Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Helene Elliott at the LA Times,
The Ducks spent their brief summer vacation showing off the Stanley Cup to their friends and relatives.
The Kings, after missing the playoffs for the fourth straight season, spent five months formulating their 39th annual rebuilding plan.
No matter what happens from here on, the Ducks will always be able to say they won the Cup before the Kings, who had a 26-season head start. Painful though it may be, Kings fans should consider the Ducks’ triumph a source of inspiration, not revulsion.
continued… (*story may require free registration at the LA Times site)
Thursday night marked the first game of the 2007 pre-season. the L.A. Kings defeating the Anaheim Ducks, 5-4.
Both teams’ starting goalies (Dan Cloutier and Ilya Bryzgalov) were pulled in the second period, between them letting in 7 goals on 28 shots. (So… NHL hockey is back, but—I dare say—great NHL hockey might take a while.)
More at Slam! Sports.
from the Press Telegram,
Entering training camp, he said he is feeling close to 100-percent physically but will need time to get back the reaction time and instincts that made him so good in Vancouver.
“Health-wise, I’m there,” Cloutier said. “It’s everything else.
It’s getting out there and playing, the speed of the game with traffic. Those are the things you lose. You don’t necessarily lose guys coming down the wing and shooting. You lose all the little things, tips and battling around the crease.”
Cloutier enters training camp in a battle with Jason LaBarbera and newcomer Jean-Sebastien Aubin for time at goalie. He wants to be the starter in the regular-season opener, though he admits it could be a while before he returns to his top form.
from the LA Times,
” . . . What we do have is a number of goalies who are here to prove themselves and a team also trying to prove itself.”
The group that will compete for the Kings’ top spot in net has changed some from last season.
Garon, Burke, Brust and Fukufuji are gone but Cloutier, who signed a lucrative two-year extension worth $6.2 million before the start of last season but struggled, is back. But he’s far from a lock to start.
That’s because Cloutier is joined by minor league standout Jason LaBarbera, who competed for the job in training camp last year, Jean-Sebastien Aubin, a veteran free agent signed during the off-season, and a couple of young prospects led by Jonathan Bernier, who was impressive playing for the Canadian junior team against Russia in the recently completed Super Series.
more (reg. req.)
from Rich Hammond at Inside the Kings,
Q: Can you talk a little about your relationship with Jack Johnson? You’re expected to mentor him. What’s that been like so far and what do you see from him?
A: You see the competitive nature. Obviously coming in last year for a handful of games, you saw how competitive he was and how much he wanted to battle. I think he understands that his college career is done and now the next step is to play professional hockey.
He’s trained hard this summer, he’s been to a couple different camps and he’s here expressing himself and knowing that he’s going to be a big part of this team. From the older guys’ perspective, he probably can show more things off the ice.
He understands that he’s going to compete on the ice, but it’s a long season and you do need a little guidance throughout that.
more on the Kings…
Rich Hammond at Inside the Kings has been keeping busy with video interviews, transcripts of player interviews, etc.
Check it out, you will be impressed…
from E.J. Hradek of ESPN,
In all, the Kings’ summer signings didn’t do much for me. The defense should be better, but it won’t show if the club doesn’t get consistent goaltending. Up front, I don’t know what to expect from Handzus, Nagy and Calder. The answer might be ... not much.
I think it’s pretty obvious the club’s future rests firmly in the hands of young vets like Mike Cammalleri, Alexander Frolov and Dustin Brown, as well as top young prospects such as Anze Kopitar, Jack Johnson and Bernier. In time, as these players continue to mature, the Kings have a chance to be more competitive. For now, however, I don’t see them making more than a 10-point improvement in the tough Western Conference.
from the LA Times,
“I guess you could say that I know my way around as far as rookies go,” said Murray, son of St. Louis Coach Andy Murray, who coached the Kings from 1999 to 2006. “I’ve been coming to [the Kings’] rookie camps since I was 16. But things are a little different right now.”
Murray, who turned 23 last month, was drafted by the Kings in the fifth round (152nd overall) in 2003 but has not played a game for the organization. In a way, Murray is glad that his father, who was fired in March 2006, is no longer around.
“It was a situation that no matter what, some people would say that I was only here because of my dad,” said the younger Murray, who signed a multiyear entry-level contract with the Kings in May after two seasons of playing for Rapperswil-Jona of the Swiss league.
“It used to get under my skin a little, so it’s good that I get a chance now to
more (reg. req.)
from Erin Nicks at the Ottawa Sun,
If anything, you’d think the NHL would wish to play a game in a country with a legitimate zeal for the sport, such as Sweden or Finland.
And if it were a matter of stepping on the toes of the elite leagues overseas, one would assume some sort of compromise could be reached to ensure that all parties remained content.
The entire idea is utterly bizarre, but it enters a new level of head scratching when you consider the two teams picked for these monumental games: The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks.
The Ducks are somewhat understandable coming off a Stanley Cup championship.
Sending the Kings, however, is quite the puzzler.
I am really surprised Erin doesn’t mention one of the reason’s the Kings are involved is the Kings and the O2, the venue the games will be played in while in London, share the same owner.
from Evan Weiner at the NY Sun,
NHL fans are about to find out just how powerful the owner of the Los Angeles Kings, Phil Anschutz, is. Anschutz — who is not a publicity hound and rarely gives interviews — now has a chance to orchestrate the league’s next expansion between now and 2009 by placing teams into arenas he has built or is building in Kansas City and Las Vegas….
The NHL’s expansion plans were solidified when Anschutz’s AEG entered into a partnership with Harrah’s to build an arena on Harrah’s property near the Las Vegas strip. The new building will be opened in 2010 and it appears that Las Vegas already has an owner in movie producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who has spoken with NHL officials about placing a team in Las Vegas.
Neither Kansas City nor Las Vegas is a big TV market. But if Anschutz wants teams in those markets, the odds are pretty good that his fellow NHL owners, along with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly, will see it his way.
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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