Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jill Painter of the LA Daily News,
Truthfully, every King deserves rock-star status. The 10-3-0 Kings, who are second in the NHL in points and first in the Pacific Division, have won four consecutive games and host the Dallas Stars tonight with the promise of playoffs and then some.
“We started this process when we got here, building from the back, building from the draft,” said Dean Lombardi, the Kings’ general manager. “You get younger every year, and the goal is to get better every day. Last year, it started to become seeable. There’s no way anybody is satisfied.
“You can see the progress and now the fans see it. There were fans who stuck with us when we weren’t very good. At least the vision is starting to become reality. But let’s not kid ourselves. Let’s get real. We have a lot more to accomplish. We’re sitting on a lot of potential, but there’s still a lot of work to do.”
In the latest episode of The Bolts Beat, Mark and Mike pile up on Jon for coming clean about not being able to stay up for late games recently but, later, Jon returns fire by taking the show to a very dark, dark place. Aside from Tampa’s recent west coast road trip, the boys discuss the scuttlebutt surrounding Steven Stamkos’ second contract, the Lightning’s recent rash of injuries (including that of Simon Gagne, who remains out) and the weekly end-show segments are, as usual, full of vim and vigor. “Missing the Mark” targets NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Mike’s “Missed Call of the Week” goes after an officiating staff for their entire body of work in one particular game and Jon’s “What the Hell Was That?” has the Hall of Fame induction committee in its crosshairs.
Enjoy. This one’s a doozy…
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Tags: dan+ellis, dominic+moore, simon+gagne, simon+gagne, steve+downie, steven+stamkos
via Helene Elliott tweet,
uh-oh: Kings say Mitchell has fractured wrist and will be out 4 to 6 wks, and Ponikarovsky has fractured finger and will miss 4 weeks.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Are the Los Angeles Kings ready to take a page from the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Stanley Cup playbook? Remember how the Pens matured far more quickly than anyone imagined they would, making the playoffs in 2007, going to the Cup finals the following season and then winning it all in 2009?
Many were expecting the Kings to take another big step forward this season after losing in the first round to Vancouver. What has been so impressive about their 10-3-0 start has been their commitment to team defense, the bedrock of almost all championship teams. Even with Norris Trophy nominee Drew Doughty out of action for a chunk of time (Doughty has missed six of the team’s 13 games, but returned to the lineup last week), the Kings remain one of the most difficult teams in the league to play against.
They are third in the league in goals allowed per game with an impressive 2.00 team GAA after finishing ninth in that category last season.
more plus additional hockey talk…
from Helene Elliott of the Fabulous Forum,
X-rays taken of defenseman Willie Mitchell, who was injured during the Kings’ 4-1 victory over Nashville on Saturday night, showed no break or fracture, but he will undergo an MRI on Monday, a team spokesman said.
Mitchell, off to a fine start with the Kings, played only two shifts in the second period after suffering what the club called an upper-body injury. It’s believed he injured an arm. Coach Terry Murray said after Saturday’s game that he had not seen the play because it happened on the far side of the ice. The X-rays were done after the game.
The Kings, who have won four straight games and five of their last six, don’t play again until Thursday, when they face the Dallas Stars at Staples Center. That should give Mitchell some extra time to heal.
continue for more Kings talk…
Everyone looks like Ryan Smyth!
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
The area behind the net was Wayne Gretzky’s office, but the combat zone in front of opposing goaltenders has long been Smyth’s home. The Kings left wing routinely absorbs slashes across the hands and whacks on his back while chasing rebounds and deflections, and every scar is a badge of honor.
“That’s the way I’ve made a living. The puck’s got to end up toward the net so you might as well get your body there too,” he said. “And sometimes you have to pay a price. And in this case, I have over the years.”
After so many payments he’s approaching a great reward. Smyth will play the 999th game of his NHL career Thursday, and if all goes well, on Saturday will become the 256th NHL player to reach the 1,000-game milestone.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
His 1.84 goals-against average and .936 save percentage rank among the league leaders. So does his total of seven wins….
Physical and mental stress took a toll on Quick late last season. He has looked and felt sharp, though he said he won’t know until January and February whether he will benefit from getting fewer starts.
“I do feel a bit better out there. I will admit that,” he said. “But I do think it’s the system that we’re playing in the defensive zone. Our penalty kill is playing really well. We’ve got guys blocking shots, doing a great job in front of the net. I’m getting a ton of help and it’s making my life a lot easier. I think a lot of it is numbers, and wins are showing how well we’re playing in the defensive zone.”
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPH,
...it’s well understood around NHL circles that since Los Angeles didn’t spend the money it had budgeted for Ilya Kovalchuk last summer, there is indeed room in the budget and under the salary cap for an important acquisition before the Feb. 28 trade deadline. I believe Jarome Iginla is among the list of players the Kings have in mind.
That would go along with the character-type guys the Kings have added over the last two years, players like Ryan Smyth and Willie Mitchell. At this point, I don’t see any indication at all that the Flames would even entertain the thought of moving him. But I bring all this up given the stories out of Calgary this week regarding a possible rift between the Flames captain and the head coach (which was denied by both in the papers).
Iginla is signed for two more seasons at $7 million per year and also has a no-movement clause, so he controls his fate.
Of course, Smyth also had a no-movement clause in his contract, but the Kings persisted for almost a year before getting him out of Colorado in the summer of 2009. Food for thought…
more topics, some which were discussed on the Hot Stove segment of HNIC…
The 2010 LA Kings Ice Crew calendar will be released on 10/28! Check out lakings.com/calendar for more information
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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