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!
With authority, we’re back! The busy month of March continues as the LA Kings battle for playoff positioning. In this installment, Chris is joined by KingsCast blogger Alex Kinkopf as they breakdown the San Jose Sharks & Phoenix Coyotes games, give a See Ya! to the 3rd jersey and discuss goaltending. Go Kings!
They’re not trying to catch up – they’re trying to stay ahead.
That’s the good thing here for the Kings.
Amidst their longest streak of consecutive games against Pacific Division opponents this season, which has called for six inter-division games in nine days, the Kings are maintaining themselves with a 1-2-0 record, while hoping to feed off of the juice that saw them annihilate the San Jose Sharks in a 5-2 routing Saturday night at Staples Center.
The upcoming slate calls for two straight in downtown Los Angeles against the Phoenix Coyotes.
During the Kings’ current Pacific Division stretch, they’ve lost two contests on the road; one to Phoenix 5-2 Tuesday night, and another to San Jose 4-3 on Thursday.
Saturday night’s return to Staples Center was a much different story, a game the Kings needed to win in order to maintain their slim lead that finds them at second place in the Pacific Division and sixth overall in the Western Conference.
They did so with five goals, with twelve players on the roster recording at least one point. And from another impressive performance between the pipes from Jonathan Bernier.
The upcoming two-game stand with the Phoenix Coyotes poses to be worth an eight-point spread in the standings. That feeds more importance into the outcome of this season than a bottle of water does for you on a summer’s day in Arizona.
Tough schedule = A tough go
Side to side: Consecutive dates against an opponent is a rare thing in the modern-day NHL, but not so this season. The Kings will play their third round of back-to-back contests with an opponent for the third time in ten days.
The Kings swept the Calgary Flames in two games last week at Staples Center, and they split their two contests with the San Jose Sharks – each team winning in their home building. The Kings stay in their home confines now hosting the Phoenix Coyotes for two in a row on home ice.
And home has been sweet for the Kings, who hold a 10-2-1 record at Staples Center this season.
Both previous dates against the Phoenix Coyotes have taken place at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Arizona this season. The Kings won the first meeting 4-2 on January 26th, their first win of the season. Last Tuesday, the Kings played arguably their ugliest game of the season, falling 5-2 on the same ice sheet they clinched the Western Conference‘s Clarence Campbell trophy on back in June.
Coming into Monday night’s contest, the Kings (32) sit two points ahead of Phoenix (30) in the standings. There is some unseen room for movement, however, as the Kings have one game in-hand on Phoenix, playing 27 games so far this season compared to the Coyotes’ 28.
So when you talk desperate, hungry, and quite frankly – scary, you’re looking at the Phoenix Coyotes and their upcoming two-game visit.
With eight points on the line, and ten if you include the games-played difference, this is must-win territory for both clubs, and it’s against quite possibly the hungrier team in the matchup.
There’s some backdrop here.
Pass the Salt
Give me the Keys: When it comes to good results, there have been a few key aspects to the Kings’ game this season. Heading into Monday and Tuesday, the Kings already have one of them in their hands – home ice, where the Kings hold a 10-2-1 record this season.
It truly starts with scoring first, and the Kings are 10-1-1 this season when issuing red-light service first in games this season. In their current three-game stretch against Pacific Division opponents, the Kings have lost when surrendering the first tally of the contest, and won when striking first.
There’s no Cliff-hanger when goals come early.
Clifford, Clifford, Clifford.
3 minutes in
Not so Quick
Crease conundrum: It may come as a shock to feel comfortable when Jonathan Quick doesn’t get the call for the Kings these days, but Jonathan Bernier has certainly earned the trust of both head coach Darryl Sutter and the Kings’ roster.
And maybe some possible trade-deadline suitors. But you don’t dare go there right now.
When getting the starting nod, Jonathan Bernier has been spectacular with an undefeated 7-0-0 record, holding opponents to two goals or less in six of his seven starts.
He’s lost twice, but both of those decisions came upon relief of Jonathan Quick.
There is no goalie issue in Los Angeles, in fact, right now, it’s almost as good as it gets.
If anything, Jonathan Bernier is simply living up to the expectations he was drafted with, and long-awaited to show at the NHL level. He’s helping the Kings win, and he’s allowing Jonathan Quick to slowly ease back into form.
If you happened to forget, Quick played in a total of 102 games last season, and underwent back surgery over the summer.
Quick shouldn’t be expected to be the iron-man he was last season, and having those same expectations would be silly. The Kings mine as well use Bernier to their fullest advantage while he’s here.
That doesn’t just give the Kings a winning shot, as we’ve seen, but it opens up the long-awaited trade market Bernier is expected to hit sometime in the near future.
Call it a win-win.
Expect Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier to get one start apiece in Monday and Tuesday’s two-game set with the Phoenix Coyotes.
Hell, maybe we’ll even see former Kings netminder Jason LaBarbera.
Wouldn’t that be nice
That would be like time-travel to the bad days.
Which is now on Clearance
They put it so lightly sometimes
Fashion Show: The Kings will be officially putting their purple and black ‘Los Angeles’ hemline crown jerseys to rest this week, planning to don the nearly defunct uniform template that has graced this organization since 1999 for the final time.
They will be wearing these sweaters for both contests against the Phoenix Coyotes this week.
Many associated with the team symbolize these uniforms with some of the darkest ages this franchise has seen in recent history.
So why not put them to rest, while the team continues to climb.
Puck drops against the Phoenix Coyotes not just Monday, but Tuesday night as well. Both contests are scheduled to start at 7:30PM PST at Staples Center.
Episode 183 KingsCast TV: Jarome Iginla will not be an L.A. King – HERE Follow the blog on Twitter HERE Get your Official KingsCast Apparel HERE KingsCast Hockey Podcast on — Facebook - Twitter - Youtube
This is the Woodstock, Ontario native’s second stint in the NHL, and it looks to be a permanent one.
Much like the Kings’ 5-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes in Glendale, Arizona Tuesday evening at Jobing.com Arena, Jake Muzzin faltered, albeit in a season that has brought many positive accomplishments to both the Kings and Muzzin’s ferocious rookie NHL season.
The kid doubled his penalty-minute total in a single evening on Arizona ice, racking up six minutes in the penalty box, matching his total in his previous 21 games played in a Kings uniform this season.
The Kings’ unfortunate health with their blue-line corps can’t afford such an absence during a game, especially with Jake Muzzin, who has blossomed into an everyday dependable asset in the Kings’ defensive scheme.
If six minutes in the penalty box Tuesday night is the most glaring rookie mistake Muzzin has made this season; because, quite frankly, it is, then the kid has to have some upside.
If you’ve watched the Kings’ new defensive young-blood this season, you’ll be able to tell he’s playing right up to par with Vyacheslav Voynov and Drew Doughty. Muzzin, who’s been Doughty’s defensive partner as of late, has taken offensive control of their pairing, which almost single-handedly justifies Doughty’s low point-total this season.
You want to talk numbers? Muzzin’s stat-line is rising on the consistent.
Drew Doughty has been in position this season. And I think he’s been wonderful. With Jake Muzzin on his side, he’s backed off to play a more conservative game.
Send it away now.
Can you hear it?
Looking right. It’s looking Right.
On Both Ends: After Matt Greene went down with an injury in the Kings’ season opener against the Chicago Blackhawks, Jake Muzzin got the call for promotion from the AHL‘s Manchester Monarchs.
During the NHL lockout, Muzzin played in 29 games for the Monarchs, potting two goals and handing over nine assists for 11 points.
In seven-less games at the NHL-level this season (22) with the Kings, Muzzin has matched his AHL point-mark, racking up five goals and six assists in a Los Angeles uniform. If that’s not a successful transition for a young player, it’s impossible to say what is.
He’s second among Kings defensemen in points, only behind Vyacheslav Voynov and his 18.
It’s all been positive, because he’s tied for the best plus-minus rating on the entire roster, currently at a +11 mark, toe to toe with Justin Williams.
And it’s been on net; Muzzin has 35 shots in 22 contests, ninth-best on the roster and third among Kings’ defensemen. He’s got a great shot coming off his left-handed stick. It’s accurate, it’s a quick-release, and it’s rarely forced. It creates opportunity, and as the numbers show, success.
You know what they say about putting the puck on net.
The kid has shown us he can hit the post from the point. Hit the post and coast, baby.
Don’t doubt Doughty
Muzzin’s Effect: There’s been a healthy amount of gripe towards Drew Doughty and his offensive output this season. Most of it centers on his goal-total this season, which stands at zero through 25 games. However, Doughty’s racked up 10 assists.
With the bad comes the good. Doughty has seen a sharp decline in his scoring, but he’s shown a much more conservative stay-at-home game. This may not be his most favorable style, but it’s the one he’s playing now.
Without a doubt, this is a better Drew Doughty than we saw early in the 2011-2012 campaign, when Doughty often forced his offensive game after signing his major contract extension, which would find him out of position defensively at an alarming rate.
Drew Doughty will score, it’s a non-issue. Right now, he’s playing a much more mature role. If it means less highlight shows and appearances on the stat-sheet, then so be it.
The Kings are doing just fine. And Drew Doughty has zero goals.
Meanwhile, his rookie line-mate is on a tear.
You’re a bit greedy if you want anything more.
Assist me with this?
What a golden feed that was. Muzzin’s crisp and Stolly snips.
Snacking at MacDonald’s
San Jose: The Kings will be at HP Pavilion for the first time since the final game of last year’s regular season, in which the Kings lost to the San Jose Sharks for the second consecutive contest. Those two losses to the Sharks only paved fate’s way – forcing the Kings to head into the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the Western Conference‘s 8th seed.
Remember how that turned out?
By the way, Ryan Clowe has zero goals, a weak eight assists, a liable minus-eight rating, and a hot-head total of 72 penalty minutes – in 23 games.
He might just be best used when on the bench.
The Kings (30) sit two points ahead of the Sharks (28) with both teams playing their 26th contests of the season tomorrow.
This will be the first of four matchups during this shortened campaign between the two Pacific Division rivals.
Puck drops Thursday night at HP Pavilion in San Jose, California at 7:30PM PST
Episode 183 KingsCast TV: Jarome Iginla will not be an L.A. King – 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!
Gagné played in just 34 regular season games in his first campaign with the Kings last year, a concussion suffered in a contest on December 26, 2011 against the Phoenix Coyotes would see Gagné sidelined for over five months until Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
This wasn’t one of Gagne’s better seasons health-wise, and he’s had quite a few run-ins with concussion-related injuries. His 34 games-played last season is his second-lowest single season total in his 12-year NHL career, only topped by his 25-game season with the Philadelphia Flyers in ’07-’08 — which was also cut short by a concussion.
When Gagné wasn’t hampered by injuries this season, he was producing. He chimed in quite well as a new addition to the Kings’ roster, notching seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points. Gagné was averaging .5 points per contest, which ain’t too shabby.
Operation Comeback: Shortly after the Kings’ sealed their Stanley Cup victory on June 11, Simon Gagné underwent neck surgery. This has apparently solved a lot of Gagné’s lingering pain thought to have been caused by his head itself. The problem rooted elsewhere, and eliminating that harmful effect is just as vital to recovery.
A major part in the struggles that follow a player during the recovery from a concussion is the mental aspect, trusting your body again. That’s confidence, feeling truly 100% on the ice. With his most recent operation, Gagné has showed nothing but positive signs of full recovery, and has been skating and playing regularly during the NHL lockout.
“The mass they took out of Gagne’s neck was a tissue accumulation, caused by multiple hits he got. It was probably the reason of his chronic pain, for a long time blamed on concussions. All the tests made them realize it was, in fact, a “capsule” which could be removed without any risks. Since the surgery, the hockey player’s life changed radically.” – via Katerina Brzonova
Note the word ‘life’ in the final phrase in the quote above provided by SimonGagne.com. That means a hell of a lot more than some banal ‘physical improvement’ statement. Life is mental in many more ways than physical, this is a beautiful update for the seven-time 20-goal scorer.
You didn’t know?
Put some ice on it: It wasn’t too long after his operation that Simon Gagné was back at the rink. The native of Sainte-Foy, QC, was back on home turf in October, playing in live exhibition games against other NHL players.
It was at “La Tournée des Joueurs“, or “The Players’ Tour“, where Gagné and a slew of other locked-out players organized a month-long league to raise money for local charities, and keep the legs somewhat fresh during the lockout.
It was a battle of Montreal and Quebec City, each team compiled of NHL players from those respective cities. These rosters played each other twice a week through the month of October.
Then on November 24, Gagné participated in a wonderfully crafted event to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy, playing in an exhibition game to help raise funds for relief. It was titled Operation Hat Trick and took place in Atlantic City, NJ.
The exhibition game that featured over 30 NHL players including Gagné and Kings teammate Justin Williams raised over $500,000 for hurricane recovery charities. Simon Gagné showed us some more life by potting two goals in the 16-goal affair.
Devil’s foe: If there is one concrete connection to make with Simon Gagné and the Kings’ Championship season, it’s that Gagné, who’s the all-time leading scorer against future Hall-of-Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur, didn’t even have to record a point for the Kings to eliminate the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Put it on the board
Speaking of short, that could possibly sum up Gagné’s time in a Kings uniform. This NHL lockout is eating up the final year of his contract, and there is no rhyme or reason to predicating if the Kings are to re-sign him if there is no hockey at all this year.
You’re dealing with a fragile body, but one with the résumé and tools to demand a mildly hefty price.
Gagné’s best bet, and the same goes for all of us, is if the NHL resumes play in late-December.
Truthfully, that’s probably the NHL‘s last bet.
Episode 174 *The Lockout Edition* – HERE Follow the blog on Twitter HERE Get your Official KingsCast Apparel HERE KingsCast Hockey Podcast on — Facebook - Twitter - Youtube
This time, there’s no goal to be celebrated en signal of that red glow. We’re five days from a pending lockout.
In fact, the only goal worth celebrating at this point would be an agreement between Gary Bettman, the NHL owners, and the NHLPA. That goal needs to be attained by September 15th, a mere five days away, a day that could impact the sport in a presumptuously most definite negative fashion.
This isn’t to say I expected the owners and the players to come to terms in time, it’s just sad that the NHL will likely be seeing a delay, or to stretch it, an entire season cancelled for the second time in eight years. It’s pathetic.
And I know it’s easy for me to say; but it’s all for greed. You can’t argue it.
There are both pros and cons here when it comes to the Kings dealing with an NHL lockout, and it’s a much better set of cards to have than most, if not all of the other clubs in the league. This Kings roster could use the extra rest a delay to the season would bring. They’re coming off of a year which saw them play the most games in the NHL, a season that stretched to June 11, and with Jonathan Quick coming off of back surgery.
Extra time is something I can accept from the labor negotiations this year, but that’s as far as I’ll go. The Kings could benefit from a season delay, and it’s certainly better than axing the entire season.
Regardless of any outcome, the Kings will likely have to put their Stanley Cup celebration on hold. The only question is, for how long.
Up in the Rafters
Leave us hanging: There was an interesting note brought up by Rich Hammond a few days ago, one that regards to the Kings’ scheduled season opener on October 12th against the New York Rangers, a date that is now seriously threatened by the stalemate in NHL labor negotiations.
The home opener is going to host the final celebration of the Kings’ Stanley Cup victory, presenting the players’ rings and the raising of the championship banners. Key word here – ‘raising’.
For the first time in franchise history, the Kings plan to hang their banners from the rafters of Staples Center, as opposed to posting them on an upper-deck wall, a tradition started by the Kings and Lakers that dates back to the days of the Great Western Forum.
As well as this year’s Stanley Cup and Western Conference championship banners, the Kings plan to hang both the Smyth Division banner from 1990-’91 and the Campbell Conference banner from 1993-’94.
Hammond also hinted at the chance to see the Kings also move their retired player banners to the rafters as well, but we’ll just have to wait and see if that comes to fruition, and maybe a bit longer than we expected to.
The Vegas Strip
Danger Zone: The Kings nixed their plans to host their annual preseason Hockey Fest fan celebration this year with the league’s stability in such limbo. If the NHL fails to restructure itself appropriately between the owners and the players by September 15, then real events start to get pushed to the side.
Kings players are expected to report to El Segundo on September 17, just two days after the bargaining deadline. The day after, September 18, is the Kings’ first scheduled practice.
Then the preseason games hit the club on September 24, the Kings scheduled for their annual split-squad simultaneous two-game tilt with the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, AZ, and at Staples Center.
There are five other preseason games scheduled for the Kings after the opening series with the Phoenix Coyotes, most notably the 15th annual Frozen Fury matchup with the Colorado Avalanche at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
If you’ve purchased your plane ticket to Las Vegas for Frozen Fury XV on September 29, you may want to consider making different plans for your trip.
There’s always gambling, but don’t place any bets on this NHL season starting on time.
You hope they’re bluffing, we’ve got five days.
Get something done.
When you cancel preseason hockey in Vegas, you cancel that.
Let’s balance our priorities here.
“The Best of the Rest” from Season 3 – HERE Follow the blog on Twitter HERE Get your Official KingsCast Apparel HERE KingsCast Hockey Podcast on — Facebook - Twitter - Youtube
The third and final installment of the “Segment Trilogy” is here. In this video, we highlight the rest of the best KingsCast segments including How’s That One Guy Doing?, Giving Thanks, Anatomy of a Fan, Words to Describe the LA Kings Season, Holiday Gift Giving and so much more! Cure your Los Angeles Stanley Cup hangover with more KingsCast.
The hockey offseason continues with another compilation of the best “See Ya!” segments from Season 3 of KingsCast (2011/2012). Say goodbye to players such as Ethan Moreau, teams like the Vancouver Canucks & New Jersey Devils and much more! Presented in official KingsCast Los Angles Kings fashion with the popular, long running comedy segment.
Back after a lengthy Stanley Cup hangover hiatus, it’s KingsCast! Here with a compilation of the best Top 5/Top 10 lists from Season 3 of the smash hit hockey video show (2011-2012). Relive the ups and downs of the Los Angeles Kings championship season through comedic commentary on hockey fans, coaches, players, cities and opposing NHL teams.