Year-In-Review – 30 – Dustin Brown

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I think Dustin Brown has been my favorite from this past season. He completely encompasses what I believe a "power forward" to be. He's tall with a good weight to him, and he has some fantastic skill with the puck. He led the league in hits by a mile and was one of the highest point-getters on the team. He played in 78 games getting 33 goals and 27 assists for 60 points. Not quite a point-per-game player, but I have the utmost confidence that he'll soon get there without a problem.

The coolest #23

If I were a center, I’d want Brownie on my wing every time. I thought he was such a good partner for Anze Kopitar; he ran the boards on his side and dominated the opposition both in skill and size. He never hesitated to hit a player if it meant that his teammates would regain possession of the puck. He also never hesitated to hit a player if it was available to take. This was made most apparent by the fact that he led the NHL in hits at the season’s end with 311 with the next closest being Mike Komisarik with 266. Just as an aside, I really think that Brownie had more hits during the course of the season, but I'm just picking nits at this point. Anyway, for someone who put down players in every game he amazingly had only 55 PIMs. Along with Alexander Frolov, I thought Brownie flew under the radar a bit in terms of how other teams viewed both of them. With Kopi's zombie-like eyes taking the attention of the other teams, Brownie seemed to be free to make the plays and dish out the hits as he so chose. Granted the majority of playmaking was Kopi’s doing, Brownie definitely held his own out on the ice.

For me, he seemed to explode out of the gate from the very first game of the season. But I can even back up a bit and remember him at the Frozen Fury in Vegas last September. He was in that shootout and in every subsequent shootout thereafter. He ended up missing a few games during the season and I remember at least two of those games were during the Kings' 8-game roadtrip out into the eastern conference so that he could be back in LA for the birth of his new baby, Jake.

While looking through my old posts, I found one I wrote awhile back when I saw the monstrosity the Kings rolled out with regarding a certain figurine set. And when I say "wrote," I really mean that I just posted the video. I was so speechless by it at the time, and, when I see it now, I realized that I had forgotten just how embarrassed I was by it. I can't even watch it again, but I will link it for anyone that wants to experience said embarrassment. Talk about painful.

After the dismal season closed, he was one of the Kings who went onto the IIHF World Championships where he made quite a showing, that is, if you were following the USA team. Team Canada sort of overshadowed the whole tournament in that it was IN Canada and then it had an all-star cast to go with it. Brownie was second to only one other American player on his team, Zach Parise. In my opinion, Brownie eclipses Parise both on the ice and in the cuteness factor. Brownie nearly led all the American players in ice time and in points production during the tournament, which really wasn't a surprise for me. I knew he was a good player, and he was just proving that again on a different stage.

(Team USA)

Brownie will again be on the top line with Kopi next season; of that, I'm positive. Who their left wing will be is anyone's guess. I really can't see anyone taking that right wing position away from our boy Brown. I'm not trying to stroke his sac or anything; I'm just stating a cold, hard fact. The 08-09 season is the start of his brand-new, bargain-basement 5-year contract. For next season, he will make...

*drum roll*

...$2.6 million. That's correct, for the low, low price of $2.6 million, you could have a fucking stud on your top line putting up points. He had signed this deal early last season and I wondered if he was thinking that he should have asked for more. My initial thinking was yes, but when you think about what he had done prior to the 07-08 season and given his age, I think $2.6 was reasonable. That being said, if he had waited as long as Patrick O'Sullivan had/has/ugh, then Brownie would have gotten MUCH MORE. There's no question about that. Add that to the fact that he had recently gotten married and brought a beautiful baby boy into the world. Considering that kind of security he wanted and with his potential still untapped, it was a good signing.

I'm definitely getting his name and number on my new jersey. I'm super excited for it.


Not In California

Monday, August 25, 2008

As a notice to everyone, I am not in sunny SoCal this week. I am actually somewhere trolling on the eastern seaboard. And when I say "trolling," I really mean just working. So I'm not sure how often I'll feel the desire to post, unless there is some breaking news on the Kings that I just HAVE to talk about. There are some things that the Kings still need to take care of that would be worth a post. A discussion of these things is in the latest Kings World Podcast episode. Even if you're not a Kings fan, I think it's worth a listen, and, yes, I am tooting my own horn here.

I don't have time to write anything else because I have to get some coffee before I get the shuttle that hopefully takes me to the correct place where hopefully I can stay awake and don't feel too out of place and I hope their air conditioning works because it's awfully humid here. How's that for a run-on.

Any love for me would be greatly appreciated! Leave a comment or text me and I'll heart you!


Year-In-Review – 29 – Kyle Calder

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I’m not exactly sure what happened to Kyle Calder last season. He started out the season with a regular place in the lineup, but, by the end, he was a constant healthy scratch. He played in a total of 65 games getting 7 goals and 13 assists for 20 points. I'm not 100% positive about this, but I'm pretty sure that those games were front loaded on the schedule. When I first heard his name I thought, "Oh, he played in Detroit. He has to be good, right?" Yeah, that was a misconception on my part seeing as how he wasn't anything special whenever he hit the ice in a Kings jersey.

There are only two things that pop into my head when I think about him:

1) He had broken his thumb in November, which initiated the call up of my favorite, Matt Moulson. I was completely okay with this because Moulson's presence was much more noticeable than Calder's. I mean, Moulson put up points!

2) There was one game where my friend, AJ, and I were standing at the glass during the warmup, and who was staring at her every single time he skated by? That's right, Kyle Calder. Dude could not have made it any more obvious that he was staring at her, which provided me endless laughter and much embarrassment for her. And then he was scratched for the game, which made me laugh even more.

It's the summer and you may be thinking, "Where did he go? Seriously. Is he still even in LA?" The answer is: yes, Calder is still in LA and doing summer training at the moment. He will be in a Kings jersey next season with $2.8 million going his way. After that, he'll be a UFA in which, I'm sure, the Kings will let him test the free agent pool. Until then, I foresee Calder doing bottom line duty while being scratched at times. I'm really not expecting too much from him next season, which may provide me with some surprises if he does do well. But, really, I'm not holding my breath.


"I'm Not A Puck Bunny" Podcast - Episode 26

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

In this week's episode, Cat and I try to relieve ourselves of the boredom that overtakes the month of August. We talk about how little our teams have been up to to pass the time while at the same time trying to not lose our minds. To do this, we try out a fun segment of “Would You Rather,” which segues into a quick segment on Ice Girls. Enjoy!

Please check us out at our respective blogs and at

As always please direct any questions, comments, complaints, thoughts, ideas, or rants to: imnotapuckbunny[at]gmail[dot]com.


Kings World Podcast - Ep 1.8

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

After a couple of weeks off, Marie and I are back at it. Even though there haven't been many Kings updates, we actually found a way to fill almost an hour of airtime. Simply amazing. Our topics ranged from Dean Lombardi's seemingly random quote, to how much Versus blows, and to how we're still waiting for Patrick O'Sullivan to be signed. Some other stuff we talk about are potential team captains and favorite hockey movies. We round out the show with much love and thanks to the listeners!

Please check us out at our respective blogs and at:

We welcome any and all feedback! Please direct any questions, comments, or thoughts to kingsworldpodcast[at]gmail[dot]com.



This is old news, but I want to put in my two cents now. The NHL will be rolling out with 3rd jerseys from various teams for the 08-09 season, and the designs are apparently going to be made public soon (don’t ask me when). The whole concept of the 3rd jersey isn’t one that I’m really a fan of, but I haven’t done any research into the marketing reasoning behind it, so I can’t intelligently analyze this. This is more of a reactionary post.


Puck Daddy’s post today
on the Kings potential 3rd jersey logo was a bit shocking. Because, really… it’s ugly. It looks like a cross between what we have going now with the crown and font style with the Black and Silver era. Don’t get me wrong, I like the style of the new jerseys; they’re clean, simple, and sharp. And I love the Black and Silver era design (CLASSIC). But smashing the two together? This just looks like a bad idea.

And this logo is supposed to go on a purple jersey? I know that right now the crown with purple accents is on a black or white jersey (depending on a game’s locale), but I’m not sure I’d be down with it being the other way around. It looks like an odd medieval banner that never should have been; one that causes me to make faces when I look at it. Maybe I should hold off on my judgment until I get a look at what the finished product looks like, but, as of now, I am not a fan.

[Update: Rudy's post on the exact same thing at almost the exact same time.]


Year-In-Review – 28 – Matt Ellis

Monday, August 18, 2008

It was pointed out to me by a faithful reader, Brad, that I had not done a review for Matt Ellis. My sincere apologies since the reverse alphabetical order for the forwards is now messed up. In any case, here's another short one for you!

(Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Look at that little ball of energy!

Ellis was the only player who started his year with a completely different organization while finishing up in LA. The Kings claimed Ellis off of waivers in the latter part of the season when the Detroit Red Wings tried to sneak him back to their AHL affiliate to help them in their run for the playoffs. He played in 35 games in Detroit getting 2 goal and 4 assists for 6 points. When he hit the waiver wire, the Kings quickly grabbed him up and, voila, we got an NHL-ready player without giving anything up! Sorry, Steph!

He proved to be an immediate change in the lower lines while even finding some time with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. It was my belief that when a player found himself on a line with Kopi and Brownie it was a sort of audition to see if he could produce with the top studs of the team. (Notables who were not a regular part of the top 6 were Ellis, Raitis Ivanans, and Scott Thornton.) Ellis played in 19 games with the Kings getting 1 shorthanded goal and 1 assist. He definitely didn’t take anything away from the Kings by being in the lineup. His contributions were exactly what were predicted, to do what he was doing with Detroit/Grand Rapids. We knew he wasn’t going to come in and be an offensive juggernaut, so he was a nice addition to the team.

We have Ellis for another year at only $470,000, which I think is a bargain. I’m sure he’ll once again bring back what we picked him up for, energy and spunk for the bottom lines. He’s gonna have to pick up some slack though since Jeff Giuliano was not re-signed by the Kings, which really made me sad. My PK Beast will be in Belarus next season playing for the HC Dinamo Minsk, so hopefully Ellis can be an adequate replacement, which I’m sure he will be.


Year-In-Review – 27 – Michael Cammalleri

Sunday, August 17, 2008

So if you haven't noticed, I've gotten really tired of these reviews. I'll finish them (I think), but I can't promise the quality of them to be great. I'm basically hanging on for dear life until the next season starts....

Michael Cammalleri’s 07-08 season started with his session in arbitration as opposed to his first goal of the season, which was the first goal that was scored in the NHL in 07-08. There was such promise for Cammy to have the same output last season like the season prior that when it didn't happen, he was viewed as a disappointment. Unfair? You can judge him how you wish. In 63 games he got 19 goals and 28 assists for 47 points. Not a terrible output seeing as he was even out of the lineup with various injuries. At the beginning of the season, I saw the Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, and Cammy line as completely dominant and one that wouldn’t last. That line created a roster that was completely top heavy because Alexander Frolov was still injured and Patrick O’Sullivan hadn’t yet started his breakout season. So Cammy constantly found himself on either the top line or 2nd line. Neither was consistent, which is hardly shocking, and he never seemed to get in a groove. I won’t discount that he started out the season strong; he had 10 goals in the first 10 games, but after that, his production definitely trailed off.

I’ll give him props for coming to the defense of Kopi when other players were taking runs at him. But it just took that one instance where he came away with a rib injury that put him out for a significant amount of games. Once this happened there was a collective groan from Kings fans because the secondary scoring was going to become even more invisible. But in came Sully to save the day. With his rise in terms of personal growth and point production, Cammy sadly became somewhat expendable. He spent the rest of the season being invisible, which didn’t help in the constant speculation of his movement within the next season sometime.

He likes it down there

Cammy survived the frenzy of the trade deadline last season, which was a bit understandable because his trade value wasn't as high as it could have been. I figured he'd be sent on his way at the next trade deadline after he had shown he was still a player of worth by trade day 2009. Of course, I was incorrect in my feeble guess because once draft day hit Kings fans breathed a sigh of relief. I guess I shouldn't generalize because not every fan wanted him gone. I guess it was a bit of the mob mentality in terms of how Cammy was viewed. I wasn't sure he'd be good trade bait for the draft, so I was surprised when it happened. He was sent off to the Calgary Flames along with the Kings 48th pick. This gave us Calgary's 17th pick, which was sent to the Anaheim Ducks with our 28th pick. We got back from Anaheim their 12th pick which was in addition to Calgary's 2nd round pick in 2009. Can you say A+ for Dean Lombardi? With all this movement and another eventual move, the Kings picked up Colten Teubert who is as mean and nasty a defenseman as you can get.

I'm not sure how he'll do in Calgary, but I'm sure if he finds himself playing with Jerome Iginla, he'll definitely pot some goals against us. Maybe Elisha Cuthbert will grow tired of Dion Phaneuf and go for Cammy. Whatev. All's I know is that Cammy's departure opens up a spot on the second line for Teddy Purcell, which makes me smile.


Year-In-Review – 26 – Alexander Frolov

Friday, August 15, 2008

At the beginning of the season Alexander Frolov was out of the lineup for a bit due to the ongoing injuries to his groin(s). (I’m surprised I never got a call to be his personal masseuse.) When he actually made it back into the lineup on a consistent basis, he obviously wasn’t one hundred percent in terms of his health. There was this certain tentativeness that he carried with him while he was on the ice and I saw him as being extremely delicate, which caused me mass amounts of nervousness whenever he had the puck. I felt like one harsh push or awkward check could have sent him back to the press box for a couple of games. But slowly and surely with each passing game, he became stronger and stronger on the puck until there basically wasn’t anyone on any team that could get him off of it. In the later stages of the pathetic season, whenever he got the puck he would just stickhandle like crazy and making the player who was covering him look like a little kid. I remember there’d be times where I’d just be sitting there shaking my head at how strong Fro was along the boards and in the corners. When I think of puck protection, Fro was definitely the player to watch on the team.

He played in 71 games getting 23 goals and 44 assists for 67 points. Amazingly enough, he was one of the few players who ended up in the positive side of the +/- column at a +2. I really think he flew under the radar to other teams because he wasn’t on the top line with Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar. But in the meantime, he was busy racking up his own points. I thought his assists definitely rivaled both Brownie and Kopi’s in terms of their consistency and reliability.


His body type is very similar to Brownie and Kopi, but he just doesn't have the offensive flair of Kopi or the physical presence of Brownie. What he does have is the ability to make an opposing player look foolish. I think if I was defending against him, I’d just start verbally making cracks about his momma because there’d be NO WAY I could strip the puck from him.

Now that I’ve adequately stroked his… ego, I’ll say that he could have afforded to be a tad selfish. When the Kings would be set up in the offensive zone, more often than not he was more apt to pass than to take the shot. It was so frustrating to watch the constant movement of the puck; if one of them could explain to me why they’d rather pass 217 times before taking a shot, I’d really like to know. Call me!


Even though he put up a good number of points, I don’t think he peaked in anyway last season in terms of individual performance. If he can stay healthy for all of next season, he could definitely give Brownie and Kopi and run for their money in the points department. Will next season be his “breakout” season? I honestly don’t think we need him to necessarily have an amazing season; he just needs to maintain his consistency and every season will be better than the next. We have him signed for a few more years, so he’s not going anywhere any time soon. And really, for how much he produces, we’re paying him pennies.


Thanks, NHL and Versus

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The NHL and Versus released the schedule today of what games will be aired on the Bull-riding channel. Puck Daddy does an excellent job of breaking down the schedule in terms of how many times a team is shown for next season. How many of you are surprised that the Kings are shown ZERO TIMES?

No one? That’s what I thought.

I really don’t like to bag on other markets/cities outside of the Pacific Division because I have mad respect for everyone. But Buffalo? 9 times?? REALLY? 7 times for Boston?? St. Louis 5 times???

In the Pacific Division only the Dallas Stars get a bit of love by having 4 games aired nationally. The rest?

San Jose – 3
Phoenix – 1
Anaheim – 1
Los Angeles – 0

Zero. ZERO! Oh my god, really? Look, I’m not whining and complaining about this because I’ll be able to watch almost all of the games myself. What I’m angry about is the fact that the NHL and Versus are essentially telling hockey fans that the Kings, Flames, and Oilers are not relevant. I find it hard to believe that they wouldn’t air ANY games from 2 of the 6 Canadian teams. I know that the eastern teams are the big hockey markets that draw in the biggest numbers, but how does that create exposure for other teams? In a league where certain markets aren’t perceived as being relevant, the NHL and Versus have made it clear that they think so as well.

x-posted on HLOG


A Meeting Of The Minds

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Today I had dinner with Bress from The 2 Man Advantage. Here are some mental notes in list form:

1) Bress is totally awesome.
2) I couldn't believe he finished his big ass beer.
3) I learned that Scotty is NOT a man whore like I originally thought. My bad.
4) The boys are NOT older than me like I also originally thought.
5) I should definitely make a trip out to New York and visit those boys one of these days.
6) According to this New Yorker, the Kings are in the John Tavaras sweepstakes, which I emphatically argued with.
7) I had way too much soda with my dinner.

Check back later (a week or so) for an interview of sorts with Bress. We'll see how silly it gets.


Year-In-Review – 25 – Gabe Gauthier

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Get ready for a short one. There were a number of call ups from Manchester last season. There were those that made an impact and those that didn't. Gabe Gauthier was one of those that could be put in the latter group. He really didn’t do much while wearing a Kings jersey, which was evidenced by his playing in only 3 games with no points to show for it. This was actually in stark contrast to what he did while donning a Monarchs jersey. In 61 games he notched 23 goals and 37 assists for 60 points. He actually ended at a -13. Hmm... well, he only played in 3 of the 4 playoff games and ended at a -6 with nothing to show for it. Surprisingly, for me, he went to the AHL All-Stars skills competition where he participated in the accuracy shot. He did well by going 4 for 6. In the actual All-Star game he had zero points but ended at a +3. While it’s always cool to hear that a Southern California boy has made it into the upper leagues of hockey, I need to be impressed by the play that got him where he is. Seeing Gauthier’s short stint with the Kings didn’t do anything for me. Then again, he did poorly when the Kings were doing horrendously. Story of the whole season.

He recently re-signed with the Kings for two years, which assures a veteran presence on an increasingly youthful Manchester squad. I guess I have no complaints about this since it’s clear what his role will be for those two years.


Year-In-Review – 24 – Michal Handzus & Jeff Giuliano

Monday, August 11, 2008

I feel the same way

Michal Handzus
signed with the Kings last summer for four (4) years at $4 million per with a no-trade clause. Apparently he was brought in to be the 2nd line center but was never able to regain his form last season from the major surgery he had. He surprisingly played in all 82 games getting 7 goals and 14 assists for 21 points. He spent almost all of his time in the 3rd line center role, and I was never really impressed with anything that Handzus did. Apparently he's known for having "soft hands," but he also had a soft playing style. This was put to the test when Raitis Ivanans was out of the lineup due to injury and Chris Pronger decided to take a run at Handzus after the horn blew to end a game. This pissed me off for two reasons: (1) it’s obvious that Handzus isn’t one to throw down his gloves and (2) Ivanans was probably sitting in the press box punching walls wishing he was out there. This was just another instance that so bluntly illustrated to hockey fans that Pronger is a jackass. Even Dustin Byfuglien knew that he didn’t grab a fighter when he took hold of Lubomir Visnovsky. No punches were thrown in that instance because Byfuglien isn’t retarded.

The only really positive that I can take out of his being on the Kings last season was that by the middle-end of the season he was set in the 2nd unit of the PK with Patrick O’Sullivan. Although there definitely were times when I thought that both players were looking more for the shorthanded opportunity than trying to successfully kill the penalty. The thing that absolutely killed me about Handzus was that his faceoff numbers were horrible. HORRIBLE. I don’t even want to go back and look at any numbers, it was that bad. I don’t get it; wasn’t that something he was supposed to be good in? Bleh, anyway, we have him for 3 more years, so hopefully he can get back on the horse and figure out how to win some damn faceoffs.

For the love of god, Handzus!

Moving onto someone I hearted last season: Jeff Giuliano started the season over in Manchester but eventually found a permanent place on the roster when the Kings were sucking (to be blunt). In Manchester he played in 23 games getting 3 goals and 1 assist for 4 points. With the Kings he played in 53 games while posting zero goals and 6 assists. He definitely provided a much-needed spark when he got to LA. He eventually found a place on the 1st PK unit and I was pretty happy about that. He seemed to genuinely want to kill off every single penalty he was out there for. He wasn’t afraid to dive headfirst into an oncoming shot. His spark led me to make this sign for him just to make sure he knew his efforts weren’t going unnoticed.

Bottom line, I realize that he wasn’t the best player, but I loved all that he did on the ice. He was a 4th line energy player and that’s exactly what he did. He played the shutdown role well and you won’t find too many complaints here. He even had a penalty shot against Miikka Kiprusoff. As a complete aside: there have been remarks all season about his appearance. Let me just say that I’ve seen him in street clothes sans the helmet and he’s definitely a good-looking fellow. The helmet does absolutely NOTHING for him.

That's unfortunate

Sadly, for me, he was not re-upped for next season by the Kings so he signed a one-year deal with HC Dinamo Minsk in Belarus for the 08-09 season. I was bummed when Ron Hextall said that he was not a priority to being re-signed, but I have accepted that fact now. I have no clue who’s going to replace him because after the top two lines for next season, it gets kind of hazy as to who could play in those positions.


Year-In-Review – 23 – Raitis Ivanans

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Raitis Ivanans is the resident role player (read: enforcer) for the Kings. Last season he played in 73 games getting 6 goals, 2 assists for 8 points, and ended with 134 penalty minutes. In the beginning of the season it was clear what Ivanans’ role was, but once the Kings drifted out of playoff contention, Marc Crawford started moving him around the roster more and more. This caused me frustrations at first, but when it was clear that the Kings were going nowhere, I really didn't mind Ivanans getting more ice time. But there were definitely instances where I would wonder why he decided to pick a fight when he did because the timing wouldn't quite work with what was going down in the game. I forget which game it was exactly, but he started fighting with a guy about five minutes into the first period. Really? Why?

I think he didn't play in all 82 games because of the Rob Blake slapshot he took to the face. It was unbelievable; the man didn't even fall down. His hands shot to his face and he skated over to the bench. I can't even imagine what that must has felt like. Not just a puck flying at your face, but with Rob Blake's power behind it. It frightens me to even think about. I can't pinpoint the exact game, but it was in November sometime and when he returned he had to wear a full face shield to protect his face while it healed. He now has 4 titanium plates in his cheek! What a man's man.

So it's no secret that he wasn’t the best skater, and yeah, he wasn’t the most skilled player, but I really thought he deserved more than 5 minutes of ice time per game. This slight frustration caused this post, but it wasn’t like I wanted him to get top line time. I just wanted him to get some more ice time in general. Later in the season when he started to find himself on the same shifts with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, I was nervous because I didn’t think that Ivanans could keep up with the other two. But he showed that he could actually do more than participate in some fisticuffs, which was a relief. I mean, we couldn’t really complain at that point because we were in the cellar and he really wasn’t holding back Kopi and Brownie by being on their line. In the January Ivanans signed a two-year extension with the Kings, which I thought was a very good signing. He is hugely popular with the fans and we definitely need him in the lineup. Speaking of, this quote is from a recent interview with Daniel Carcillo of the Phoenix Coyotes and it definitely put a huge smile on my face.

"I fought Raitis Ivanans in L.A. even though I really didn't want to. I'd scored a nice goal and was kind of revved up and skating around being an idiot. Wayne told me, "If he comes out, I want you to come right off the ice." Sure enough, on my last shift, Ivanans came out looking for me. He's a pretty scary guy: 6-3, 263 and incredibly strong. But I didn't listen to Wayne because I thought it would be cowardly to back down. We traded punches, he hit me on the forehead and I went down. It was quick, but it was one of the worst beatings I've taken in hockey."

After the season ended, he traveled to Canada for the World Championships with some of his Kings teammates. He joined the Latvian team and did what he does best. Although in looking at the stats sheets, I thought he should have been given more ice time seeing as he was one of the few NHL players on the roster. But what do I know. Anyway, I'm glad he'll be back with the Kings for the next two season. I shall be looking forward to the many fights we'll be graced with in the future.

This was after he fought Ryan Getzlaf while playing Team Canada


Good Times In The Beer League

Friday, August 8, 2008

Last night I witnessed one of the funnier hockey games I’ve ever seen. I went to watch my brother’s roller hockey team play in their weekly beer league game, which I feel a little guilty about since I haven’t gone to watch every week. Years ago I don’t think I missed any of their games, so it brings me back to those good times when I watch their games now. Granted they’re not as spry as they were when they were 16-18 years of age, but whatev. They’re still playing; that’s all that matters.

So why am I writing about this one random game, you ask? Here’s the deal, the team (I’ll call them FK, for short) currently carries eight (8) players on their roster. Last week three of them were suspended for fighting, and one was out of town this week. Thus, they were playing with only 4 players (plus goalie). It’s 4-on-4 hockey and you could only imagine how this was gonna go down. Looking at the other bench, the other team definitely had 8 total players (plus goalie). So with two full lines going up against FK’s depleted roster you’d think that the latter would have gotten creamed, right? Incorrect! I have no idea what was up with the other team, but FK trounced them 11-7. It wasn’t a complete domination by FK though; they still had 7 goals scored on them.

I have to actually talk about FK’s goalie for a bit though. He had this quasi-Marc Andre-Fleury/Kelly Hrudey thing going on in terms of dress. He had these bright yellow pads with an equally bright yellow jersey on with the letters on the back reading “PBR.” My first thought was, “Pabst Blue Ribbon?” His helmet reminded me of Kelly Hrudey because it looked just like his Hollywood helmet from back in the day; not too much protection around the neck and black with the Hollywood marquee across the front. Sadly he was not wearing the blue bandana. Anyway, their goaltending has been questionable, so you could understand my wariness, right? By the end of the game he let in 7 goals. Still better than 11!! HAHAHA!

Anyway, so was even in terms of the number of goals in the first half of the game. I actually had to leave for a bit since I was having contact lens issues. I left when it was tied 3-3 and came back when it was tied 5-5. No fights had broken out thus far, so I figured they game would finish without incident. By the middle of the 2nd period FK was visibly gassed, understandably so! The only breaks they were getting were when the whistle blew!

Problem: How does one get more rest when you have to play every second of the entire game?
Solution: Stand as still as possible when you’re not around the puck.

As the other team’s players were trying to dipsy doodle around the FKs, their efforts were halted because even though the FKs appeared to not have any energy, right when the puck got close to any of them, they magically sprang to life causing utter (read: hilarious) frustrations for the other team. I knew FK was good, but man, this was kinda sad. I can’t remember which of FK’s goal this was, but when #4 scored and I saw the smile on his face, it dawned on me that perhaps they couldn’t believe they were winning either. I guess it doesn’t help when the other team’s goalie was having a terrible game. By the third, every time he let in another he would just lay there with his stacked pads on display for awhile. I couldn’t see his face, but I’m sure the expressions of disbelief and frustrations spent most of the time on his face. Anyway, the game ended 11-7 and that’s all she wrote.

To the victors go the spoils… and the right to laugh.

P.S. This post was a lot longer than I thought it was gonna be. I just wanted to give those FKs some well-deserved props.


Year-In-Review – 22 – Anze Kopitar

Thursday, August 7, 2008

What can I say about Anze Kopitar. He is the face of the Kings. When other teams come to play the Kings, the first name that pops into their heads should be “Anze Freaking Kopitar.”


He finished his second full NHL season and demonstrated why he is the top line center, which I’m sure was never a doubt in anyone’s mind. He admitted in a few interviews that he was afraid of falling victim to the “sophomore slump,” but he held his own and was never invisible. He played in all 82 games and racked up 32 goals and 45 assists for 77 points. He had a great year in terms of his own improvement, and he was so great to watch. He had the ability to move his big frame with such finesse and ease while being equally strong on the puck; basically, the best of both worlds. Even when the Kings were having an especially horrible game, you could always count on Kopi making a showing somehow. But I will note that there was a stray game or two where I remember thinking, “Man, even Kopi isn’t looking good.” He should be commended for his accomplishments last season because he improved immensely on an individual level while trying to carry a team that was going in the opposite direction.

He is definitely the type of leader who leads by example. His point production was rivaled only by Dustin Brown, his linemate and seemingly life partner in that they were hardly ever out on the ice without each other. I really can’t express just how awesome Kopi is as a player and subsequent team representative. That being said, seeing him out on the ice during the All-Stars Game warmed my heart. Here was the face of my franchise on a huge national stage getting the attention he so rightly deserved. It definitely made a boring game a bit tolerable.


After the season ended he went on to represent Slovenia in the World Championships. He is the only NHL player who hails from Slovenia, which meant that his name was the only recognizable name on that roster. Just like he was the face of the Kings last season, he was Team Slovenia in the Championships. He logged the most ice time, had the most points, and basically carried the entire team on his shoulders. The most telling stat that I found was that his average ice time for each shift was longer than everyone else's on the team, which included the defensemen.

This summer produced one of most ridiculous trade rumors involving Kopi that I’ve heard in awhile. Kopi to Chicago with Martin Gerber and Andrej Mezsaros in return from Ottawa? That deserves a punch in the face. I’ve already expressed my thoughts here so I’m not going to go into that again. I feel lame that I don’t have more to say on Kopi, but how many words do I need to use to tell everyone that he’s as solid and as consistent as the next NHL superstar. He will be with the Kings for many years to come and I’m curious to see how much money will go his way once we lock him up long term. I also see him wearing an "A" next year, no doubt.


Kings World Podcast - Ep 1.7

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the trade that brought Wayne Gretzky to Los Angeles. After Marie and I discuss the most recent Kings updates, we delve back into the past and talk about what exactly Gretzky meant to Southern California and to us personally. We actually give a little insight into how the growth of our love of the game also stemmed from our brothers' roller hockey team. There are definitely some good laughs as we recount some memories of way back when. We end with some good shoutouts and then sign off.

Please check us out at our respective blogs and at:

We welcome any and all feedback! Please direct any questions, comments, or thoughts to kingsworldpodcast[at]gmail[dot]com.


Boo Larry Brooks

Monday, August 4, 2008

On August 3, 2008, NY Post writer Larry Brooks wrote "Switches Brew – NHL Investigating KC Connection" and I’d like to take some time and space to address some of his comments. I'm going to discount what he's saying concerning AEG and connections to Kansas City. It's no secret that AEG has built a new arena there and I can't deny its efforts to get butts in the seats, but I don't have any inside information concerning that. What I AM interested in addressing is Brooks' seemingly uninformed opinions on the Kings, specifically, because I have taken some offense. Just because the Kings aren't following what other franchises are doing, doesn't mean that the path they're following is incorrect. Building young with high draft picks means that they're going to have to get paid at some point in time. I'd rather pay millions for Anze Kopitar than millions for someone in their 30's who's a mediocre player.

"They are likely to have the league's lowest payroll this season while GM Dean Lombardi sheds anyone with market value over the age of 25, yet have raised prices this offseason while promising to do so again next summer."

This is true; they most likely will have the lowest payroll. This is mostly due to the fact that the Kings only have one of those weird, but all too common, contracts in Michal Handzus ($4 million for 4 years). Why shouldn't they overpay their OWN YOUNG DRAFT PICKS? Oh yeah, because the CBA doesn't allow for that. There are restrictions on what a player can make while they are in the entry level phase of their hockey careers. Yes, the Kings management has explained to the fans that the ticket prices will be raised over the next few seasons. I think this is a better strategy than raising the prices by an exorbitant amount in one summer, which is exactly what Luc has told us. This isn't a secret. I would rather the increase happen in this manner than by being blindsided by the costs. I mean, it’s not like the payroll is going to stay in its bargain basement for long. Maybe what Mr. Brooks doesn’t realize is that after next season, there are going to be a number of RFAs to re-sign and we're going to need the cap space. Let's take a quick glance:

Anze Kopitar
Jack Johnson
Teddy Purcell
Matt Moulson
Brian Boyle

This list honestly scares me; that's 2 pure NHL studs, one AHL Rookie of the Year, and 2 potential high-performance work horses. respectively. I'm not sure what Drew Doughty, Thomas Hickey, and Oscar Moller will make, but if they meet their performance bonus conditions, their combined salaries could take a huge chunk out of the available payroll. I'm not saying I see Hickey and Moller in the lineup for next season, but you never know what could happen.

Here is a list of players who, as of this moment, remain questionable as to whether they will stay with the Kings past the 08-09 season:

Kyle Calder (UFA)
Derek Armstrong (UFA)
Matt Ellis (UFA)
Denis Gauthier (UFA)
Jason Labarbera (UFA)
Erik Ersberg (UFA)
Danny Taylor (UFA)
Matt Greene (RFA)

The goaltenders will be more of a roster issue than a salary issue. We don't have a clear #1 goalie but I like that there are 3 who could potentially earn that spot for next season. As of this moment, Barbs is the projection for the top spot, so we'll see how he, Ersberg, and Taylor do this coming season. I have a feeling that if Barbs again can't stay healthy and play like I know he has the ability to play, then he'll be released after next season is over. As sad as it would be for me because Barbs is so freaking cool in person, Jonathan Bernier is the future and there's not too much leeway in terms of goaltenders in this franchise. I hate to say Barbs is the expendable one because he's the oldest, but that may just be the ugly truth. (*sad face*) From the end of last season to this coming season, we've already shed 8 roster players and I foresee next summer not being any different.

"LA owner Phil Anschutz and Leiweke have somehow amassed real power within the league despite running one of the NHL's eyesore franchises."

Look, I know that the Kings aren't the model franchise. But what do you mean "somehow amassed real power?" Los Angeles is one of the largest markets with one of the richest ownership groups in the NHL. I thought that money equaled power. This writer is failing to mention just how much AEG owns and is worth.

"Ownership could not care less about putting a winning product on the ice, instead it's consumed with manufacturing a scheme that will place an NHL team in AEG's arena in Kansas City."

I resent Mr. Brooks saying that "ownership could not care less." I’m not saying that I do or don’t agree, but AEG is a worldwide corporation with a million things going on, which is why Phil Anschutz named Dean Lombardi the President and General Manager of the Kings. Get that? PRESIDENT of the Kings. The guy who runs the franchise, makes all the decisions, hires and fires who he feels is necessary, etc. If any national writer needs a scapegoat, go to Lombardi, not Anschutz. They can make all the accusations they want; I just want them to have the ability to know where to place the appropriate blame. And if he did actually accuse Lombardi, I'd be defending DL as well. I feel like I'm beating a dead horse.

"It's time for the league to take a hard look at Anschutz, Leiweke and AEG, and to apply meaningful punishment if in fact the Kings did violate NHL financial regulations."

Excuse me? What do the Kings have to do with Anschutz giving a loan to Del Baggio?! Once again, Lombardi runs the Kings and the last time I checked, Deano wasn't the one who handed out that loan. Get your facts straight, sir, because you're annoying me.

In moving to a different article, we see something worth taking note of. Sean O'Leary brings up an interesting notion from the offices of the Sprint Center in Kansas City in his article titled "Kansas City, Omaha Are Glad They Built, Even Without Pro Teams." The events that are being booked after the new arena was opened are doing more than enough to sustain the area. Shania Tate Ross who is the director of Marketing and Communications is quoted throughout the article with the most prominent being at the end of the article. "There are so many more expectations in terms of amenities from performers, athletes and spectators. You can't compete if you don't have the most updated arena." When you read this, you realize that the new arena was built more to accommodate a diverse group of events to the city, not an NHL franchise.


Year-In-Review – 21 – Matt Moulson

I honestly have nothing negative to say about Matt Moulson; he is a favorite of mine and I will openly admit that. When you think about the roster, it's amazing to see how much individual success the younger forwards had. Moulson definitely had that type of success last season and he's only going to go up from here.

Surprisingly, there was a post that I had written about him around the time when he was first recalled by the Kings back in November that has been one of my more popular posts. I think out of all the Manchester boys and Junior prospects mentioned from this past season, he’s been the most searched for in this space (even more than Teddy Purcell). I’m not sure why exactly, but it’s nice to know that there are people all over North America who have noticed his play on the ice. Perhaps his being drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins or his attending Cornell University has added to his search numbers. In any case, I’m glad people are curious about him, which I’m hoping translates to realizing that he has the potential to be a solid and reliable NHL player.

Love these guys

He played in 22 games with the Kings accumulating 5 goals and 4 assists for 9 points in a short amount of time. He was recalled a total of four times last season and was subsequently reassigned four times. The first recall occurred on his birthday after Kyle Calder had broken his thumb. Every time I saw that he was reassigned I essentially raised hell. I couldn’t understand why the Kings would reassign him when he was CLEARLY doing better than all of the lower tier players on the roster. I mean, he scored his first NHL goal in his first NHL game! When did Derek Armstrong score his first goal of the season? (Note: That definitely wasn’t a knock on Army as a person. He’s awesome.) Moulson proved in basically all 22 games that he belonged on the roster. With Ladislav Nagy constantly in and out of the active lineup at that point in time, Moulson was also in and out of the Kings lineup. My anger concerning the constant movement of Moulson actually began earlier when Marc Crawford insisted on using Jon Klemm as a forward instead of his normal position of defenseman, which ABSOLUTLY KILLED ME. And speaking of, I don’t think I did a review for Klemm... whatever. This accumulation of nonsense really turned me into a crotchety person who would fly off the handle at the drop of a hat. Well, it wasn't that bad... really....

Meanwhile back at the ranch (and by "ranch," I mean, Manchester), Moulson played in 57 games tallying 28 goals and 28 assists for 26 points. He ended the regular season at a +5 and had only 29 PIM. In the playoffs he played in all 4 games getting 2 goals and, like Teddy, ended at a -9. To me, a -9 during a 4-game sweep by the best team in the AHL just tells me that Moulson and Teddy were getting the most minutes per game. I was happy with Moulson's production in Manchester after being shuttled back and forth so many times last season.

The Kings have re-signed him for 1-year with terms undisclosed and my first reaction to this signing was utter, utter relief. In looking at the depth for next season, the 3rd line is where he would most likely start. My guess is that he'd be successful with working as a shut down-type of player who has the ability to notch some points as well. I can see him as Calder’s replacement in that type of role. Calder had an off year with his deflection skills due to his lack of ice time, and I remember some of Moulson’s goals were of the dirty quality around the net. If I recall, Calder became a consistent scratch with Brian Willsie filling that spot. So Moulson replacing Calder/Willsie? Sounds like a great idea!! Who knows where he could actually end up by season's end, but I'm sure as hell excited to see another young face on the roster.


Year-In-Review – 20 – Ladislav Nagy & Brady Murray

Saturday, August 2, 2008

When one thinks about free agent signing busts, the name Ladislav Nagy should come first. He was signed for just one year at $3.75 million; he played in 38 games tallying 9 goals, 17 assists for 26 points. He started off the year within the pool of free agents that Lombardi signed but ended the year with the strangest neck injury. Apparently there’s always been this mild sort of hype surrounding Nagy in that he had potential, which he could never quite grasp year after year. But the dude is 29 now, if he hasn’t achieved said potential by now, I don’t see him doing it when he’s in his 30s. So he came into the season with the aforementioned hype and inconsistently delivered while in the lineup. The only game I can really remember him being in was the New Year’s game where the Kings blew out the Blackhawks 9-2. Nagy tallied 5 points and was a stud; but that was it.

Aww, Lubo's in the background!

His season was cut short due to his mysterious neck injury that seemed to come out of nowhere. I’m not really sure what to make of it because there was no real explanation for it. What I did know was that it occurred about a month or so before the trade deadline passed so that he couldn’t be traded. I’m not sure what exactly his appeal would have been to other teams had he not been on IR, so I can only speculate on what "could have been." His presence in the latter half of the season was basically nil, so I’m fine with him slipping out of LA unannounced.

Brady Murray made an even shorter appearance with the Kings this year than did Nagy. He played in 4 games (1 goal) at the beginning of the season with the highlight being when they played the St. Louis Blues and he "faced" his father, Andy Murray. I have hardly anything to say about this kid except that he’s been a part of the Kings organization for a long time. I’m not sure what his projection is slated to be but I do know that he won’t be on the big club’s roster next year.

Wasn't that nice of the photographer to get both in one shot.... *yawn*


  © Blogger template Cumulus by 2008

Back to TOP