Saturday, October 24, 2009

Kings Stoll the game in Phoenix

Game #10 on Thursday belonged to #11 Anze Kopitar. Fortunately, it didn't take until game #27 for Jarret Stoll to finally arrive. A solid player for the Kings last year, Stoll has been on somewhat of a roller coaster the last few months - both on and off the ice. After a much publicized break-up with his fiance over the summer he came to camp surrounded by rumors that he'd be out of action for an extended period of time due to arthritis related injuries. However, he was in the line-up on opening night and has played every regular season game so far. All wasn't perfect though, with Stoll netting only six assists in the first 10 contests - partially prompting his demotion to the third line prior to Thursday's game.

He didn't make a stink about it. Kept his head down and pushed ahead. Then, today he received a new linemate in "fresh up from Manchester" Scott Parse. Perhaps it was just the shot in the arm he needed. Stoll played his best game of the year by far against the Coyotes on Saturday night, posting his first two goals and being involved in the action almost every time he was on the ice. Parse also picked up his first NHL point, assisting on Stoll's second goal.

The aforementioned line changes on Thursday also pushed Wayne Simmonds up to the top line. Wayne the Train kept charging. He scored to put the Kings up 4-2, his third game in a row with a goal. Obviously, he is holding his own on the top line. However, his linemates aren't doing too bad either. While Smyth only has one goal in the last five games, he continues to rack up the assists and make his presence felt shift after shift. Kopitar put up another three assists and now leads the NHL in scoring. You read that LA Kings player leads the NHL in scoring.

Stoll's former linemate, Dustin Brown, is heating up too. He matched Stoll's two goal night by scoring two of his own, giving him eight points in the last five.

Besides picking up a win against a division rival, the game had to bring additional satisfaction on two levels. There was payback for the embarrassing opening night loss back on October 3rd. Most importantly, the Kings found a way to to solve the riddle that is Bryzgalov. He has to be the goalie Kings players have dreaded the most the last few years. The guy has flat out owned the team, both at home and on the road. Four goals tonight, two on the power play, was not the way he has played opposite LA in recent seasons.

Every game is a test. And most nights the Kings are tested by their opponent's top players. For the last two games they've had an up close look at two of the best power forwards in the game - Dallas' Brenden Morrow and Shane Doan of Phoenix. These are two of the most underrated players in the league. It's a pure pleasure to watch them long as they aren't beating the Kings. Morrow was held off the score sheets Thursday, while Doan had his typical great performance against LA with two goals tonight. Both games were Kings victories.

The Columbus Blue Jackets head into Staples Center Sunday night with some similar themes brewing - a top flight forward in Rick Nash, redemption after losing to the Jackets last week...and LA will be looking to steal another two points from a conference rival.

If the Kings can rinse and repeat their accomplishments from tonight, it will be mission(s) accomplished.


10 Tidbits on Scott Parse

With the injury to Justin Williams needing a little more time to heal, the Kings dipped into the treasure chest out east in Manchester. Scott Parse was called up for the game against the Coyotes in Glendale, AZ (Phoenix suburb). While you've probably heard of several guys he's been playing with on the Monarchs - Bernier, Hickey and Westgarth to name a few - Parse hasn't slipped onto the radar of all but the most die hard Kings followers. Here are some quick points to bring everybody up to speed...

  • Back in 2004 he was selected by the Kings in the sixth round. It wasn't a fruitful draft for LA, with guys like Lauri Tukonen, Paul Baier and Ned Lukacevic being taken ahead of him. The lone highlight of the 2004 class to date was the brief stint of goalie Fukufuji a few years ago. Not exactly a key moment in franchise history. Parse will be making his NHL debut tonight, the last great hope for the gang of '04.
  • Was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan - a city that actually doesn't even have a zoo. It is however the birthplace of the Gibson Guitar Corporation (est. 1902).

  • Had a stellar college hockey career at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, a school you don't want to confuse with the more famous University of Nebraska-Lincoln (home of the Cornhuskers). Highlights include: In four years he racked up a school record 197 points (79g, 118a) in just 159 games...lead the team in scoring all four seasons...set the school record for rookie scoring with 35 points (16 goals, 19 assists) while playing in all 39 of 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker award his Junior year...led his team to the Frozen Four tournament for the first time in team history.
  • When he couldn't reach a contract agreement with the Kings in the Spring of 2007 he signed with Grand Rapids of the AHL. Played the final 10 games of the season and a handful of playoff games for them. Tallied an assist in his debut, technically his first point as a professional.
  • Two Seasons Ago - Split time between Manchester (AHL) and Reading (ECHL). Appeared in only 32 games total, recovering from a back injury most of the year. In his 14 games with the Monarchs, had a plus or even rating in 13 of the 14.
  • Last Season - Recorded 39 points with the Monarchs (15g, 24a) in 74 games. His plus-6 rating was good enough for second on the team. In January 2009 he was voted the player of the month by the Manchester Monarchs Booster Club. For his efforts, the MMBC awarded him a $25 gift certificate to the Wild Rover Pub. Not sure if Scott spent it on food or drink. However, that fine establishment's website boasts that the pictures of their new bar "can't do it justice...come see it in person!" The place must be good, the Boston Globe named it one of New England's best Irish Pubs. Don't look now, but they're also on twitter!
  • This Season - Had been playing on a line with top prospects Loktionov and Moller. At the time of the call-up was leading the AHL in assists and +/- and was second overall in points.
  • Both in college and with the Monarchs wore sweater #23. Obviously, that number isn't available with the Kings. So, he'll be wearing #63 for now.
  • Will start out playing with Stoll and Purcell on the third line. For all of you name fanatics, you can call it the PPs line.
  • Scouting Report - the general book on Parse has him pegged as a depth forward in the NHL...most commonly read phrases are play maker, will drive to the net, plays with passion, great hand-eye coordination, two-way player.
Now you're ready for the game tonight.

The Mayor


10 Tidbits on Willie Mitchell - notes on Kings newly signed defenseman

10 Tidbits on Dustin Brown - the Captain gets his 100th NHL goal

10 Tidbits on Drew Doughty - includes picture of his first hockey card, at age 4

10 Tidbits on Wayne Simmonds - all aboard the train

10 Tidbits on Alex Ponikarovsky - Poni Boy's Hollywood introduction

Tuesday Tidbits - highlighting the most popular interviews on MayorsManor

image courtesy of


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Clean Up on Aisle 11

So I thought I had a nice headline for tonight's game recap. I was already writing the article in my head. Then the Kings reminded me that in the NHL, like in life, you should never put the cart before the horse. Fans created the initial mess when Anze Kopitar scored his first career hat trick at the mid-point of the second period. Then in the third...well, the Kings started creating a much bigger mess.

Staples Center was buzzing during the second intermission. Up 4-1, the Kings were outplaying the Stars at both ends of the ice. Equally enjoyable was watching Marc Crawford slowly lose his mind on the bench. Seeing the Kings take it to his team for the second time this week had to be painful.

It was a payback of sorts. Crawford was extremely agonizing to Kings fans while behind the bench in LA. Put the Cloutier thing aside for a moment. Crow was constantly changing the line combinations back then. That must have (at least) contributed to the lack of chemistry on the team. However, it was his doling out of punishment and rewards to players - things that seemed to occur without any sense of consistency - that were the most frustrating. And he was sort of up to his old tricks again this week.

If you saw Crow's face after the Kings iced the game on Monday with an empty net goal, you know just how bad he wanted to beat his former employer. So the move to start Turco on Wednesday vs. the Ducks was perplexing. On the surface that was setting up Auld to start on Thursday vs. the Kings. Now one could try and argue that he went with Turco on Monday and lost - so he was trying to come back with Auld on Thursday for a different look. I just don't buy it. Turco is one of the best goaltenders in the league. When you really want to win, you put your best line-up on the ice. Crawford went against the grain and was burned for it.

It almost didn't happen though. The Kings let the Stars back in the game about 7 minutes into the third when they gave up two goals in less than two minutes. Dallas is loaded with nice young talent and it was on full display Thursday night in downtown. Rookie Jamie Benn scored, followed by Mark Fistric (his first ever) and then...and then...the Real Deal James Neal tied things up with less than three minutes to go (his second goal of the night).

Earlier this week I wrote that the Kings needed 11 points by midnight tonight...and they needed to decide if they wanted to do it the hard way or the easy way. It's the Kings, so of course they were going to choose the hard way. Sure, they came back to win the game in overtime. But giving Dallas a gift point by taking it into an extra session wasn't what you want to see from a team trying to make its mark as more than just "a team on the rise." The Kings need to finish.

Another interesting twist of the game was the lack of power play goals. In a game featuring 11 penalties and two teams in the bottom five on the penalty kill, things looked good on paper. If Dallas was going to get back in the game after being down 4-1 you would think they'd have to take advantage of some power play time. Nope. The only PPG goal of the night was Kopitar's second tally.

...and the Frolov watch continues. He had two assists on the night, including a beautiful set up on Simmonds goal. Speaking of Wayne the Train, he looked fine playing up front in place of Williams. What a day for #17. In a matter of hours he goes from losing his linemates (who were "promoted" to the second line), to ending up on the top line with the two hottest Kings - Kopitar and Smyth.

Two games against Dallas, two wins. Twelve points after the first 10 games. Right on track.

The headline stays. Hat's off to you #11 for a memorable night.


10 Tidbits vs Stars - Plus FREE tickets

The Dallas Stars skate into Staples Center tonight to face the Kings. Things to keep an eye on:
  • The Coaches: Stars Coach Marc Crawford makes his first trip back to the Staples Center after being fired by the Kings. Earlier this week he was less than pleased when his team lost to LA in Dallas. Now that MacTavish is gone from Edmonton, could Crow become the new psycho bench boss that loses his cool when playing in LA? Kings Coach Terry Murray is one win away from his 400th in the regular season.
  • The Captains: Brenden Morrow returns to Staples after missing nearly all of last year with a knee injury. He almost always comes up big against the Kings...well, against just about every team for that matter. Dustin Brown has 22 points in 32 games vs Dallas, his most vs any opponent. He needs only one more point to reach 200 for his NHL career.
  • The other Captain: Mike Modano has already announced this is last season in the NHL. Unfortunately, LA fans won't get to see one of the greatest American born players tonight. He is out with a rib injury.
  • In-n-Out: King killer Brad Richards will not play...meanwhile one of the best agitators in the league will, Steve Ott returns for more of his OTToberfest tour of North America. Yes, the Stars marketing team is actually using that phrase this month. Wow! The Kings have sent Oscar Moller back to Manchester. Justin Williams is doubtful for the game.
  • The Kids: The Real Deal James Neal - Dallas definitely has something with this kid, keep an eye on #18. They also have #14 Jamie Benn. Ted Purcell has been bumped down to the third line for the Kings.
  • The Goalies: Quick for LA. Assume it will be Auld for Dallas, after Turco played last night at the Ponda.
  • The News: Frolov and Handzus will be on the second line. Not sure which emotion is more powerful today - joy for Brown, as he gets an upgrade...or sadness for Simmonds as he loses his two linemates.
  • The Penalty Box: Both teams are at the bottom of the league on the penalty kill. If guys end up in the box, could be a high scoring affair.
  • The Leaders: Kopitar and Smyth lead the Kings with 13 points. Can they both post another multi-point game?
  • The Trends: In the last 10 games overall vs. the Stars, LA is 7-2-1. Yet, they're only 5-4-1 in the last 10 on home ice. Since the beginning of 2006, 8 of the Kings 12 victories over the Stars have been in come back fashion.

Dallas vs. LA, take two. Want to go to the game? We're giving away two pairs of tickets to the game tonight. Simply reply to yesterday's post about Alexander Frolov and you'll be entered to win. It's that easy! Hurry up - deadline is 2pm today. Details below.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What To Do About Nothing (updated)

Alexander Frolov is an enigma. The Kings have changed everything but his number. General Managers, Coaches and teammates have all tried to figure him out. Defining the problem is simple, solving it is the issue. Which Frolov will show up on a nightly basis? Flip a coin, your guess is as good as mine.

So, how about we have some fun with it? We have two pairs of tickets to see the Kings battle the Dallas Stars on Thursday 10/22 at Staples Center.

To win one of these pairs tell us what you think the Kings should do with the uber talented, equally frustrating Frolov. Should they bench him for an extended period? Cut his minutes? Change his linemates? Or...should they finally cut bait and trade him? Perhaps, you even have a different idea. Let us know.

It can be short, it can be long. Either way, simply post your comment below and you'll be entered into the contest. We'll randomly select two winners from all posts completed by 2pm on Thursday 10/22. Yes, its just that easy.

Be sure to either sign in with your AOL or Google account before posting and/or include your email address in your post. If you win, we'll need to contact you tomorrow afternoon to arrange ticket delivery.

Good luck!


UPDATE - Congratulations to readers "Brian M" and "Sarruh" for winning the tickets. We're attempting to contact you now. Please email us back at to arrange ticket delivery. If you didn't win, we'll have another contest up soon. Thanks to all that entered. Remember, follow us on twitter for other exclusive opportunities and info.

Image courtesy of BBC. For official rules click here.