Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Randy Kovitz of the Kansas City Star,
When the New York Islanders approached Tim Leiweke about scheduling a preseason game at the Sprint Center, one name popped into his mind.
“We looked at the Islanders and thought, ‘They might have the first pick of the NHL draft,’ ” said Leiweke, president of AEG, which manages the Sprint Center. “Tavares is amazing. To have him coming into Kansas City is a great thing.”
Unfortunately for Kansas City, Tavares, a forward expected to be the next Wayne Gretzky and Sidney Crosby rolled into one, won’t be part of a split squad when the Islanders face the AEG-owned Los Angeles Kings at 7 tonight at the Sprint Center.
Tavares, the first overall pick of the 2009 draft, played in the Islanders’ win over Calgary on Sunday night in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, assisting on a goal on his 19th birthday. Tavares and half his teammates flew home Monday, and he will be showcased when the Islanders play their first home exhibition game Wednesday night against New Jersey.
from Rich Hammond of Inside the Kings,
Brayden Schenn seems to have won the first-annual ``Oscar Moller Award,’’ given to the young player who generates the most surprising buzz in training camp. Schenn is still a longshot to make the team, but considering he didn’t even turn 18 until late August, he is doing quite well for himself in his first camp. Schenn talked the other day about his training-camp experience…
``It’s pretty much what I thought it would be,’’ Schenn said.
from Spectors’ Hockey,
Mike Kiley posts a Los Angeles blogger is reporting a rumor that has the LA Kings dealing forward Alexander Frolov to the Chicago Blackhawks for forward Kris Versteeg and defenseman Cam Barker. Kiley doubts the Blackhawks would part with Barker without getting a quality defenseman in return.
Agent Allan Walsh (via his Twitter account) said he’s been told the Frolov rumor is “pure fantasy”, adding “people should really be questioning “sources” and wonder how this BS gets started.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Walsh’s response pretty much says all we need to know about this. I think the basis for the Frolov rumors is his UFA status next summer. If the Kings are out of the playoff race by the March deadline and if his contract talks aren’t going anywhere with the Kings I could see Frolov getting shopped but not before then.
more rumor talk…
from Rich Hammond of Inside the Kings,
“I was here for three weeks,’’ Kopitar said of his work with the Kings’ training staff. “I feel I did everything in my power to prepare for this season.’‘
Kopitar said he wouldn’t shy away from high expectations for the Kings this season.
“Everybody is expecting the playoffs,’’ Kopitar said. “We have to put some pressure on ourselves. ... That’s just the way it is.’‘
via Rich Hammond of Inside the Kings,
Jarret Stoll is not on the ice today, as he recovers from a surprising bout with arthritis. Stoll said he has been taking medication and receiving shots for the pain in his right wrist and said “by no means am I expecting to miss the start of the season.” Stoll said he wanted to skate today but was held back, and said he wants to play in exhibition games next week.
from Rich Hammond of Inside the Kings,
How would you answer the questions? What are you most excited, eager and/or anxious to see/hear about in training camp?
WILL THE RUMORS END?
Don’t count on it. In June, “confirmed” reports had the Kings trading for defenseman Chris Pronger. This week, they supposedly acquired forward Patrick Marleau. Both reports turned out to be little more than rumor babble, but given that the Kings have a deep pool of talented prospects, it’s no surprise to hear them attached to every wacky trade rumor. The rumors are unlikely to die down unless Alexander Frolov, due to be an unrestricted free agent next summer, signs a contract extension during training camp. If the Kings add anything before the start of this season, it’s likely to be a veteran defenseman, not a forward.
IS THIS THE YEAR?
Since the end of the 2002 season, Kings fans have waited to see a playoff game. Dean Lombardi is entering his fourth season as the Kings’ general manager, and while the pieces of his plan seem to be falling in place - the Kings have an ever-improving young defense and a stable of talented young goalies - the Western Conference is tough, deep and balanced, and the Kings need to show that they have enough offense to make a big jump from last season’s 14th-place finish in the West.
Buccigross loves Twitter,
frolov and stoll to Ottawa..Marleau to LA
update 8:28pm, Scratch that, fake Buccigross.
update 8:30pm, Ha, maybe not fake, but tweet is no longer there.
added 9:08pm, via ESPN,
The Ottawa Senators have reached an agreement to send Dany Heatley to the San Jose Sharks, NHL sources told ESPN’s John Buccigross.
The 28-year-old forward was part of a three-team deal that will send the Sharks’ Patrick Marleau to the Los Angeles Kings and the Kings’ Alexander Frolov and Jarret Stoll to the Senators.
Both Sharks GM Doug Wilson and Senators GM Bryan Murray denied the three-way trade when reached by ESPN.com.
added 9:52pm, from James Gordon of Hockey Capital at the Ottawa Citizen,
The Ottawa Senators have announced Dany Heatley won’t be attending a team golf tournament Friday amid reports the disgruntled winger has been dealt.
added 10:01pm, via the Kings official Twitter,
Kings are aware of today’s ESPN report but there is nothing to it.
added 10:07pm, via Rich Hammond of Inside the Kings,
Well, that’s the two-word text-messaged response from Dean Lombardi, in regard to the ESPN-reported Marleau/Frolov-Stoll/Heatley trade: ``Complete bull.’‘
added 10:25pm, from Allen Panzeri of the Ottawa Citizen,
Murray is also getting increasingly frustrated with the many and various rumours about possible destinations for Heatley. Every time a new team is mentioned as being in the mix, Murray ends up getting a call from a general manager asking how his team ever ended up being named because it isn’t remotely interested. Murray knows rumours come with the territory, but they’re still annoying.
added 10:37pm, from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
Amid reports that the Ottawa Senators have traded Dany Heatley to the San Jose Sharks as part of a three-way deal with the Los Angeles Kings, sources tell TSN nothing could be further from the truth.
from Helene Elliott of the Fabulous Forum at the LA Times,
Acquiring Heatley, who asked to be traded from his first team, Atlanta, and more recently asked the Senators to deal him, would be “too risky,” Lombardi said, an emphatic response that drew applause from the audience assembled at the Nokia Theatre for the final day of the Kings’ first Fan Fest.
Lombardi’s unequivocal answer also should silence the Heatley-to-L.A. rumors that have refused to die, probably fueled by the ample cap space the Kings will have and their need for a pure scorer.
“I would like to focus more on this group reaching its potential,” Lombardi said. “A big part of this process is culture, making an identity. What does it mean to really be a King?”
Apparently, it doesn’t mean whining when things don’t go well and being a bad influence on a group of young players who are only now beginning to become leaders and forge an identity as a team.
more on Heatley and other LA Kings topics…
The LA Kings have been doing a great job in promoting their Hockey Fest so they deserve a little attention…
Kings Vision, the Los Angeles Kings’ Online Video Network featured at LAKings.com, will be streaming live coverage of both the Opening Ceremony and the Triple Crown Speaker Series during LA Kings Hockey Fest ’09, a three-day interactive festival set to open later tonight at LA Live in the heart of downtown Los Angeles.
Live coverage of Hockey Fest ’09 begins tonight at 6:30 p.m PT. when Kings Vision takes you inside the Nokia Theatre for team/alumni/and special guest introductions followed by a special acoustic performance by Eddie Kowalcyck of LIVE. After Eddie’s performance, the Kings Care Foundation, the Kings award-winning children’s charity, will make a special announcement. To tune into tonight’s coverage, visit http://www.lakings.com/hockeyfestlive
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Consistently missing the playoffs while your biggest rival wins the Stanley Cup and your primary Staples Center co-tenant hangs another NBA championship banner will reduce your profile in a busy sports town.
The Kings, though far enough along in another rebuilding phase to challenge for a playoff spot this season, are still battling for a greater presence here and a bigger fan base. Operating from a position of relative weakness means that to make an impression they must be bold and come up something with more than slick slogans that turn into bad jokes when the team goes sour.
They’ve come up with an idea that isn’t original but is a first for them and could become a regular event.
Starting Friday the Kings will hold a three-day Hockey Fest at LA Live and the Nokia Theatre, across from Staples Center.
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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