Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rich Hammond of Inside the Kings,
I had Jack Johnson on the phone for a few minutes and got to ask a few questions about the upcoming season….
Question: Lombardi has talked a lot about younger players taking ownership of the team. Is that a challenge you’re ready to accept?
JOHNSON: I could definitely see myself in a role like that. I’m looking forward to the challenge of trying to lead the defensive core. Age is just a number, really. The challenge here, trying to help lead a NHL team, is something I look forward too. With all of our captains gone, it’s time to turn it over to the young guys, with the full youth movement. We have so many great young guys. We have Brown and Kopi and O’Sullivan, and guys coming up who have had some time, like Boyle and Purcell. The young guys are going to be a big part of the team now.
more from Johnson
To their credit, the Los Angeles Kings have been willing to try unique marketing efforts in recent years, the hiring of Heidi Androl—originally of The Apprentice—probably being the most well-known.
Continuing that Heidi in Hollywood theme the Kings have enjoyed, the video below depicts Heidi in a new job as an apprentice assistant equipment manager for the team, which eventually gets her fired by Luc Robitaille.
from Dan Wood at Ducks Blog,
Among the clubs that might have interest in Schneider are the Kings, who are obviously even closer to his family’s current home than the Ducks, but don’t exactly figure to be Stanley Cup contenders during the remainder of Schneider’s career.
“It would certainly be convenient,” (Pat) Morris said. “Cups are hard to pick. You think you’re picking them when you sign with Anaheim, but it didn’t happen. (Marian) Hossa probably thinks he picked one with Detroit, but it’s hard to repeat, as the Ducks proved. When you get to his (Schneider’s) point, you want to keep playing. That could be done with LA. Winning is a bonus.”
more on Schneider…
“We’re not only going to match any offer sheet, we’ll have enough space to go after your guys. Go ahead and make our day. If you sign our guy, we’re coming back with both barrels firing. You’d better be damn straight that you have the cap space and all your guys are signed.”
—Dean Lombardi, LA Kings GM
“Dang, snap, OH NO HE DIDN’T!”
From Jon Kreiser at NHL.com,
It’s been a tough stretch for the Los Angeles Kings. Five non-playoff seasons have left the franchise reeling, and a last-place finish in the Western Conference cost coach Marc Crawford his job.
Most of the Kings’ problems have come in their own zone. While Los Angeles has an excellent group of young forwards, the defense has been inconsistent and the goaltending unsettled.
But between this year’s Entry Draft and a talented group in the minors and amateur hockey, things may be turning around.
continued… with a look at the prospects coming up in the Kings system this year
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Slap Shots has been told by a well-placed individual familiar with the thinking on Sixth Avenue that the NHL will look into the circumstances behind the loan from AEG to Del Baggio, and loans of up to $20 million to Del Baggio from outgoing Nashville owner and current Minnesota owner Craig Leipold.
Think of it. Had Del Baggio remained a part of the group purchasing Nashville, the Kings and the Wild would have had a financial investment in the Predators, and apparently without the knowledge of Gary Bettman or any other member of the Board of Governors.
Reporters from The Tennessean have done a remarkable job in uncovering details of the entangling financial alliances among those invested in the sale of the Predators, one of the NHL’s chronic problem franchises.
from the Sunday Star Times (New Zealand),
Rachel Hunter must be keen on this one - she’s bringing him home! The 38-year-old bombshell has been dating 26-year-old Canadian ice hockey star Jarret Stoll for two years and when she comes back to New Zealand in a few weeks with her kids Liam and Renee, he’ll be coming with them.
The pair are rumoured to have bought a house together in LA and Rachel has even been talking about more babies.
According to friends, Jarret is a lovely guy and absolutely besotted with her, while she’s been quoted in New Idea saying: “I think I would like more children. I wouldn’t want to adopt though. I think I have two years left to have a child naturally if I want to.”
from Sam McCaig of the Hockey News,
... In other words, the Kings aren’t exactly headed in the right direction.
Or are they?
Take a close look at L.A.’s roster and there’s hope on the horizon.
The Kings already boast a handful of burgeoning stars up front in forwards Anze Kopitar (20 years and 11 months), Patrick O’Sullivan (23), Dustin Brown (23) and Alexander Frolov (26).
from Frozen Royalty,
...But the big question is, in September, when the Kings open their 2008-09 training camp, even if Bernier once again shows that he is their best goalie, will they give him that chance, knowing that they are likely to once again struggle mightily and compete for last place in the NHL standings (and the first selection in the 2009 draft that comes with it) as opposed to a playoff berth?
To be sure, if the Kings decide to once again send him down rather than expose him to another porous defense and another a losing atmosphere, Lombardi and Hextall will very likely have to do some damage control for Bernier’s psyche.
“I’ll be mad, really mad,” Bernier said about that possibility. “But it depends on so many things. If I come here and don’t deserve to stay here—last year, I thought I deserved to stay here. That’s why I was so mad. But if I come here and I have a bad camp, they have the right to send me down.”
From Spector at Fox Sports,
The Los Angeles Kings, Phoenix Coyotes and Atlanta Thrashers are currently under the league’s cap “floor” of $40.7 million and must add salary to get over that mark before the start of next season.
As per NHLnumbers.com, the Coyotes ($38.592 million) and Thrashers ($37.719 million) are sitting comfortably within striking distance of the cap minimum, requiring little more than a few minor signings to get over the cap whilst filling their remaining roster spots.
The Kings, however, with a payroll of $27.756 million currently sit well below the cap minimum, and with 14 players under contract for next season have a long way to go to get over the cap and flesh out their roster.
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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