Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Cathy Boyd at the Londoner,
The enduring myth of the overnight success is as old as sport itself. Although a fortunate few have managed to thwart the odds, for most athletes – and more specifically young players trying to make the National Hockey League – the road to stardom is long and unusually arduous.
No one knows this better than London’s own Drew Doughty, a defenceman who was second pick overall in the 2008 NHL draft and the newest member of the Los Angeles Kings organization….
Only coffee beans could be more grounded than Drew and he has his family to thank for that. Drew’s parents, Connie and Paul, two of the most self-effacing people you would ever want to meet, are at the forefront of this success story.
The NHL draft is often viewed as a celebration of sorts, not just the players but their families too – a reminder of all the sacrifices made along the way, the tournament travel, the hotel stays, the expenses.
via Rich Hammond of Inside the Kings,
Lombardi and Hextall made it clear at the GM breakfast that the Kings are still actively pursuing a veteran defenseman. From what I’m hearing, those talks could get particularly intense this week, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a deal get done.
The names? Anaheim’s Mathieu Schneider is one the Kings are seriously considering. Other names under consideration would be San Jose’s Kyle McLaren, Florida’s Karlis Skrastins, Nashville’s Greg de Vries, St. Louis’ Jay McKee and Pittsburgh’s Darryl Sydor.
added 6:44pm, This also from Rich Hammond of Inside the Kings,
The Kings are still looking at a trade as their best option to add a defenseman, but should they shift their focus to the free-agent route, the names they’re looking at would include Jassen Cullimore, Bret Hedican, Keith Carney, Marek Malik and Nolan Pratt.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
Have no fear, says Los Angeles general manager Dean Lombardi, the Kings will make it to the NHL’s salary “floor” of $40.7 million in player payroll before opening night.
However, the financial formula will not include, contrary to rumors in recent weeks, taking high-priced goalie Nikolai Khabibulin off Chicago’s hands, or dealing away budding superstar forward Anze Kopitar.
“Some of the stuff that goes around is just crazy,” said Lombardi. “Like Kopitar. We’re going to trade our best young player to get to the floor? If the people who start that stuff would put just two cents worth of brains into thinking about it first . . .
“But that’s the kind of stuff that gets out there, and then we had to respond to it, just to quell the masses.”
continued with numerous NHL topics discussed too…
I do find it laughable when Lombardi says he has to respond to trade rumors to quell the masses. The knowledgeable NHL fan knows the vast majority of trade rumors are made up and don’t have any chance of happening. But it only takes a few people, yes, even those who claim to be have trusted sources, to stir the pot and take advantage of those fans who will believe everything they read.
Jarrett Stoll has agreed to a four-year, $14 million deal with the Los Angeles Kings.
added 6:21pm, According to Rich Hammond of Inside the Kings, the deal is four years, $14.4 million.
from Mike Brophy of the Hockey News,
And if you are anything like me, these three teams are worth keeping an eye on:
Los Angeles Kings
Maybe it’s because I believe GM Dean Lombardi is on the right track, but I just hope ownership in Los Angeles has patience and allows Lombardi to follow through on building a team I believe is very close to being a competitor.
read on and the other teams are Edmonton and Phoenix…
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
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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