Los Angeles Hockey: NHL

Kings ready to close chapter, write another

January, 19, 2013
LOS ANGELES -- Before the Los Angeles Kings could open the chapter on this season, they had to properly close the chapter on last season.

It was a long overdue process many on the team weren’t sure when or even if they would ever get the chance to experience.

Sure, the NHL lockout would have ended at some point in time and the Kings would have eventually raised their Stanley Cup banner and handed out their championship rings soon after. But if the lockout had canceled this season and if the new salary cap were as low as NHL owners wanted it to be, this day wouldn’t have been the same.

It would have been like having a reunion with many of the invitees spread out all over the country and unable to attend.

There is no way the Kings would have been able to bring back their entire Stanley Cup-winning roster intact if the lockout stretched into next season and the salary cap was as low as $60 million. It would have tarnished a moment Kings fans have dreamed about for 45 years and Kings players and coaches spent three magical months making a reality.

[+] EnlargeLos Angeles Kings
Evan Gole/NHLI/Getty ImagesThe Kings raised the banner for their Stanley Cup season on Saturday.
Before the Kings traded forward Kevin Westgarth, who didn’t play in the playoffs and hasn’t played since February, on the eve of training camp, they were going to be the first Stanley Cup-winning team in recent memory to return everyone on its roster the following season. Even after the Westgarth deal, they are the first team since the 1983 New York Islanders to have all but one player return from the previous championship season. That Islanders squad returned to the Stanley Cup finals that season, but lost to the Edmonton Oilers. No team has repeated as Stanley Cup champion since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998.

The Kings did little to differentiate themselves from recent Stanley Cup winners by losing their season opener after raising their championship banner. Boston and Chicago lost the past two banner-raising games in the NHL, and both lost in the conference quarterfinals the following season.

It’s too early to judge the Kings after their 5-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday afternoon. They were down 3-0 before the end of the first period and behind 4-0 as soon as the second period started. By the time Rob Scuderi scored the Kings’ first goal of the season, many fans had already left the building.

“You’re going to make some physical mistakes in these first seven or eight games,” Scuderi said. “That’s just the way it is. I expect physical mistakes, but we have to be prepared mentally to play the game and at least give ourselves a chance. If you’re in the right position, which is a mental thing, then you give yourself a chance to win a physical battle.”

Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane remembers how hard it was to win after winning the Stanley Cup and having a target placed on his and the team’s back every night. Suddenly, every game felt like a playoff game as teams positioned themselves for a signature win.

“Everyone is going to play their best game against the Cup champion,” Kane said. “That’s a game you want to prove yourself and make a statement. I think that’s what we were feeling tonight, and we had the opportunity to do that.”

Saturday’s game almost seemed like an afterthought for most of the fans in attendance. Many of them flooded L.A. Live across the street from Staples Center and the streets surrounding the arena three hours before the game. There was a beer garden, dance competitions, women passing out beads and outdoor ice-skating in 80-degree weather.

It was almost a continuation of the Stanley Cup Finals, and it felt that way for Kings coach Daryl Sutter. He said it didn’t feel like Game 6, when the Kings won the Cup, but more like Game 4, when Kings fans were celebrating a sweep and a Cup win before it ever happened. The Kings would end up losing that game and the next one before finally closing out the New Jersey Devils and winning the Stanley Cup.

“I kind of looked at tonight as similar to before we played Game 4 last year of the finals,” Sutter said. “You have to focus on what you do and focus on yourself and not what everyone wants you to do.”

As the Kings' players exited the locker room Saturday wearing suits and holding their championship rings inside of large, white Tiffany & Co. boxes, they weren’t making too much of their first loss of the season. It wasn’t exactly the type of game they expect to see very often from their Conn Smythe Trophy-winning goalie. Jonathan Quick gave up five goals on Saturday, which is something he did only once last season.

“You have to get used to getting knocked down and getting back up,” Quick said. “Most of our guys just wanted to play hockey today … We had a chance at 96 points, and now all we have a chance at is 94 … As the ceremony was going on, most of our guys were thinking about the game, but obviously you’re going to take a moment and it’s a special moment for the team and fans, but everyone knew what we were here to do and try to win a hockey game, and, unfortunately, we weren’t able to do that.”

Kings captain Dustin Brown certainly took a moment to appreciate holding the Stanley Cup trophy on the ice one more time and helping raise the championship banner into the rafters of Staples Center, but is happy the Kings can finally move on and focus on repeating history rather than reliving it.

“It was a really good moment for the organization and the players and fans,” Brown said. “But I think, as a group, we’re ready after raising the banner and everything we did last year to close that chapter and write a new chapter here.”

Five questions for the Kings

January, 18, 2013
LOS ANGELES – When the NHL lockout finally ended, it looked like the Los Angeles Kings wouldn’t have many questions heading into this season. Well, at least not as many as their counterparts. After all, they were primed to be the first team in recent memory to return every player on their roster after winning the Stanley Cup.

That was before the Kings shipped forward Kevin Westgarth to Carolina for forward Anthony Stewart and a couple of draft picks. While the Westgarth trade shouldn’t have too much of an effect on the Kings’ on-ice performance (he hasn’t played since last February), there are a few other players from last year’s roster who are question marks for the Kings as the season begins. Their status and the status of the Kings' ownership are two of the many questions facing the team as they look to be the first back-to-back Stanley Cup champions in 15 years.

1. Will the Kings suffer a Cup hangover?

If there is one positive about the NHL lockout from the Kings’ perspective it’s that it has been seven months since they’ve won the Stanley Cup. There really shouldn’t be any excuses about hangovers or lack of rest with that much time off. Then again, it’s only natural for a team to have a bit of a letdown after being celebrated as champions for the past seven months.

The Kings have been around the world with the Stanley Cup for over half a year and will once again spend the day with it Saturday as they finally raise their championship banner at Staples Center before their regular season opener against the Chicago Blackhawks. Will it be hard to get motivated for Game 1 of the season after being patted on the back for an hour or so pre-game? Maybe, but the Kings also realize that in a 48-game, intra-conference regular season schedule, there isn’t much time to waste. Kings coach Darryl Sutter basically described it as an extended version of the playoffs.

AEG president and CEO and Kings governor Tim Leiweke said he has experience with championship letdowns after the Los Angeles Galaxy, also owned by AEG, won the MLS Cup in 2011 and started last season 6-11-2 before turning their season around and winning their second straight MLS Cup. The Kings will look to repeat that outcome while getting out of the gates with a better record.

2. How will the impending sale of AEG affect the Kings and their moves?

AEG, which owns the Kings, Galaxy, Staples Center, LA Live, Home Depot Center and hundreds of other assets, is currently up for sale. The sale process is in the early stages but is expected to be completed at some point during the NHL season. So will an ownership change during the season affect the Kings’ chance at repeating? Not at all if you listen to Leiweke, who said the company and whoever the new owner is will be just as committed to putting a championship team on the ice as Philip Anschutz was.

“We’re committed to winning,” Leiweke said. “[Kings general manager Dean Lombardi] has the green light to make any moves he believes will improve this team. Whether that’s signing a player or making a trade or whatever, we’re committed to winning the Cup again.”

Leiweke and AEG already showed their commitment in the offseason by keeping the team intact and inking most of their core players to long-term contracts.

3. How will Jonathan Quick respond to offseason back surgery and what will happen to Jonathan Bernier?

Another one of the positives of the lockout as far as the Kings were concerned is that it gave their goalie and Conn Smythe Trophy winner, Jonathan Quick, more time to recover from offseason back surgery. Quick had surgery in August and if the season had started on time he would have missed at least three months. Quick has been on the ice since the start of training camp and said he feels fine heading into the start of the season. Sutter also mentioned that as long as Quick feels fine he is going to lean on him more during this truncated schedule with the importance of every game heightened.

With Quick healthy and inked to a 10-year $58 million contract, backup goalie Jonathan Bernier, who could probably start on most teams, is looking for playing time elsewhere and hoping the Kings will trade him. The problem for Bernier is the Kings will likely take their time as they wait to see how Quick recovers from his surgery. If he looks fine they’ll probably take some more time evaluating what positions they need and what player or players they can get for Bernier.

In the interim, it looks like a win-win for the Kings who will have Quick back for the start of the season and the best backup goalie in the league waiting in the wings if anything happens to him.

4. How long will Willie Mitchell be out and how will that affect the defense?

Leave it to Sutter to just casually slip in some huge injury news in the midst of talking about a completely different subject. That's essentially how reporters found out that Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell underwent knee surgery in the offseason and is way behind schedule. In fact, he’s so far behind schedule that Sutter doesn’t even have a timetable for his return as the season begins.

Mitchell, who had surgery two months ago, was a vital part of the Kings’ Stanley Cup run and a veteran presence on their suffocating defense in the playoffs. He had five goals and a career-best 24 points in 76 regular-season games and one goal and three points in 20 playoff games. He actually averaged more ice time in the playoffs (25:19) than he did during the regular season (22:14).

As far as replacements go, defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk was placed on waivers this week, clearing the way for Jake Muzzin to earn a roster spot while Mitchell remains sidelined. Muzzin played 11 games with the Kings during the 2010-11 season and will compete with Davis Drewiske for ice time in Mitchell’s absence.

5. Will a full season of Jeff Carter cure what ailed the Kings’ offense for much of last season?

Those who jumped on the Kings' bandwagon during the playoffs don’t remember how bad the Kings offense was during the season. It was actually beyond dreadful. In fact, it was so bad you had to feel sorry for Quick, who midway through last season had given up an average of 1.93 goals per game, making him one of just four NHL goaltenders with a GAA below two, but it was largely lost while playing behind the league’s lowest scoring team.

Even with a man advantage, the Kings had a hard time scoring as their power play ranked 16th and converted just 12.8% in the postseason. The Kings finished the regular season 29th in goals per game at just 2.29 per contest.

The Kings are hoping having Jeff Carter, who came over in a trade for Jack Johnson in February, for a full season will fix the Kings’ scoring woes early on. Not only will the Kings have Carter to begin the season but if Simon Gagne, who missed much of last season, can return to his old form and Dwight King and Jordan Nolan, who stepped up at the end of the regular season and the postseason continue to develop, offense might not be as much of a concern for the Kings this season.
LOS ANGELES -- As Los Angeles Kings governor and AEG president/CEO Tim Leiweke sat on a dais set up inside Staples Center, he began to get emotional looking around the Chick Hearn Press Room.

To his right was Bob Miller, the voice of the Los Angeles Kings for the past 37 years. To his left were Kings general manager Dean Lombardi, coach Darryl Sutter and president of business operations Luc Robitaille. And seated in front of him were Kings players Jarret Stoll, Matt Greene and Jonathan Quick.

Leiweke hadn't been sure when he would see all these men in the same room again. There were several times during the 113-day NHL lockout when it looked like the Kings would never get to defend their title and properly celebrate winning the Stanley Cup seven months ago.

“When you wait 45 years to win a Cup, the last thing you want to do is wait to raise that banner,” Leiweke said. “I think for our fans, in particular, asking them to wait another three months was not a great process. They were as equally as frustrated as we were.”

For the first time in recent memory, the defending Stanley Cup champions return completely intact the following season. Not a single player left the squad. The closest defending champion with that kind of return was the 1983 New York Islanders, who had 23 of 24 players come back after winning the Stanley Cup. That team returned to the Stanley Cup finals but lost to the Edmonton Oilers. No team has repeated as Stanley Cup champion since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998.

“To me, the most important thing is winning again,” Leiweke said. “No one has repeated as Stanley Cup champions in 15 years. We’re most interested in allowing our players the right to go out and defend the Cup. This was never about winning a Cup. This was about creating a legacy, and I think we have the team and the character to do it.”

Leiweke is so confident the Kings will be adding more than one banner to Staples Center in the coming years that he and the team decided to raise the Kings’ Stanley Cup championship banner and hang it from the rafters, as opposed to placing it on the wall with the other championship banners and retired jerseys from the Kings, Lakers and Sparks.

“We’re going to do something different,” Leiweke said, “so we have room to hang the others.”

The Kings will announce Friday that the banner-raising ceremony will take place before the Kings’ season opener against the Chicago Blackhawks on Jan. 19 at Staples Center. Fans attending that game will receive a replica championship banner, Robitaille said.

Later in the season, the Kings will host a game during which fans will receive replica championship rings. The Kings also have reopened the outdoor public ice skating rink at L.A. Live across from Staples Center through Feb. 4. Meanwhile, Leiweke announced that the Kings and McDonald's will donate $1 million to local charities, and credited Lakers forward Metta World Peace with another promotion the Kings have in mind to raise money for those charities.

“We’re going to donate a few rings to different charities to help them raffle them off and make money,” Leiweke said. “We’re going to follow the lead of what World Peace did when he raffled his ring. That was phenomenal.”

While the Kings will not play Eastern Conference teams during the shortened 48-game season, Leiweke said the Kings and the Los Angeles Galaxy, who won back-to-back MLS Cups, will make a joint visit to the White House to meet President Barack Obama during the NHL season.

“We have a tentative date and we’re waiting to see if it works on the president’s schedule,” Leiweke said. “We’re going to take the Kings and the Galaxy on the same day, and do it in one shot with both teams. No one’s ever done that before, but then again, no city has ever had two championships like this. We’re going to bring all our guys back from the Galaxy, including Mr. [David] Beckham, and all of the Kings during a road trip.”

Despite the impending sale of AEG, Leiweke assured Kings fans that Lombardi has the green light to sign any player and make any deal he thinks will improve the Kings ... and that the ownership already showed its commitment by keeping the entire team intact in the offseason.

Lombardi didn’t seem overly anxious to mess with the chemistry the team developed during its Stanley Cup championship run, but he admitted he'd continue to evaluate the team as training camp opens this weekend.

“It’s not about recapturing the feeling,” Lombardi said. “It’s about writing a new story. The one thing we know about that story is when they fulfill it and get to the end, it’s the greatest feeling in the world.”

Kings relive Stanley Cup on silver screen

July, 23, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- With the Stanley Cup and Clarence S. Campbell Bowl sitting below a giant 70-foot screen and nearly 700 fans, the Los Angeles Kings premiered their official Stanley Cup Champions DVD on Monday night at the Regal Cinema in L.A. Live.

[+] EnlargeStanley Cup DVD
Gary MiereanuLos Angeles Kings players Matt Greene, left, and Jarret Stoll carry the Stanley Cup into the theater at the premiere of the team's championship DVD.
Walking down a press line at the theater normally held for Hollywood movie premieres, Kings defenseman Matt Greene smiled at the thought of seeing his formerly bearded mug on the silver screen for the first time. “This is my first feature length film,” he said. “It’ll be exciting. I was in acting class, but I never made the cut.”

The DVD, which comes out on Tuesday, traces the Kings’ journey to the Stanley Cup all the way back to 1967, when they were being assembled as an expansion franchise and the Forum in Inglewood was under construction. It highlights the Kings’ trade for Wayne Gretzky in 1988 and the team’s Stanley Cup Finals run in 1993, when they lost to the Montreal Canadiens. The film then transitions into the rebuilding of the Kings with the drafting of Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, Jonathan Quick and Drew Doughty.

“Touching on the history of the franchise is key,” said Luc Robitaille, the Kings’ president of business operations and Hall of Fame former left winger for the team. “They did a great job. We were so busy when we won, we didn’t really get a chance to enjoy that moment. So today it will be great to see it again and the reaction from our fans.”

As the film chronicled the Kings’ roller coaster 2011-2012 season leading up to their unpredictable and unprecedented postseason run, the theater crowd cheered after every big goal as if the team's followers were across the street at Staples Center again.

“We were so focused and our mind was so straight forward during the playoffs that you miss some things,” said Kings center Jarret Stoll, who, along with Greene, carried the Stanley Cup to the front of the theater before the premiere. “So it’s great to see it again.”

Everyone in the theater knew how the film would play out, but it was a finale they didn’t mind seeing again.

“I knew the ending,” Robitaille said. “But I never get tired of it.”

Kings select five in day two of the draft

June, 23, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Kings made five selections on the second and final day of the 2012 NHL draft in Pittsburgh.

The Kings selected forward Nikolay Prokhorkin in the fourth round (121st overall). Prokhorkin, 18, spent the last two seasons playing for CSKA Moscow of the KHL and played for CSKA Moscow in the Russian junior league the last two years.

In the fifth round the Kings selected defenseman Colin Miller with the 151st overall pick. Miller, 19, spent the last two seasons with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL. Miller participated in the Kings Development Camp and Rookie Camp last year on a tryout.

With their two picks in the sixth round the Kings selected forward Tomas Hyka with the 171st overall pick and defenseman Paul Ladue with the 181st overall pick. Hyka, 19, played the 2011-12 season with the Gatineau Olympiques of the QMJHL, recording 66 points (20-44=66) and a plus-14 rating in 50 games. Ladue, 19, played the 2011-12 season with the Lincoln Stars of the USHL, recording 34 points (9-25=34), 27 penalty minutes and a plus-36 rating in 56 games.

The Kings final selection was defenseman Nick Ebert in the seventh round with the 211th overall pick. Ebert, 18, spent the last two seasons with the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL, recording 39 points (6-33=39) and 58 penalty minutes in 66 games last season.

The Kings traded their first seventh-round pick, the 183rd overall selection, to the Dallas Stars for Dallas’ seventh round selection in 2013.

The following is the list of the Kings round-by-round selections in this year’s draft:
1/30th Tanner Pearson LW 6-0 198 19 Barrie (OHL) 60 37 54 91 37
4/121st Nikolay Prokhorkin LW 6-2 191 18 CSKA (KHL) 15 1 1 2 4
CSKA 2 (Rus Jr) 15 9 17 26 47
5/151st Colin Miller D 6-1 175 19 Sault St. Marie (OHL) 54 8 20 28 79
6/171st Tomas Hyka RW 5-11 160 19 Gatineau (QMJHL) 50 20 44 66 30
6/181st Paul Ladue D 6-1 186 19 Lincoln (USHL) 56 9 25 34 27
7/211th Nick Ebert D 5-11 205 18 Windsor (OHL) 66 6 33 39 58


Kings' 2012-13 season schedule released

June, 21, 2012
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings will open the 2012-13 NHL regular season at home against the New York Rangers on Friday, Oct. 12, the NHL announced Thursday.

The Kings will raise their first Stanley Cup championship banner in front of a national audience on NBC Sports Network before hitting the road for back-to-back games against Edmonton and Calgary.

The only re-match of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final against the New Jersey Devils will take place Feb. 9 in Newark, N.J., while the first of six games against their Western Conference Finals opponent, the Phoenix Coyotes, will take place Oct. 27 in Los Angeles.

Here is a look at the entire 2012-13 Kings regular season schedule:

Fri. 10/12/2012 N.Y. Rangers Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Mon. 10/15/2012 Los Angeles Calgary 6:00 PM
Tue. 10/16/2012 Los Angeles Edmonton 6:30 PM
Thu. 10/18/2012 Carolina Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Sun. 10/21/2012 Edmonton Los Angeles 1:00 PM
Tue. 10/23/2012 Nashville Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Sat. 10/27/2012 Phoenix Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Tue. 10/30/2012 Los Angeles St. Louis 5:00 PM
Thu. 11/1/2012 Los Angeles Minnesota 5:00 PM
Sat. 11/3/2012 St. Louis Los Angeles 1:00 PM
Tue. 11/6/2012 N.Y. Islanders Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Thu. 11/8/2012 Vancouver Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Sat. 11/10/2012 Los Angeles Columbus 4:00 PM
Tue. 11/13/2012 Los Angeles Nashville 5:00 PM
Thu. 11/15/2012 Columbus Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Sat. 11/17/2012 Tampa Bay Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Sun. 11/18/2012 Los Angeles Anaheim 5:00 PM
Wed. 11/21/2012 Chicago Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Fri. 11/23/2012 San Jose Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Sun. 11/25/2012 Los Angeles Dallas Noon
Tue. 11/27/2012 Los Angeles Chicago 5:30 PM
Thu. 11/29/2012 Los Angeles Detroit 4:30 PM
Fri. 11/30/2012 Los Angeles Columbus 4:00 PM
Sun. 12/2/2012 Los Angeles Colorado 5:00 PM
Tue. 12/4/2012 Columbus Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Thu. 12/6/2012 Florida Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Sat. 12/8/2012 Minnesota Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Mon. 12/10/2012 Dallas Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Thu. 12/13/2012 Los Angeles Montreal 4:30 PM
Sat. 12/15/2012 Los Angeles Ottawa 11:00 AM
Mon. 12/17/2012 Los Angeles Boston 4:00 PM
Tue. 12/18/2012 Los Angeles Detroit 4:30 PM
Thu. 12/20/2012 Los Angeles San Jose 7:30 PM
Sat. 12/22/2012 San Jose Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Wed. 12/26/2012 Phoenix Los Angeles 7:00 PM
Thu. 12/27/2012 Los Angeles Phoenix 6:00 PM
Sat. 12/29/2012 Anaheim Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Wed. 1/2/2013 Los Angeles Anaheim 7:00 PM
Thu. 1/3/2013 Philadelphia Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Sat. 1/5/2013 St. Louis Los Angeles 1:00 PM
Tue. 1/8/2013 Anaheim Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Thu. 1/10/2013 Minnesota Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Sat. 1/12/2013 Detroit Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Mon. 1/14/2013 Phoenix Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Sat. 1/19/2013 Los Angeles Phoenix 5:00 PM
Mon. 1/21/2013 Los Angeles Nashville 3:00 PM
Tue. 1/22/2013 Los Angeles Minnesota 5:00 PM
Thu. 1/31/2013 Nashville Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Sun. 2/3/2013 Los Angeles Washington 9:30 AM
Tue. 2/5/2013 Los Angeles Buffalo 4:00 PM
Thu. 2/7/2013 Los Angeles N.Y. Rangers 4:00 PM
Sat. 2/9/2013 Los Angeles New Jersey 10:00 AM
Sun. 2/10/2013 Los Angeles Pittsburgh 4:30 PM
Fri. 2/15/2013 Washington Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Sun. 2/17/2013 Los Angeles Vancouver 6:00 PM
Tue. 2/19/2013 Los Angeles Edmonton 6:30 PM
Wed. 2/20/2013 Los Angeles Calgary 7:00 PM
Sat. 2/23/2013 Winnipeg Los Angeles 12:30 PM
Mon. 2/25/2013 Detroit Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Thu. 2/28/2013 Los Angeles Vancouver 7:00 PM
Sat. 3/2/2013 Los Angeles San Jose 7:30 PM
Mon. 3/4/2013 Toronto Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Wed. 3/6/2013 Los Angeles Anaheim 7:30 PM
Thu. 3/7/2013 Dallas Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Sat. 3/9/2013 Calgary Los Angeles 7:00 PM
Mon. 3/11/2013 Colorado Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Thu. 3/14/2013 Los Angeles San Jose 7:30 PM
Sat. 3/16/2013 San Jose Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Mon. 3/18/2013 Calgary Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Thu. 3/21/2013 Chicago Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Sat. 3/23/2013 Vancouver Los Angeles 1:00 PM
Mon. 3/25/2013 Los Angeles Dallas 5:00 PM
Tue. 3/26/2013 Los Angeles Chicago 5:30 PM
Thu. 3/28/2013 Los Angeles St. Louis 5:00 PM
Sat. 3/30/2013 Los Angeles Florida 4:30 PM
Tue. 4/2/2013 Los Angeles Phoenix 7:00 PM
Thu. 4/4/2013 Dallas Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Sat. 4/6/2013 Edmonton Los Angeles 1:00 PM
Sun. 4/7/2013 Los Angeles Colorado 5:00 PM
Tue. 4/9/2013 Los Angeles Dallas 5:00 PM
Thu. 4/11/2013 Colorado Los Angeles 7:30 PM
Sat. 4/13/2013 Anaheim Los Angeles 7:30 PM


Quick named to NHL's second All-Star team

June, 20, 2012
Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick finished second in the Vezina Trophy voting to New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist on Wednesday night but did earn second team All-NHL honors at the 2012 NHL Awards in Las Vegas.

Quick, winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP after leading the Kings to their first Stanley Cup, was named to the NHL’s Second All-Star Team for the first time in his career.

Voting for the first and second All-Star teams was conducted among representatives of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association at the end of the regular season. Quick is the first Kings player to earn first or second All-Star team honors since Drew Doughty was voted on to the NHL’s Second All-Star Team at the 2010 NHL Awards.

The 30 NHL general managers voted on the Vezina Trophy, awarded annually to the NHL’s top regular season goaltender, at the end of the regular season.

Quick is the first goaltender in Kings history to be picked as a finalist for the Vezina Trophy.

Kings announce qualifying offers

June, 20, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Kings sent qualifying offers to seven restricted free agents, including rookie left winger Dwight King, the team announced Wednesday.

The Kings brought up King from their AHL team in Manchester in early February, and he was a key to the team’s turnaround in the second half of the season and into the postseason. King moved from the second to the third line late in the opening-round series against the Vancouver Canucks and went on to contribute five goals and three assists in the final 13 playoff games.

In addition to King, the Kings sent qualifying offers to center Justin Azevedo, defenseman Andrew Campbell, defenseman Thomas Hickey, right winger Stefan Legein, left winger David Meckler and defenseman Jake Muzzin.

The Kings did not send a qualifying offer to left winger Ray Kaunisto, making him an unrestricted free agent.

Kings find success in road mentality

May, 3, 2012
Los Angeles Kings celebrateHarry How/Getty ImagesDrew Doughty, right, celebrates a goal with teammate Mike Richards during the Kings' 4-2 win Thursday.

LOS ANGELES -- The records had become too obvious to ignore, too disproportionate to continue to discount.

While the Los Angeles Kings had won a franchise-record seven straight playoff games on the road, including all five of their road games this postseason, they had won only one of their previous seven home playoff games, including losing five straight heading into this year.

The Kings had already done their best to make sure they would be on the road as much as possible this postseason, having lost their last two games of the regular season to finish as the No. 8 seed. Perhaps the Kings could have gone a step further, and put a call into NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and suggested they play all their playoff games on the road. After all, there is no shortage of games going on at Staples Center these days with the Lakers, Clippers and Kings in the postseason together for the first time since 1993.

Since that wasn’t going to happen, Kings coach Darryl Sutter decided to do the next best thing.

He tried to turn Los Angeles into St. Louis.

He made the team stay in a hotel the night before Thursday's game. He held the morning skate at Staples Center, which is the first time the Kings have done so in years after usually holding them at the training facility in nearby El Segundo. He held team meetings at the hotel and paired players with the same roommates they have on the road.

Sutter essentially did everything but bring the thunderstorms and Gateway Arch to downtown L.A. in an effort to make his team feel as if it were in St. Louis instead of Los Angeles.

The plan worked Thursday as the Kings defeated the Blues 4-2 to take a commanding 3-0 lead in their Western Conference semifinal series. Sutter will continue the road-at-home practice before Game 4 on Sunday, with the team staying at the same hotel and going through its morning skate at Staples Center.

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Kings know it's not easy to close

April, 18, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- While many Los Angeles sports fans were eagerly hopping aboard a suddenly overflowing Los Angeles Kings bandwagon this week, Kings coach Darryl Sutter cautioned his team and the media to settle down. The Kings’ franchise-first 3-0 series lead on the Vancouver Canucks was nice but ultimately meaningless without another win.

“We haven’t done anything yet,” Sutter said. “You don’t get anything for winning three games.”

Now, Sutter is generally viewed as a curmudgeon and his scowl on the bench is legendary in every city he has coached and played in during his 19 years in the NHL, but he has been around the game long enough to know that series leads, no matter how big or small, can quickly turn into series losses if you think it’s over before it is.

Following the Canucks’ 3-1 win over the Kings in Game 4, this series is far from over with two of the next three games slated for Vancouver and the Canucks now playing with Daniel Sedin, who returned to the ice Wednesday for the first time in nearly four weeks after dealing with a concussion.

“We have nothing to lose,” Sedin said. “It’s pretty easy to play hockey when you have nothing to lose. You see that every year in the NHL. Teams you thought were out start winning. You can just relax and have fun, and we did that tonight. It’s tough in the playoffs to do that, but we’re in a position now where L.A. has all the pressure and we just have to go out and play hockey.”

That odd philosophical change in the series took place the moment the Kings, the No. 8 seed, took a 3-0 series lead on the No. 1 seed Canucks, who finished with the best record in the NHL and were on the brink of being the first Presidents’ Cup trophy winners to be swept in the first round.

Sutter stressed to his team before Wednesday night's game the difference between a close-out game and the first three games of the series, in which the Kings’ toughness, aggressiveness and carefree attitude propelled them to three straight wins over Vancouver. If the Kings’ players had sneaked a peek at the closing moments of the playoff game before them on television, they would have seen how different it really is. On the brink of being swept, the Pittsburgh Penguins demolished the Philadelphia Flyers 10-3 in a game that was so lopsided “#mercyrule” was trending on Twitter.

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Kings change the hockey culture in L.A.

April, 15, 2012

LOS ANGELES -- Recent results would indicate Staples Center has been far from an intimidating place for the Los Angeles Kings’ opponents in the postseason.

After winning the first two games of their playoff series against the Vancouver Canucks, the Kings had surprisingly won four straight playoff games on the road, dating back to last season, for the first time in franchise history. The true test for this team, however, was always going to be at home, where they had lost their previous five postseason games at Staples Center.

Those dreary numbers fed into every negative stereotype about Los Angeles not being a good hockey town.

Maybe the Kings’ 1-0 win over the Canucks on Sunday to a take a 3-0 series lead will go a long way in changing that perception and establishing Los Angeles as a hockey town on the rise. After all, in the past it had been nothing more than a city that had given opponents home-ice advantage in the playoffs.

The Kings hadn’t just been dreadful at home in the postseason the past two seasons; they allowed the Canucks and San Jose Sharks to clinch their past two playoff series over them in Los Angeles. They held leads in both of those games but lost them and both series in six.

If this year, this series, was going to be different, a lot of things had to change, primarily the results. But the atmosphere at Staples Center was never one of them.

Anyone who has been to a Kings playoff game at Staples Center will tell you it's where stereotypes about West Coast hockey go to die. It is unlike any other sports event in Los Angeles. Whereas fans arrive two minutes into the game when the Los Angeles Lakers play, they arrive two hours before the game to see the Kings.

Three hours before the Kings played the Canucks on Sunday afternoon, the L.A. Live plaza across the street from Staples Center was filled with fans playing street hockey, drinking in makeshift beer gardens and dancing in the closed off Chick Hearn Court, the street that separates the two.

Inside Staples Center, most of the 18,352 fans wore black and waved white rally towels as pyrotechnics and rock music welcomed the Kings to the ice in a scene straight out of an episode of WWE Monday Night Raw. By comparison, Lakers games seem like an afternoon at the library.

The fans cheered every Jonathan Quick save, jeered every Canucks dive and absolutely lost it when Kings captain Dustin Brown scored what would be the game-winning goal with in the third period to give the Kings their first-ever 3-0 series lead. A second straight home win on Wednesday would give the Kings their first-ever playoff sweep and first playoff series win since 2001.

Before Sunday’s game against Vancouver, the Kings didn’t shy away from the topic of their difficulty winning at home during the playoffs. In fact it was the central theme of many conversations in the locker room.

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Kings: Will the NBA lockout lure new fans?

October, 17, 2011
With the NBA lockout already costing fans the first two weeks of the regular season, and more games on the verge of being canceled this week, ESPNLA asked a few members of the Kings if the absence of professional basketball in L.A. would help build their fan base. Here's what Jarret Stoll, Jack Johnson, Matt Greene and Jonathan Quick had to say.

Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun debate which teams are sellers and which teams are buyers with the trade deadline looming.