Thursday, December 31, 2009

WJC: Jeremy Roenick previews Canada-USA

Make no mistake about it. This is a big game. It's one you circle on the calendar as soon as the schedule is released.

When it comes to hockey, Canada thinks they are the center of the universe. And when it comes to the World Junior Championships, they are. We can at least give them that one. They've won five straight gold medals and many believe they're the odds on favorite for a sixth.

However, they still need to play their arch nemesis - Team USA.

It will be a team filled with bright eyed youngsters hoping to become part of the next group of American superstars.

They're trying to take the reigns from a generation that was without a doubt the most successful group of all time. Sure, there was the gold medal team at the 1960 Winter Olympics. A one off. And there was the 1980 gold medal team. A miracle indeed.

Then came the explosion of elite U.S. players onto the world stage. Beginning in the late 80's at the World Junior Championships and continuing on to the Olympics and World Cups of the next two decades you had guys named Chelios, Guerin, Hull, Leetch, Modano, Tkachuk, Richter and Weight, just to name a few.

One more name from that list was Jeremy Roenick, who just so happens to be the all-time leader for points by an American player at the World Juniors. A record that may fall to this week to one of this year's assistant captains, Jordan Schroeder.

I spoke with JR last night to get his thoughts on the possibility of a new record holder and he shared some memories of his time at the World Juniors too...

MM:  Jordan Schroeder is three points away from tying your record of 25 points...

JR:  Well, at least my record held for twenty years (he laughs). That's good for American hockey though if he does. We need good kids coming up in the game, you know, the next generation of U.S. players.

Well, this is his third tournament...

That makes it OK then. It's going to take him three times and I did it in two, so that makes it OK (he laughs again, a constant whenever you talk to JR). Seriously though, it will be a great accomplishment for him.

Let's talk about some of your experiences at the World Juniors. Your first trip in 1988 was a tough one for the U.S., you guys only won one game...

Yeah, it was a tough one. That was right when the transition was beginning. The U.S. was just starting to get some good talent coming up. You had Modano, Amonte, Leetch and all those guys. We were all coming into our own. Before that, with the exception of maybe the '80 Olympic team, the U.S. was always one of those teams that was never competitive enough to grab a medal. I think that was right at the cusp of us starting to get really good, around '87-88 was when that change started to happen.

How about the experience of traveling to Russia for the tournament that year? It had to be a little overwhelming considering how young you were at the time.

Well, I was a sophomore in High School and it was really my first experience going overseas to play hockey. There was a lot of stuff going on with Russia and Canada at the time, there was a heated rivalry between those two. It was still a communist country back then and I remember everybody was under their rule. When you were standing outside the Lenin Square, everybody was waiting to go in to Lenin's tomb and they wouldn't let you walk in certain places. It was a total control thing. I also remember people were trading all sorts of things. Back then the black market was crazy. Some of us were trading food and clothing for things the Russians had, like those big wool hats - those were really cool. Other guys were trading their sneakers or gum and candy. They just ate it up because they didn't have stuff like that at the time.

You and Modano both had solid numbers that first year, even though the team wasn't doing so well. You finished with 5 goals and 4 assists. He had 4 goals too. Was the friendly rivalry already underway at that point?

We were brewing up a competitive edge before that. Like at the 17 Selects people were talking - I was the guy from Boston and Mo was the guy from Detroit. We were two of the guys everybody talked about and it just kept brewing from there. As we got older I always respected Mike and loved the way he played. Even today, he is probably one of my favorite players that I played with or against. I just don't think we see guys more talented than Mike Modano come along very often.

The following year Team USA was more competitive, going 3-3-1 up in Alaska. You led the tournament with 16 points and Modano was right behind you with 15. Anything stand out from your second trip to the World Juniors?

It was in our home country, but a place I had never been before. We were treated very well up there. The amenities were much better and our team was much better. Like I said earlier, that's really when we started rolling as a national powerhouse. That team was really strong. You can go right down the list from Modano and Amonte to the whole group of amazing players, you can see why we kept building momentum all the way up to the gold medal at the World Cup in '96.

In your first WJC you guys lost to Canada 5-4. At the second one in '89, even though the team was actually playing better in the tournament overall, you guys lost to Canada 5-1.

I remember that game, we were totally outmatched. They came out and played a very, very physical brand of hockey. They really took it to us. That game taught us a lot about what it was going to take internationally to win hockey games. I think that's when we started playing a physical game, more like the Canadians did. That was a big turning point for us, for my generation...and how we needed to play in order to beat them.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

As we were wrapping things up the talk briefly turned to Team USA's announcement of their Olympic roster coming up on Friday. Some of the players expected to make the team played for Team USA when they won the gold medal at the 2004 World Juniors. The Olympics would be the next step up for some of those guys. JR said he was "very curious and very excited" about seeing who makes the team. He wants to know who the new regime is going to be.

For now though, it's all about this tournament. Canada versus the USA, a marquee match-up every year. Both teams come into the game undefeated with the winner getting a bye into the semi-finals on Sunday. The loser gets an extra game on Saturday.

Can Jordan Schroeder pick up three points and tie JR for the all-time American points record? Can the U.S. upset Canada on their home turf?

Tune in at 5pm PST to witness it all live on the NHL Network.

This is one of those games you just don't want to miss.

The Mayor


Interview with Mike Modano

WJC:  Canada-USA Lived Up to the Hype

USA Defeats Canada - gold medal game notes

WJC Gold Rush, American Style


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Kings-Flames : By the Numbers

Hockey is such a simple game - offense, defense and goaltending.

Offensively the Kings need some help. One goal isn't going to get it done most nights...and it didn't this night either. The Kings lost to the Flames for the second time this month by a score of 2-1.

Defensively there were four guys in this game that were the talk of Alberta all day. Many Flames fans were in an uproar over Drew Doughty making the Canadian Olympic team, while Flames d-men Dion Phaneuf, Jay Bouwmeester and Robyn Regehr did not.

In the net...well, both goalies played excellent. However, the rules state only one can get the victory.

Breaking everything else down by the numbers here's what you get:

ONE - the number of goals scored by the Kings for the second straight game against the Flames

TWO - the number of goals Calgary scored against LA for the second straight game

THREE - the number of powerplays the Kings couldn't convert on in this game

FOUR - the number of guys Ivanans hit in one scrum before being ejected...seriously, four guys - Moss, Johnson, Bouwmeester and looked like he was fighting off an attack in a video game

FIVE - the number of consecutive losses the Kings will try to avoid when they play in Minnesota on New Year's Eve

SIX - the number of goals Scott Parse now has, after scoring just 15 seconds into the second period

SEVEN - the number of wins Calgary has against LA in their last eight meetings

EIGHT - the number on the back of the only defenseman in this game to make Team Canada's Olympic roster - that's right Phaneuf, his name is DOUGHTY

NINE - the number of consecutive losses at the Saddledome for the Kings

TEN - the number of points the Kings have in their last 10 games, making it their worst stretch of the year

and for good measure...

31 - the number on the back of Erik Ersberg, the guy who stood on his head in goal for the Kings tonight...rock solid performance

37 - the number of games gone by since Craig Conroy last scored for the Flames...seriously, no goals since April 11th...thanks

59 - the number of penalty minutes in the first period. The FIRST period!

This was a very physical game. The Flames took runs at Kopitar and Brown all night long.

LA was tough as well, handing out receipts left and right.

Obviously though, the Kings still haven't figured out how to win in Calgary. Let's hope that's not a problem come playoff time. Or, let's hope they can start winning some games soon so there are even playoff games to worry about.

Mama said there'd be days like this.


ECHL All-Stars: 4 Reign Players

Proud LA Kings affiliate (that's how they like to bill themselves), the Ontario Reign, have just received word that four of their players made the ECHL All-Star team this year.

Former Kings draft pick Greg Hogeboom will be joined by three of his Reign teammates on the ECHL National Conference Roster - forwards Peter Lenes and Jon Rheault, along with defenseman David Walker.

This also means that Ontario's three leading goal scores made the team. Hogeboom leads the Reign with 17 goals and 28 points in 31 games. Lenes, a rookie, is second on the team with 11 goals (31 games) and Rheault is third with 10 goals (in just 15 games).

Walker brings some offensive punch too. He leads ECHL defensemen with 19 assists and is tied for second with 21 points.

Hogeboom and Walker are both scheduled to be starters in the game.

Ontario's Citizen's Bank Arena, less than an hour east from Staples Center, will host the ECHL All-Star game on Wednesday, January 20th. There will be a skills competition and fan fest the night before. For ticket information visit the Reign website by clicking here.

More All-Star info will be updated in this article throughout the day.

The Mayor

Oh, Canada...times two

Earlier today, with the entire nation of Canada hanging on his every word, GM Steve Yzerman announced Team Canada's 2010 Olympic Roster. In a somewhat surprising move, LA Kings defenseman Drew Doughty made the final cut.

And in the irony of the day department - Doughty and the Kings are in Calgary to take on the Flames tonight, a team that features the two biggest names snubbed by Team Canada - Dion Phaneuf and Jay Bouwmeester. The same J-Bow that was the most sought after guy in hockey a mere six months ago.

It's quite an accomplishment for Doughty. This is a kid that just turned 20 years old a few weeks ago. And as repetitive as it sounds at this point, it's so true...he plays well beyond his years. Absolutely amazing on the ice.

While it will probably be several more years until we know for sure, for now Dean Lombardi continues to look like a genius for taking Doughty over Zach Bogosian at the 2008 NHL Draft.

Team Canada coach Mike Babcock (once a Duck, always a Duck) said that Doughty was selected for the 2010 team over other higher profile players because he's a "difference maker." Agree.

As for the Kings, well...somebody needs to be a difference maker tonight if they plan on winning in Calgary. It was December '05 when the Kings last won at the Saddledome; when guys like Cammalleri, Demitra and Roenick were wearing the purple and black crown.

In the second odd move of the day, Erik Ersberg will get the start in goal for LA. Sure, the Kings will playing tomorrow night in Minnesota too. However, with the team coming off a long break fatigue shouldn't be an issue for Quick right now. Plus, you usually put your best goalie in there against the better of the two teams in this situation.

However, given the Kings current 1-4 slump, perhaps Coach Murray wanted to shake things up a little. Or, perhaps he wanted to give Quick a chance at the rematch tomorrow night in Minnesota (if so, why?).

Either way, goaltending probably won't be the reason the Kings win or lose tonight (I said probably!). For LA to come out on top they're going to need to get some pucks past Flames goalie Mikra Kipprusoff. They've faced him three times this year already, scoring 2 goals in two and only one in the other game.

Paging Kopitar and Frolov. Please pick up the white courtesy phones.

This is the final meeting of the regular season between the two teams...and the final meeting of this pre-playoff three game series they've been playing in the month of December. Both of the previous games this month have been 2-1 contests, with the home team coming out on top in each.

Wrap it all up and there's a lot riding on tonight's game.

Doughty is out to silence any critics upset about him being selected over Phaneuf and Boumeester.

Meanwhile, the Kings are out to stop their current three game losing streak...looking to tie up the season series with Calgary at 2 each...hoping to win in Calgary for the first time in over four years...and NEEDING two points - desperately.

One 19

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

WJC Recap: Day Four

It was a day of hats, hats and hits. Chris Kreider scored a hat trick for Team USA. Hours later Ryan Ellis had a had trick for Team Canada. Slovakia and Latvia, undermanned in the offensive department, decided to dish out hits by the dozen instead. And several Kings prospects had shining moments on Tuesday.

Czech Republic 7, Austria 1
Hard to believe, but this was the first win for the Czechs in three games this year. Seven different players scored for the Republic, led by 2010 draft eligible defenseman Vladimir Roth, who had four points (1g, 3a).

United States 12, Latvia 1
Mike Lee was back in net for the Americans after Jack Campbell's stellar performance in game two vs. Switzerland. This was a little bit of a surprise. Lee looked shaky at times in the opening game vs. Slovakia, although he eventually got the win. Campbell, on the other hand, was brilliant vs. the Swiss and was probably more deserving of the start here.

Prior to the game Danny Kristo (Montreal Canadiens) was moved from the top line to to the fourth line. Obviously, he wasn't happy about it and played like a man possessed. He scored the first of his two goals less than three minutes after the puck dropped.

The second goal of the game was a sweet one. Ray Bourque's son, Ryan, set up Team USA's youngest player - Jason Zucker (who also finished with two goals).

Chris Kreider (New York Rangers) had a fairly dramatic hat trick, getting his third on a penalty shot late in the game.

Overall, Team USA continued to get goals from guys taken in previous NHL drafts: Derek Stepan 2 goals (New York Rangers), Danny Kristo 2 goals, A.J. Jenks (Florida Panthers) and Jeremy Morin (Atlanta Thrasher).

Jordan Schroeder picked up two more assists, moving him within 3 points of Jeremy Roenick's all-time USA points record.

Sweden 4, Russia 1
The machine that is Team Sweden just keeps rolling on. Oilers prospect 'MPS' Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson backed up his five point performance in the last game with three points vs. the Russians (1 goal, 2 assists). His linemate (Ottawa Sens prospect) Andre Petersson also had a pair of goals. In net for Sweden was 6'5" Florida Panthers prospect Jacob Markstrom.

Canada 8, Slovakia 2
Coming into this game Jake Allen was in goal for both of Canada's games in this tournament. Both were shutouts. Kings prospect Martin Jones got the call for this game and gave up two goals. However, that's a bit deceiving. He was brilliant at times and neither goal were really his fault. One was on the powerplay after Team Canada captain Patrice Cormier had taken a stupid penalty.

And don't let the final score fool you - this was one of the most exciting 8-2 games you'll ever see. Slovakia was banging bodies all night long and the physicality of the game was reminiscent of a good NHL playoff game.

While much of the Canadian press will be gushing about Hall's hat trick and this being his probable coming out party - that will probably lead to him being taken number one overall at the June NHL draft - one of the best moments in the game involved two Kings prospects. 2009 sixth round pick Brandon Kozun came flying down the wing and dished it off to '09 first round pick Brayden Schenn for one of the prettiest goals scored in the tournament so far.

What's next?

Wednesday will be an off day for most of the big boys - the only two games scheduled are Finland-Austria and Switzerland-Latvia.

Thursday features four games, but to be honest, the only game everybody will be talking about is the big one...Canada vs. USA. With both teams at 3-0 in pool play the winner will get a bye into the semi-finals on Sunday.

Since the USA beat Canada for the Gold Medal in 2004 the two teams have met five times...with Canada winning all five, including last year's thriller on New Year's Eve where John Tavares scored a hat trick to beat the Americans. Yeah, him - the guy that went on to be the #1 overall pick in last June's NHL draft.

Team USA vs. Canada can be seen live New Year's Eve on the NHL Network at 5pm PST. See two teams stocked with current NHL prospects and 2010 draft picks. Enjoy the stars of the future putting it all on the line for international bragging rights.

The Mayor

Monday, December 28, 2009

Need to fix things - Quickly!

Even though that's a catchy headline, this isn't an article condemning Jonathan Quick for the Kings 4-3 loss to Minnesota Monday night. He put in his usual solid performance...and gave up his usual one soft goal. So, considering the other areas still requiring work on this team, he's playing plenty of ticks above 'fine' right now. Some of the real problems lie elsewhere.

Kopitar and Frolov need a swift kick in the rear...perhaps even more. Your two best players need to be your two best players on a consistent basis. Or at the very least, more often than what these two are bringing right now.

For a guy that's supposedly playing for a big contract, Frolov has disappeared for long stretches this year. (I know, what's new) Sure, he's a beast to move off the puck. Sure, he had many good chances tonight. Many! Yet, at the end of the day (Tim Leiweke's favorite saying), you don't get paid for coulda, shoulda, woulda. Fro needsa score some goals.

Ditto Kopi.

The goal differential for the Kings - already dismal for the season - took another hit tonight with the one goal loss. The Kings have now scored ONE more goal this season than they've allowed.

On another topic - the game was pretty chippy in the first and third periods. Dustin Brown had 8 hits in the game and played like a mad man in the first two periods. Meanwhile, Wild tough guy Derek Boogaard played very physical throughout the game, even though he only played about 7 minutes. Given the liberties he seemed to be taking with Kopitar, Johnson and Smyth, this was one game where I wouldn't have minded Ivanans more aggressively going after somebody.

Finally, the Kings suck at face-offs this year, especially when Stoll is out of the line-up. Former King Eric Belanger, on the other hand, is one of the best in the league. Tonight, he put in two goals just for good measure too. Damn - the Kings sure do miss him. He's probably the one guy Lombardi has traded away that I really wish was still wearing the crown. Thanks for the reminder Belly.

The Mayor

WJC Recap: Day Three

Although there were only two World Jrs games scheduled for Monday, there were plenty of questions to keep things interesting. Could Switzerland somehow find a way to contain the potent Team Canada offense? Would the deadly Canadian power play continue to click an an astronomical rate? How may points would the Kings prospects have? And in the other game, could Finland keep the momentum going from their big win yesterday when they took on Russia?

Here's a recap of the games played this afternoon:

Canada 6, Switzerland 0
Yes, the power play continued to perform for Team Canada. In two games they've now gone 10 for 16. Anaheim Ducks prospect James McMillian was the star of the game. The Canadian defenseman had a hat trick - and still wasn't named player of the game (that went to Oilers prospect Jordan Eberle, who had a goal and three assists). Brayden Schenn was the only Kings prospect with a point, picking up an assist on Big Mac's first goal (in the opening minute of the game). Jake Allen was in goal for Canada again, leaving Kings prospect Martin Jones on the bench for the second straight game. The odd part of the game was seeing Canada play in their Rough Rider green jerseys. Fortunately, they aren't slated to wear them again in the tournament.

Russia 2, Finland 0
2010 NHL Draft prospect Petr Khokhriakov put Russia up 1-0 in the first. Columbus Blue Jackets prospect (and Team Russia captain) Nikita Filatov made it 2-0 Russia midway through the second period. Even though Finland put 46 shots on goal, Russian goalie (and Anaheim Ducks 2009 draft pick) Igor Bobkov turned them all away for the shutout victory.

Tuesday will feature four games, including: Team USA returns to action against Latvia (this will be USA's final game before the big showdown with Canada on Thursday), the marque match-up of the day is Sweden-Russia (both 2-0 so far) and Team Canada should get it's toughest test yet from Slovakia, a very under rated team featuring Detroit Red Wings prospect 'Mr. Excitement' Tomas Tatar.

Check out all three games on the NHL Network beginning at 1pm PST on Tuesday afternoon.

The Mayor

Sunday, December 27, 2009

WJC Recap: Day Two

Every spring fans of the NBA watch the NCAA's March Madness to see future superstars do battle in the annual college basketball tournament. In turn, puck heads from throughout North American and Europe tune in to the World Junior Championships each holiday season to get a glimpse of future NHL stars. You'd be hard pressed to name 10 elite hockey players who didn't play in this tourney when they were 18-20 years old. It's the best of the best and it makes for some great hockey. Here are the highlights of day two:

Sweden 7, Austria 3
For the second straight game Austria played a strong game, but took the loss in the end. Sweden continued pressuring their opponents with a roster stacked full of legitimate NHL prospects. In fact, all seven of their goals came from recent draftees: Oliver Ekman Larsson 2 goals (Phoenix Coyotes), Anton Rodin 2 goals (Vancouver Canucks), Jacob Josefson (New Jersey Devils), Mattias Ekholm (Nashville Predators) and Andre Petersson (Ottawa Senators). Not all of their top talent is offense though, they started New York Islanders draft pick Anders Nilsson in net.

USA 3, Switzerland 0
The Americans picked up their second victory less than 24 hours after their tournament opener. Most of the credit goes to the second youngest player on the team, goaltender Jack Campbell. He was a rock star in the first period, stopping all 14 shots the Swiss threw at him. This just continued his stellar play in nets when wearing USA on his jersey.

Last year at the IIHF Under-18 World Championships he was an obvious choice for the tournament's all-star team. Campbell didn't allow any even strength goals while posting a 6-1 record with a 0.75 GAA and two shutouts. Oh yea, and he was the winning goaltender when the U.S. beat Russia for the gold medal. Remember his name when the 2010 NHL draft comes along in June.

In this game, things were scoreless after one period. From that point forward, Team USA's defense kicked in (allowing just 8 shots over the final 40 minutes) and the offense did enough for the win, with goals by Chris Kreider, Matt Donovan and AJ Jenks.

The top line for USA is now being called 'the Original Six' line...because they were all drafted by O6 teams: Danny Kristo (Montreal Canadiens), Derek Stepan (NY Rangers) and Jerry D'Amigo (Totonto Maple Leafs).

Team USA is now 17-0-2 USA all time vs Switzerland at the WJC.

Finland 4, Czech Republic 3
The Fins were down 2-0 after the first and 3-1 after the second. They came storming back in the third with the unanswered goals - including a pair from Anaheim Ducks prospect Sami Vatanen - to defeat the Czechs 4-3 in a wild game. Somewhere Teemu Selanne is smiling right now.

Slovakia 8, Latvia 3
Slovakia netted five goals in the first period and never looked back. Five of their eight goals on the night came from a trio probably bound for the NHL within two years - TB Lightning prospect Richard Panik had two goals, as did 'Mr Excitement' Tomas Tatar (Detroit Red Wings) and San Jose Sharks draft pick Marek Viedensky put one in too.

On Monday Canada will play it's second game of the tournament, against Switzerland. Team USA will take the day off and prepare for Latvia on Tuesday.

The Mayor

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Addition and Subtraction in Phoenix

Ryan Smyth in, Justin Williams out. Is it really that surprising? After all, it is the LA Kings...a team notorious for doing things the hard way. For the better part of a month it's been that way and why should it change now.

While many Kings players and fans were downright giddy about the reuniting of the top line prior to the game, those visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads have gone sour yet again. Williams broke his right leg before the game was even five minutes old.

It was just one of those things. He was tangled up in the corner with Ed Jovanovski and Anze Kopitar. Unfortunately for him, he got the worst of things. No timetable has been established for his return and more details should be available late Sunday afternoon.

As for the rest of the game...well, they say Captains need to be leaders. Dustin Brown certainly did his job then. He put the Kings on the board first, not long after the team had to watch Williams carted off on a stretcher agonizing in pain.

Much of the pregame buzz centered on Smyth's return and Frolov being left off the Russian Olympic roster yesterday. Perhaps Brownie was making his final push before the Team USA group is announced on Friday. Interestingly, another hopeful for the Vancouver games, Michal Handzus (Slovakia), scored the other Kings goal.

It was a tie game up until about the half way mark of the third period. Then, the Coyotes went up 3-2 and that was pretty much it. A power play in the final minutes of the game for LA provided some excitement, but nothing made it past Phoenix netminder Ilya Bryzgalov.

The loss was only the second for the Kings this season against a Pacific division foe. Both came against the Coyotes.

Two points lost. A top-6 player lost. Not a good night.


WJC Recap: Day One

If you're a fan of the LA Kings, you had plenty to cheer about. If you're rooting for Team USA, you had plenty to worry about early on in their game against Slovakia.

Day One recap:

Canada 15, Latvia 0 - It wasn't even close. The host Canadians put 67 shots on goal. That should tell you all you need to know. Hang on...

Sorry, I had to check. Canada might have scored again.

Canada hadn't lost an opening round game in the WJC tournament in 12 years. Make it 13 now. Gabriel Bourque, a Nashville prospect, was the star of the game - setting a new Canadian single-game record with 7 points (3 goals, 4 assists). Kings prospects did well too - Brandon Kuzon 5 points (2g, 3a) and Brayden Schenn 2 assists. To see video highlights of the game click here.

Sweden 1o, Czech Republic 1 - Last year the Czechs opened the tournament with a 8-1 loss to Canada. They outdid themselves this year in another lopsided affair. Edmonton prospect 'MPS' Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson put up 5 points (1g, 4a) for his homeland.

Russia 6, Austria 2 - Team Russia featured Anaheim Ducks prospect Igor Bobkov in net. Offensively, they received three goals from guys hoping to hear their names called at the 2010 NHL Draft in Los Angeles - Yevgeni Kuznetsov (2) and Vladimir Tarasenko (1).

United States 7, Slovakia 3 - The first period was wild. Slovakia was playing big, physical, smash mouth hockey. They had the Americans rattled and were up 2-0 early on. To Team USA's credit, they gathered themselves together and came storming back in the second period to take the lead. USA captain Jordan Stepan stepped on the dreams of any Slovakian upset. His goal put the Americans on top and they never looked back. Six different guys put in goals for the USA, including Jordan Schroeder (who is trying to chase down Jeremy Roenick's tournament record for points by an American...he needs five more to tie).

The tournament continues Sunday with three games, including Team USA taking on Switzerland at 1pm PST. It will be televised on the NHL Network. Check it out.

The Mayor

Catching Up with the Kings

All hockey starved fans in SoCal know that today is the day. It's been more than a week since the Kings have taken the ice for real and their supporters couldn't be happier. After all, there's plenty to be excited about.

Two key players from the Kings early season success will both make their return tonight vs. Phoenix. Wayne 'the Train' Simmonds is somehow ready to go after recently having his knee operated on. If anybody can help the team shake off it's holiday rust it will be the energetic Simmonds.

Then there's that other guy...after more than a month away, Captain California (Ryan Smyth), returns to the line-up. He'll be reunited up front with Anze Kopitar, news to everybody's ears. Their fellow linemate Justin Williams and the entire royal nation will be watching intently to see if their bro-mance can resume. From day one of training camp the chemistry between those two was magical.

For the entire team, it will be back to the grind. Another game, another two points at stake.

Throughout the season we've been highlighting the importance of breaking the 82 game schedule down into 10-game segments; making things easier to digest as the team tries to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2002. To date, the Kings have been very consistent - posting 12, 12 and 13 points in the first three segments.

Today is game eight of the fourth leg, so when the week is over we'll essentially be at the half way point of the season. Let's take a look at where things stand right now:

Game 31 - home vs Calgary (Kings win 2-1, 2 points)
Game 32 - at San Jose (Kings win 5-4 OT, 2 points)
Game 33 - home vs Phoenix (Kings win 3-2 SO, 2 points)
Game 34 - home vs Dallas (Kings win 3-2 SO, 2 points)
Game 35 - at Vancouver (Kings lose 3-1)
Game 36 - at Edmonton (Kings win 3-2, 2 points)
Game 37 - at Calgary (Kings lose 2-1)
Game 38 - at Phoenix
Game 39 - home vs Minnesota
Game 40 - at Calgary

So, while on paper this looked to be a tough stretch for the Kings, they appear to be in good shape. Having already earned 10 points, getting just another two in the three games this week would give them a consistent 12 points for the 10 games. If they can come up with two victories in this three game stretch, you're talking about the best 10 game segment of the year.

The most important games are the ones bookending the week. Tonight the Kings are playing a Coyotes team that is just as hungry to make the playoffs. Not to mention it's a division rival.

Then on the 30th they'll return to Calgary, the city they just can't seem to win in the last few years. This will be their third match up with the Flames this month. So far, the home team has won both contests. With the way the Western Conference is shaking out, this is a possible first round preview for the Kings. So, saying it's important game is a bit of an understatement.

For LA to have a decent showing in April, they'll need to learn how to win big games on the road.

First up, the Coyotes in just a few hours.


To read last month's article recapping games 11-20, click here.

WJC: Gold Rush, American Style

Perhaps Jordan Schroeder should change his number from 19 to 49.

You see, even without a pick ax and a pan, he's still searching for gold.

However, the subtle change may not be enough to stop optimistic supporters from saying things like "third time's a charm." An expression that may sound up beat, yet he still remembers his first visit to the World Junior Championships two years ago and the bitter taste of fourth place. Things were even worse last year when his team finished fifth.

Sure, he has two medals from the U-18 tournaments (that's under-18 for the new folks in town). And his silver medal from 2007 and bronze medal in 2008 should have led to bigger and better things for the U.S. hockey program. To date, it hasn't though. So, Schroeder is back for his third and final trip to the World Jrs. Still searching for that elusive medal. Gold preferably. Yet, honestly, wouldn't anything do at this point?

Although it's often said that most individual records aren't as important as team success in organized sports, a quick look at the 20 all-time leading scorers in the history of the WJC is telling. Seeing only one American - Jeremy Roenick - is no surprise, given Team USA's poor history in the tournament.

Things appeared to be changing back in 2004 when the Americans beat Team Canada for their first ever gold medal. That team featured guys like Dustin Brown, Patrick O'Sullivan, Ryan Suter, Ryan Kesler, and Zach Parise. Most of those guys have advanced through the U.S. system and will be wearing red, white and blue jerseys at the upcoming Olympics.

There's probably a little irony in there somewhere, with those games set to be hosted by Vancouver and the hockey portion to be played at GM Palace. The same building and city that Schroeder may call home some day, as he was a first round draft pick of the Canucks back in June.

For now, he's still playing for Team USA; surrounded by a group of largely teenagers. For the next two weeks he'll be trying to provide a little offense to a team built around defense and goaltending. Most importantly though, he's aiming to get the team back to a medal round for only the second time since the big win back in '04 (they finished 3rd in '07).

Individually (and perhaps silently), he may also have his eye on another prize. Last year Schroeder set the all-time record for assists by an American player at the WJC, with 15. This year, he'll take aim at Roenick's all-time points mark for Americans. JR sits #1 with 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists = 25 pts in 14 games). Schroeder has 19 points (4, 15 = 19 in 12 games).

Even if he passes JR, coming home without a medal this year will be another devastating blow to him personally and for USA hockey. Any momentum from '04 is long gone. This is about getting things going before the tournament lands back on U.S. soil next year in Buffalo.

Canada is certainly the favorite this time around. They've won the whole thing five years running (or put differently, ever year since the U.S. team won their lone gold in '04). Russia, Sweden and Finland are always tough. But for now, Team USA is focused on one thing. Game one.

It's today at 5pm PST vs. Slovakia...and that team is no joke - last year they finished fourth and featured the guy that was probably the single most exciting player in the entire tournament, forward Tomas Tatar. Like Schroeder, he's back to try and help his home country too.

Getting off to a fast start is always important in such a short tournament. See all the drama and excitement unfold on the NHL Network later this afternoon.

Even if you don't recognize most of the names in today's game, remember that a good portion of the players will be NHL stars in only a few years. Just think, you can tell your friends you saw them back when...

The Mayor

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Best of the Decade: Acquisition

The following article was written by The Mayor as part of a special series for the LA Kings website.

As they said goodbye to the first decade of the 2000s, took EIGHT days to FIGURE out the best of the last 10 years.  This article focuses on the Best Acquisition made by the team via trade, free agency, etc.

Acquiring a player always comes with risk. Each guy brings his own set of issues - things like health, future productivity, chemistry with the current team, etc. Yet, often one of the most overlooked components has nothing to do with the player himself...timing.

When a GM gets it right, he's publicly praised as a genius. In turn, when he gets it wrong too many times, he's usually looking for a new job.

All factors united to create the perfect storm in early 2001 for then-GM Dave Taylor. Months earlier Rob Blake, the Kings captain, had resigned his 'C' as ongoing contract talks weren't to his liking. When a player of his caliber literally or figuratively asks for a trade publicly like that, the bargaining power of his current team is instantly weakened. (Fear not Blake lovers, this isn't an anti Rob rant, that's just an intelligent point of view.)

Such was the case facing Taylor on February 21st that year when he pulled off the Trade of the Decade for the Kings franchise. In a block-buster move he shipped Blake and Steve Reinprecht to Colorado for Adam Deadmarsh, Aaron Miller, two first round draft picks and prospect Jared Aulin.

The Kings franchise had a history of trading first round draft picks. Now, in the midst of jettisoning their captain to a conference rival they were ACQUIRING not one, but two first round picks. Shocking. But that wasn't all, the deal also included Miller, who had been a strong defenseman in the league for several years. In fact, it's been reported the Kings would only complete the trade if he was part of the package.

Then of course, there's the other guy - Adam Deadmarsh. In Deader they acquired a former number one draft pick with a Stanley Cup ring, a guy who was a consistent 20 goal scorer and had tons of international experience. Most of all, they picked up an elite power forward. Something the Kings had been lacking. Prior to this point, they never had that 5-tool player (a baseball reference just for Dean) that could change the game with his stick, a hit or his fists. There are only so many Roenicks, Iginlas and Doans to go around. Now the Kings had one.

The hockey world was stunned with what Taylor was able to accomplish. A fleecing of the highest order. One that earned him NHL Executive of the Year from the Hockey News.

And the timing? Rather than imploding a team when its' captain was traded, this was just the shot in the arm the Kings needed. They went on to upset Detroit in the first round and pushed Colorado to a 7th game of the second round.

Deader's tremendous efforts in the playoffs just weeks after first donning a Kings jersey will forever be what Kings fans remember most. He may have just been getting started though. He scored 29 goals the following season - his first full year in LA. Then, with optimism at nearly a ten year high, it all came crashing down 20 games into the third year. A series of concussions forced him out of the game far too early. Ah, what coulda been.

Second Place: Kelly Buchberger - Sure, it may be a bit off the board. But, let's go back to timing. When the Kings brought him in on March 13, 2000 they were hoping to win a playoff game in the months to come - something they hadn't done in seven long years. In KB they added a guy with grit and experience. Your talking about a guy that made his NHL debut in the Stanley Cup Finals! Look at the Kings roster they day before the trade - lots of talent, very short on proven winners. The Kings went on to make the playoffs all 3 years he was on the team and the leadership he brought to the Kings can't be understated.

Third place: Draft picks - Since I went trade on my first two selections, I have to give a tip of the hat to the draft picks that currently have stocked the entire franchise with a foundation for hope. Guys like Brown, Kopitar, Frolov, Doughty and Quick at the NHL level...on down to Schenn, Teubert, Voynov, Hickey and Bernier still to come. Like every other club, they haven't gotten them all right, but more picks from the last 10 years have worked out than at any point in franchise history. The Kings are working on something special and it's just about to bubble over.

The Mayor

Monday, December 21, 2009

What every Kings fan needs

Leadership, success, accountability. These are all words that businesses and sports teams love to throw around when preparing fancy scripts for contrived news conferences. Yet, where things really begin and end in an organization is with a vision. It's through the leadership and accountability of that vision that ultimately success is achieved or missed.

On April 21, 2006 the Kings made a move that was as significant as drafting the right player or signing a key free agent. Dean Lombardi was hired as the new President and General Manager. His mission was simple - turn the Kings into a winning franchise.

OK, so maybe it wasn't an easy task. However, he has a plan and he's sticking to it.

After watching the Kings play for the last 20 years - first at the Forum, now at Staples - the Kings appear to finally be headed in the right direction...a long term plan, rather than a flavor of the month approach.

If you agree, then it's time to prove it. You can now order - for yourself or your favorite Kings fan - a shirt that proudly proclaims IN DEAN WE TRUST.

VISIT THE STORE: Mayors Manor Store

There's a wide range of styles and colors to select from. The Mayors Manor store has everything from a basic value t-shirt for only $13.75...all the way up to a limited edition, premium style garment-dyed shirt.

...but wait, there's more - as a special offer to the valued readers of Mayors Manor, we're offering a 10% discount on all orders placed by 12/31/09. Simply use coupon code "10OFFTSHIRTS" when checking out.

Order now.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Crowning the Best Game of the Decade

As I first mentioned on Friday, to help pass the time while the team is off this week the gang over at have organized a series of articles highlighting various Best Of(s) for the past decade. My selections for Best Game were (in reverse order)...

Third Place (3-way tie):
* 2001 Playoffs - Game Six vs. Colorado
* Opening Night 2005
* Game Two of this season

Second Place:
* 2001 Playoffs - Game Four vs. Detroit (Frenzy on Figueroa)

First Place:
An excerpt from my article:
Sometimes, one game is more than just one game. When the events of the evening are more like the culmination of a lifetime of work, the achievement envelops the game and elevates it above all others.
To see my selection and read the rest of the article, click here --> LA Kings Figure Eight Debate.

When you're done reading, be sure to vote! Or come back here and tell me how much you absolutely agree with me.


Kings sign OHL's top defenseman

The following story was originally posted on earlier this morning by Bob McKenzie:


Remember the late-blooming unrestricted free-agent defenceman from the Soo Greyhounds we told you about a couple of weeks ago.

Well, OHL overager Jacob Muzzin is a free agent no more.

Sources tell TSN Muzzin has agreed to terms on a three-year entry level contract with the Los Angeles Kings.

The deal will not be signed or formalized until after Jan. 1 in order for Muzzin to take advantage of favorable terms in the CBA regarding future arbitration rights, but interested teams calling Muzzin are now being told he has made his decision and it's the Kings.

Muzzin was a first round OHL draft pick who missed his entire first year of junior because of back surgery. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2007 but was not signed by them or subsequently drafted by anyone else, so he became an unrestricted free agent last summer.

The Woodstock, Ont., native currently leads all OHL defencemen in scoring with 41 points (9 G, 32 A) in his 34 games this season.
The original article can be found here:

More information will be posted as it becomes available.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Best of the Decade: Kings Center

The fine folks at have put together a nice little series of debates to help everybody get through the next week or so. Life can be rough without hockey for eight days. Their solution? To take "EIGHT days to FIGURE out the best of the last 10 years."

My selections will sit along side those of Jim Fox, Bob Miller and others. You can read the various arguments, then vote. Pretty simple.

First up, Best Center. My article began as follows:
Most teams win or die by who is in net. Yet, it's usually the centers who get all the attention. If Magic, Manny or Marino played hockey, they'd probably all be centers.

Picking the best Kings center of the last 10 years isn't as easy as it should be. Any other time period would elicit much less debate. '70s? Butch Goring. '80s? Easy - Marcel Dionne. 90's? Of course, Gretz. The last 10 years? Um....

Former Kings coach Andy Murray says Derek Armstrong should get big props. While not alluding to him being as good as any of the above names, he simply points out that Army stepped his game up at a time so many other players were out injured. Not a bad pick I guess, Army is 10th all-time in Kings history for points by a centerman.

But for me, there is only one right choice.
To see my selection and read the rest of the article, click here --> LA Kings Figure Eight Debate.

When you're done reading, be sure to vote! Or come back here and tell me how much you absolutely agree with me.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday's Footnotes

So, FINALLY, the Kings will get a few days off. It's been a brutal month from a scheduling standpoint. LA just finished playing six games in nine nights and their 10th game this month! Today's blog includes a game recap from Calgary, injury updates, some video and begins to answer a question - WHO IS THE BEST CENTER to play for the Kings this decade?

The Recap

Kings lose 2-1 in a night of firsts, I guess.

Flames captain Dion Phaneuf scored his first goal in 20 games to give Calgary the early lead.

Corey Elkins, skating in just his second game since being called up from Manchester, scored his first NHL goal. An accomplishment that was rewarded with a return trip to Manchester this morning. Sure he was an emergency call up, but is it really that important to see Purcell or Harold get more ice time at this point?

The Flames penalty killing was downright smothering. Some of the best the Kings have seen all year. LA gave it their all in third though, out shooting Calgary 16-3...and late in the game it looked like LA was going to tie it up...but, no.

THE first the Kings were hoping for was a win in Calgary. It's now been eight trips to the Saddledome without a win. They'll travel back to Alberta and try again on 12/30. Given that the teams could potentially meet in the first round of the playoffs, the Kings need to solve what's puzzling them up there.

If you don't have the Center Ice package and want to see some of the action (the goals, the big hits, etc.) CLICK HERE to watch the NHL approved highlights.

The Kings fell out of first place with the loss.

Injury Update

More information will be available in the days leading up to the next game (12/26 at Phoenix). For now, the GREAT news is that Ryan Smyth was activated earlier today and is on track for his return to the line-up when the Kings play the Coyotes. Jarret Stoll should be back by then too, along with Jack Johnson and Randy Jones. Wayne Simmonds will still need a few more weeks.

With guys healing, combined with the long break the team gets beginning today, three other players will join Elkins on the trip back to Manchester - Oscar Moller, Scott Parse and Alec Martinez.

The Debates

Over the next week or so will be presenting a special series where a few guests will debate some Best of the Decade topics involving the Kings organization. They asked me to weigh in on a few of the topics, staring with issue #1 that was posted earlier today:

Who is the Best Kings Center of the last 10 years?

To read what I had to say and see how my answers compared to the others CLICK HERE to read the articles. The only hint I'll give is that I didn't pick Anze Kopitar.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Rubber Match, of sorts

The Kings and Flames have met twice already this season. And by some strange stoke of scheduling, the teams are playing each other three times this month in an 11 day period.

Will familiarity breed contempt?

Game one in November was a lopsided affair, Flames captain Jarome Iginla had a hat trick and Calgary downed LA 5-2.

With the way the Western Conference standings are starting to shake out these two teams could meet in the first round of the playoffs. Thus, I prefer to think of this month as a three-game playoff preview.

The Kings took game one of the fictitious mini series, a tight 2-1 contest in LA on December 7th. Game two is tonight and the final match-up will be Dec 30th, also in Calgary.

Injuries have to be a big part of the pre-game story. The Kings have been playing without Ryan Smyth for quite some time already. Then more recently Wayne Simmonds, Jack Johnson, Jarret Stoll and Randy Jones have joined him on the sidelines.

Returning to the Kings line-up is defenseman Alec Martinez, he played one game earlier in the season (opening game of the season, where he was a -2 with 16 minutes of ice time). Corey Elkins will also play again, after making his NHL debut Tuesday night in Edmonton.

Over the past few years Miikka Kiprusoff has been one of the best goalies in the league, if not the world. Jonathan Quick will once again try to outplay him and prove to his doubters that he is for real and a netminder whose status is on the rise.

While Quick and his teammates have had a great month so far, the Flames have lost three straight entering tonight. Can the Kings keep rolling and hand Calgary their fourth straight loss?

It wont be easy. Not only is LA all banged up, putting the line combinations in disarray; they're also finishing up a horrific part of the schedule where they will have played six games in nine nights. Not to mention the fact that the Flames have beaten the Kings in their last seven trips to Calgary.

No worries says coach Terry Murray. It's just another game. One team will pick up two points. Coaches usually follow that with 'whichever team wants it more.'

After it's over the Kings will fly home to begin a much needed break for the holidays.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

LA > EDM: video highlights included

This one's going to be short. Five quick notes on the game tonight and then it's on to the video highlights...

* Captain Dustin Brown and Brad "watch me go" Richardson traded goals and assists to put the Kings up 2-0. However, you know, in the new NHL 'no lead is safe'...and with Kings fans probably fearing this was all too good to be true, yes - the Oilers came back to tie things up.

* They say pro athletes never forget plays in a game. So, Sean O'Donnell must have been channelling his mental notes of the last time the Kings played in Edmonton (when fellow defensive-defenseman Matt Greene scored the game winning goal) - for the first time in 157 games Odie put the biscuit in the basket, giving the Kings a 3-2 win over the Oilers.

* Jonathan Quick, who will finally get a day off on Wednesday - because the Kings don't have a game! - stood on his head again. The media up north must take greater notice of what's going on between the pipes, as Quick was the first star of the game. Why he hasn't earned more of those at home is beyond me.

* Among the injured group, Jarret Stoll may have been the most disappointed to miss the game. Not only was it versus his former team, he has strong ties to the whole area - he was drafted by Calgary, then later the Oilers (he re-entered the draft) and is from Melville, Saskatchewan. Back at Frozen Fury in September I met another Melvill-ian (?). He was probably equally bummed. First, his 'Riders lost the Grey Cup, now the Kings are 2-0 against the Alberta teams this month. Ouch!

* Hold your breath too - Jack Johnson was injured blocking a shot in the first period. Although he played a few more shifts in the second, he was sent for x-rays after the game. Results are pending (updated: He'll miss the game on Thursday vs. Calgary).

Once again SoCal fans without the Center Ice package were left out in the cold. CLICK HERE to watch the NHL approved highlights of the game.


Interview w/ Ethan Moreau, Oilers Captain

Over the last two years Kings GM Dean Lombardi has signed Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar to long-term extensions - wanting to get his guys under contract before their free agency window opened.

Up north in Alberta, the Oilers did the same thing a few years prior. Steve Staios and Ethan Moreau both inked four year extensions in the months following their playoff run in 2006. A symbolic move Lombardi would probably describe as guys showing they have the team logo tattooed on their bodies.

Similar to Brownie and the Kings, following his long-term deal Moreau was later made Captain of the Oilers. A lineage that includes names like Gretzky, Messier and Buchberger.

Prior to the LA Kings taking on his team in Edmonton tonight I had a chance to talk all things hockey with Ethan. It's another MayorsManor exclusive - Conversations with a Captain:

Last season you won the King Clancy award. When you look back at the names of guys that have won that award in the past you see some big time, hall of fame type players. To be mentioned in the same breathe as them had to be something special for you.

It was. I do a lot of work in the community and it was nice to be recognized (the picture is of him getting his head shaved for charity). Our community foundation put together a good package and presented it to the NHL. It was nice to be acknowledged, even though a lot of those things we do is just because we want to do them. It makes you feel good as a person. But, to be acknowledged and to be able to go to the awards in Vegas, to bring my kids and to hang out with a lot of elite players, it was definitely a thrill.

This season there's been a lot of talk about the legality of hits and the number of injuries around the league. You were even involved in some of the discussion a month or so ago when Ryan Wilson of the Avs gave you a hard elbow to the head (video here). Are things getting out of control in the NHL? Do you feel that things are different on the ice this year versus previous years?

I think it's a result of guys being faster and bigger. You have a bunch of guys that are over 220 pounds and they can skate really fast. It's a vicious game. We've had mentions that the collisions are more violent now because of the strength and speed of the players - through training - there's really no way to police that. Its a very physical game. There's going to be guys that get knocked out, there's going to be guys that get concussions. There's no way around that.

Back in '94 you were taken in the first round of the draft. Were you excited to be going to an original six team or was it more about just getting to the NHL?

It was a long time ago, but I remember being rated fairly high. I knew I wouldn't go past Chicago. There was a chance I might go before that, but I had some good talks with Darryl Sutter, who was the coach at the time. He made it clear he would pick me if I was available to them. So, I was extremely excited to go to Chicago and like you mentioned, an original six team. They had a lot of veteran players at the time, so it was a great place to start.

You were able to sneak into a few games with the 'Hawks in '95-96, before joining them full time the following season. Were you intimidated a little when you looked around the dressing room and saw so many superstars - Chelios, Roenick, Amonte, Belfour, Nicholls...

I was a fairly confident 20 year old. So, I fit in well. Having said that, part of it was due to the fact they really accepted me; guys like Cheli and Bob Probert - they were great to me. Really made me feel comfortable, allowed me to excel. I played on a line with Brent Sutter as well. It was a great place to learn how to play and learn from a lot of great veteran players.

The week before you were traded it was reported in Chicago papers that you weren't going anywhere, even though the team wasn't playing well. Then, it happened. Do you have different feelings now about being traded from Chicago than you did back then?

At the time Chicago was kinda on the downturn. We were a bad team, we weren't making the playoffs. So, for me, it was exciting to go to a younger team that had a chance to make the playoffs. Once I got there I saw they had lots of guys my own age. Plus, it really helped in my development as a player because it was a skating team and a forechecking team. It was the perfect fit for me at the time.

After your first full season Craig MacTavish took over as the head coach for the next eight seasons. Much has been made in the media about guys not seeing eye to eye with him. Is that just hype or did you have a different relationship with him?

Staying in 2006. Although it was a bitter disappointment to not win the Cup, you had to feel pretty good about the team that summer and the direction things were heading. In fact, just a few months later you signed a four year extension, rather than test free agency the following year. What was your thought process about resigning so soon?

Well, yeah, we almost won the Stanley Cup and we thought we had the pieces in place to get back and make another run the next year. I think that's why a lot of us signed extensions, to remain in Edmonton with a good bunch of guys. And for me, it was also where I raised my family. Now, it didn't really work out like that, so far we haven't been able to get back to the playoffs. But, I don't regret my decision.

You were named captain in '07. With the Oilers rich history and tradition, is there extra pressure being the captain in a place like Edmonton, where the whole city embraces the team, versus other so-called small markets - like, say Nashville or Tampa Bay?

I think there's a lot of pressure put on me by people. But, I don't put extra pressure on myself. I've always been a leader, ever since I was 20 years old in Chicago. So, I haven't really changed anything. That's just the way I've always been. I don't really do anything differently and I don't really expect any more of myself. I try to just do the things that have made me successful in my career and that have made me captain. I've worn a letter everywhere I've played, so the pressure mostly comes from external.

As a leader, lets talk about how you handle certain things. Recently, Patrick O'Sullivan found himself in a little whirlwind, arguing with some guys in the media and whatnot. Do you call a guy like that to the side and remind them that's a no-win situation or do just let somebody like Sully work it out on his own?

I don't even know what happened. What was it? (note: I tell him about Mike Milbury and Kelly Hrudey's comments mentioned here in a Kings Kool-Aid article...and then Sully's reaction here)

It's stuff we don't really worry about, I guess. We have a task everyday to get accomplished. Sure, as part of being a good teammate you try to help your teammates whenever you can. But, I don't get caught up in that type of stuff.

What about some of the guys that have left town. Take a guy like Chris Pronger, who basically forced his way out of Edmonton. How disappointed were you when that whole thing went down?

You want to have the best team you can. When you lose quality players its definitely disappointing. We have to do a better job of making this a more desirable place to play.

Along those lines, the team was trying to get Dany Heatley to come there over the summer. Ultimately, he went to San Jose. Because it was the off season and guys are spread out all over the world, was it difficult to coral the issue and keep the guys on the same page?

He was never really part of our team. It was a huge story here, but it just never happened. It was unfortunate that the trade got out though. It was difficult on the players that were involved in the supposed trade. But, it's not like we had him here for a year and lost him. He was never an Oiler. It's just too bad the whole thing went public. It was another blow to our organization and our city that he didn't want to come here.

Talking about stories and how big they can become in a hockey crazed town like Edmonton, last week there were reports that the ownership group might have to think about relocation if they cant get a new building. Is that something you guys try not to worry about or is that another story that ends up in the locker room and the guys end up talking about it?

Well, I think its obvious we need a new building. Any successful organization in the league right now has a new building. So, its a no-brainer. People to oppose it in the city really don't have the best interest of the city or the organization in mind. It's crucial to the wellness of the city that we get a new building.

Let's move on to some more light-hearted issues. Back in September you posed fairly naked in a special edition of ESPN's magazine. And a few times you've been in the finals for online contests like 'Sexiest Oiler.' Is that something the guys in the room like to tease you about?

Not really. Once when you're in the environment of the locker room guys don't talk about that type of stuff too much. It was a good opportunity to work with the people at ESPN. It was an awkward shoot, but it was a pretty cool issue. It was fun.

Now the Olympics are coming up soon and the coverage is going to be insane throughout Canada. Given that you won't be playing, what are your plans for the time off?

We'll be going to Maui. But I'll be into it, whoever is playing. It's going to be a huge deal here. I imagine it will be one of the biggest sporting events ever in the history of Canada, especially if we make it to the gold medal game. But, there's a lot of good teams. Anything can happen in that format when you have a one game elimination. You have the US, Russia, Sweden, etc. Really, on any given night any of those teams can beat each other. It's a little different than in other sports, when usually the best team wins in the course of four quarters. In hockey you can outplay the other team and still lose. Its a tough sport in that format.

Obviously your loyalties are to the Oilers, so this isn't a trick question. But, with so many former teammates now in Los Angeles, do you find yourself cheering for the Kings if you're catching a game on TV?

Definitely. Stolly and Greene are good friends of mine. My brother trains guys there and I live in LA in the offseason. I've known some of the other Kings, I'll skate with them in the summer - I got to meet guys like Blake and Luc a few times. I know a lot of people in that organization. So, its definitely a team I keep my eye on.

Now you guys just came off a very successful road trip with five straight wins. The Kings are hot too, going 8-1-1 prior to the game in Vancouver. Are they going to be able to find a way to beat you guys at home?

Well, with them playing in Vancouver last night it will be tough. Back to back games are extremely difficult in this league. They won a game from us in our building last time when Greeny scored a late goal. We haven't forgot that. We need to beat them, especially at home. So, we'll be at our best.

NOTE: The conversation continues here in a HIGH / LOW article, which includes word association using names like Chelios, Roenick, Pronger, Smyth, Greene, Stoll and more.

The Mayor

High / Low with Ethan Moreau, Edmonton Oliers captain

Since entering the league in 1979 the Edmonton Oilers have been one of the most successful franchises. They've made seven trips to the Stanley Cup finals, winning five. However, its been a tough few years since their last run in 2006.

Back in the late '80s and early '90s they were one of the LA Kings biggest rivals. Sure, Gretzky came to LA after winning four cups with the Oilers, but it was more than just that trade that made things so special. It also didn't hurt that they played in the same division at the time.

After a big trade 10 years ago, involving seven players, Ethan Moreau arrived back home in Canada. Five years earlier he was a first round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks and would soon be playing along side Jeremy Roenick, Chris Chelios and Bernie Nicholls in the Windy City.

Now, the Captain of the Oilers, he is trying to guide the team back to the promise land one more time. Prior to tonight's match-up with the Kings he took some time to chat with the Mayor. Here's the first part of the interview:

Who is the smartest player you've ever played with and what did you learn from him?

I'd have to say Chris Pronger. He's probably the best player and the smartest player I've ever played with. I didn't learn too much from him on the ice because he plays a different position. But, he has a real professional approach to the game, he's always prepared to play and he takes a lot of pride in the way he plays. So those are probably things I took from him.

Let's take a look at the first few months of the NHL season. What have been the highs and lows so far?


1. Parity - nobody is running away with things and nobody is out of it

2. Big Hits - I think that's entertaining for everybody

3. Dustin Penner


1. Attendance - it's been tough in certain markets

2. Travel Schedule - things have been compressed because of the Olympics

3. Ice Conditions - we've played on some poor ice...some cities can handle the multiple events in the same buildings, others can't

Let's try word association with some of the guys you've had as teammates throughout your career:

Eddie Belfour - eccentric
Chris Chelios - competitive
Jeremy Roenick - entertaining
Tony Amonte - great release
Chris Pronger - smart (guess I set him up with that one earlier, eh?)
Ryan Smyth - hand-eye
Matt Greene - funny
Jarret Stoll - one timer
Patrick O'Sullivan - toe drag
Lubomir Vishnovsky - quick
Craig MacTavish - gray (note: he was his coach, not a teammate)

Finish this sentence: I'll be a better player this season if I ____

stay healthy

* * * * * * * * * * * *

To read more from our exclusive interview with Ethan Moreau - including his thoughts on the trade that brought him to Edmonton, his friends on the Kings, Craig MacTavish, Chris Pronger, Dany Heatley, his near nude pics in ESPN The Magazine and lots more, click here for part two.

The Mayor

Monday, December 14, 2009

One Demon Still Lives

Look, I'm not sure how to slay a killer whale either. So, I may not be much help. The closest I've ever even come to an orca is the Shamu show at Sea World in San Diego. Now the Kings, they've pushed things to 0-3 against the Canucks this season.

As we approach the holiday break later this week, there have been plenty of demons exercised over the last two and half months. The Kings have won in San Jose. They finally beat Calgary. They've been able to win in the shootout. The list goes on and on. Yet, they just cant seem to slay the demon that is the Vancouver Canucks.

At first glance you might just credit Roberto Luongo, right?

Not so fast though. Sure, Luongo held the Kings to just one goal when they met for the first time in October. Then the opportunity for a win was there in the rematch a month later, Luongo was out hurt. Backup Andrew Raycroft got the start and held the Kings to...wait for goal.

Luongo was back tonight for the third tilt and the Kings scored, you guessed it - one goal.

So, over the course of nine regulation periods and one overtime session the Kings have managed just three goals. A simple one goal in each game.

That's putting even more pressure on a guy that at some point may crack from what he's had to shoulder so far. Johnathan Quick has played in all but three games this season, putting on stellar performances most nights. However, he's yet to post a shutout in his 32 games. But if you're only able to get one puck past the guy at the other end of the ice, that's basically what you're asking him to do if you want to win.

Some kinda thank you by his teammates for being named the NHL's first star of the week, huh?

It wasn't for lack of trying though. Against most other goalies in the league tonight Kopitar and Frolov probably would've had a hat trick each. They both were pressuring all night long. Kopi just couldn't buy a goal...and it had nothing to do with missing his buddy Ryan Smyth. The effort was there.

Randy Jones? Well, he continues to be a two-sided coin. Offensively, he picked up another point, assisting on Frolov's goal. Defensively, lets just say he's lucky he plays for Terry Murray and not South Florida coach Jim Leavitt.

For now, the Kings need to just turn the page. If it seems they are playing every night this month, you're not the only one. And they'll need to shake this one off quickly because the streaking Oilers are waiting for them tomorrow night in Edmonton.

Check back tomorrow afternoon. I'll have an interview up with Oilers captain Ethan Moreau.


NOTE: The game was not available locally without the Center Ice package. CLICK HERE to watch the NHL approved highlights:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

DAL@LAK preview w/ The Mayor on

I love LA.

But, I sure do appreciate the attention I get in Texas. A few years ago the Dallas Morning News had a write up on me, with quotes from a few players. A Dallas area sports radio station came knocking soon after. Then, earlier today...Richard Durrett, who covers the NHL and the Stars for, posted the following article:

The Mayor, from his Los Angeles Kings blog Mayor's Manor, answered a few Dallas Stars questions for us in preparation for Saturday's game.

Q: Give Stars fans a scouting report on the Kings this season.

GM Dean Lombardi took over the team a few years ago with a plan. He's stuck to that plan, regardless of what critics have had to say. This year it looks like things are finally starting to come together. The Kings have a ton of young, mainly home grown talent up front (Kopitar, Brown, Frolov), on defense (Doughty and Johnson) and in net (Quick). This summer they added two key high character, proven winners -- veterans Ryan Smyth and Rob Scuderi. This complemented deals made prior to last season to get Matt Greene and Jarret Stoll.

The Kings had 12 points after the first 10 games, added another 12 points in the next 10 and posted 13 in the next 10. As a team, they've been very consistent. Individually, they've been very streaky. From day one of training camp Ryan Smyth and Anze Kopitar have had a budding bro-mance. Along with their linemate, Justin Williams, they were on fire the first month of the season. More recently, its been Jarret Stoll and Wayne Simmonds carrying the load. Jonathan Quick has been a workhorse in net, playing all buy three games for the team.

Defensively, the team has been solid. Drew Doughty is finally starting to garner some of the attention he should have received last year when he put up a Calder worthy rookie campaign. Although most hockey people say the Kings overpaid to get Rob Scuderi (a free agent coming off a Cup run in Pittsburgh), he's been well worth the money. On D the Kings are well-balanced with a mix of stay-at-home guys (Scuderi, O'Donnell, Greene) and offensive-minded players (Doughty, Johnson).

Interestingly, the Kings are loaded with US college players, including on defense (Greene, North Dakota; Scuderi, Boston College; Johnson, Michigan; and Drewiske, Wisconsin). Up front the have Scott Parse (Nebraska) and Ted Purcell (Maine). In goal, J. Quick (UMass).

Q: Anze Kopitar sure has collected a bunch of points (tied for fifth going into Friday's game). What makes him so productive?

Q: Which line should the Stars look out for tonight?

Q: Talk about the Kings' special teams. It looks like the penalty kill has struggled so far this season.

Q: Injury update?

Q: Who will start in goal for the Kings? Tell us about him.

Q: Who are some players Stars fans should keep an eye on?

Q: Anything else we should know about the Kings?

My answers to the other questions can be viewed by clicking here to read the remainder of the article on

The Mayor

Friday, December 11, 2009

Interview w/ Mike Modano

Tomorrow night in downtown LA the Kings will take on a familiar opponent, their division rivals from Dallas. However, the guys making up this year's Stars team have quite a difference about them. Gone are most of the high priced free agents and players that helped the team win the Stanley Cup back in 1999. It's a more youthful group, led by former Kings coach Marc Crawford.

Yet, one key link to the past remains.

He isn't just any old link though. Mike Modano is arguably the greatest American born hockey player of all time. He certainly has the numbers to prove it - with more goals and points than anybody else. He's worn the Team USA jersey in 11 different international tournaments and will probably do so again come February for the Olympics in Vancouver.

This is it though. Mike Modano's career is winding to a close. His story is what all young hockey players dream of - to be drafted number one overall, captain your team, win a Stanley Cup and play for the same team your whole career.

There isn't much left to squeeze out of his 20 years in the game. He's pretty much done it all...and even though it probably doesn't rank high up on his personal list of accomplishments, he was kind enough to sit down with me for an interview...

Back at the draft in '88 you were only the second American player ever to be taken first overall. Being only 18 years old, did it mean anything to you at the time?
Yeah. I knew the guy before me, Brian Lawton. I knew him and the history of the draft - how rare it was for an American. Going into it I was hoping to be the second guy to accomplish that. In the small scale of things its something I wanted to have on the resume.

You scored your first goal off a former Kings goalie, Glenn Healy, when he was with the Islanders. As players get older they often comment they wish they would have saved more memorabilia from when they were younger. Did you save that puck?

I think I have that puck and the stick back at my parents house in Detroit. I don't really remember collecting and keeping the first few milestones. But, lately I've been saving things - like goal #500, 1000 points, breaking Housley's record, 700 assists. Things like that.

About 15 years ago the team made the move to Dallas. Looking back on it now do you maybe have different thoughts about it than you did at the time?

Well, were all kinda surprised and shocked to see or even to hear there were some rumors of us moving from Minnesota. We figured there's no better place in North America for hockey. It's looked upon very similar to the way it is in Canada; with the way the youth hockey is, the high school programs and college hockey. We figured if hockey couldn't make it there, who's to say its going to work in Texas of all places. Then, when it went through, our owner at the time Norm Green kept us in the loop on what was happening. When it was finally announced at the end of the year, he came out and said this was going to be our last year...then, the following season we were gone. We were pretty devastated that it happened.

Looking back now...well, we never in a million years thought it would turn out to be the way it has been. The way the fan base has been here in Dallas and the way Texas has taken to hockey. We have a lot of minor hockey, junior hockey, high school hockey programs throughout the state of Texas. So, the growth has been unbelievable; something we never thought would happen. We thought we'd be low on the totem pole compared to the Mavericks and the Cowboys. But, we had some good years and actually attracted some people away from those sports and they've became really good hockey fans.

The first season in Dallas you had a great year. You had 50 goals. Did you put any extra pressure on yourself to have a great season that first year in Texas?

I just kinda looked at it as a fresh start. Things were going OK, personally for me in Minnesota. Having a start in Dallas, we figured here's an opportunity to get a hold of this different demographic and try to create a fan base by really entertaining them. And things just happened from the start. It was just one of those years - from start to finish. We had a little luck along the way, but we had some great talented guys on that team. So, I was fortunate to have players around me that helped me get to that level.

In 2005 it was reported that you almost went to the Bruins. East Coast fans are known for being some of the toughest fans in sports. What type of reaction did you get when returning to the Northeast after flirting with the Bruins?

They're OK. My dad's side of the family is from Boston. So, every time we go up there we have a big collection of people there from his side. His side of the family is pretty well known in the Boston area with the businesses they have, some seafood companies and what not. They're all big hockey fans and he was a big Bruins fan. We spent a lot of time in Boston growing up. It would have been interesting being part of an original six team and being out east where hockey is so big. But there weren't any ill feelings about it.

Another Boston guy, Roenick...he openly talked about when he was pushing for his 500th goal trying to time it so he could do it at home in San Jose, in part because of the reaction he was getting at certain road games. When you scored #503 in Nashville (to pass Joe Mullen and become the all time leading American goal scorer), they didn't acknowledge it. Did that offend you?

Well, it didn't bother me. We had some issues prior to the end of the game with a couple guys that kinda put a little bit of a black cloud over the whole night. Robidas was knocked out by Tootoo and dampened the whole event. Plus, we lost 3-2. It wasn't the best of nights to celebrate. We had a little bit of a rivalry going into Nashville. We've had some heated games against them. But, you think that they could have done something there for a what San Jose did when the points record was broken. (He broke Phil Housley's points record there in Nov. 2007)

Off the ice, you've been involved in a lot of different things; from charitable ventures, like Jonathan's Place - you also have the Modano ice rink. Then there's the restaurant you have in Dallas with Brett Hull. When you're done playing, what's next for you?

It's hard to say. I think the coaching is definitely out. It's a lot of hours, a lot of demands on your time - probably more so than as a player. So, I think when hockey is over there is going to be a moment where I need some time away from the sport. But, I've always thought I'd like the broadcasting side of it. I like the analyzing of the game and the sport. But, who's to say. I've often thought about what I'm going to do and in what capacity, 'Is it still going to be with the Stars, is our owner still going to be owning the team when I'm done?' A lot goes into it. If that's the case and they want me to remain with the team when I'm done, it would be nice. It's something I know and I'm comfortable with. I'm certainly trying to find something that would keep me in Dallas.

Speaking of your connection to the city - you've been such a fixture there for so long. Unfortunately, when the team hosted the All Star game in '07 you didn't get a chance to play. Looking back on it, what are your thoughts?

It was tough. Of all the years you play, you just kinda wait for the chance to be the host team and the host city. So, it was tough. I was able to be a small part of it, in some sense, with the ceremonies and stuff. But, it still wasn't the same as playing. It would have been nice to be in the game in front of the hometown fans. I was bummed out it didn't work out in the end.

Now, you've recently changed sticks. Tell us about what you're doing.

I've been using them so far this season. They got here in the middle of summer, so I've been working on trying to get used to them. Its a little bit of a thicker blade. The curve is pretty much the same. I just added a lit bit on the toe to deal with some of the ice surfaces and the bouncing puck. It's very similar to the old pattern, it just has a little more taper to it.

Where did you get the idea for the change, from another player or...

I've always wanted to change. My blade has gotten smaller and smaller as I've played. I feel things more the smaller they are. But on the flip side I've dealt with a lot of pucks that bounce over my stick. I'm trying to meet in the middle somewhere with this design.

Athletes love to tease their teammates. However, there was a not-so-funny situation back in '93. Mark Messier hit you pretty good, but to make matters worse the EMTs dropped you while loading the stretcher into the ambulance. Did it ever reach a point where your teammates were able to tease you about that or because it was injury related was it off limits?

It took awhile, but eventually they started teasing me about it and teasing our trainer. He was the one that actually hit the release on the gurney that made me tip over. So, our trainer got a lot of slack for it for years. We still get a little razzing about it.

Along those lines, one of the hot topics this season has been the hits around the league and the legality of them. And of course, the punishment handed down or not handed down in some cases. Any thoughts about the hits this year?

Well, its such a sensitive issue. It has gotten a little bit out of control. There seems to have been some blind side hits. A little after the fact, after they've moved the puck, guys have been hit. Whether there's a two or three count before they get some body contact, you know. So, yeah - if you're trying to keep the game safe and ensure players careers aren't being jeopardized, its a smart move. It seems like every year players in all sports are getting bigger, strong and faster. Every year the concussions seem to be increasing. The union and the league have tried to work together to reduce it, but its tough. When the game is moving so fast and bodies are moving around its really tough to sometimes get out the way, or its accidental and some people lose their balance and they get hurt. There's a real fine line there that can keep somebody from getting hurt or just some routine body check that looks like it happens every night and could hamper someones career.

From goalie masks to jerseys, fashion and style have become a big part of hockey. Even though you've played your whole career for one team, there have been several reworks of the Stars jersey. Do you have any one favorite?

I've always loved the original North Stars jersey. That's something we've tossed around, doing like a retro third jersey. I don't know how that would go over down here, but I'd like it. A lot of teams seem to be going retro, even in other sports. I'm also a real fan of the original six jersey designs. They never change, they've been classic from the day the teams came into the league. I also like the old Vancouver jerseys, was a big fan of those.

You've had a special relationship with the fans through the years. Whether its pictures or autographs, you always seem to do it with a smile on your face. When so many other athletes these days are put off by it, where do you find the motivation to continue to be so approachable?

I think a lot of it is my mom. She still calls to make sure I take time, whether it's the kids in Detroit or if she's here in town and she sees kids. She still harps on me to go out of my way to make a kid's day. When you were a kid sometimes it was the highlight of your year to go to a game or meet some guys. She still has pictures of me when I met Dale Hawerchuk and Phil Housley for the first time...and Wayne Gretzky. You just put that in your brain, that you're possibly having an impact on a kid's life. So even though we're meeting people all the time, you still take a moment to say hi or give an autograph.

Throughout your career you've had a chance to play with some of the greatest players of all time - both with the Stars and as part of team USA. When you look back over the last 20 years is there one guy that you never were teammates with that you say to yourself, 'Man, I wish I could have played just one season with him'?

Probably Jaromir Jagr. I think he was one guy that could just dominate anytime he wanted to. He had the size and skill. Such an unbelievable talent. One year with him would have been great.

Back in the summer of '96, obviously winning the World Cup was the highlight, but do you have any other vivid memories of that tournament?

I think about how much fun we had that summer. The week that we had in Providence leading up to the start of the tournament. Guys got along so well, we did everything together. We had such a great time. We just felt like this could be an opportunity where - some of the greats Leetch and Chelios and Richter were still there, some of the younger guys were coming of age, we were all 25, 26 at the time. Then leading up to the tournament we thought we had a good chance of meeting Canada in the finals. To be honest, being a three game series, even though we lost the first game in Philly, we still felt pretty good going into Montreal and that we could make things interesting. It was probably one of the more exciting games I've played in - being at the Forum in Montreal, a deciding game three against Canada and the type of team they had at the time. Those are some great memories.

Earlier in the summer Roenick retired and you called into the press conference to surprise him. As a guy who's career is winding down at some point, do you watch something like that to soak it in and help you process or is it just one of those things where you're calling in to say hi to a buddy?
I watched most of it, almost all of it. I also watched the one for Joe Sakic too. Its kinda hard. Its difficult because you know it something that is close to happening for you. So you watch to see some of the emotions they go through and the reflecting on their career and the important people that were there along the way. Certainly in other sports you sometimes feel they need to let go and move on when you see their bodies cant do it anymore. Watching those guys was nice to see in a sense. You feel like they've moved on and definitely made the right decision. They feel good about it and are enjoying retired life so far. But you certainly do think about it because its very close.

Back in October the Stars marketing department built a campaign around Steve Ott, calling it Ott-toberfest. Is that something the guys in the room were aware of and did they give him a hard time about it?

Nobody really teased him until we saw the ads during one of our home games. They played some ads with him in a bar, like a German tap house. He had a couple of lines in some them. (laughing) Whatever. If it helps sell tickets great, we all need some help right now.

Players see and experience the arenas differently than the fans in the building. Being down on the ice, what is the loudest arena in the league?

Some seem to be louder at different times. I would say Edmonton in the playoffs is one of the loudest ones I've ever been inside of. Same with San Jose. In the playoffs its pretty noisy. St Louis too. And Chicago, of course. The new building in Chicago is like the old one. Fans are starting to stand up during the anthem and sing during the whole thing. Old Chicago Stadium will always stand out in my mind. Believe it or not, the old Reunion Arena here in Dallas could get pretty loud too with the fans on top of the ice. You felt like you heard everybody that was in that building.

You seem to have a great relationship with your wife Willa. She's been around the last few years as you've had your ups and downs and it was right before you guys got engaged that you lost the captaincy. Do you remember the first thing she said to you after that whole thing went down?

Well, it was pretty similar to what a lot of people were saying to me at the time - don't read into it, you've always meant a lot to this team and to the city. A lot of it I've felt was the timing of it. I was kinda getting old. Brendan was at an age where if there was going to be a transition it was probably better that it happened earlier rather than later. If he gets older and doesn't grow into the role, you know. Hatcher and I were the same age and he got it. It allowed me to keep myself away from some of the responsibilities of it and the details of being a captain. Dealing with certain things that you don't normally deal with as an everyday player, where you can focus on what you can do to play every night. As you get older you thought you had a little better grasp of the game and what was expected, so I felt I could have handled it better. But the team wasn't playing well and things were getting to the turmoil time, so changes happened.

Who is the smartest player you ever played with and what did you learn from him?

Two of the smartest ones would be Zubov and Brett Hull. They thought the game through. They were never in a rush to do anything, yet they could do things quick when they needed to. They were in the right place at the right time. They never seemed to be out of position at the point where the could be effective. They were patient and had great poise. Both things that are hard to teach.

The Stars have a lot of young talent right now. What's the most recent bit of advice you've given one of the kids on the team?

Its hard because I sometimes see a little bit of me in them. They want to have a good time, they want to go out and party. They want to play hockey and travel, all the things that go with the game. Sometimes that's fine but you try to get the point across that things go fast. Careers come and go and if you want to be great, its important to be a consistent guy day in and day out. Those are tough things to get across because they're just trying to adapt to the game and make a name for themselves. But, you try to get the point across that's it an everyday sport and you always have to keep coming everyday to prove yourself.

As you look around the league, what are some of the highs and lows you've seen so far this year?

One of the highs has to be the start Colorado got off to. Nobody really expected it to happen so fast for them. LA too. The Kings have gotten off to a great start. They've opened peoples eyes to the young, talented team they have.

For the lows, I'd say the injuries. We touched on it earlier. You hate to see guys taken off on stretchers. Even though sometimes its just precautionary, you hate to see guys taken out of games like that. Then there's the TV situation - I've always been a guy against our TV contract. Ive felt it could be better. I don't know what they could do about. But, DirecTV dropped Versus. Then, here Time Warner dropped Fox Sports Southwest. So its been tough for us as to get our games on TV.

Word Association - in honor of your #9 we have nine guys you played with. Just rattle off the first thing that comes to mind..
Neal Broten - legend
Larry Murphy - consistency
Jon Casey - sporadic
Brett Hull - opinionated
Daryl Sydor - best friend
Mike Keane - funnest guy I ever played with
Jeremy Roenick - competitor
Tony Amonte - energetic
Chris Chellios - the Godfather

Finally, finish this sentence - My life in hockey was complete because...
Because I had a chance to play in the NHL.

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Well, he certainly made the most of that chance. Mike Modano is the last player from the team's days in Minnesota to still suit up every night in a Stars jersey. While he no longer wears the 'C' on his chest, he will forever be the Captain of the Stars to me.

A great player, an even better person. He's an American hockey icon. And although his ice time won't be what it once was when his Stars take on the Kings Saturday night, take a moment to watch him.

Every game is a big one this season as the Kings try to make a return to the playoffs. However, it's not every game we get to see a legend.

Saturday night will be special.

The Mayor


Players speak out on Luc Robitaille

Interview w/ Ethan Moreau - Captain of the Edmonton Oilers

Interview w/ Marcel Dionne - Kings legend, Hall of Fame forward

Interview w/ Rob Blake - details surrounding his on again, off again relationship with the Kings

Interview w/ Bob Miller - voice of the Kings talks about favorite moments, players, etc.