Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
from Inside the Kings,
(Jack) Johnson is back home in Michigan enjoying his summer and took a few minutes to talk about his first full season in the NHL…
Question: It seemed at times last season like you might have been holding back a little, playing things conservatively, that at any moment we were going to see some end-to-end rushes or bone-jarring clips like we have seen on YouTube that made you semi famous. Were you in fact holding back a bit last year?
Johnson: I was just kind of feeling things out, and yeah, there were times where I felt like I was holding back and hesitating a little bit. I think it is all about getting some confidence a getting a feeling for the game. It is a lot harder coming in to this league as a defenseman than it is for a forward. The mistakes you make as a defenseman are magnified than when you make them as a forward.
From Mike Brophy at The Hockey News,
It’s not that I have high expectations for the Kings next season; I just like the direction the team is going. By building mainly through the draft, GM Dean Lombardi has ensured that when the Kings get good, they’ll be good for a long time.
I have no doubt there are Kings fans upset about the slow pace in which the team is rebuilding and wish Lombardi would sign a couple of veterans to get his club into the playoff hunt. But if he did, he might as well rename the Kings the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It takes patience to build a winner.
via Inside the Kings,
There was a report that the Kings might sign defenseman Danny Markov out of Russia. A Kings source said the team talked to Markov but that Markov declined to take a physical in advance and Markov declined. So it seems that unless Markov has a change of heart, he won’t be coming to the Kings.
from Snapshots at Mlive,
Two rumours popped up this morning; the first discusses a former Red Wing’s purported return to the NHL, and the other claims that a future Wing will be locked up for the next three seasons.
Sport-Express’s Alexander Shapiro claims that former Wing Danny Markov is coming back to the NHL to play for the LA Kings…
Aftonbladet’s Victor Melander and Tomas Ros say that Red Wings defenceman Jonathan Ericsson has been offered a three-year contract that would allow him to be sent down to Grand Rapids for the 2008-2009 season…
more with rough translations…
added 10:52am, Regarding Ericsson’s contract and to clarify it, the contract would be a one-way contract, but Ericsson can be sent to Grand Rapids next season without clearing waivers. This clarification comes from a trusted reader of KK.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Scotty Bowman not having a brother available for hire, the Kings on Thursday introduced Terry Murray—younger brother of Ottawa General Manager Bryan Murray—as their new coach.
Murray, who will be 58 on Sunday, has several virtues.
Chief among them is that he is known as a good teacher, which will be useful as the Kings become young enough to double as a day-care center.
Also that he’s not Marc Crawford, the previous coach, who relentlessly hammered the young players who are expected to form the team’s core for years to come
Terry Murray – formerly the Head Coach of the Washington Capitals, Florida Panthers and the Philadelphia Flyers, where he led that club to the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals – has signed a multi-year contract to coach the Kings. He replaces Marc Crawford, who coached the Kings the past two seasons and was relieved of his duties on June 10. Murray becomes the 22nd head coach in Kings history.
“I am very excited about this opportunity,” said Murray, who has a 360-288-89 record over 11 NHL seasons as a head coach. “This will be my biggest challenge as a coach. There is a lot of work ahead and it will take a collective effort to execute the plan we have in place. I am looking forward to training camp and to getting the process under way.”
Said Lombardi: “We are very pleased that Terry has accepted this challenge. He has a wide range of coaching experience and he understands the importance of teaching, which is critical to the building process.”
from the LA Kings,
The Los Angeles Kings will hold a press conference tomorrow, Thursday, July 17 at 1pm PT, to introduce the club’s new Head Coach.
The press conference will also be streamed live on LAKings.com.
added 7/17/08, As expected…
via Inside the Kings,
Terry Murray will be introduced as the Kings’ head coach tomorrow at 1 p.m. in El Segundo. He signed a three-year contract. Murray will be allowed to pick his assistant coaches but Nelson Emerson, Jamie Kompon and Bill Ranford are expected to return.
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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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