For the second consecutive year, the Los Angeles Kings have defeated the St. Louis Blues to advance in the NHL Playoffs. In this new episode, Chris is once again joined by hockey blogger Alex Kinkopf to discuss Game 6, present a Playoff Beard Update (sort of), give an official See Ya! to the Blues and breakdown the Pros & Cons of playing the Sharks or Ducks in the next round. Go Kings!
Boom! The LA Kings storm back to take the game and even the series with the St. Louis Blues at 2 games a piece. In this new installment we breakdown Game 4, discuss the full team effort, give a Playoff Beard update and preview Game 5 in St. Louis. Go Kings!
The 2013 NHL regular season concludes as the Kings land in the 5 spot. In this installment we quickly breakdown the games against the Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings & San Jose Sharks, present our Top 5 Reasons why playing the St. Louis Blues in Round 1 is awesome, introduce our KingsCast Playoff Beard tracker and preview the playoffs.
The LA Kings push towards the Stanley Cup playoffs continues. In this brand new episode we breakdown the games against the Blues, Stars, Coyotes & Wild, discuss the trade deadline, do a See Ya for Davis Drewiske and welcome the newest King Robyn Regehr. Buckle up, it’s going to be quite a ride!
The Kings returned to Staples Center for the first time in 12 days Thursday night, where they hadn’t scored a single goal in 124:16 consecutive minutes of play.
The key is to dismiss the low-points and move forward.
And that they did, scoring on their first two shots against the Minnesota Wild Thursday night in what was a magnificent start to an extremely important contest, forcing the impressive Niklas Backstrom to be sent to the showers just 3:07 into the first period.
By then, it’s already too late if you’ve made the second mistake twice.
Because when you falter in the same fashion twice, you’re not moving ahead. The Kings know that. Minnesota had no business repeating last week’s happenings in St. Paul Thursday night at Staples Center. They had no chance.
When you give up a two-goal lead to a team and lose as the result, that same team should have no chance against you the second time around. The mindset, the attack, should be fierce – and most importantly, confident.
The Kings are sitting pretty at the moment, holding the Western Conference‘s 4th-place position with a 21-13-3 record that atones for 45 points. They have eleven regular season games remaining.
I can’t see right now, Justin Williams‘ confidence is all up in my sh*t.
Justin Time: Other than the Kings’ two-game stumble that saw them fail to score in two consecutive contests, the offense has been producing in a consistently pleasant fashion, and a lot of it has to do with Justin Williams and the past three weeks.
Williams is currently on a five-game goal streak, now with six goals in five games after his two-goal performance against the Minnesota Wild Thursday night. In his past 12 games, Williams has matched that number with points, scoring seven goals and dishing 5 assists for a twelve on the stat-sheet.
You add Williams’ presence without the puck he has while on the forecheck and backcheck, and the role he plays so well of clogging lanes, and you realize his importance.
Call him five-tools. Call him five-tools with a shot.
In And Out
Words to go by
Making it work: When you’re able to plug up or adapt to any such weakness, or loss of a player, before there’s any elongating effect that hurts your team, you’re doing quite a top-notch job.
And to do it continually so, in all facets of a roster, like Darryl Sutter has done since arriving in Los Angeles last February, is going to grant you a pretty successful makeup of a team.
There’s something magical about the simple, short-worded, extremely humble and private persona that Darryl Sutter and his mindset beholds. It’s a beautiful fit for a talented roster based in Los Angeles; where the big market city and the overflowing amount of media-crazed coverage can easily protrude a team’s focus and chemistry.
Not so, because Darryl Sutter has this team’s heads in his hands. And by golly gee, if there’s one vital aspect of respect a coach can ask for, or be influential enough to earn, it’s the full-on attention and dedication given to the coach’s voice.
The Kings and Darryl Sutter have that firm understanding. There’s absolutely no question. None.
Working with Anything
Adaptations: The year after a Stanley Cup Championship is never an easy challenge, even if you have a similar roster than you did in the season past. The fact is, you still have to work for it, you still have to earn it, and in every single tiny facet, every minor detail.
From Dean Lombardi staying active this season in making numerous minor acquisitions for depth players and draft picks, to Darryl Sutter putting good use to the hand he’s been dealt, it’s been a rather smooth season for the Kings.
After losing Matt Greene and Willie Mitchell to injuries prior to the start of the season, Darryl Sutter was dealt a huge blow to his defense corps, losing the two defensemen who were the most reliable when it came to dedicate, stay-at-home defensive type play.
When you have Vyacheslav Voynov on your roster, those losses become not as big of a deal.
Like a chipped tooth in the NHL
So, in come Rookie Jake Muzzin, Keaton Ellerby from the Florida Panthers, and why not make some light use of Davis Drewiske?
And since Dean Lombardi dealt Davis Drewiske to the Montreal Canadians, we’ll just replace him with a veteran, much more proven stay-at-home defenseman in Robyn Regehr.
We’ll give him the same number, too. The Kings dressed a new face in an old number: Fourty-Four. And he played the best game you could ask for; Simple and safe, staying true to the role he was brought to Los Angeles for.
Sutter was right in wasting no time getting Robyn Regehr associated with his new teammates in live-action, calling on the veteran defenseman to play Thursday night, and once again, surrendering Alec Martinez as a healthy-scratch.
What have you done for me lately?
And Juggling It: When you first consider having two great goalies in Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier on your roster, you probably couldn’t think of a better goaltending depth chart in the entire NHL. It’s not all glamorous, however.
It’s not easy to balance the play of two elite-touted goaltenders. You’re not just trying to share the minutes, but you’re dealing with the minds of goalies – and the head of a goalie is almost as complex as it gets.
You don’t want to disrupt the flow of a goalie, you don’t want to shatter their confidence, and you certainly don’t want to clash their value against one another.
And most importantly, you don’t desert Jonathan Quick.
It’s a delicate game handling two goalies with the skill both Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier have.
Even though Jonathan Bernier is undefeated in his ten starts (9-0-0), continuing to shuffle the starts between these two goaltenders is key. At best, you maintain both goalies’ confidence and groove. At worst, you figure out who your number one guy is come the start of the playoffs.
Goaltender shuffling in the postseason is an entirely different monster to handle.
The Kings will play the Edmonton Oilers Saturday afternoon, who are just one spot out of playoff contention, sitting at ninth-place in the Western Conference. So, there’s absolutely no question they’ll be coming out in full-force.
Day games, or “hangover contests” as I’m accustomed to, don’t usually bode well for the Kings at Staples Center. This season alone, the Kings are 1-2-0 when playing under the sun in Downtown Los Angeles.
The last time the Kings played the Edmonton Oilers at Staples Center during the day, you’d have to back-track to February 14th of 2009.
Dustin Penner scored the first of two goals for the Oilers, but Drew Doughty and Dustin Brown netted a couple for the Kings to send the game past regulation.
Dustin Brown, assisted by Kyle Quincey and Alexander Frolov, tipped in the game-tying goal with just :26 seconds left in regulation.
The simple times.
Edmonton under the Sun 2/14/2009
The Kings would go onto fall to the Edmonton Oilers in that contest in a shootout, losing 3-2.
As for shootouts, forget what happened in Minnesota last week. The Kings have seem to overcome it, and showed so Thursday night at Staples Center.
Jonathan Quick doesn’t have a bad swing, though.
Expect Jonathan Quick to start in net Saturday for the Kings. And expect nothing but the best.
After all, that’s what this team has been built for, and it’s the direction they’re being coached in.
Puck drops at Staples Center at 1:00PM PST Saturday afternoon against the Edmonton Oilers.
Episode 185 KingsCast TV: LA Kings visit the White House – HERE Follow the blog on Twitter HERE Get your Official KingsCast Apparel HERE KingsCast Hockey Podcast on — Facebook - Twitter - Youtube
There’s nothing wrong with staying idle at the deadline.
A player’s trade value to the outside market can be a dangerous reactor in triggering a knee-jerk move at a General Manager’s most vulnerable time.
That time, which Dean Lombardi has divulged into heavily with hot hands the previous three seasons, is just five days away. It’s the cut-off date to move assets, it’s the 2013 NHL trade-deadline, slated to strike it’s time and freeze NHL rosters on April 3rd.
For backup goaltender Jonathan Bernier and the Kings, that outside trade value is gigantic, and a lot of the reap for reward in trading Bernier will be greatly minimized if the Laval, Quebec native isn’t dealt at this campaign’s deadline.
Again, in five days.
To let return-value fully gauge your actions in letting a player flee can be a very dangerous trap to fall into. You first must work with what you have, and look at it hard. Because, if moving a player proves to bite you in a negative fashion just once, that player, now gone, was priceless.
If Dean Lombardi and the Kings are to trade Jonathan Bernier prior to or on April 3rd, you can expect a 1st-Round draft selection and a current well-known name player to come in return.
Really, you need to compare what the Kings actually need, to maintaining the roster they already have in place.
Dean Lombardi impresses, and shows the utmost confidence as Kings’ General Manager if he sits idle through April 3rd’s NHL trade-deadline.
You don’t move Bernier. And I don’t think Lombardi does.
Hot Commodity: Bernier’s name is nothing new to the NHL trade-market, in fact, he’s been one of the most sought-after names in the league for more than a calendar year. It’s no secret he’s been targeted by a number of NHL clubs in need of a goaltender, but he even voiced his request to be traded from Los Angeles – asking to be dealt before last season’s trade-deadline, right after Jonathan Quick signed his 10-year contract extension.
It’s difficult to not side with Jonathan Bernier and his frustrations. The 24 year-old is good enough to be a starting goaltender for a rather large chunk of NHL teams, yet he’s been belittled to the shadow of Jonathan Quick, with little room, or opportunity to live up to the high acclaims he’s been developed with.
After all, he was the #11 overall selection in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
What may be more impressive than Bernier’s extremely high draft position, is how professional he’s been during the lack of playing time he’s received in, well, not be repetitive, his professional career.
You can push his complaints with AHL demotion and skirmishes with the Kings’ front office in 2007 and 2008 to the side. The kid was 18.
Side to side
Quick-Kick: It’s so vital, and not just to the Kings, but Jonathan Quick as well, that Jonathan Bernier stay with the Kings throughout the postseason for any chance to see this team repeat as a Stanley Cup champions.
He won’t only be needed to fill in for a few of the Kings’ remaining regular season contests, but could surely be used healthily come the postseason.
Jonathan Quick’s human, folks. And a lot of people have realized that this season.
Jonathan Bernier‘s stellar stand-in performances this season have allowed fans to comfortably stay at ease when Quick isn’t called upon by Darryl Sutter.
If many are confronted with a Jonathan Quick-less situation at this time last year, well, they’d be waiving a flag colored white.
There’s no issues with the goaltending right now. In fact, it’s so good, it might be a problem – but a very, very good one to have. Handling two talented goalies, especially a backup that has the skill to start for a large handful of other NHL teams, is a huge card dealt to the head coach.
Darryl Sutter needs to handle this the right way. And so far, he’s done a pretty damn good job.
Sticking with Quick: Last season, Jonathan Quick played in a total of 102 NHL contests – from preseason in late September 2011 to the Stanley Cup Finals in the middle of June 2012. He then underwent back surgery over the summer.
His rehabilitation process then hit a point of uncertainty as the NHL did the same, as the labor strike held the 2012-2013 season start off until January 19th, making for an extremely unique and compact regular season schedule.
This consisted of a number of back-to-back contests for the Kings, and a travel schedule that’s a bit harsher than normal. And when you’re an NHL player in Los Angeles, travel is always difficult under a normal schedule.
And for Jonathan Quick, that’s no ideal situation considering last year’s work load and the construction done on the body over the summer.
To put it simply, the Kings would be in big trouble if without Jonathan Bernier this season. And for the first time, I think many faces are realizing the potential and skill the 24 year-old native out of Laval, Quebec holds.
In Bernier’s eight starts this season, he’s 7-0, with one indecision after being pulled early from his start against the St. Louis Blues on March 5th. Jonathan Quick relieved Bernier early in the second period after he gave up three goals on eight shots.
In his two relief appearances of Jonathan Quick this season, Bernier has lost both times. Then again, when you’re put in relief of a starting goaltender, in what is most likely to be a losing situation, your hopes can’t be too high.
The kid has a 7-2-0 record, chiming in with a sexy .923 SV% and a 1.94 GAA in ten games played.
Bottom Line: You keep Jonathan Bernier, because the Kings don’t need outside assets as much as they need a dependable backup goaltender. Having two options in the crease is a gift, appreciate it while it’s here.
And if you think this season’s shortened 48-game schedule has been crazy, remind yourselves of what NHL playoff schedules behold.
It’s a f*cking haul, and Jonathan Quick isn’t the Ox he was last season. The Kings don’t need another first-round draft pick and another respected name. They’re fine.
What they need is stability in the crease. That’s what does it.
We can re-start Bernier trade-talks during the summer time. Capiche?
Burn, baby, Bern
Twin-City life: The Kings are in Minnesota Saturday night for the third game of their current five-game road swing. The Kings have won both contests on their recent trip, and have scored nine goals in their previous two games, after being shutout the two games prior.
This is the first of three games against the Minnesota Wild this season, who sit two points and one position ahead of the Kings in the Western Conference.
Jonathan Bernier is back with the team after taking a leave of absence for a death in his family. However, expect Darryl Sutter to give Jonathan Quick the call in Minnesota, he deserves the continuity in play.
The Kings are in Dallas for a matinee on Sunday. Chances are you’ll see Jonathan Bernier back in crease against the Dallas Stars.
And chances are, he’ll be around for another postseason ride. And get a taste of it, too.
Puck drops against the Minnesota Wild Saturday night at 5:00PM PST from the XCel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Get that car dial tuned to KTLK AM-1150 for that cruise home from work.
Episode 185 KingsCast TV: LA Kings visit the White House – HERE Follow the blog on Twitter HERE Get your Official KingsCast Apparel HERE KingsCast Hockey Podcast on — Facebook - Twitter - Youtube
Activity in the Kings’ front office is in full-swing.
Friday’s move pulled by Dean Lombardi unclogs an overpopulation of players in the organization at the centerman position, and gives a much-needed solid body to this roster’s terribly beleaguered defense.
The Kings have acquired defensemanKeaton Ellerby from the Florida Panthers in exchange for a fifth-round draft selection in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Ellerby, who stands at a height of 6’4″ and weighs in at 220 lbs, provides some much needed size and stay-at-home presence that was lost in the Kings’ defensive scheme earlier this season.
Injuries to Matt Greene (out indefinitely) and Willie Mitchell (cleared by doctors but still questionable on all accounts) have left some holes in the Kings’ back-end that are certainly hampering defensive strength. It boils down to the plays and contributions that may not stand out when being a spectator.
Both Greene and Mitchell were shot-block hounds, combining for 251 stunted opportunities off the sticks of opposing players last season. They were also both staples on the Kings’ penalty-killing unit. This team is missing big bodies in the defensive zone, those which can log grueling minutes and clog the defensive zone.
With Keaton Ellerby, the Kings have added a player that can help subdue the loss of the two injured big-bodies.
Andrew Campbell, who had been called-up from the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs, will remain with the Kings’ affiliate with Ellerby’s addition.
What may be most impressive is how Dean Lombardi materialized this trade. Lombardi pulled the first trigger Wednesday, dealing the disgruntled Andrei Loktionov to the New Jersey Devils for a 5th-round pick in this upcoming summer’s 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
Ellerby was then a healthy scratch in the Panthers’ contest against the Winnipeg Jets Thursday night. This hints that Dean Lombardi already had the trade in the works – if not internally finalized. Ellerby had played in all of Florida’s prior nine contests this season.
So, in turn, Lombardi flipped the fifth-round draft pick he received for Andrei Loktionov, and used it to acquire a player that fills a role that the Kings are suddenly, and sorely weak at.
Now that’s a work of art from a General Manager. Let’s see if this roster can benefit from the move.
Keaton for a beatin’
Keaton Ellerby is expected to join the roster today for practice in Detroit, Michigan in preparation for the Kings’ date with the Detroit Red Wings Sunday at Joe Louis Arena.
It’ll be a matinee affair in Hockeytown, so the puck will drop over eggs and coffee in Southern California, slating a 9:30AM start. We’ll have some pre-game notes here at KingsCast prior to tomorrow’s contest.
Episode 179 KingsCast TV: LA Kings are slumping – HERE Follow the blog on Twitter HERE Get your Official KingsCast Apparel HERE KingsCast Hockey Podcast on — Facebook - Twitter - Youtube
The Kings’ Russian prospect has been traded to the New Jersey Devils, who the Kings defeated in last season’s Stanley Cup Finals series. Loktionov, who played 39 regular season games and made two playoff appearances with the Kings last season, was nixed from the list of players and personnel to have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup after last season’s success.
So, all you have to remember of Andrei Loktionov‘s time in a Kings uniform, is a player that fell victim to a roster too heavy in depth to provide the 22 year-old native of Voskresensk, Russia a true opportunity to blossom at the NHL level.
Now there’s a positive way to say goodbye.
Loktionov spent stints of three seasons in a Kings uniform, but skated most with the AHL‘s Manchester Monarchs. There was just no room for him here. The Kings are healthily and heavily platooned at Andrei Loktionov‘s position, with Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, and Jarret Stoll locking up the centerman positions on the first three lines for years to come.
And you already know Loktionov has no business being a fourth-liner.
It’s not so much that Andrei Loktionov couldn’t fit in at his natural center position, but he wasn’t valuable enough working elsewhere. Terry Murray experiemented with Loktionov at the wing position during the 2010-2011 campaign, but results were unsatisfactory.
And that really spelled Loktionov’s fate with the Kings, or at least foreshadowed it. Another problem with his fit in this organization was that the Kings have a number of versatile forwards who could be used in different roles/positions that were clearly a better option than Loktionov.
A lot of it had to do with size, and as it ultimately comes to; production.
Andrei Loktionov played a total of 59 regular season games with the Kings over the course of three years, and two in the postseason last spring. In that time, the young Russian potted seven goals and seven assists for 14 points.
May I compare him to a lesser Ryan Smyth? Loktionov never queued a red-light from more than three feet outside of the crease in his time with the Kings.
If you see Andrei Loktionov, you’ll find him inside – regardless of the uniform.
Long Island strut
Phoenix on the Boards
Andrei on his toes
Follow up in Columbus
Everyone remembers their first
You’d be wrong not to acknowledge the most awkward interview ever.
The kid was probably sh*t scared of Daryl Evans’ suspenders
Andrei Loktionov has spent the entire season in the AHL with the Manchester Monarchs. After starting the season as one of Manchester’s top scorers during the NHL lockout, he’s simmered down and currently has 22 points for seven goals and 15 assists through 37 games.
He’s seen his last days in New Hampshire, but not in the AHL. Loktionov has been assigned to the Albany Devils through the trade, the New Jersey Devils‘ AHL affiliate.
The Kings are in Tennessee Thursday night for a date with the Nashville Predators.
Episode 178 KingsCast TV: What’s the deal with Mike Richards? – HERE Follow the blog on Twitter HERE Get your Official KingsCast Apparel HERE KingsCast Hockey Podcast on — Facebook - Twitter - Youtube
The Los Angeles Kings and KingsCast are back! In this better-late-than-never season opener episode we discuss the raising of the Stanley Cup Championship banner, breakdown the Kings vs. Chicago Blackhawks game and give our predictions for the Pacific Division and Western Conference. Buckle up for what should be a wild ride of a season!
As training camp officially began Sunday morning at Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, a friendly, familiar face was on his way out the door. It’s a business, now back to it.
Talks within Kings’ brass have been nothing but aggressive, and it’s been no bluff. Here’s the deal: last season wasn’t enough.
Kevin Westgarthhas been traded to the Carolina Hurricanes for Anthony Stewart and a pair of future draft selections. The Kings receive a fourth-round draft pick in 2013, and a sixth-round draft pick in 2014.
Anthony Stewart, the 25th overall selection in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Florida Panthers, didn’t make it to Florida’s roster until 2008, where he played just one season. Since then, Stewart was a member of what would be the final Atlanta Thrashers roster in history in 2010-2011, and then spent last season with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Stewart, a physical fourth-line forward, played 77 games with the Hurricanes last year, potting 20 points with nine goals and 11 assists. He tacked on 30 PIM and 92 hits to his stat-line.
If you’re going to make an early move, you couldn’t have made a safer acquisition that has so much upside to it than today’s gem pulled by Dean Lombardi.
Before anything further, it must be said the Kings lost quite possibly the strongest, most positive personality in their locker room today. Kevin Westgarth didn’t play a whole lot, he didn’t score a bunch, and often took it upon himself to protect the roster’s golden boys when he had the opportunity – and that’s not fun work.
Yet, he had one of the most positive attitudes on the roster. Westgarth was a treat for fans at practices in El Segundo, or during warmups at road games – always recognizing LA’s colors from a distance, and shooting you a head bump or a puck.
If you were to ever take a peek into the Kings’ locker-room, Westgarth’s voice was always well-heard. Even though he was arguably the least-skilled on the roster, and his playing-time was far from consistent, he was always speaking verses that implemented confidence and positivity.
And to note his involvement and importance off the ice, Kevin Westgarth represented the Kings in the NHL‘s CBA negotiations throughout the lockout.
On the ice, Westgarth played in a total of 90 regular season contests in a Kings uniform over the span of three separate seasons. In that time, the fourth-line enforcer dropped one goal, four assists, and 153 penalty minutes.
Kevin Westgarth was so in touch with fans, he spotted and overwhelmingly acknowledged a family from Manchester, New Hampshire that was attending a Kings practice in El Segundo last season, during a trip they made to watch their hometown prospects play in Kings uniforms.
Talk about a 3,000-mile trip being made worth-while.
Speaking of traveling…
Road Trippin‘: The NHL finalized their condensed schedules for each club Saturday, and they’re staying simple. The Kings, along with all other 29 clubs, will play the majority of their season against division opponents, and all contests within their own conference.
Even though the Kings open on home-ice at Staples Center, they’ll be skating away from Los Angeles for a heavy majority of the first third of the season. Out of the Kings’ first 15 games, only four are scheduled in home confines.
This, because of scheduling conflicts with the two NBA clubs Staples Center also hosts, and the Grammy Award Show - which annually chases the Kings, Lakers, and Clippers out of their home barn for the majority of February.
The Kings will see Pacific Division opponents for 18 of their 48 contests, and the remaining 30 will be dates with all other clubs in the Western Conference.