Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Kings Out, King three other news items

So, the Kings are out of the playoffs...but, King is still alive and well.  As in, Dwight King...the 6'3" left wing - a fourth round pick of the Kings back in 2007 - has been getting his playoff groove going the last few days.  King's Manchester Monarchs appeared to be clicking just fine through the first few rounds of the playoffs.  Then, they ran into the AHL juggernaut that is the Hershey Bears.  King and his fellow band of Kings prospects blinked and they were down 0-2 in the series to the defending AHL Calder Cup Champions.

However...they say a team is never in trouble until they lose on home ice.  The boys must have taken that to heart.  They battled back in game three Monday night, rallying for a 3-2 win in OT.  Then, last night they rode the back of Jonathan Bernier (again!) to pick up a 1-0 victory.  Bamn...series tied.  The pivotal game five will be Thursday, with the winning team heading back to Hershey with a 3-2 series lead.  I'm sure Ron Hextall hopes it's the Monarchs.  Don't you?

Three other things Kings fans should keep an eye on:

* Team USA wins the relegation round at the IIHF World Hockey Championships...but, Captain Jack Johnson isn't coming home with a medal this time.  Is that really a win?  I've heard the expression "Second place is just first place for losers."  So, what does that make the "winner" of the losers pool?  Let's just call it lucky...because a loss would have been a HUGE black eye for the U.S. program...a program that had clearly been on the rise the last 24 months (see: Olympics, World Juniors, etc.).  If this was Canada, they would be rioting right now...and not in celebration. 
* Former King Ian Laperriere was thought to be lost for the playoffs.  Somehow, someway he was cleared to return to practice earlier this week.  At first rumors circulated that he would be back in the line-up for the Flyers in game three last night.  That didn't happen.  And it now looks more likely to be game 5 at the earliest.  Regardless, it would be amazing for him to return this season...and even more incredible to see him raise the Cup.  Lappy is truly one of the good guys in the sport. 

* If you're not watching the Memorial Cup on the NHL Network, you're missing out.  The junior hockey super tournament has several highly ranked players that will be selected in next month's NHL draft in Los Angeles.  The defending champion Windsor Spitfires have already secured a spot in the finals.  Their opponent will be determined from two teams that all Kings fans should be interested in right now - the Calgary Hitmen and the Brandon Wheat Kings...between them they have three Kings prospects - forward Brandon Kozun and goalie Martin Jones on the Hitmen and Brayden Schenn and the host Wheat Kings.

For those out of the loop, Kozun won the CHL scoring title this year (he's likely headed to Manchester next season) and Schenn was the Kings first round draft pick last summer.  While Windsor appears to be the odds on favorite to win it all again, these future Kings-to-be would love to have the chance to add another trophy to their resume.  Their teams will square off tonight at 5pm PST on the NHL Network.

Then, in a quirky bit of scheuduling following the round robin results, Calgary and Brandon will meet again on Friday night at 5pm PST in the semi-finals of the Memorial Cup.  The winner of that game will then meet Windsor on Sunday for the 2010 title.  Recently, Calgary has out-played Brandon when the two teams have met, so tonight's game is expected to set the tone for Friday's semi-final.

By the way, Hextall (the Kings Assistant GM) played junior hockey with the Brandon Wheat Kings.  Yet, Calgary's Jones will be in his sphere of (development) influence beginning next season.  Mixed feelings, huh?

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The Mayor

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