Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Bill Roose of DetroitRedWings.com,
Anze Kopitar knew the day that two Slovenians playing against one another in the same NHL game would come sooner than later.
That day is today.
Kopitar leads his Los Angeles Kings into Joe Louis Arena tonight to face-off against the Red Wings, and his countryman and friend, Jan Mursak.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a couple of years now, since he’s been in the Wings’ organization,” said Kopitar, of the Wings’ rookie forward. “He’s a really good player and I knew it was just a matter of time before he was going to break through and come up with the big boys and play.”
However, a serious injury in the preseason could have postponed this day, but Mursak rebounded from his fractured ankle and has fit nicely into the Wings’ lineup since mid-January making this historical day possible.
“I didn’t know if this game would happen this year,” Kopitar said, “so I’m happy for him that he’s been in the lineup consistently now, and I’m looking forward to tonight.”
That a Bruce Boudreau quote post-game after the Ducks lost 4-2 to the Kings.
Now watch Bruce Boudreau post-game…
“I think Kopitar’s at the point in his career where he has to decide what he wants to do. Does he want to be the guy? If I was him, he should be looking at the situation and what’s going with (Evgeni) Malkin. When (Sidney) Crosby was playing, Malkin was happy to be second fiddle. Then, when Crosby went out, Malkin took over. He wins games on his own. Kopi has to do that! You can’t wait for wingers. You gotta make it happen. Some nights he’s gotta be the guy. And if he’s not, now it’s getting to the point in his game where it’s going to be tough to get up to the level he wants to be. Everbody knows him, everybody knows how he plays.
“He should be a little bit more - he reminds me a little bit of Mats Sundin. They’re big guys, but when they get close to the net, they’re not aggressive enough. They have to get these guys off their backs because they’re big guys. If they’re soft there, then you know what, those soft goals don’t come.
“I still have confidence in him. But, sometimes, management are too nice to their stars. He needs a wake-up call.”
-former LA Kings great Marcel Dionne on Anze Kopitar, via MayorsManor.
thanks to Jewels From The Crown for the pointer
from Rich Hammond at the website of the LA Kings,
The phone calls came exactly eight months apart, but the emotions couldn’t have been any different.
On the afternoon of June 24, 2011, Jeff Carter learned that he had been traded from the Philadelphia Flyers to the Columbus Blue Jackets. A half-hour later, Mike Richards, Carter’s close friend and teammate with the Flyers, was dealt to the Kings in a head-spinning duo of deals.
On Feb. 24, 2012, Kings coach Darryl Sutter called Richards into his office and asked a question.
“How would you like to play with Jeff Carter?” Sutter said.
No piece of fiction could match the reality. Carter and Richards had both been under long-term contracts in Philadelphia, and enjoyed playing together. When both were jettisoned to the Western Conference, as far apart as possible, who would of thought they would be reunited within a year?
“...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.
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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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