Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,
Who better to help a goal-starved team than the man responsible for scoring 70 in one season?
No, former Kings star Bernie Nicholls isn’t coming out of retirement. After all, the guy is 50 and his last NHL tour of duty was during the 1998-99 season with the San Jose Sharks.
But Nicholls played for new Kings Coach Darryl Sutter in Chicago and later with the Sharks. After his retirement, he assisted, informally, in San Jose, and Nicholls was more than happy to leave the Ontario winter chill behind when Sutter invited him to Southern California.
Nicholls was on the ice at practice Wednesday in El Segundo, and the team made it clear he was not an official member of the coaching staff. It is something of a casual arrangement and Sutter thought he would like to have Nicholls watch a few Kings’ games. There is no timetable for his stay in Los Angeles.
“He’s a good resource to have for a team that’s still trying to find their way to contribute more offensively,” Sutter said.
from Rich Hammond at the LA Kings website,
After two weeks, there have been no public whippings. The locker-room carpet is not soaked in blood. No eardrums have been pierced. What happened? Isn’t Darryl Sutter supposed to be a raging, raving dictator?
Hired by the Kings as coach on Dec. 20, Sutter was preceded by his reputation as a humorless taskmaster who would terrify players and snarl at the media. One Canadian columnist compared him to malaria. Even a mostly positive newspaper piece described Sutter’s public personality as ``caustic’’ and ``contemptuous.’’
“I heard he’s a bit of a yeller,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said, a couple days before Sutter’s arrival.
When Sutter left the family farm in Alberta last month, did he do so as a changed man? Maybe, maybe not. With the Kings, he’s been more teddy bear than grizzly bear. During games, he wraps his arms around players, pats shoulders and offers encouragement. For a full week, at the end of postgame interviews, he sincerely wished reporters “Merry Christmas,” then “Happy New Year.” He has been accessible, helpful and friendly.
Johnson received two for roughing while Evander Kane receive a double minor for roughing.
“We play this great game [in which] I get into a car wreck six times a night, 82 times a year, plus playoffs, now in my 13th season at the professional level. The rest of my teammates do, too. How many people get into a car wreck in their [entire] life? Hopefully never, but maybe once in their life?”
“[Hitting is] part of the game. We accept that, we know it can happen. It’s a physical game. We go out and play the sport knowing that, and that’s what makes it great, fast, [and] exciting. I’d just like to see us take away all the things that are in our control to not have my peers susceptible to [concussions].”
-Willie Mitchell of the Los Angeles Kings. More from Mitchell on concussions from Gann Matsuda of Frozen Royalty.
thanks to a KK reader for the pointer
from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,
“I thought both their goals should have been whistled down, both goals should have been called something … infractions on both their goals,” Quenneville said. “Clearly, the refereeing was tough to watch. But we still had a lot of chances at the other end and unfortunately you’re not going to win the game when you don’t score a goal.”
Quenneville believed the refereeing crew of Ghislain Hebert and Tom Kowal should have called goaltending interference on Hunter’s second-period goal. He also thought Justin Williams illegally took down the Hawks’ Nick Leddy in front of the net to help lead to Stoll’s third-period score that put the game out of reach.
more on the Blackhawks loss to the Kings…
Now let’s examine the goals below…
“Just to put it on record, I don’t say who starting goalies are. This is not baseball.’’
-LA Kings coach Darryl Sutter. What brought on that remark? Read Rich Hammond at LA Kings Insider.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
...Still, the conventional wisdom is that L.A. is far ahead of Columbus on the development curve, even if the evidence suggests differently.
After Richards and Kopitar, the Kings’ next best forward is Dustin Brown, a good player who topped out at 60 points FOUR years ago and has been in the mid-50s ever since. Then there’s Justin Williams (frequently injured); Simon Gagne (best days behind him); Dustin Penner (a disaster since arriving from Edmonton), plus a cast of journeymen (Jarrett Stoll, Brad Richardson, Trent Hunter, Colin Fraser). Kyle Clifford is one good young player on the horizon, but he plays fewer than nine minutes per night.
OK, now over to Columbus. Carter and Nash essentially cancel out Richards and Kopitar, right? Then there’s Vinnie Prospal, who continues to prosper wherever he goes; Ryan Johansen, who is about a year away from being a special player; Sens castoff Antoine Vermette, who is capable of scoring 60 points; and R.J. Umberger, who has a lot of Brown’s qualities as a leader and a scorer, but is far behind the scoring pace he set last year. Mark Letestu and Sammy Pahlsson are quality bottom-six forwards; Kristian Huselius is a dynamite power play specialist currently on IR again.
more plus other NHL topics…
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
After posting 59 points in 2009-10, Doughty entered last season as the trendy pick to win the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman, even though he was only 20 years old. But he was limited to 40 points last season. And though the Kings paid him for his Norris potential – giving him an eight-year, $56 million deal after he sat out of training camp as a restricted free agent – he has only 10 points this season, on pace for only 27 in 77 games.
Teams aren’t stupid. They adjusted to Doughty, and now he has to adjust to them if he is to spark the Kings’ offense.
“Whether it’s on the power play or 5-on-5, it kind of seems like there’s a guy just glued to me at all times,” Doughty said. “It’s frustrating I’m not getting the points I used to, but at the same time, in order to be a good player in this league, I’ve got to find ways to get around that and find different ways to get pucks to the net and make offensive plays.”
more plus other ineresting NHL topics…
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings have activated forward Mike Richards from the injured reserve list (upper body injury), Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi announced today.
Richards has missed the last eight games due to the injury, which he suffered December 1 in a game against Florida. In 25 games this season, his first with the club, he has 20 points (11-9=20), 17 penalty minutes and a plus-3 rating. Richards leads the club with 11 goals and two short-handed goals.
The Kings host Anaheim tonight (Thursday) at STAPLES Center at 7 p.m. PT.
“I think X and O this team is as good as there is in the game. One thing that hasn’t changed in this game … it’s men playing a boys’ game and there is some emotion involved and I think that’s what I have to get out of them.”
-Darryl Sutter, head coach of the LA Kings. Much more on Sutter from Helene Elliott of the LA Times.
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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