Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rich Hammond of the OC Register,
It’s becoming clear that these aren’t early-season wobbles for the Kings, who are off to an 0-3 start for the first time since the 1969-70 season and have been outscored by a combined margin of 12-1.
The Kings simply can’t score, and Coach Darryl Sutter’s line-combination shifting didn’t generate much Tuesday. The Kings recorded only nine shots on goal in the first two periods, and in one stretch they went more than 18 minutes with only one shot on goal.
Even when the Kings put together enough passes to get offensive-zone time, they couldn’t do much and generated little traffic in front of the net. The Kings recorded 15 shots on goal and had 16 attempts blocked and 22 attempts miss the net.
The Kings, down 2-0 after the second period, had three power plays in the first 11 minutes of the third period but they generated only two shots on goal in six minutes. The Kings fell to 0 for 13 on the power play this season, and Derek Dorsett added a late empty-net goal for the Canucks....
The Kings went through all of training camp with a line of Milan Lucic, Kopitar and Marian Gaborik, and all summer they believed Lucic was the solution to their long-term quest to find Kopitar a left winger on the first line.
The line didn’t click in the first two games. Gaborik generated almost zero offense and Lucic, according to Sutter, struggled to adjust to playing with a left-handed center such as Kopitar.
“Kopi can play with anybody,” Sutter said. “Kopi’s just good. That’s it. But when guys aren’t going with Kopi, then he’s doing all the work.”
Below, watch Darryl Sutter post-game...
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
An 0-2 start is no reason to panic. But for the Kings, who finished two points behind Calgary last season for the third Pacific Division playoff spot, losing to San Jose and Arizona reminded them of the potential consequences of letting points slip through their gloved fingers.
"I think everyone understands in here that we haven't played very well in these first two games," team captain Dustin Brown said. "And a lot of it has a lot to do, especially in the first game, with our compete level, and that's unacceptable to have a low compete level.
"There's one thing since I've been here — even when we had those bad teams, we always played hard. And that's been addressed over the last couple days."
Brown said they didn't need a team meeting to reinforce the urgency of hitting stride soon and avoiding the trap they fell into last season, when they thought they'd make their annual late push and sneak into the playoffs. That was the feeling around the NHL too, that the Kings would go on a run and get in and wow, wouldn't they be dangerous.
Fine in theory, but they never made that run.
"The League actively monitored each stage of this dispute from the time of the initial contract termination to the point at which the case was settled, during which time we were in frequent contact with both the Club and the NHLPA. If the settlement was simply a disguised way to get favorable Cap treatment, we certainly would have considered it to be a circumvention and acted accordingly. But this wasn't that. Far from it. There is absolutely zero concern that anything that transpired here could in any way be considered a 'circumvention' of the CBA. Anyone who believes to the contrary is clearly not privy to the facts."
-Bill Daly, NHL Deputy Commissioner, on the Mike Richards settlement. More from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.
from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,
In an emotional, poignant reaction on the day of the resolution of the Mike Richards contract saga, Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi called what happened to Richards "a tragedy" and said he was devastated that Richards became caught in "a destructive spiral."
"Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career," Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to The Times on Friday. "At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now-and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.
"Anyone close enough to me knows how much I loved Mike Richards. I believed that when I had acquired him, I had found my own Derek Jeter.
via the LA Kings,
The Los Angeles Kings have reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties. We will not be commenting further on the terms.
According to TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie, the Kings will pay a cap recapture penalty for the next five years. He adds that the team will face an annual cap hit equal to the dollars being paid out annually to Richards, while the cap hit will last as long as the payment schedule.
The Kings terminated Richards' contract in June after he was arrested at the U.S.-Canadian border and later charged with illegal possession of a controlled substance, seemingly alleviating themselves of the $22 million and five years left on his deal at a $5.75 million cap hit.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Players were supposed to be rested and refreshed after a season that ended in early April instead of late June, purposeful about this season after not getting a chance to defend their title.
None of that was evident against the Sharks, themselves playoff spectators last spring and now playing for a new coach, Peter DeBoer. “It was a brutal start by us,” Kings defenseman Matt Greene said. “We have to be a lot better in all aspects of the game. Just a game where you just want to learn from, obviously, but just get it out of the way early, hopefully move on and be productive from here on out. And refocus on Friday, because we've got to start winning some games.”
Yes, there's urgency already. “It's huge,” Greene said of losing to the division-rival Sharks. “We're going to be battling with this team for the playoffs and we just spotted them two points. I don't think they had to work too hard for that one, so it's frustrating. It's frustrating even if it is the first game of the year.”
The top line of Anze Kopitar centering for Marian Gaborik and Milan Lucic was a combined for minus-6 defensively, generated four shots on goal and had little chemistry, though that might improve over time.
“Flat,” Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said of the trio's performance.
Was he surprised? “Yeah,” he said, the one word carrying the full weight of his disapproval.
from Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider,
Milan Lucic, on his altercation with Logan Couture:
Just a little hit. I didn’t like it, so I reacted to it. I don’t know why I got a match penalty. I didn’t cross any line, so obviously I deserved a penalty, but I don’t know why it was called a match penalty. At the end of the day, I don’t care who it is on the other side. If you’re going to hit someone like that, you could easily injure someone, it doesn’t matter what the situation is. I’m definitely going to react to it. That’s basically it. Five-one game, you don’t want to lose any game like that, never mind your first game at home, first game in five months. I hope that and everything is a wake-up call that we need to get things going right away. We just need to bring more emotion to the game on Friday.
Lucic, on Darryl Sutter saying that it shouldn’t have even been a roughing penalty:
I don’t want to disagree with him, but it might have been a roughing penalty, and that’s about it.
more from Lucic...
Watch the play below...
from Alex Kinkopf of the Kings' website,
An old friend will be protecting the opposition’s net tonight as the Kings open their 2015-’16 season at STAPLES Center.
Martin Jones, who the Kings dealt to the Boston Bruins on June 26, was then shipped to San Jose three days later – popping him exactly where the Kings didn’t want him to be – the Western Conference, and the Pacific Division.
Now, Jones, at 25 years old, has a chance to shine in a starting role – something that likely wasn’t in the near future for him with Jonathan Quick’s lengthy contract in Los Angeles.
At Wednesday’s morning skate at STAPLES Center, Jones shared a few thoughts on his return to his former building, to face his former team:
“It’s going to be exciting,” Jones said of opening the season in Los Angeles. “Those are the fun games to play in. Obviously our goal is to go in there and get two points, but I’ll try and have a little bit of fun when I’m there, for sure.”
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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