Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell, who missed all of last season because of knee problems, is expected to be ready when the team opens training camp next week in El Segundo. Players are scheduled to report for physicals Sept. 11 and take to the ice the following day.
“At this point everything has been positive -- as of today he will be ready for camp,” Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi said Wednesday via email.
Mitchell, a veteran with an imposing physical presence, was sorely missed last season. Lombardi did well to compensate by acquiring Robyn Regehr, a strong defensive player, but losing Rob Scuderi to free agency this summer created a huge hole that should be filled if Mitchell is fit.
continue for more on the Kings...
from Deborah Drew of LAKings.com,
It just may be the most anticipated weekend of the season for many Kings fans. Frozen Fury, this year presented by Rocco’s Old School Products, means the beginning of the long-awaited hockey season, and the end of a summer planning for the collision of a passionate enthusiasm for LA Kings hockey, and a sleep-deprived getaway to Sin City.
Kings fans aren’t the only ones who eagerly look forward to Frozen Fury weekend in Las Vegas – the dedicated staff at the MGM Grand does as well, as ice hockey only comes to the MGM Grand Garden Arena once a year.
Unlike STAPLES Center, which switches between basketball and hockey on a sometimes twice-daily basis between the months of September and (hopefully) June, the MGM Grand Garden Arena is rarely enshrined with a sheet of ice.
“We host hockey only once a year so we need to dig out, dust off and make sure all of our hockey assets are in good working condition,” admits Jay Cline, Director of Arena Operations for the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
‘Hockey assets’ include anything and everything from dasherboards and glass, to the chiller and water filtration systems. Ordering the paint and freeze-in graphics for the ice surface is also something that is unique to Frozen Fury.
From Nick Tranfaglia of TiqIQ,
Where there was once glory, a biting feeling now hits at the heart of LA Kings fans. At this time last year they were still rejoicing after their underdog victory in the Western Conference playoffs, culminating in their hoisting of the Stanley Cup.
Today however, the memory of a 2013 assault at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks is still fresh in Kings fans' minds. They call it the "cup hangover" and this season the Kings will seek to reach the finals yet again, just like the Boston Bruins did two years after they won it in 2011.
But, of course they'll have to go to war 82 times before they can even taste the playoffs. 41 games will be at home, where the Kings experienced a modest price increase (21 percent). Still, Kings tickets are relatively affordable at $126 on average. Last year at the Staples Center they were $104.
I've been trying to avoid flooding KK members and guests with Gretzky stories, but this one is a good read...
from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,
We take a look at how 99’s move south impacted not only the game of hockey and L.A. sports, but altered the NHL at large and influenced everything from the Canadian Football League to Saturday-morning cartoon viewing.
Tripled the number of NHL teams in California.
After Wayne Gretzky joined L.A. in 1988, the San Jose Sharks (1991) and Anaheim Mighty Ducks (1993) joined in relatively quick succession. The Trade has been credited with contributing to the NHL’s Sun Belt expansion in the States. Florida landed two clubs, the Lightning in ’92 and the Panthers ’93; Minnesota’s North Stars chopped off their first name and dropped south to Dallas in ’93; and Phoenix acquired the Winnipeg Jets franchise in ’96.
Begat Bettman… and all that entails.
Following the success of the Gretzky in L.A., the NHL made McNall chairman of the board of governors. McNall then headed up the hiring of the NBA’s Gary Bettman as commissioner (after David Stern turned the job down). “People always talk about the Bettman strategy of expansion. It wasn’t the Bettman strategy; it was the Bruce McNall strategy. Bettman was hired to enact it,” (Stephen Brunt explains. “The entire destiny of the league, because of this trade and the success in L.A., was handed over to a guy who ended up going to prison.”
from Paul Grant of ESPN,
With all these comparisons flying around, this week we're going to cut through the crud and make a call. Given two players, one active and one retired, in their primes, who would be better? And the best part of it is that you, the user, get the final word.
For our second installment, how about: The two best players of their generation, if not the two best players in the history of the game in Sidney Crosby and Wayne Gretzky. This is such a timeless comparison, we're going to do it again, only more lo-fi..
from John Hoven of Mayor's Manor,
The latest piece to Dean Lombardi’s summer-long science project appears to be done. A source close to the situation has confirmed to MayorsManor that the Kings and forward Kyle Clifford have agreed upon a new contract.
With the return of the 22-year old left wing, the Kings would have a trio of toughness, as he will be part of a roster that already includes Jordan Nolan and the recently acquired Dan Carcillo.
Clifford’s new contract will be for two years, similar to most of the other deals Lombardi has drawn up with his Restricted Free Agents this summer.
NBC Southern California posted an inteview with Dean, now aka Vince Lombardi.
Watch and read the interview here.
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings have announced an eight year contract extension with team captain Dustin Brown, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi announced today. Brown, who has one year left on his current deal, will remain a King through the 2021-22 season.
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org