Kukla's Korner Hockey
LAKings.com: As you look forward to the upcoming season, what are your thoughts?
Kopitar: After Terry Murray’s first season [going into last season] we said we were going to make the playoffs. Now that’s the goal and we’re expected to be there. There’s going to be a little more pressure, it’s going to be a little more harder, but I think last year’s experience is going to make a difference. We know what we have to do to get there now and know what to do when we get there. It will be a little eaasier with from the experience standpoint, but a little harder from the pressure standpoinit. We have to take that pressure in a positive way and build on that.
a few more questions and answers…
from Rich Hammond of Kings.com,
Whether he ends up being paired with Drew Doughty or Jack Johnson—the two most likely options, heading into training camp—Mitchell will play a significant role in the Kings’ stated goal of improving their 5-on-5 scoring margin.
Mitchell chuckled at the discovery that he, at 33, is the Kings’ oldest defenseman—now that Sean O’Donnell has moved on to Philadelphia—and the Kings will particularly rely on Mitchell during the first month, while Matt Greene recovers from shoulder surgery.
For the past two seasons in Vancouver, though, Mitchell served as an alternate captain, so he figures to become part of the Kings’ leadership group, if only informally.
“I’ve been fortunate to be around some great, great minds in the game,” Mitchell said. “I was coached by Jacques Lemaire, by Larry Robinson, and I thank God that I was lucky enough to listen to those guys. They’re great, great minds. I played with Scotty Stevens and (Scott) Niedermayer, and I think I learned a lot of things from those great players and great minds. I hope to maybe help out in that capacity a little bit with some of the young players on this team.”
via Nick Kypreos tweet,
I’m told clubs have been notified they are out of Mitchell race. Look for LA Kings to announce Willie Mitchell soon on a multi year deal.
added 3:00pm, via Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider,
The Kings have reached an agreement with defenseman Willie Mitchell for a two-year contract worth $3.5 million per year.
I agree with no touch icing, others make no sense, hockey has been around for a long time and its fun as hell to play exactly the way it is
-Dustin Brown of the LA Kings on some of the rules at the R & D camp, via Twitter.
Make sure to check out the LA Kings Fight Club website were you can watch classic fights like this one between Marty McSorley and Ken Baumgartner.
Kings defenseman/assistant captain Matt Greene recently underwent shoulder surgery. Expected recovery time from the surgery is approximately three months.
from Lyle Richardson at The Hockey News,
The Kings quickly found a replacement for Frolov by signing Alexei Ponikarovsky to a one-year contract.
Hopefully these two signings will put to rest those silly Internet-based rumors claiming the Rangers would trade Marian Gaborik to the Kings and then try to sign Kovalchuk.
Kings GM Dean Lombardi, meanwhile, suggested to the Times he wasn’t finished making moves.
Lombardi noted he needs to replace departed defensemen Sean O’Donnell and Randy Jones, but it appears he might look to within his organization first before considering a trade or signing.
The openings give promising young blueliner Thomas Hickey, whom the Kings selected fourth overall in the 2007 entry draft, the opportunity to crack the lineup.
more trade/signing talk…
from Helene Elliott of the Fabulous Forum,
And so Plan C — as in “consolation” — came to pass Tuesday when the Kings signed left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky for one year at $3 million plus a $200,000 signing bonus.
This is a lateral step and not a leap forward, an emergence from limbo to grab the best second-tier player available and compensate for losing the frustrating but undeniably talented Frolov and his two 30-goal seasons….
He’s not awful. You don’t score 20 goals in the NHL by being incompetent. Inconsistent? Yes. He scored six goals in 15 games in January and only two in his final 21 games.
Soft? So his reputation says despite his 6-foot-4, 220-pound build. But Lombardi likes his size enough to have pursued him at the trade deadline — and considered Ponikarovsky the best consolation prize 27 days into a free-agent market that was thin on forwards to begin with.
“So much time and energy went into this Kovalchuk thing that you’re exposed. Because it dragged on for so long and arguably has continued to drag on, we weren’t addressing other needs. It was impossible anyway,” Lombardi said. “And then you get into the problem that we are in a free-agency mode and everything is tied to this guy that you’re clearly telling the marketplace that everybody else is second fiddle.”
via Darren Dreger tweet,
(Alex) Ponikarovski agrees to deal with the LA Kings.
added 3:02pm, Kings verify signing, but no terms yet.
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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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