a dynasty?
That's up for debate. But in winning the Cup twice and reaching the West final once in the past three seasons, the Kings have won the endorsement of an authority on dynasties — Bill Torrey, architect and general manager of the New York Islanders when they won the Cup in 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1983 and lost the Final in 1984.
"No one has given me an apt, complete description of what the word means, but they're about as much a dynasty this year as you could be," said Torrey, 80, now an alternate governor of the Florida Panthers.
"When you look at the way they went down in every series last spring and had to fight their way back, no team ever did it before, and they are due lots of recognition."
Sustaining success is difficult in any sport. It's especially tricky under the hard salary cap the NHL implements. Players want raises after they win, but the team's payroll can stretch only so far. Role players want a chance at stardom elsewhere. That creates the kind of upheaval that broke up the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks — though they retooled and won in 2013 — and often leads to years of rebuilding.
from Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider,
While teams have often viewed road trips early in the schedule as opportunities for players to gain chemistry together – the New York Rangers chose to travel west to Alberta, British Columbia and Las Vegas when expelled from Madison Square Garden last fall due to arena renovations – Darryl Sutter doesn’t necessarily see the benefit of so-called “bonding” excursions.
“I’m not into that, what you hear about go climbing ropes and going to a fort somewhere,” he said. “You do most of your bonding in May and June, quite honest.”
In the past, there have been excursions he has taken with his team, and the “team bonding” experience is still common in today’s game. The San Jose Sharks held a players’ summit in Lake Tahoe during the most recent offseason, and the St. Louis Blues, taking advantage of a generous break in the schedule while on a Western Canadian road trip during the truncated 2012-13 season, spent three days practicing (and enjoying, presumably) Whistler, British Columbia.
The “enjoying” aspect seems to follow such team bonding trips around.
“It was more in the book, when you looked up ‘bonding,’ it was ‘partying,’” Sutter said. “So, when you think about it, we used to go to Banff, Vegas…Whistler. So when you looked up ‘bonding,’ it was also skiing.”
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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