Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
A general manager identifies a need for a productive left winger. He decides to trade a valuable asset to fill that need but gives his team a better chance to go deep in the playoffs this season and in the future.
Congratulations, Ray Shero of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
What, you thought it might be Kings GM Dean Lombardi shaking off his paralysis by analysis?
While the Kings sit outside the top eight in the West and Lombardi dithers about filling a hole he recognized last summer, Shero’s Penguins on Monday acquired power forward James Neal — a three-time 20-goal scorer — and defenseman Matt Niskanen from the salary-dumping Dallas Stars for defenseman Alex Goligoski.
from Helene Elliott of the Fabulous Forum,
Kings defensemen played a role in all four goals in the team’s 4-3 victory over Phoenix on Saturday, and Coach Terry Murray would like to see that happen a lot more.
Matt Greene got a stick on the puck in the neutral zone before Phoenix turned it over on the first goal, which was scored by Justin Williams; Drew Doughty scored the second goal after a nice fake; Alec Martinez scored the third goal with an assist from Greene, and Jack Johnson’s blast created the rebound that led to Jarret Stoll’s diving game-winner.
“That would be a very good thing to continue,” Murray said, “and that’s really where you have to come to today, with the way teams play on the structure and their [protect] home-plate attitude. You’ve got five down tight. There’s not a lot of room to make plays. Unless something good is happening off the rush or you get now second options off of rebounds.”
NEW YORK (January 21, 2011) – Los Angeles Kings President and General Manager Dean Lombardi has been fined $50,000 for comments made following Thursday night’s game against the Phoenix Coyotes.
“There is no acceptable explanation or excuse for commentary challenging the integrity of the League’s Hockey Operations Department in general or Mike Murphy, in particular,” Commissioner Gary Bettman said.
“People can disagree with a call by an official on the ice or an official in the Situation Room in Toronto, but even in instances of the utmost frustration there is no justification for speaking as inappropriately and irresponsibly as Mr. Lombardi did,” Commissioner Bettman added. “Mike Murphy is a devoted caretaker of the game. His commitment to the National Hockey League, all 30 of its Clubs – and to the game – is beyond challenge, question or debate.
“I have spoken to Dean, who has apologized to Mike Murphy and to me and has acknowledged that his comments were wrong, inappropriate and without merit,” Commissioner Bettman said.
The money goes to the NHL Foundation.
from Mike Brophy of Sportsnet at CityNews,
Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi has apologized to NHL vice-president Mike Murphy for an outburst following his team’s loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night, but still expects a phone call from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
Lombardi was furious after a Coyotes goal scored by Martin Hanzal on a high stick was allowed following a lengthy review by the league’s war room in Toronto. He said Murphy’s decision was swayed by the fact that he didn’t get the GM job with the Kings.
“I called Mike Murphy and apologized first thing this morning,” Lombardi said. “He was very professional and a bigger man than me.”
from Rich Hammond at Kings.com,
Irate after a video review failed to overturn a second-period goal by the Phoenix Coyotes, Kings general manager Dean Lombardi and coach Terry Murray publicly called out the NHL review crew in Toronto after the Kings’ 2-0 loss to the Coyotes.
The disputed play took place 8:48 into the second period of a then-scoreless game. Phoenix’s Martin Hanzal, stationed in front the net, lifted his stick and knocked the puck out of the air and past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick.
On-ice officials immediately called it a good goal, and after a video review of more than five minutes, the crew in Toronto, led by Mike Murphy, the NHL’s senior vice president of hockey operations, ruled that the goal would stand.
“When the guy in Toronto making the decisions on the goals, in Ottawa and the one tonight, wanted the G.M.‘s job in L.A. and was not happy about not getting it, you have to assume you are going to get those type of calls,’’ Lombardi said. “However, we have put ourselves in a position where these calls have a monumental effect on our season, and we’re going to have to find a way out of it ourselves.’‘
I saw the goal live and honestly, I felt whatever was ruled on the ice is the way Toronto would see it, it was that close. You can watch the goal in real-time and slow motion below…
from Bruce Cheadle of the CP at the Toronto Star,
The tousle-headed kid who turned the hockey world on its ear is hitting 50.
Wayne Gretzky, Canada’s male athlete of the 20th century, trips the half-century odometer on Jan. 26, a memory milestone that may pack as much impact for an aging generation of Canadian baby-boomers as for the retired hockey god himself.
If 50 is the age of introspection and taking stock, Gretzky could serve as a case study of what we’d like to think it means to be Canadian:
Fiercely competitive but humble; self-assured without swagger; instantly recognizable yet somehow chameleon-like; bland but not boring; fabulously wealthy without ostentation; a non-aggressor who punches well above his weight.
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings have recalled forward Andrei Loktionov from the Ontario Reign (ECHL) and have placed forward Marco Sturm on the injured reserve list (lower body injury – retroactive to January 18), Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi announced today.
Loktionov, 20, started this season with the Kings and played in seven games, recording two points (1-1=2) and two penalty minutes. He was assigned to the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League on November 2 and in 31 games with the Monarchs he has 31 points (8-23=31). His 31 points are tied for second on the club and his 23 assists are tied for first. He also leads the Monarchs with a plus-15 rating, he is tied for second with 100 shots and he is tied for first in short-handed goals with one.
from Rich Hammond at Kings.com,
The mental side of NHL fighting? To the uninitiated, that might sound like an oxymoron.
Stereotypes don’t always fit, though. Hockey enforcers, too often, tend to be dismissed as brutes, players with no other discernible skills, who remain employed in professional hockey only because of their willingness to get punched in the face on a regular basis.
That’s a part of it, yes, but there is a certain science behind on-ice pugilism. For evidence, consider that within the past decade, the Kings have had two Princeton-educated enforcers. The guys throwing punches are also the ones thriving at crossword puzzles.
To be certain, fighting itself is an act of raw strength or courage, even if some—perhaps rightfully so—believe it has no place in the NHL game. But the decisions, the cat-and-mouse games, that lead up to fights require a lot of mental strength as well.
“Fighting is not just fighting,” Kings winger Kyle Clifford said. “It’s actually a big part of the game. It’s a momentum-changer when you step up for your teammates, when someone is taking advantage of them, when someone is running around out there.”
Answering the headline question, the Detroit Red Wings don’t think so.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Anze Kopitar should be a 100-point scorer.
He has shown he’s capable of dominating games and carrying the Kings on his shoulders. At a solid 6 feet 3 and 225 pounds he can create room for himself and his linemates while making world-class plays at top speed.
He’s also capable of plunging into bottomless ruts.
He had 32 points in the Kings’ first 22 games last season, but after linemate Ryan Smyth suffered a rib injury Kopitar disappeared, scoring two goals and eight points in his next 20 games. He led the Kings in scoring for the third straight season — the first player to do that since Wayne Gretzky — but with 81 points in 82 games.
The 23-year-old Slovenian is repeating that pattern this season. Playing with an ever-changing cast of wingers he had a decent start and raised his game in early December, when he collected six goals and 10 points in his first six games. But he faded again, going nine games without a goal before scoring Saturday. He was blanked in his next two games, both losses.
from Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside of ESPN,
LeBrun The Rangers are an intriguing tale. Under the excellent tutelage of coach John Tortorella, they’ve scratched and clawed their way to maintaining a playoff spot all season. Imagine if Gaborik was along for the ride? To be fair, he doesn’t have a bona-fide No. 1 center to play with. But let’s be honest, where has the speed and explosion gone? Remember Gaborik in Minnesota? He was the fastest player in the league. I spoke with someone this week who figured Gaborik has never been the same player since his hip surgery; or maybe it’s just going to take longer to get it all back? The Rangers better hope he does; there’s three more years left on his deal at $7.5 million per year.
Burnside: The offseason darlings of most prognosticators, the Kings have won just twice in their past 11 games. They dropped a 2-1 decision to St. Louis on Tuesday night, their second straight 2-1 loss. They woke up Wednesday morning in 12th place in the Western Conference, five points out of eighth. All is not lost, of course, but how long is coach Terry Murray’s leash? I think ownership will not be pleased if this promising young team falls short of the playoffs this season.
more on each team…
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