Kukla's Korner Hockey
“We feel we can compete for the Stanley Cup, and that’s what we’re preparing for. The big thing is when your general manager and the ownership goes out and makes the moves and spends the money that they did, it’s a vote of confidence in us as a group to say that they think we’re ready. It’s like anything in life. When people believe in you, you tend to get the best out of people.”
-Willie Mitchell of the LA Kings. More on the Kings from the CP at The Hockey News.
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings have signed forward Trent Hunter to a one-year contract, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi announced today.
Hunter, 31, has spent his entire NHL career (2002-03 through 2010-11) with the New York Islanders. Last season he recorded four points (1-3=4) and 23 penalty minutes in 17 games, missing most of the season with a lower body injury.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
On the face of it, Drew Doughty finally beat down the Los Angeles Kings, forcing them to accept his terms on a new contract.
But this is a win for the Kings just as it is for Doughty, 21, who agreed to an eight-year deal for an average of $7-million per year late Thursday night. The agreement ended a bitter standoff between Doughty and the Kings, which grew increasingly nasty in the last few weeks when the Kings refused to increase their offer beyond the $6.8-million per year centre Anze Kopitar, 24, is making. Doughty and his agent, Don Meehan, would not take less than $7-million a year.
By giving in to Doughty and Meehan, the Kings secured its most important player, who is already one of the league’s best defencemen, for the next eight years. It reassures a fragile fan base they are serious about winning.
From the LA Kings:
The Los Angeles Kings have reached a verbal agreement with restricted free agent defenseman Drew Doughty on a multi-year contract, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi announced tonight.
Update 11:24pm ET: From Bob McKenzie’s Twitter —
Doughty deal is 8 years at $7M per year.
added 12:40am 9/30/11, from Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider,
from Randy Kovitz of the Kansas City Star,
AEG president Tim Leiweke and Kansas City Mayor Sly James met before Tuesday night’s NHL exhibition game at the Sprint Center and came to a conclusion:
Don’t chase just any NHL or NBA team.
“Kansas City can take its time,” said Leiweke, whose company manages the Sprint Center, where an announced crowd of 17,779 saw the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 in an overtime shootout.
“The key is you can chase a team, but you’re going to end up not making a great deal and maybe being disappointed. Or you can wait and not only try to find the right situation, but economically make the right deal.
“We’re not chasing, and I love the mayor’s attitude, which is: ‘Under our terms.’ ”
from Helene Elliott of the Fabulous Forum,
Tim Leiweke, president of the Kings’ parent company, AEG, said Monday he supports General Manager Dean Lombardi’s stance in negotiations with unsigned defenseman Drew Doughty and emphasized Lombardi’s offer of an average $6.8 million annually is based solely on allocating dollars to improve the team and maintaining a strong nucleus that will allow the Kings to compete for the Stanley Cup for years to come.
Doughty, a restricted free agent, remains at home in London, Canada, working out with a junior team while the Kings get deeper into training camp and prepare for their season-opening trip to Sweden and Germany.
Leiweke told The Times on Monday that the Kings are not trying to be cheap with Doughty and, in fact, plan to spend up to the salary cap of $64.3 million. But they want room to upgrade their talent before the trading deadline and maneuver in case of injuries, and paying Doughty the $7 million-plus that he’s seeking would change the allocation and budget and have long-term implications.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
• Still don’t understand Dean Lombardi’s stance on Drew Doughty. With Doughty, he has a Stanley Cup contender. Without him, he has nothing close. The Los Angeles Kings general manager went on radio to say he can’t afford to overpay Doughty. He said this, having committed $8 million US this season to Simon Gagne and Dustin Penner. It’s not that he can’t pay Doughty more. It’s that he won’t ... Some Kings people, by the way, think this contract negotiation has gotten personal. The Kings say they won’t pay Doughty more than they pay Anze Kopitar, who used to be a client of Don Meehan’s. Meehan is now insisting that Doughty be paid more than Kopitar.
• Almost from the moment Mike Modano announced he was retiring, the discussion began: Who is the best American hockey player ever? And where does Modano fit on that list?...
If I’m ranking, it would be 1. Leetch; 2. Chelios; 3. LaFontaine; 4. Modano; 5. An oldtimer, Frankie Brimsek. He won the Vezina Trophy twice while playing for the Boston Bruins and the Stanley Cup twice in the the late 1930s, early ’40s. All of my top five are in the Hall of Fame, or will be.
a few more hockey notes…
From Jamie Fitzpatrick at About.com Hockey:
If you want crisis, look to Los Angeles, where the Drew Doughty impasse threatens to cut down a promising Kings’ season before it even begins.
The Kings insist it’s business as usual without their franchise defenseman. They aren’t fooling anyone.
Doughty’s absence hangs over the team like a guillotine.
read on for more plus links to a Q&A about RFAs
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Drew Doughty and his agent, Don Meehan, are entitled to ask the Kings for as many millions of dollars as their calculators have digits.
They can cite Doughty’s fine rookie season and stellar follow-up, which included an Olympic gold medal and top-three Norris Trophy finish. They can downplay his uneven third season by emphasizing his remarkable mobility, vision and scoring potential.
But sometime soon they must recognize that it’s more important for Doughty to score points on the ice than make points at the bargaining table.
Doughty would have gained more by participating in the first training camp sessions Saturday than he will gain if he ultimately prevails in a senseless battle.
from Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider,
Question: You’re now in a holdout situation with Doughty. What kind of update can you give about his status and the negotiations?
LOMBARDI: “Obviously we’re very disappointed that he’s not here. I don’t think it’s any secret, what we think of this player and his abilities and what his potential is. So that’s certainly not an issue, as far as the quality of the player or the quality of the person. We hold both to high regard. That said, a couple things. I don’t want to get into the intricacies what we offered, in terms of the minute details. It’s safe to say that, as far as the big picture within the league, we certainly made him an offer that puts him amongst the top defensemen in the league. Then you look at your team. It’s no secret that he would be at the top of our team. Then, thirdly, even thought I think you know how I feel philosophically about paying for potential, it’s part of the system unfortunately. But the third thing that’s critical to us is the allocation. Where we’re at now, we certainly stretched the limit in terms of paying him amongst the top players in the league, paying him appropriately within the team’s salary structure and, most importantly, being able to keep this group together.
Update 3:48pm ET: ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun on Twitter offers this reminder—
Worth noting that technically speaking, Doughty is not a holdout , he’s an unsigned RFA. Not that Kings fan will feel any better.
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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