Kukla's Korner Hockey
“...When you play a little while, that becomes first and foremost, just having a shot at the Stanley Cup. You can go that (free-agency) route, but it’s very unpredictable where you could end up. For me, I’ve played a little while and it’s all about winning. I want a Cup. I don’t have that. A couple guys around here do, and I hear the stories, I hear everything. I’ve been to the conference finals, but that’s what drives me and that’s what motivates me, on the — I wouldn’t say latter half — but the later stages of my career. That’s what I want to accomplish, and I think we’ve got some good people around here and we can get that accomplished….”
-Willie Mitchell after signing an extension with the LA Kings. More from Mitchell by Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider.
via Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider,
Willie Mitchell has agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Kings worth $7 million. Mitchell, who will turn 35 in April, had signed a two-year, $7-million contract with the Kings in Aug. 2010 as an unrestricted free agent.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Acquiring centre/left winger Jeff Carter from the Columbus Blue Jackets for defenceman Jack Johnson and a first-round draft choice is the ultimate high-risk, high-reward deal for the Los Angeles Kings.
Risk: In Carter, they get a player who sulked through much of his one-and-only season in Columbus, where he was unhappy after leaving the Philadelphia Flyers, the organization that drafted him originally in the NHL’s 2003 first round.
Reward: Only three years ago, Carter scored 46 goals, tied for the NHL scoring lead. Since the Kings have essentially been unable to score goals for this entire season, ranking 30th in the league in offence, Carter will help mitigate that shortcoming, as they fight to make the 2012 playoffs.
from Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider,
I’ll have the full transcript of the Dean Lombardi conference call shortly, but here are the highlights…
– Talks with the Blue Jackets started “heating up” about a week ago.
– Lombardi said he understands that taking on Carter’s big contract is a risk, but feels it is worth it.
– Carter will have to do an extensive physical. The Kings hope he will be able to play on Saturday, but aren’t certain.
– Lombardi said that in terms of potential trades beyond this, he has “absolutely nothing” right now but said he will be open to talks.
– Lombardi said the questions about Carter’s character have been overblown.
continued and if you wish to listent to the press conference, you can do so below. Many media members mentioned the conference was one entertaining.
via Bob McKenzie tweet,
Jeff Carter has been traded to LAK for Jack Johnson and 1st round pick. Pending a medical tomorrow.
via Aaron Portzline tweet,
Deal will be made official when #CBJ GM Scott Howson in roughly 45 minutes.
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings have acquired forward Jeff Carter from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for defenseman Jack Johnson and a conditional first round draft selection in either the 2012 or 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi announced today. Today’s trade is contingent on both players passing physicals
“Jeff is a proven goal scorer in our league. He brings goal-scoring abilities, speed and at his age he is entering the prime of his career. We also like his versatility as he can play both center and wing,” said Lombardi. “We also want to wish Jack Johnson the best going forward.”
COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have acquired defenseman Jack Johnson and a first round pick in either the 2012 or 2013 Entry Draft from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for center Jeff Carter, club Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Scott Howson announced this evening. The deal is subject to the completion of player physicals.
“Jack is a talented young defenseman who will strengthen our defense corps and we are very excited to add him to our organization,” said Howson. “We are committed to re-shaping our club and moving forward. Adding a player like Jack and a first round pick are important parts of that process.”
from Guy Spurrier of the National Post,
With about a quarter of the National Hockey League season left, most teams are scrambling furiously to make the playoffs. Then there are the Washington Capitals and the Los Angeles Kings.
In preparation to debut our playoff projection report, we’ve been watching these two clubs’ seasons disintegrate in slow motion. The Capitals, last season’s No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, have won just five of their last 17 games and are on their hands and knees unrolling a red carpet toward the No. 8 seed for Toronto and Winnipeg. Wednesday night’s 5-2 loss in Ottawa came a day after the club was blasted by owner Ted Leonsis in his blog. He called Monday’s 5-0 loss to Carolina “the worst game of the season” and said the Capitals “came up small when we needed to come up big.”
The Kings have won two of their last 10 games and suffered four soul-crushing losses in a row, including a pair of 1-0 home-ice defeats last week to Phoenix and Calgary, two of the teams they are are fighting with at the bottom of the Western Conference playoff picture. On Tuesday, the Kings blew a three-goal first-period lead in a 5-4 loss in Phoenix. Wednesday night in Denver, in a game that would have reversed L.A.’s fortunes and all but buried Colorado, the Avalanche scored three first-period goals and cruised to a 4-1 win.
Wednesday night’s losses by these two clubs further eroded their projected point totals. We now have Washington nearly two full points behind Toronto for the No. 8 seed and about 4.5 behind Florida for the Southeast Division title and the No. 3 seed. Los Angeles fell below Calgary in our projection with the latest loss.
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…
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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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