Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider,
One of the final twists in tonight’s wild game came with 6:13 remaining in regulation, when Kings winger Kyle Clifford was given a match penalty for a hit on Phoenix’s Gilbert Brule. Clifford had only been out of the penalty box for 24 seconds after he served a tripping penalty. Brule was very slow to get up, after what appeared to be a hit to the head, and in a post-whistle scrum, Clifford tussled with Keith Yandle. Yandle got a two-minute roughing penalty, so the teams were 4-on-4 for two minutes and then the Coyotes got a three-minute power play, on which they scored to make it a 4-4 game. Afterward, the Kings were most upset with the way the penalties were called. Initially, matching two-minute penalties were on the scoreboard, but after an officials’ conference, the call was changed. That didn’t sit well with Dustin Brown or Darryl Sutter after the game.
continued and watch the hit bolow. The Coyotes did win in the shootout, 5-4.
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
“The important thing is that we have this kid locked in for eight years. I just want to go win Cups.”
-Kings Governor Tim Leiweke, Sept. 29/11, the day Drew Doughty was signed
Los Angeles has until 2019 to grab those multiple championships under Doughty’s current contract (quote courtesy of “Kings Insider” reporter Rich Hammond), but success in Year I is definitely endangered. California’s seniormost NHL team wakes up Monday outside a playoff position, dropping out of the West’s Top Eight with a 1-0 loss to Calgary on Saturday.
The major problem? A flaccid offence—rock-bottom in the NHL with just 124 goals. This is not a good omen. The Kings are on pace for a total of 172 and the last club to reach the playoffs with a total that low no longer exists. The 1970 Oakland Seals (LA’s extinct expansion brother) made it with 169. (The 1995 lockout-shortened season is discounted.)
The last time a team with the fewest scores made the postseason was the 1989 Vancouver Canucks, although two recent teams were close. The 2010 Bruins were 29th and the 2008 Ducks 28th. But it’s generally not a recipe for success.
continued plus 30 Thoughts…
from Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside of ESPN,
LeBrun: And of course the biggest name of all, when it comes to defensemen on the trade market, is Jack Johnson in Los Angeles. I had a few team executives this week tell me he’s in play but only for the type of deal that hands the Kings the top-line forward they’ve been craving. Shut out 1-0 at home by Phoenix Thursday night, I have to imagine Kings GM Dean Lombardi will be even more determined in his efforts to land Rick Nash. Jeff Carter and Ales Hemsky are other possibilities. The Kings can’t score and must make the playoffs. Lots of pressure there.
Burnside: As you know, I wasn’t a fan of the Darryl Sutter hire when Lombardi dismissed Terry Murray and the team has continued to struggle offensively after a spasm of productivity and not surprisingly slowly slid down the standings. That’s what happens when you’re dead last in goals scored per game and 22nd on the power play. There is more than a little impatience in Los Angeles with the Kings’ plans for building a contender. The fans have been surprisingly understanding, but if the Kings miss the playoffs, that would be a monster blow for the franchise and I have to assume one that would signal dramatic change from the top on down. Right now, the Kings are in eighth place thanks to their loss at home versus the resilient Phoenix Coyotes, and Calgary is just two points back after picking up a point in an overtime loss to Dallas. Dallas, by the way, is just four points back of the Kings with a game in hand.
I must admit I still don’t get the willingness to part with Johnson for some of the reasons outlined above. No matter how much you need offense, it’s nigh on impossible to replace a young, puck-moving defenseman the likes of Johnson. I guess it’s a case of high risk, high reward for Lombardi. Either way, the Kings will be a team to keep an eye on in the coming days.
The Coyotes defeated the Kings last night 1-0 to leap over them in the standings.
The game also featured 40 PIM in the first period, 3 fights and no instigator penalties!!!
Watch the fight action…
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Officials in the NHL’s situation room will more closely observe the final minute of each period of each game and will refine the overall game-timing process as the result of the league’s investigation into a pause of the Staples Center clock during the Kings’ game against Columbus on Feb. 1. That hesitation added a second to the final period and allowed Drew Doughty score the winning goal.
Colin Campbell, the NHL’s senior vice president of hockey operations, said Thursday that the clock’s maker, Daktronics, had examined the clock and found “no defects.” He also said the off-ice crew working that game had been interviewed and that he was “completely satisfied” with the clock operator, whom he would not identify.
However, Campbell said he plans to rotate the crew members’ duties “to avoid any thoughts there may be issues with the clock when opposing teams play at the Staples Center.”
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
One of Jeanne Torres’ first purchases after she graduated from college was Kings season tickets, and she has remained loyal through nine years of good and bad.
But the San Pedro graphic designer’s fanaticism and finances were tested this week when she learned the two seats that each cost her $33.50 per game this season could cost $40 next season following a sweeping price rescaling at Staples Center.
“There’s a big difference between what your heart wants to do and your brain wants to do,” Torres said Tuesday. “I love it. I don’t want to give it up. But when push comes to shove and it doesn’t look like we’re going to do anything better than we did last year I may put those seats on hold.”
A club spokesman said some seats will decrease by $5.50 to $12 and others will increase by as little as 50 cents to as much as $13 per game. The “blended” increase will be 9% for those who renew by the March 24 deadline and 11% for those who renew afterward or are new buyers.
Darren Dreger of TSN answers some emails,
I keep reading Jack Johnson’s name in trade rumours from various sites (probably guys who don’t really have any insight posting for conversation). Is there actually a chance L.A. would be shopping Johnson? Also, I’ve read St. Louis is seeking a Top 6 playmaker, any chance of them acquiring one?
What are your thoughts?
A: Warren, there’s no reason to believe Los Angeles is shopping Jack Johnson and based on recent dealings I’ve had with Kings general manager Dean Lombardi, he’s tired of all speculation. It’s believed Lombardi would like to add a forward and the names of Carter, Hemsky, Huselius, MacArthur and Kulemin are considered potential candidates, but Lombardi is one of the more unpredictable GMs, so zeroing in on a specific target is a tricky business. As for St. Louis, Blues GM Doug Armstrong goes about the hunt in a somewhat sleuth-like fashion. We know St. Louis would like to add a defenceman and if there is an affordable upgrade to his top six available, I’m sure it will be considered. But as I said, Armstrong is masterful at staying under the radar and is always a prime suspect when we start hearing the rumblings a blockbuster may be in the works.
more Q & A…
Pierre LeBrun of ESPN answers some email rants,
Hi Pierre, my rant is with the Kings. How in the world are they not scoring more goals? One goal in the last two games, can’t anyone score in LA? And when in the world is Simon Gagne coming back? Dustin Penner’s four goals, relativeley speaking, on this team would probably equate to 12 goals on any other halfway decent scoring team. Man, I have watched the Kings for years, and never seen the offense this anemic.
My take: When I watch the Kings, two things come to mind in terms of their offensive struggles: they need a serious upgrade on the wings, which is why GM Dean Lombardi is working the phones to see what’s out there; and there’s a general lack of foot speed on this team. They’re just not as fast as most of the contending teams in this league and, in today’s game, speed is a huge part of having success. Those would be the two areas I would be focused on in terms of wanting to improve my team if I were Lombardi.
more including someone is complaining about the Detroit’s offense…
“Not good, not acceptable—if [the clock] had run straight through, the game would have been at a tie at that point, would have gone to overtime,” Bettman said. “And maybe L.A. would have won anyway, maybe not. That’s not the point. We are taking this very seriously. We’re investigating as to how it happened. Obviously it’s either human error or a technology glitch. We don’t know which, but we’ve already begun investigating and we will get to the bottom of it.
“Now I know lots of people are going to say, ‘How can you have a mistake?’ Well, unfortunately or fortunately, our game is full of mistakes—by players, by coaches and occasionally by officials—and on some levels it’s no different than if a guy makes a bad penalty call, puts a team on the power play and they score the winning goal. It happens. We don’t like when it happens and our job is to minimize mistakes. We don’t want any, but obviously when you have a human element in any aspect of the game you’re going to have it.
“If we had any reason to believe that this was intentional we would deal with it in a whole different way, but we’re going to investigate it, get to the bottom of it.”
a bit more
added 9:19pm, Instead of reading more, you have the option below to watch Bettman discuss the clock problem…
“Those clocks are sophisticated instruments that calculate time by measuring electrical charges called coulombs—given the rapidity and volume of electrons that move through the measuring device the calibrator must adjust at certain points which was the delay you see—the delay is just recalibrating for the clock moving too quickly during the 10 - 10ths of a second before the delay—this insures that the actual playing time during a period is exactly 20 minutes That is not an opinion—that is science—amazing devise quite frankly.”
-Dean Lombardi, GM for the LA Kings on the clock issue last night. More from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.
So it’s a can of worms for the NHL and even if an anonymous off-ice official loses his job over it, it won’t change the final result, which is that the Kings are credited with a point in a game which they may or may not have earned.
And if the Western Conference playoff race goes down to the wire the way it did last season, and somebody misses out by a point, the events of Feb. 1 in L.A. will not be easy for some close-but-no-cigar also-ran to swallow.
Or to forget.
-Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail where you can read more on this topic.
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