Since the 2012 NHL Lockout killed the annual Holiday show, we decided to mix together a compilation of some of the best KingsCast Los Angeles Kings Holiday moments from both the video show and the podcast. Includes “Hockey Neverland,” the LA Kings official Christmas cards, “My Favorite KingsCast things,” Holiday gift giving, “Most Miserable Time of the Year” and much more. Happy Holidays from KingsCast!
“Be a pal and step-in on this dance for a minute, Craig. @KingsCastBlog just hit me up on the Twit!“
“I’ll be in the lobby, fools.“
Back on board: We’re back to celebrate tonight’s commencement of the NHL regular season, and of course highlighting the Kings’ opener tomorrow at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden. This will be the first official contest overseas for the Kings, after putting a cap on preseason action Tuesday choking out a 5-4 victory in Germany against the DEL‘s Hamburg Freezers. The Kings will open the work-year against the New York Rangers, the second consecutive season the Kings start in the Eastern Conference. Let’s take a quick back-track and see how the Kings’ preseason ventures shaped out.
As bland as tumultuous gets: Take exhibitions with a grain of salt. You’re going to catch a few striking moments, and a few that kill the nerves. Up-down, up-down, which seemed to be the ride taken during the eight-game preseason stretch. The Kings tallied 4 wins and 4 losses in the eight contests that were spattered with heavy roster movement in some unfamiliar buildings.
Manchester’s got V’s: Slava Voynov took advantage of Drew Doughty‘s absence, potting two goals and an assist before his dismissal to Manchester. Don’t be surprised to see Voynov in Los Angeles sometime this season, as he was the leader to be tabbed Doughty’s replacement if the holdout ensued into regular season play. Andrei Loktionov, who’s familiar with Los Angeles, failed to overcome the hardship that is being a prospect at the center position in the Kings organization. Nevermind the top two centerman, but Loktionov just isn’t a better option than Jarret Stoll or Trevor Lewis. A strong transition to a wing position may be the harsh reality to Loktionov’s near future with this organization. A goal and an assist, Loktionov back to Manchester as well.
Familiar faces: You look at the numbers game, Anze Kopitar headlined the roster with four goals, Jack Johnson topped the assists category with three. However, back to the up-down concept. September 28th provided it all; Beside the 6-0 Colorado Avalanche drubbing, all of Johnson’s assists were recorded this night, as well as three of Kopitar’s four goals. And how about Alec Martinez? I’m tabbing him as the dark-horse for the Kings defense this season. Not only has he shown the knack to be downright steady in the defensive zone, but netted two long distance calls with a shot that’s going to be a threat on the Kings powerplay unit this season – Book It.
Eight’s gotta be great, that’s baggage for the fashionably late.
Opener’s Outlook: The player that sparked the most off-season ruckus is settled with the roster after a controversially late arrival, while the player that sparked the most off-season criticism looks to be out for tomorrow’s contest. Drew Doughty in, Dustin Penner out. Expect Jonathan Quick to get the crease call, cross-end from New York’s Henrik Lundqvist, who will be the hometown tender tomorrow night, a Swedish native from Åre, a bordertown of Stockholm. Not only is this an absolute superb goaltending matchup for an opening contest, but against an elite name Quick rarely gets to front the pipes against.
Offensive Factor: The Kings’ offseason acquisitions centered on forwards. The Kings’ offseason acquisitions have fueled huge expectations. We’ve got big changes in offensive personnel, and we’re dealing with seven defensemen that share familiarity and growth as a group. The fact of the matter is, the forwards are expected to spotlight tomorrow’s contest, especially against this goaltender. Drew Doughty‘s going to hear the gripe unless he’s absolutely flawless, but you’ve got to expect this defense to be somewhat of a safe haven for the club. There are no holes on the Kings’ blue-line, just instances of passive, under-performing play. SEE: Jack Johnson.
While we’re in Sweden: How about a quick update on former Kings prospects Oscar Moller and Bud Holloway. Both players, respective in their 2nd and 3rd round draft positions in concurrent years, have scoped out a different route, and you really can’t blame either of them. In fact, you’ve got to respect it in some manner. Both players signed with Skelleftea HC of the Swedish Elite League during the summer, and the numbers symbolize a smooth transition. Both Moller and Holloway have dressed in Skelleftea HC‘s first seven contests. Oscar Moller is sitting on 5 points with 3 goals and 2 assists, while Bud Holloway has chipped in with 4 points in the form of 3 goals and an assist.
Bailey goes f*cking chow-town on the MLB Playoffs for random snacks.
Meehan’s probably taking calls from Cancun, let’s talk Brandon Kozun.
Looks at the Rook’s: This is about as exciting as it gets when the Phoenix Coyotes are involved. The Coyotes Sun Dogs symbolize two things from a Kings fan’s perspective: A boring regular season opponent seen way too often, and a major part in the commencement to a brand new season of Kings hockey – a feeling that doesn’t present itself often enough. Both clubs capped off their Rookie Training Camp this week with a two game Rookie Series at the Toyota Sports Center along the shores of Redondo Beach in El Segundo.
The Phoenix Coyotes took the first contest on Wednesday evening with an 8-7 victory fueled by a relentless 3rd period 5-goal ambush. The Sun Dogs exposed Kings’ goaltender Christopher Gibson in his first appearance with the Kings organization since being drafted 49th overall in the 2nd Round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. The Kings earned the split Thursday afternoon, after surrendering yet another 3rd period lead. Jordan Nolan capitalized on a 5 on 3 powerplay advantage with just 1:58 remaining to notch a Kings victory.
Brandon Kozun was the spotlight performer for the Kings’ rookies in these two contests, no questions asked. The 6th round, 179th overall selection for the Kings in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft has forcefully transitioned off of an extremely impressive campaign in the AHL with the Manchester Monarchs. In 73 games with Manchester last season, Kozun tallied 48 points in the form of 23 goals and 25 assists. This, after a two-year surge with the WHL‘s Calgary Hitmen in which he recorded 215 points in 137 regular season games and 48 points in 41 postseason contests.
Kozun, with 2 goals and 4 assists recorded in the Rookie Series, exploited two impressive aspects a forward of his size must entail to play at the NHL level. These being: An accurate, quick shot – and good passing. Passing is everything for a player like Kozun, who has the speed and strength to win battles to the puck, but not necessarily to finish plays. He proved his ability to possess the puck, and coupled that with good vision, quickly transitioning the puck through an open lane with a well-placed pass.
When you’re looking for quick, accurate release, refer to Brandon Kozun‘s goals on Wednesday. Kozun capitalized on two offensive zone faceoffs to record the 1st and 6th goals for the Kings. Goals that stem from offensive zone faceoff wins aren’t as easy as they look, where the shooter is often flat-footed with a well-positioned defense distracting open lanes. Kozun, however, managed to react to those well-placed pucks with quick, well-placed shots.
Looking for help? Look for Brandon Kozun. Kozun followed up his two early goals in the Rookie Series with four gorgeous assists. First, by threading the needle to feed a Ray Kaunisto goal with 02.8 seconds remaining in Wednesday’s contest, and three crucial feeds on Thursday. Kozun was the storyline for Thursday’s victory, assisting on the Kings’ final three tallies in their 4-3 win. Why does Kozun’s vision stand out? All three of his assists Thursday were the results of cross-ice passes, the kid has the sight and instinct to go with his quick release.
Don’t expect to see Brandon Kozun in a Kings uniform this season, but don’t be surprised to see him either. His stature of 5’7″ at 164 lbs calls for further testing and development in the AHL with the Manchester Monarchs, at a first or second line Right Wing position. However, Kozun’s starting to symbolize himself as a small forward who already amasses Oscar Moller in potential per square-foot. Some have referred to Kozun as the next Martin St. Louis, I’m referring to him as a young star who has earned serious and credible attention, unlike others. This isn’t the last we’ve seen of Brandon Kozun in a Kings uniform in the near future, look for the Calgary native to don Kings gear for the remainder of the pre-season. There’s more to see here, folks.
We’re not in Kansas City, yet: But the marketing released is warming up the approach to the start of the season. As touched upon a few weeks back, the Kings will make their return to Kansas City’s Sprint Center for a preseason contest after a one year hiatus from AEG‘s Missouri-based complex. This will be the farthest the Kings travel at that point in time, September 27, after a home-and-home split-squad series against the Phoenix Coyotes and an exhibition with the Anaheim Ducks at Staples Center. A promotional advertisement has been released for the affair, and tickets start at just $10 – The exact same price charged by the person who produced and edited the commercial. What a deal.
Let’s just go over things here:
Horrendously banal hockey metaphors – CHECK
Footage of a former King: Wayne Simmonds – CHECK
Footage of that scumbag another former King: Ryan Smyth – CHECK
Footage of Tom Preissing as an Alternate Captain – WHAT (Seriously, look close)
Is that Jonathan Quick wearing an all-white mask? – Check, I’m not sure.
Horrendously banal hockey metaphors – CHECK
Like more than 30 Jarret Stoll highlights – CHECK
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Hey, if you think John Ahlers and Brian Hayward are downright f*cking atrocious at calling hockey games, discretely present your stance by wearing four-leaf clover sunglasses.
Now we know where Bob and Jim stand, others seem to think it’s a pretty fair consensus as well.
Kings ‘Caster’s Ranked High: A contributing writer over at SB Nation provided solid insight into the TV broadcast teams associated with each NHL club, in ranking them from worst to best. According to the list, the Bob Miller and Jim Fox tandem are ranked at five-stars, which only includes three other commentator couples – the voices of the Nashville Predators, the Florida Panthers, and the Dallas Stars. Jack Edwards of the Boston Bruins is ripped to shreds in this piece, and it almost wasn’t enough. Man, – He’s just terrible, bottom line. And what do you know? Ahlers and Hayward are hit first, and deservedly so. Oh, and to my Red Wings buddy, who constantly degrades the in’s and out’s of the Kings franchise in comparison to that of Detroit’s, often slamming the Kings’ tradition. Well, looks like Ken Daniels, Mickey Redmond, and Larry Murphy are traditionally bad at calling games. Eat that cake, Arthur.
Where there’s Vacancy: Now, the only sources I’ve been able to find are on European websites, forcing me to send along this news thanks to a few attempts with a translator. However, the news is reliable and %100 true. Bud Holloway and Oscar Moller are giving their career’s a shot in the Swedish Elite League for the time being, agreeing to terms with Skellefteå AIK.
For Bud Holloway, this is an outlet he needed to pursue because of his situation in Los Angeles, a situation that simply wasn’t the best for his personal doing. It’s a decision you’ve got to understand; Holloway has consistently produced at the AHL level the past three seasons, tallying 145 points (65 goals and 80 assists) in a Manchester Monarchs uniform since the 2008-2009 season. Not once has Holloway dressed in a regular season game for the Kings, he’s been battling a heavy slew of prospects at the wing position since he left the WHL. The Kings’ moves in the offensive department this summer didn’t help his outlook, either.
As for Oscar Moller, his rookie contract failed to reach agreement on negotiations, and the Sweden native returns home by inking a two year deal with the same club as Holloway, Skellefteå AIK. Moller, who dressed in Los Angeles for 87 games, could never cement a role with the Kings. In his time in a Kings uniform, Moller supplied 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists). Often shifting through various lines, Moller never clicked with a certain pair to seriously instigate a permanent spot on the roster. His stature has been one of his biggest setbacks, where his speed becomes undermined. He may be able to get first-step to loose pucks, or track down an opposing player who’s possessing the puck, but retrieving that puck was an issue with his size and strength. The SEL looks to be a smart move for Moller, where he’ll see an increase in skill level and a decrease in physical play – compared to the AHL.
Who’s taking bets?
If there’s a pool for preseason hockey that exists, the Fox Sports West site might be of help. We’re losing to the Anaheim Ducks on October 3rd, at Staples Center. *SIGH
“I’m telling you, it’s 3-2 Ducks over Kings in October 3 Exhibition.”
And it very well could be the last. The season’s life-span is in heavy threat, the Kings’ second consecutive postseason appearance is hanging by a thread. The Kings have officially struck “must-win” status heading into tonight’s contest at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California. The Kings are facing a 3-1 series deficit, in which three consecutive victories will be needed to advance past the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Right now, it’s one game at a time, one win at a time. That’s the way the Kings must approach Game 5 tonight. Simple mindset, stick to the system, and for the love of god – show some f*cking life in the defensive zone coverage scheme.
And the manager ain’t in, either.
You look for any positive outlook on the Kings’ situation, and I’d have to say it’s getting back on the road. For whatever reason, this team isn’t the same at Staples Center. In the first two games in San Jose, the Kings allowed just 3 goals combined, and left the Bay area with a win to their name. Back to Los Angeles, friendly confines, right? In two games, 12 goals allowed, two losses, and a gut-check at the door. All of the pressure is on the Sharks in front of their home fans, even tonight. They’ve got some of the most miserably hungry playoff hockey fans in the league, I mean they’ve been tortured with postseason failure. For the Sharks, tonight is a chance to push the underdog to the side, a team without it’s top player, hanging by a thread as elimination looms. Why does this setting sound somewhat good for the Kings?
One More Ride on the Carousel
“So Terry, what astonishingly terrible, senseless, and downright laughable line changes will we be seeing for Game 5?”
He had me at Dustin Penner and Kevin Westgarth…playing together. Wow.
In all seriousness, I’m quite perplexed with Terry Murray‘s line-shuffling, and that’s nothing new from a personal standpoint. Tonight, you’re looking for a roster that can provide the absolute best last-ditch effort possible. You’re looking for scoring touch, speed, and players who can create and/or finish on scoring opportunity. So with that, Terry scratches Alexei Ponikarovsky and Oscar Moller in favor of dressing Kevin Westgarth and Dustin Penner on the fourth line. Not just that, but Jarret Stoll is centering these two. Immediately you’re hampering Stoll’s value, face-offs aside. Maybe Penner takes off the rental skates for a pair of his own, and Westgarth does nothing with no negative consequence. There’s some positive outlook on the situation for you. Sheesh.
- Glad to see Terry Murray stick with Jonathan Quick for Game 5. Yes, he’s allowed 12 goals in his previous two games, but you can hardly fault Quick for any of them. He’s been victim of defensive zone coverage collapse, viciously hung out to dry. Calling for Jonathan Bernier could provide a spark, but goaltending hasn’t been the problem.
- A good omen? Today in Los Angeles Kings history, 10 years from the date, Adam Deadmarsh scored two goals including the OT winner in route to clinching the Western Conference Quarterfinals series against the Detroit Red Wings.
- Scott Parse returns to the lineup for the first time since November, fully healed from a hip injury that he suffered back in August during training camp. Happy to see Parse return, but is it the right decision? In just five games played this season, does he have more value than Alexei Ponikarovsky and Oscar Moller? Tough to say. The guy hasn’t seen live ice in over five months, and both Ponikarovsky and Moller have had decent showings in the postseason.
- The current white/purple away uniforms could be making their final appearance in team history tonight. They’re being scrapped for a white version of the current alternate uniforms next year. The Kings have been donning this template since 1998, although with numerous tweaks being made through the years. Don’t die on me now.
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Kyle Clifford, Jack Johnson, Kevin Westgarth – ‘Sharks Page’ at http://www.sharkspage.com
I really like that picture to the right, a lot. Is it because of the intensity of the shot? Nah. The black and white effect? Nah. Because Kevin Westgarth‘s face is blacked out? Yes. Look, I wouldn’t take shots at the guy all of the time if Terry Murray STOPPED PUTTING HIM IN THE LINEUP. JEEZ. The Kings showed their ability to hang with the San Jose Sharks Thursday night, and it’s vital that they don’t fall back on that precedent. Everyone knows who the favorite is, who’s expected to win, that we’re without our best asset in Anze Kopitar, and now our key player in the face-off circle and secondhand scoring outlet Jarret Stoll. The excuses could go on, but I expect nothing less from this club than what they showed Thursday, only with fewer miscues. As for the first installment of the playoff round, all who were expecting a Sharks win – myself included, were right. But not exactly, as the Sharks just barely muscled out the win in Overtime on a very well executed odd-man rush. Which brings me to the point that staggers in my mind as the single-most important aspect to the Kings having a chance in this series: Conservative defense, say it with me now. The back-end of this team is what’s going to win games, plain and simple. Capiche? Capiche.
Hey fellas, thinkin’ what I’m thinking?
And it ain’t politics.
To have any chance, defense must be stressed as the primary factor every shift. That will feed to Jonathan Quick‘s success, and will provide the forwards with more opportunity to transition off of turnovers. You look at the Sharks’ game-winning goal Thursday night, and notice how vulnerable we can be when our defense creeps into the offensive zone. Especially in overtime, we cannot afford to be playing with the puck up-top, granted there’s powerplay and/or ample time and space available. Neither of those were the case. You give San Jose open opportunity, and we’re all but finished. We maintained that mindset throughout, but faltered at a terrible time. Now, I will call myself out here. If Alec Martinez does control that puck, and/or Wayne Simmonds is able to posses it, you’ve got a prime scoring chance in the works. That’s playing the risk and reward game, guess how that turned out.
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Stoll-en from the Lineup
Jarret Stoll will serve a one-game suspension for his hit on Ian White. Don’t enjoy saying it, but Stoll deserved the suspendo. So, how did Oscar Moller end up filling his void?
Hey, looks like Oscar’s playoff beard is improving by the year!
I’d be grouchy myself if I was victim of seriously questionable roster choices, time after time. Well, the Kings opted not to call up Brayden Schenn after his team was eliminated from the WHL playoffs. Even though he still had a one-game cushion before burning a year off of his NHL contract, the Kings looked the other way. Not saying I like the decision, but can’t hate it. Maybe playing it a little too safe, Dean? The kid could’ve come out and had a huge influence, even for just one game. And hey, who knows, maybe the Kings would’ve sought burning a year off of his deal worth his addition.
The Kings then pursued calling up John Zeiler from the Manchester Monarchs. What?
Zeiler couldn’t clear waivers in time for the NHL to grant his presence to the Kings’ lineup tonight, so Oscar Moller slips back into Terry Murray‘s notepad again. Moller will manage his duties on the 4th line, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see some in-game shuffling for the Swede. He’s solid in winning races to loose pucks, especially on the forecheck. He won’t necessarily win those battles, but he’ll certainly disrupt the opponent enough to have an impact.
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This is most definitely a trap game for the Kings tonight, but the other way around. Usually when you’re talking this terminology, it means overlooking a sullen opponent and losing because of it. For tonight, it’s about the Kings not expecting to be neck and neck with the Sharks like the case was Thursday. A heartbreaking loss like that can often translate into a complete abomination in the contest to follow. Don’t come out just as hard, come out harder – with a vengeance. Focus on maintaining stay-at-home defense, protect Jonathan Quick, and execute on every offensive opportunity available. Get back what they took from you on Thursday, and head to Los Angeles with home-ice advantage.
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Kyle Clifford, Jack Johnson, Kevin Westgarth – SharksPage at www.sharkspage.com
After a dramatic shoot-out win against the San Jose Sharks, the Los Angeles Kings are still in the playoff mix. In this episode we talk about the game, Oscar Moller and his journey to the Kings, losing Justin Williams, awful fans and look at some interesting player tweets. What’s your worst experience with a Kings fan?
The regular season is winding down and the Western Conference remains tighter then ever! In this brand new installment we talk about the Blues, Ducks & Flames games, give our thoughts on booing your own team, the Jersey change for next season and the Justin Williams injury. Question of the Day; what do you think of the jersey changes?
The Los Angeles Kings are mounting quite the winning streak at 2 games! In this episode we breakdown the Phoenix & Boston games, present our ideas on how to save the season in a new segment called “Let’s Get Nuts!” and plug another cool hockey t-shirt. Question of the day: How will the Kings do on their upcoming road trip?
Each year, several Los Angeles Kings players send us holiday wishes. They flood our mailbox with touching tidings of great joy. And, since you may not be on the organization’s Christmas card list, we thought we’d pass them along to you. Enjoy!
First up is Kings enforcer Kevin Westgarth:
Next up is your second line center Jarret Stoll:
This one was a joint card from Oscar Moller, Dwight King and some Russian guy:
General Manager Dean Lombardi remembered us this year as well:
Finally, that guy who was supposed to be the starter (according to the Canadian media) sent us this ditty:
Happy holidays from your boys at KingsCast and the Los Angeles Kings!