Saturday, October 10, 2009

LA teams provide Shock & Awe in St Louis

A little over 24 hours ago two planes sat side by side on a private runway at LAX. Armed for battle, one plane was boarded by a crew of blue and white - the other filled with purple and silver warriors. After arriving in St Louis they set up their command centers at the same downtown hotel. Mid-day Saturday the blitz was underway and at this hour the city of St. Louis sits silently, stunned by the devastation of earlier today.

The next few days will be rough. Many people are already plotting their reason to call in sick Monday. However, one group remains hopeful that tomorrow could provide relief for some. After checking the NFL schedule, they realized it wont be a team from Los Angeles visiting the Rams at the dome tomorrow, so they still have a chance. Well, maybe. It is the Rams.

Before writing this article I put a call into the National Guard and it appears the city's treasured arch is safe for now. Although the enemies have left, extra protection will be stationed in and around downtown for the foreseeable future - just in case.

Battling on different terrain - just blocks apart from each other - the Dodgers and the Kings flat took care of business on Saturday in St. Louis. Both, desisive victories for Los Angeles.

The similarities between these two teams has been written about before here on Both teams have been built with a core of young talent. Both have been guided and assembled by a GM that has a plan and is sticking to it, regardless of what some fans and media say about it. Both found their swagger after acquiring that missing piece - Manny for the Dodgers and Ryan Smyth for the Kings.

How the script ends for both organizations is still yet to be written. While one team's season draws closer to the end, the other's is just beginning. Within a month, the Dodgers will be done for the Winter. Meanwhile, the Kings are just getting started.

Just one more question about the Dodger game before we move on though. Were the white towels in St. Louis supposed to represent a unified surrender? Some of the players on the field - on both teams - probably thought so. Dodgers win. How sweep it is!

Down the street the greatest show on earth, the NHL, was on the ice in a crucial early season match up. There will be eight teams making the playoffs from the Western Conference this year, with really only three of them undecided at this point. Six or seven teams are battling for those three spots, including the Kings and Blues.

It was Murray vs Murray.

I miss Andy Murray. Always liked him as a coach and respected him as a person. I was mostly frustrated with Terry Murray last year. However, it's been said many times that winning solves everything. It might be true after all...because I'm starting to miss one Murray less and growing to like the other Murray more and more. I guess 3-1 to start the season will do that to a person.

Sure, it was too bad the Kings couldn't hold on in the third to keep the Blues off the scoreboard. Getting Jonathan Quick his first shutout of the year would have been icing on the cake. No need to be greedy. The two best lines put goals up again and defensively they were able to control a team with plenty of offensive options. Good enough for two points, pack it up and keep it movin'.

While the Dodgers fly home to LA and await the identity of their next opponent, the Kings are heading east to meet the Islanders. It will be a typical New York matinee on Monday, just not on Broadway. The purple and silver warriors will dawn their crowned sweaters again at 11am PST, this time taking on young phenom John Tavares and 19 of his newest friends.

Two more points will be at stake. Two more points that will help the Kings achieve their goal of following the Dodgers into the postseason.

If it happens, history could repeat itself. That private runway at LAX could find the same two planes parked side by side again in late April. One being filled with a team headed out on an early season road trip. The other headed to a playoff game.


Friday, October 9, 2009

HIGH / LOW: Running Wild with Jim Fox

Three games, three different Kings teams. The season has been unpredictable, if nothing else. Saturday was a terrible 60 minutes of hockey. Tuesday was the tale of two games and Thursday the team hit the ice like they were shot out of a cannon. Throughout the home stand Jim Fox has been stopping by with his Highs and Lows from each game. He's back with a look at look at the Kings performance vs. the Wild...


  • Top players playing like your top players, coaches love when that happens.
  • It’s been a while, but the Kings look like they have a #1 line with Kopitar/Smyth and Williams…the chemistry between Kopitar and Smyth has been impressive…Smyth’s passing continues to be right on.
  • Jack Johnson with 20:52 TOI and +2 is looking like he is ready to take it up a notch.
  • Once again the Handzus checking line ends up plus at the end of the night, while Koivu (-2) and Havlat (-3) were kept under control.
  • Biggest improvement came from the 2nd line with Stoll/Brown/Purcell - effective all night on the fore-check and all 3 connecting for a big goal in the 3rd…Brown led all players with 6 hits.


  • The continued inability of the penalty-kill to protect the slot was apparent once again…the “pressure rotation” is off right now…it did get better in the 3rd, but it has a long way to go.
  • It's almost impossible to control the full 60 minutes in an NHL game (the other team is usually a pretty good team too), but there are still lapses that take the Kings out of sync at times…didn’t see much of that all last year and that “intangible” will have to be cleaned up.

And they're off...the Kings and crew are headed to St. Louis for a match up tomorrow against their former coach, Andy Murray. It will be a battle between two teams fighting for one of the three playoff spots up for grabs in the West this year.

On behalf of all Kings fans, I'd like to give a big thanks to Jim for his contributions this week. He has plenty on his plate as it is and making the time to be a featured guest here at was much appreciated. Although the High/Low series has featured Mark Hardy and Terry Murray to name a few...Jim was the first to get the High/Low hat trick with his three articles. Thanks Jim!

What do you think of the Kings so far? Leave a comment below with your reaction to the game(s) and/or Jim's thoughts on how the Kings looked against Minnesota.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

FREE Kings Tickets vs Wild 10/8 (updated)

We're giving away our final pair of tickets to the homestand. If you'd like to go to the game tonight vs. Minnesota for FREE, simply post a comment on yesterday's High/Low article with Jim Fox below (or click here). We'll draw a winner from all entries at 3pm today. Good luck!

(updated) Congratulations to reader "Terry" for winning two tickets to tonight's game. If you didn't win this time, be sure to follow on twitter for more prizes coming soon.


for official rules click here

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

HIGH / LOW : Jim Fox returns for more

Like most fans, Jim Fox was not that impressed with the Kings opening night performance. While he had positive words for Ryan Smyth and the power play, his sharpest Low was delivered to the doorstep of #8 - calling Doughty's performance his "worst game as a King." Say what you will, but you can't really argue with Fox. You're talking about a guy who has arguably seen more Kings games over the last 20 years than all but a handful of people. The man knows his hockey.

A veteran of Kings broadcasts and NHL coverage, both on radio and TV, Fox has continued to enlighten fans with his hockey insight since hanging up the skates in 1990.

MayorsManor is proud to have Jim back for his second of three columns. He'll be providing thoughts after each game of the opening week home stand. With the Kings beating San Jose on Tuesday night, the final score was certainly better than game one. However, things weren't all roses, as the Kings let the Sharks back in the game and made a lot of people nervous throughout the third period. How did he see things?

Jim's take on game #2:

  • Huge key to the game was Handzus/Frolov/Simmonds outplayed Thornton/Heatley/Setoguchi 5 on 5.
  • Overall, much better on the fore-check. The spacing allowed for immediate support and some sustain offensive zone play, Simmonds goal was a perfect example.
  • Solid play from the “unheralded” defensemen - Harrold, Greene, Drewiske.
  • Bounce back game from Drew Doughty, 24:08 TOI, +3, we expected it and he delivered.
  • Jarrett Stoll was 11 of 15 on face-offs (73%).
  • Recapturing composure in the 3rd was a key issue, 4 or 5 solid shifts preceded the Purcell goal.
  • Coming to the aid of Drewiske after the Staubitz hit is an intangible area the Kings are trying to address. The Kings did it effectively, without taking any unnecessary penalties.
  • Must state the obvious, the PK is completely out-of-sync. The fine line between being aggressive and running around has been crossed. Fundamentals like sticks-in-the-lanes must get better.
  • No “bad” goals vs. SJ, but your goalie has to be your best penalty-killer.
  • Last season a big key was face-offs. Stoll was solid, but in the 2 games so far the Kings were 43% and 41%, this must improve.
If you read Jim's first High / Low article (click here to read if you didn't), you may recall that he commented Doughty "rarely lets it linger" when discussing the possibility of the kid's poor play in game one carrying over to the second game. Well...he called it. Doughty was a stud in game two, like so many games last year during his rookie campaign.

Thursday night the home stand concludes when Minnesota comes to Staples Center. The Wild are predicted to finish out of the top 8 in the Western Conference by most experts. Thus, the Kings need to capitalize on their (perceived) weaker opponent and capture the two points. A two game win streak would be a nice way to start the long trip out east.

We'll have another High / Low feature with Jim following the game on Thursday. In the meantime, feel free to leave him a comment below with your reaction to the game and/or his thoughts on the team's play vs. San Jose.

The Mayor  (more ticket giveaways coming soon - hint, hint)

photo courtesy of NHL / HHOF

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

FREE Kings Tickets to Tonight's Game (updated)

* Update *
Congratulations to user "Mariel" - she won the free pair of tickets to the 10/6 Kings game vs. San Jose. Follow us on Twitter for other special contests.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

HIGH / LOW with Jim Fox - special guest doesn't pull punches

Earlier this summer we debuted the High / Low feature here on with guests like Mark Hardy and Terry Murray. This quick hit series has provided intriguing reactions to training camp, the prospect series with Phoenix and a myriad of other topics. So, we wanted to kick the season off big this year - even if the Kings didn't cooperate last night - by going out and partnering with somebody that knows a thing or two about hockey. This puck expert was named the Best TV Analyst in 2006 by Sports Illustrated and has worked with NHL Radio to cover the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

We're proud to introduce the man with perfect hair and a gift for gab, Jim Fox.

A true King, through and through, Jim has become equally known for his career off the ice, as well as his accomplishments on skates. He officially became a man of royalty back in 1980 as the first round draft pick of the Kings. Wearing the colors of only one team for his ten years in the league, Jim amassed 479 points in 578 career games. Even though his playing time was cut short due to injuries, he still ranks in the top 10 in several key categories for the Kings. After hanging up his jersey he's become one of the faces of the franchise - not only providing his insight on television broadcasts, but also being actively involved in charitable causes throughout Southern California.

Always a fan favorite wherever he goes for one simple reason...Jim is as passionate about the Kings as any die hard fan you'll ever meet. Tommy Lasorda can bleed Dodger Blue, Jim Fox has purple and gold (and probably some silver) running through his veins.

For the first three games of the opening week home stand Jim will provide his Highs and Lows of the game here on Like most people that watched the Kings play Phoenix on Saturday night, Jim wasn't that impressed with some things he saw on the ice. However, he did manage to find a few bright spots in an otherwise agonizing 60 minutes of hockey.

Jim's take on Opening Night:
HIGHS - Sold out crowd…Ryan Smyth’s debut was effective…early on he made his presence felt down low…he was instrumental on the Power Play, helping to move the puck around as well as it has been moved in a while…the PP was extremely effective with crisp passes, strong support and penetration to the net - which opened up so many options…on the PP, options + execution = success

LOWS - Puck movement on breakouts was sloppy at best…when the defense over-handled it, the play was gone…when the forwards handled it, way too risky to the middle of the ice…the spacing on the fore-check was too wide…not enough support to get an effective fore-check or to be in position to create follow-up chances…one chance at a time does not work in the long run…Quick’s goaltending was sub par…one bad goal (the first of the game) and a few other “stoppables”…I blame the goaltender when the play was well-defended, but the puck still ends up in the net…that is where we can let Quick off the hook because most every goal had a clear breakdown…Drew Doughty played his worst game as a King…don’t remember any game last year where he was directly involved in multiple goals against

After being critical of the second year defenseman, he didn't appear to be worried about the mistakes leading to a sophomore slump, noting that Doughty "rarely lets it linger." So #8 can be counted on for a better performance when the Sharks come to town.

We'll have another High / Low feature with Jim after Tuesday's game versus San Jose. In the meantime, feel free to leave him a comment below with your reaction to the game and/or his thoughts on the loss at Staples Center.

The Mayor

Kings Fail to Turn Over a New Leaf

New season. Another loss. This is maddening. Look, the Kings aren't going win every game this season. Yet, you want to see them compete every night. Tonight was bad, real bad. And the first loss always hurts the most.

There have been some turn over machines here in Los Angeles the last few years. Guys like Rob Blake during his last season in a Kings uniform. Or take the most recent whipping boy, Denis Gauthier. However, tonight, man did Alec Martinez get schooled.

Sure, it was the first game of his NHL career. There had to be nerves and jitters. However, guys at this level have been playing hockey the overwhelming majority of their life. It's usually been one long life filled with practices, drills and games. More coaching than any normal person receives at their job. The situations on the ice have been played out in rinks every week for years. Coaches have been drilling things into their heads for longer than they care to remember. So, when you're making basic mistakes, it can be so frustrating to watch.

He wasn't the only one though. And don't even think about blaming Quick. Sure, he could have been better. However, he wasn't the reason they lost the game tonight. The team in front of him was turning over the puck just by looking at it or thinking about it.

But, I'm going to try and remain positive, starting with an age old adage that has been repeated to death in similar situations. It's only one game. The Kings have 81 more. I keep telling myself that while fighting the other side of my brain that seems to have "two points is two points" on an endless loop. Truth be told, we probably won't know until February or March if these two points were a serious missed opportunity.

Finally, one more thought. Even though the Coyotes should be one of the worst team's in the Western Conference again this season, keep in mind they are 14-6-2 versus the Kings over the last three seasons. Ouch. Maybe we should have seen this coming.

It's over. I'm turning the page.