Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Kurt Helin of NBC Los Angeles,
The Los Angeles Kings are as hot as they have ever been. Yes, Gretzky-era hot. Marcel Dionne-hot.
They have won seven straight (five of those on the road, as they were forced out of Staples for the Grammys and Lady Gaga’s headwear). The club record is eight — done once in the Wayne Gretzky, Luc Robitaille, Barry Melrose and his mullet season of 1991-92. It was also done in the 1972-73 season, before Dionne and the glory early years of the Kings even started.
To reach that record, the Kings need to beat the Ducks on Thursday night at Staples Center. Nothing would make Kings fans happier. But it’s not going to be that simple.
via T.J. Simers of the LA Times,
It’s been a while since I’ve been to a Kings game. Years. I remember asking to speak to the team’s GM before a game only to have the team’s PR guy say, “Can’t you see I’m eating?”
Later, Tim Leiweke, the big Anschutz honcho, would ask that I go to a game, agreeing if he had Beckham sitting next to me. But apparently hockey does nothing for Beckham either….
There were so many empty seats, and as hot as the Kings have been, the place felt flat. I’ve heard more cheering at Clippers games, and sometimes fans were even cheering for them.
Maybe it was just one of those nights, L.A. having only so many hockey fans and with something else to do—understandably they couldn’t find anyone to take their tickets.
The first period ended with no score, and while Dwyre loves writing about nothing happening, it would have been also way past his bedtime, so in his honor, I went home.
I have no idea who won, but that’s all right.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
I am often told that we must be very careful we don’t “take hitting out of the game.”
I am not sure that’s possible. It’s hockey, after all. Hitting is such an intrinsic part of it that I can’t imagine there’s a rule change or interpretation that would “take hitting out of the game.”
But if the goal is to make sure hitting stays in the game, can someone explain to me, please, the curious case of Boston defenceman Mark Stuart.
On Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings, Stuart delivered a well-timed, open-ice hit on Los Angeles King star Anze Kopitar. It was a clean but crushing blow.
continued and watch the Stuart hit below…
Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider answers some emails…
Do you know if there is anything more to Atlanta GM Waddell attending the LA-NJ game last night?
Answer: Anything more to it? As in? Don sat in his seat on press row, next to Dave Taylor, coincidentally enough. Dean Lombardi sat in his booth with other Kings management folks. I’m not sure what else there is to say, frankly. Waddell being at that game, very likely, did little if anything to further any Kovalchuk talk. GMs can talk on cell phones any day of the week, and scouting staffs are so strong that it’s doubtful there was any wisdom gained.
more on the Kings…
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
The Kings began this journey with a comeback win against Detroit and ended it with comeback wins at Boston and New Jersey, taking home their first-ever perfect record on a five-game trip and much, much more.
“This game today, I think, was a real good look at the type of team we’re starting to become,” Coach Terry Murray said after Wayne Simmonds and Drew Doughty scored on Martin Brodeur in the last two minutes Sunday to lift the Kings to a 3-2 victory over the stunned Devils and win for the eighth time in nine games.
“A lot of character, big heart, never gave up. It looked at times like it was slipping big-time on us and just to dig in in the third period and find a way to get it done was just tremendous.”
... watch them all in one video.
“The first thing that comes to my mind is our power play was struggling a little bit and we all know what he could do on the power play. And just with that shot, poise, everything he can make a power play unit better and definitely help us.”
-Anze Kopitar of the LA Kings on how Ilya Kovalchuk could help the Kings. More on the Kings from Helene Elliott at the Fabulous Forum.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The Kings flirted with a playoff spot last season before crumbling down the stretch. They weren’t ready and they knew it. They learned from that, said Brown, the team’s impressive young captain.
“I think the one difference is that, last year, we hoped to win a game. This year, we’re going into a game knowing we’re going to win,” said Brown. “When you have that kind of confidence and belief system, not just from one or two guys but from 15 to 20 guys, that’s when you can see success.”
That’s the key, Smyth said, truly believing it.
“We believe in this locker room,” said Smyth. “When you believe something, it starts to trickle through your lineup. It gives us confidence to progress. Even though we are young, there’s some great experience on this team to help out, as well.”
much more on the Kings…
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
Multiple sources have indicated to The Hockey News the Thrashers have had significant trade talks with the Los Angeles Kings concerning moving Kovalchuk there in recent days. They reportedly presented the Kings with a shopping list of what it would take to get Kovalchuk and it’s believed that while the Kings would be very interested in adding a scorer of Kovalchuk’s ability to their group of young stars, the asking price is currently more than GM Dean Lombardi is willing to surrender.
Pierre LeBrun of ESPN responds to an email from a fan of the Kings who is worried the team will mortgage the future to trade for a player like Kovalchuk….
Some excellent points here, my friend. It’s along the lines of what Dean Lombardi and I were actually discussing Sunday in one of those conversations where the Kings GM talked about the CBA, building a team, when to go for it, etc. He’s a lot of fun to listen to when he gets into the big-picture stuff. He was careful not to get into anything specific regarding Kovalchuk. But reading between the lines, I think what you are saying is exactly what he’s debating internally: are the Kings ready for this kind of impact move, with no guarantee that Kovalchuk will stay past July 1?
When reached him again Monday night, Lombardi said “yes” when I asked him if he had decided his team was ready for a noteworthy addition ahead of March 3. That doesn’t mean it’ll be Kovalchuk, but it means the Kings believe they are ready to add. He has the cap room and a blessing from ownership.
many more questions and answers from Pierre…
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