KK Members Blog
In recent years, the #1 seed in the Western Conference has been synonymous with both the Pacific Division and the San Jose Sharks. It would seem likely that this will be repeated again in 2011.
This article will suggest that not only will San Jose not take the first seed in the West, they will not even win their own division, as it is now the time for the Los Angeles Kings to do just that.
Here are the five reasons that the Kings can take their rightful place on the throne in the Pacific:
Add a hefty $3 million fine and the loss of two draft picks to the list of what New Jersey Devils have lost in their pursuit of Ilya Kovalchuk.
The Devils will lose a 3rd round pick in 2011 and a 1st rounder in one of the next four years as a punishment for trying to test the limits of the rules.
Excessive, sure, but there’s a price to pay for pushing the envelope the farthest, especially when you do the pushing in the direction of Gary Bettman.
What have the Devils already given up?
Yesterday Paul (KK) posted a bit of an interview with Anze Kopitar with links to the rest of it on lakings.com. There were 2 other interviews that were related to Kings fans by Rich Hammond on his blog LA Kings Insider
First was an audio interview with former Kings forward and current TV color commentator Jim Fox as he appeared on XM Radio’s Power Play show. Here are 2 links:
When the NHL rejected the original Ilya Kovalchuk deal, clearly more was at stake than a talented UFA left winger.
Numerous media members labeled this a serious test for the then—and probably still—rudderless NHLPA. That ugly seven-letter word ending in “out” started to appear again.
Part of the League’s motives were revealed when Arbitrator Richard Bloch named other contracts on the league’s radar.
Now, with the Larry Brooks story last night, it’s clear this isn’t as much about a contract as it is about the NHL taking the power back.
I’m sure most fans outside of Los Angeles will be surprised to hear that the Kings host an annual event for their fans called Hockey Fest. It coincides with the opening of rookie camp and all Kings fans can attend for a small fee. Season ticket holders get a discount.
From Rich Hammond’s LA Kings Insider blog here’s the schedule for this year’s event scheduled for Saturday, September 11th:
For those wondering about what the Kings’ “Hockey Fest” will look like this season, here’s a rundown of exactly how the day is scheduled to go. All events will take place at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo. Tickets are available for $20 (or $15 for season-ticket holders).
The fact that the Ilya Kovalchuk impasse will drag out at least another day shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. It would have been naive (read: I was naive) to believe reports that an answer would come from the League today.
This will-he-or-won’t-he question has lingered since the superstar left winger was traded to New Jersey in February. It stayed unanswered through weeks of courtship from the Kings and Devils in July and it could remain that way—God, forbid—if this contract is dismissed once again by the suits on Sixth Avenue.
Somehow, it doesn’t seem like that will be the case this time.
If Nick Kypreos was right on Monday, and this new deal really is two years shorter and more reasonably spread out in terms of payout, this might finally all be over.
But, how do Devils fans feel about that?
I heard a caller on the radio the other day talk about the effect the Phil Kessel trade has had on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Most people think that the trade was a disaster for the Leafs, but I was a proponent of the trade when it first happened. However, I did not think Brian Burke needed to give up 2 first round picks to get Kessel because he had the threat of the offer sheet and only needed to give up a first, second, and third round pick if he were to go that route (I know Burke lashed out at Kevin Lowe for the Dustin Penner offer sheet, but the biggest issue he had with Lowe was that he didn’t approach him first about a deal; he felt blind sided). That being said, I do not want to sit here and discuss how good or bad that deal was. Back to the caller, he made what I thought to be a great point, he essentially said that if Burke did not make the Kessel trade, some of the other deals he made later in the year probably would not have happened since the Leafs would have most likely been tanking the season and playing for Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin. So to judge Burke solely on the Kessel trade would not be fair. You need to look at the effect of that trade on the other moves he has made and I tend to agree with him. Thus, the Leafs most likely would not have made the Phaneuf or Giguere trades, which essentially brought the Leafs their young captain and also ridded them of bad contracts (Blake, and I would argue Stajan, and White as well).
1. That all team members are required to bunk in dorms that are built into each
arena, prior to a game the next day. Ideally, this allows players to focus on the task at hand, rather than any domestic or social outlet. This isn’t quite as stringent as the Soviet era, where Central Red Army players were required to live and train together in a secluded facility for eleven months of the year.
2. That legendary National Team Coach; Viktor Tikhonov started his career as a defenceman for the Air Force team. His coach; Vasily Stalin; son of Joseph Stalin.
3. That many Soviet-era teams were made up of players from the army, KGB and trade unions. Moscow Dynamo was comprised of KGB agents, Spartak was made of of trade union members and Central Red Army was comprised of…you guessed it…army members.
4. That the emergence and strength of the KHL is partly due to the fledgling oil
and steel industries in Russia. Many oil and steel tycoons invest in or own a KHL franchise.
I’m going to avoid calling this a “season preview” as I think I share the belief of most Kings fans that Dean Lombardi will make at least one more move this offseason that will alter the starting lineup. Instead I’ll take a look at the current team to try to identify what I believe are the strengths and weaknesses.
Top 6: Right now the top 6 forwards of the Kings appears to be Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, Ryan Smyth, Wayne Simmonds, Jarret Stoll, and Justin Williams. Micheal Handzus and newly signed Alexei Ponikarovsky could also push for playing time on the top 2 lines, depending on their production. Last year the Kings were tied for 9th in 5 on 5 goal scoring ratio at 1.07, tied with Pittsburgh. They were 7th in the league on the power play scoring the 5th most PP goals in the league with 64.
There are a lot of very good reasons to peg the Ottawa Senators at 10th in the East this year. Can the geritocracy of Alfredsson, Gonchar, and Kovalev be dominant over the full course of an 82-game schedule? Is Peter Regin for real? Have Michalek and Kovalev’s injuries fully healed? Will anyone on Ottawa’s defense corps hit anything this year?
Does Ottawa need to buy Pascal Leclaire a Popemobile to ensure his safety off-ice?
Also casting a long shadow over Ottawa’s chances at making the playoffs is the improvement of other teams in the East. While I may have my doubts about the various alchemies being employed in the Southeast Division and New Jersey, I think it is fair to say that the East is now beginning to resemble the West in that the distance between the eighth seed and those on the outside looking in will be much closer than at any time in recent memory.
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