Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider,
Once again, the Kings have managed to put themselves in the middle of one of hockey’s messiest offseason stories. Last year, they dipped their toe into the Ilya Kovalchuk situation and ended up getting stuck in free-agent quicksand for a month. Now it’s Drew Doughty’s contract, a situation they hoped to have resolved more than two months ago. Remember, at one point, the Kings hoped to have Doughty signed prior to the start of the free-agency period, so they knew how much money they could offer Brad Richards in their low-profile attempt to sign Richards. Now, no Richards, no Doughty.
Perhaps that was part of the problem. From their perspective, the Kings went big early, deciding in July that they would be willing to give Doughty a contract equal to — or actually, in total, greater than — the one they gave Anze Kopitar in 2008. They thought that would be enough. By all accounts, it isn’t. Thus the problem. The Kings showed, in July, what they claimed (and still claim) was their best hand, and for two months they have remained adamant that they won’t budge. Other offers have been exchanged, at different levels, but nothing has significantly changed.
From Pierre LeBrun at ESPN:
Drew Doughty and the Kings remained at an impasse Wednesday, but that can change with one phone call. Sources told ESPN.com that the Kings won’t pay Doughty more than the $6.8 million Anze Kopitar makes on average per season.
Further, Bob McKenzie of TSN reported late Tuesday night that the Kings won’t do a deal for less than seven years.
In a nutshell, both term and salary remain an issue. But like I said, it just takes one phone call.
continued with updates on Luke Schenn, Zach Bogosian and others
from Tim Wharnsby of CBC,
“It was a journey and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody,” said the 33-year-old from Port McNeill, B.C. “2010 was probably the toughest year of my life, but it was probably the best year of my life as far as maturing and growing as a person. The things you learn when you go through something like that.
“The biggest lesson was to worry about things you can control and not the other stuff. It’s worked really well in terms of my relationships with my family, my wife, my friends, my teammates, my coaches. I don’t worry about the stress caused by things I can’t control. I don’t worry if my defence partner didn’t make that hold-up that I would have liked him to make. That is out of your control.
“It’s made me a better person, a better player.”
After the Malkin hit, Mitchell wanted to be left alone in the dark because light made it unbearable and every little noise got to him. The severe symptoms eventually subsided, but then Mitchell faced the external pressure of when he would return.
Everywhere he turned in Vancouver, he would run into a fan, a friend or teammate, and the questions would start. When are you coming back, Willie? How’s your head, Willie? Are you feeling better, Willie? All those queries did was put pressure on Mitchell that he didn’t need.
From Rich Hammond at the LA Kings site:
For the bulk of the summer, housed in a small, windowless office in an industrial section of El Segundo, Terry Murray has been at work, laying the groundwork for a season in which he, his fellow coaches and Kings players will shoulder increased expectations.
Offseason additions of veterans such as Mike Richards, Simon Gagne and Ethan Moreau, coupled with the natural maturation of a talented, young team, has led many league pundits to tab the Kings as top contenders in the Western Conference.
Can the KIngs pull it off? They’ll take the first step on Sept. 17, when training camp opens and players officially take the ice for the first time. For Murray, in a way, it will be a culmination though, an end to months of preparation and planning.
“There’s a method to the madness, in terms of what goes on before that first day of training camp,” Murray said. “It goes way back, to literally the end of the previous year.”
from Helene Elliott of The Fabulous Forum,
The process of rebuilding the ice surface began at about 6 a.m. Wednesday and was expected to be finished Wednesday night. It will then require a few days to set before anyone can skate on it.
While that was going on, Bailey, the Kings’ mascot, planted three pennies at center ice for good luck. Luc Robitaille, the Kings’ president of business operations, said one was an 1893 penny to commemorate the year the Stanley Cup was donated by Lord Stanley of Preston. Robitaille said the second penny was placed by Bailey and had personal meaning to the costumed mascot.
“I talked to Bailey’s handler, because Bailey doesn’t talk,” Robitaille said. “And I heard they were putting in a 1993 penny. I asked why and they said that’s the year we went to the finals, and I said, ‘That doesn’t make sense. We lost. We’ve got to put something that means something to us that we’ve won.’ So he put something that was personal to him that was meaningful about a championship, and I did too.”
What was Robitaille’s choice? A penny from 2002, the year he won the Cup with the Detroit Red Wings.
more on the Kings…
via Helene Elliott tweets,
Kings say they’ve made “refined” offer to Drew Doughty that gives him different contract lengths to consider. Said they’re awaiting
a response in a day or two. Said everything has been amicable, will have better idea of where they are when Doughty’s side responds.
From the LA Kings:
Beginning this season the Los Angeles Kings will officially make the following changes as it pertains to team colors and uniforms, the team announced today:
—The Kings’ official team colors change to black, silver and white.
—The Kings’ primary home uniform switches to the black-silver-and-white uniform the club has worn as an alternate jersey the last two seasons.
—The Kings will wear a newly-created white version of this jersey for all road games this season.
Said Kings President, Business Operations Luc Robitaille: “There was an overwhelming sentiment from our fans and from our players that has led us to this change. Our fans really like the late 80s and early 90s era Kings uniforms which are very similar to this uniform. As a player, the colors give you an attitude and an edge. Dean Lombardi and I talked a lot about it with the players and they love it. We feel our fans believe in it as well.”
from Mike Richards at LAKings.com,
I remember being at the outdoor rink . I used a chair to help me stand up on my skates. That is really how I first learned how to skate – I used a chair to help keep me up on that outdoor rink.
In thinking back about the early days on the ice, it is tough to say whether skating was natural to me or not. Back then you just think about being outdoors, on the outdoor rink, and pushing that chair around with your brother who was skating with you. I know it was easy by any means but in looking back I think I caught onto it pretty quickly in fact.
I have two brothers, one older and one younger. Playing the game of hockey was very prevalent in our following, even at a young age. My father played, my uncle, my cousins. My brothers played. It is safe to say that everyone I knew played.
The game always has seemed to be fun for me. Obviously from the beginning I kept at the skating and I kept at the hockey, I would not have wanted to continue that if I was not having fun.
from J.P. Hoomstra of Inside the Kings,
Most athletes will tell you they play better with something to prove—the proverbial chip on the shoulder—and Moreau definitely has something. While Kings assistant general manager Ron Hextall said they were “thrilled to have him,” he’s well aware why Moreau was still on the free-agent market in late August: Teams were scared off by a lengthy injury history that included a 2010-11 season in which Moreau played just 37 games.
“Last year was a tough year, whenever a player is getting on in years, everyone questions whether he’s capable of doing it anymore,” Hextall said.
Moreau—who passed a physical Monday—insists he can still do it.
“I’m great. That’s the biggest misconception right now, that my health - it has been just unlucky things,” he said. “I’ve been hit by pucks in the wrong spots. It has nothing to do with age, wearing down. I’ve never had hip problems, knee problems, concussions. I feel the same way I did when I was 28.”
A better question is, what can Moreau do?
From the LA Kings:
The Los Angeles Kings have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with unrestricted free agent forward Ethan Moreau, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi announced today.
Moreau, 35, a veteran of 15 NHL seasons and a King Clancy Memorial Trophy winner played in 37 regular season games and registered six points (1-5=6) and 24 penalty minutes with the Columbus Blue Jackets this past season, his first season with the team. During his one season in Columbus Moreau served as an alternate captain.
Contract previously was said to be for $600,000.
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