Saturday, April 24, 2010

Jim Fox provides HIGH / LOW on Game 5

The HIGH / LOW series has been one of our most popular features this season.  For those unfamiliar, we invite a guest to provide their opinions on a particular game...basically, their three high points and three low points. 

Previous guests have included a couple of Hall of Famers (Luc Robitaille & Marcel Dionne), a few former Kings (Rob Blake & Kelly Hrudey), current and former Kings coaches (Andy Murray & Mark Hardy), arguably the greatest American born player in history (Mike Modano)...and many more.

Yet, way back at the beginning of the season we kicked off the 2009-2010 campaign with a special three game HIGH / LOW series with Kings television analyst Jim Fox.  He provided opinions after the Kings faced off with Phoenix, San Jose and Minnesota.  Although the Kings went 2-1 over that stretch, Jim didn't pull any punches - including calling out Drew Doughty for what he called "his worst game as a King."

Jim, Jimmy, Foxy...whatever you call him...the man with the perfect hair has returned!  I checked in with him this morning for another round of HIGH / LOW, this time regarding last night's dreadful 7-2 loss in Vancouver.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Robitaille tells NHL Radio the Kings aren't panicking

This afternoon Luc Robitaille was on the NHL Power Play radio show. Here are the key highlights:

* We're real happy with the way the young guys have been playing in this series.

* When did things really start to come together for this team? When Dean Lombardi was hired he preached patience to the ownership. The first few years were painful. Bringing in high character guys has made a big difference. The young core is going to carry us for a long time.

* On Doughty's Norris nomination - Great speed and size. The way he reads the game makes the big difference. When he has the puck you always feel he has things under control. He has something you can't teach. He's an all around player that can do it all - he can be the best player on the power play, then turn around and be your best penalty killer too.

* People make a big deal about the youth of the Kings - how will they rebound from that 3rd period in game four when Vancouver took over? We think the team played well, they just made a few mistakes. We need to keep a man high. We need to be responsible in our own end. When you make a mistake against the league's leading scorer, eventually he's going to score. The game came down to a few mistakes and a few of those ended up in our net. I don't think there is any panic on our side. We always knew we were going to have to perform well on the road in this series. We would have loved to win in Wednesday...but we didn't. We had a great scoring chance with Frolov on a breakaway...if he scores, it's game over. I expect a real tight game tonight and we've been real good in those type of games this year.

* Some people questioned giving the C to Dustin Brown at such a young age. What is he maturing into on and off the ice? He has been great for our organization. He's the kind of player that every day he's your hardest worker. He's one of the few players that with one body check can turn a game around. It's very rare that you do that - it's really hard for forwards to lead the league in hits...and he's always in the top three. It's truly amazing the way he plays. He's one of those typical power forward - but with high skill. He reminds me of Adam Deadmarsh - he goes all out, real hard to the net...every time he hits someone you think he's going to hurt them because he hits so hard. Building the team and the character we wanted to have, it was very important for us to have a guy like that at the core of our leadership.

* The power play has been clicking lately. How do you explain the success? The movement of our defenseman has been key. When you have young defenseman that can move at the blueline that much, it's very hard to kill a penalty. Obviously, there have been a few goals that have gone in almost like they had a set of eyes. But, at the end of the day, if you can get it through it creates chances. Doughty and Johnson have been able to get it through and that's been a huge help to the power play.

* They also talked a little about Luc winning gold at the 1994 World Championships for Team Canada, his son Jessarae and how the Hall of Fame (hasn't) changed him. Small chit-chat, nothing major.

The Mayor

Jim Fox on NHL Live Radio

Earlier this morning Jim Fox joined NHL Live radio for a quick chat.  He talked Doughty, Modin, the playoffs and more.  Here are some highlights:

* Did the Kings let one slip away with the loss in game four?  He thinks part of that perception may be due to expectations.  The Kings really have approached this as the old cliche says 'One game at a time.' He says they didn't handle the 3rd period well the other night though - playing wide open hockey, when they needed to clamp it down.

* Foxy says Freddy Modin has emerged as a leader on the team.  He's a settle things down type player.  He's not overly dynamic or overly physical on the ice.  Great story - in game one there was a young player on the bench who was just trying to figure things out.  An assistant coach came over and was talking to him.  When the coach was done Modin said 'I'll take care of this. For the rest of the game I'll show him what's going on. I'll help him around, you dont have to worry about it.' The coaches loved the way he took ownership of the situation.

* Terry Murray has been talking up Johnson and Doughty playing well together now.  Was there friction between them?  Jim doesn't think so.  He thinks they were just two players trying to make a name for themselves.  Doughty is a hockey savant.  Jack is always working on his game.  Now they're supporting each other.  There was a competition between the two before.  Now they're working together.

* RE: Vancouver putting the Sedins on the penalty kill the other night.  Kopitar will now probably become a bigger element on the power play going forward, with the play down low picking up.

The Mayor

No East Coast Bias Here...

It can be difficult at times for athletes in California to capture the attention of the national media. Sure, players like Kobe and Manny are the exception...winning championships goes a long way. Without one, it can be a challenge. Just ask Adrian Gonzalez down in San Diego. He may be the best first baseman in baseball and his family members might be the only people that can pick him out of a line-up.

Here is Los Angeles...and now across North America...the coming out party for Drew Doughty continues.

Plenty of hockey experts were scratching their head when the 20 year old defenseman was named to the Canadian Olympic team back in December. He started the games in Vancouver as the 8th defenseman. He ended up being a leader in minutes played and left town with a gold medal.

His nomination for the Norris Trophy this morning puts an official stamp on what people in Los Angeles have been saying for almost two seasons now - this kid is a flat out stud. Good beyond his years. had this to say in the article announcing his nomination:

From All-Rookie Team member in 2008-09 to Norris Trophy finalist, it's been a remarkable ascent for the 20-year-old Doughty.

In 82 games this season, he had 16 goals, 43 assists and 59 points with a plus-20 rating. Among all League defensemen, Doughty was first in game-winning goals (5), second in power-play points (31), tied for second in goals and power-play goals (9), third in points, and tied for fifth in assists and power-play assists (22).

"His year has been spectacular through this season," coach Terry Murray said. "The points, the key situations, the fact that the team has moved up in the standings and is starting to get some recognition around the League.

"He's an anchor for us back there, and I think, right now, he's comparable, No. 1 and on the defensive part of the game, with plus/minus and minutes played."
Doughty has tough competition from Mike Green (Washington Capitals) and Duncan Keith (Chicago Blackhawks). The winner will be announced at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas this June.

Back in November we published 10 Tidbits on Doughty. If you missed it, click here to read. You'll get a look at his first ever hockey card - at the age of four! Plus, you'll get plenty of fun facts on the player you'll be hearing a lot more about in the years to come!

UPDATE: Doughty spoke to the media following the morning skate on 4/23/10:

The Mayor

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Happy Anniversary Dean Lombardi

Kings fans are very familiar with the key moments in franchise history - Robitaille winning the Calder Trophy, Gretzky traded to LA, Doughty being drafted...and so many more.

Rarely does the hiring of a General Manager stand out for an organization. Key dates are usually reserved for incredible achievements of the players themselves.

However, today is an exception...

On this day - April 21st - back in 2006, the Kings took a monumental step forward. They went out and hired a well respected leader, a man with a distinct vision for what the organization needed from top to bottom. He was determined to put his stamp on each component of the organization that he believed will ultimately bring a Stanley Cup to Los Angeles.

He's largely been an open book for people following the team, explaining his thought process every step of the way. He hasn't hid from criticism when people don't agree with his moves. He's also been quick to share any praise when his staff, especially with his right hand man Ron Hextall. He's believed in the current group of players every step of the way. He's taught most Kings fans to be patient...and he must be smiling with the Kings FINALLY back in the playoffs.

Today we celebrate...with IN DEAN WE TRUST Day here at MayorsManor.

Show your support...

VISIT THE STORE: Mayors Manor Store

There are a wide range of styles and colors to select from. We have everything from a basic value t-shirt for only $12.95...all the way up to a limited edition, premium style garment-dyed t-shirt.

...order today and save using your coupon code "_____" when checking out.

Wear it with pride - IN DEAN WE TRUST!

The Mayor

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Two minutes in the box... with The Briggs

If you've been to Staples Center this season or watched the Kings on Fox Sports West you can't escape the song This is LA.  It's been all over the place, almost like the unofficial anthem of the team.

The catchy tune was written by a local LA band - The Briggs.

Fans attending the game at Staples Center last night were treated to a live performance of This is LA before the game started.  Then, because the Kings were able to defeat the Canucks...The Briggs gave an encore performance as people left the arena.

They're scheduled to play again tomorrow night for game four.  But, first - lead singer, Joey LaRocca, joined the Mayor for a quick visit...where they talk hockey (of course!), playing in Europe, tattoos, Bad Religion, the Warped Tour and Drew Doughty. 

MM:  So let's start with the chicken or the egg question - were you guys hockey fans before you wrote the song...or are you becoming hockey fans now that the Kings have embraced the song?

JL:  I'd say it's a little bit of both.  With the amount of touring we do it's hard to keep up with sports.  But, with the Kings using our song definitely has stoked some fires within us and we follow more closely now.

Now, you've probably answered this a thousand times in interviews...but, for Kings fans just now finding out about the band, give them a little was the band put together.  By you and your brother, right?

Right, we started the band about 8 years ago.  We're from LA.  We started playing small clubs here in town, then started touring around the U.S.  We ended up getting signed, doing a couple records and then eventually ended up going over to Europe and playing, with our last record I decided to write a song that was an ode to our hometown.  So, it all kinda worked out (he laughs).

Writing a song about your home town is pretty punk rock, right ---- X wrote "Los Angeles" back in the hey day...more recently the Distillers had "City of Angeles"....were either of those songs part of the inspiration behind your song?

I have a special place for songs that celebrate a city and a place.  I like how they give off a vibe and a warmth - if that's a place that's true to you.  While it wasn't maybe those two songs for me, I'd say 'Fairytale in New York' by the Pogues is probably a better example of a song that's inspirational to me.  I know it's not a 'Los Angeles' song, but the idea of having a song that is nostalgic about a place that you have been or are from even.  That song strikes a cord with me.

With your solo stuff you go by the name Joey Briggs, even though that isn't your real last name...and in the video for This is LA there is a Briggs Plaza.  Is that where the name actually comes from or is that just a coincidence?
Actually, it's a street near where I live.  So, that's kinda where it came from.  It's not in conjunction with street pride or anything (he laughs, realizing it probably sounds very gangster to name your band after your hood).  We were in a pinch looking for a name, so we were just driving down the street one day turning things we saw into bands names...we were like 'The Street Lamps'...and 'The Street Signs'...then 'The Briggs'.
I thought that sounded kinda cool and it just ended up working.  It seemed to fit the band actually.  It had sort of a nautical theme, being the jail on a naval boat or things like that.  So it had a cool, rugged connotation I guess. It just ended up working for us.
Well 'The Briggs' is a much better name than 'The Street Lamps' so you guys made the right call...
Yeah, we definitely scored there - not going with 'The Rolled Up Hose' was a good move.
This is LA was actually first released back in the summer of 2008.  As an artist, is it weird for a song to be getting so much attention this long after its release?  You guys are already working on material for the next album, so is it awkward at all?

It is strange, but it's also kinda relieving in a way though. You hope to make stuff that can find a way to stand up over time and be interesting to people.  Music has such a short shelf life these days.  Bands have to turn out albums so quickly these days because people are losing interest so quickly.  So, it's nice that late in the game with this particular song and record - it's cool that it continues to grow and is probably more popular now than it was when it was first released.

You guys have played the Warped Tour quite a few times.  That's one of the biggest tours of the summer every year.  As a fan going to Warped it can be daunting sometimes with all the bands there and the 5 or 6 stages.  How do you cut through all the clutter when you're there and try to grab people's attention?

It's really tough.  It takes a lot of work.  That's one thing that we try to pride ourselves a band, we've never half-assed things.  We always want to be in people's faces and doing things.  We'd spend time in the merch tent talking to and signing things for our fans.  We'd do little acoustic sets in various tents there, just doing whatever we could do to engage people.  It's really easy to get lost in that whole mix and if you don't put much effort into it or you don't really care, it's not going to pan out so well for you. 

It is very daunting, you're right.  I still go to Warped, as a fan, when we're not playing. It's exhausting and overwhelming.  There's noise everywhere and you don't know where to go...and I'm a veteran of the tour.  So, I can't even imagine what it's like for some 15 year old kid who shows up and starts thinking 'What do I do? I don't know where to go. What's going on here?'

I've seen you guys live a few times - including at one of my favorite venues, the Divebar in Vegas.  Bands always have such good stories from being out on the you have a few tales you could share with us?

I'll say this, there have been a few of those times where you really need a pick-me-up.  We had one of those moments on our last tour of Europe. Our drummer had a family emergency and he had to fly home.  We had to train up a replacement drummer within two days, just to continue on with the tour.  It was a really rough situation because we were in such a bind.  We had a band that was touring with us and their drummer agreed to do the shows for us.  He wasn't very familiar with our material at all, so basically he had to learn 26 songs in 48 hours...and we had to pull favors from people to find a rehearsal space.

This was last summer when we had all kinds of fires back in California, specifically in La Crescenta - where I live.  So, all I'm seeing in the headlines of Yahoo! news online was 'La Crescenta Fires, People Being Evacuated'.  My wife was back home pregnant at the time, so it was a very stressful week. 

We were in Italy at the time and had a day off before our next show in France.  We just wanted to go the beach and have a mental rest.  One of the life guards at the beach looked over at us and said 'Aren't you guys the Briggs?'  We told him we were and he said 'I saw you guys a couple of days ago in Milan.'  It was strange because we weren't anywhere near Milan and there just happened to be this life guard who knew who we were.  He said 'If you guys want, I can call some friends over and we can have a BBQ.'  You get those offers from time to time being in a band.  However, sometimes it doesn't live up to the ideas people have of what it's going to be.  Sometimes you just end up sitting around staring at other people and it can be awkward.

It ended up being an incredible time.  They did a big BBQ right on the beach after the beach had closed.  They cooked up a fish.  We had great bread, beer, wine...all sorts of stuff.  We grabbed a couple of paddle boats that they usually rent out...we were rolling around out in the water at night.  It was one of those amazing experiences, one of those things that not a lot of people get to have.  We've been very fortunate to have certain experiences in our lives - just as people, not even as a band. 

It was a pick-me-up like you wouldn't believe.  We were so bummed out and this gave us new reason to keep going.

You guys have played with Bad Religion a few times.  We interviewed Greg Hetson at the start of the season - he's a huge Kings fan and has been for a long, long time.  Have you guys ever had a chance to sit down and talk hockey with him?

I haven't really had a chance to do that yet.  But, I know he is a big fan and I see him at the games occasionally.  When you're touring with other bands that is one of the great things, getting to hear the stories and experiences of people like Greg.

On that Bad Religion tour we did have another pretty awesome experience though, sort of tying things back to that last question.  We were with Bad Religion in New Jersey and Bruce Springsteen's son is a punk fan.  He came to the show with his son and came back stage afterwards.  We all met him and then he stuck around and told some stories about touring back in the day on a Greyhound bus...using public transportation to get from gig to gig.  That was pretty crazy to hear those stories.

You made reference earlier to still going and watching other bands perform.  What's the best live show you've ever seen and what made it so great?

That's a tough question.  I guess I'd say one of the shows that really stands out...and it's weird because I've seen them so many times and we've toured with would be a Dropkick Murphys show in London at an Academy.  Just the venue itself and the atmosphere that was created at that particular show was so over the top and amazing.  It embraced everything that a show like that should be.

Yeah, the venue can make such a difference when you see a band sometimes...

Exactly.  And that reminds me of another show actually.  In 2008 we played the Reading Festival in England.  The headliner was Rage Against the Machine and that was insane.  Again, it had to do with the atmosphere.  The energy, the excitement because they hadn't played together in so long.  It was so cool, quite a sight to see.

I see that you guys have a few local shows coming up around SoCal and then in July you're playing with The Dickies and The Adicts - two legendary punk bands.  I would imagine you guys are pretty stoked for that show?

Absolutely.  We've actually played with both of those bands in the past.  But, it's going to be a lot of fun.  It might be sensory overload for some people to have all those bands in one place on the same day.

You guys have more than a few tattoos - anybody in the band get a Kings tattoo yet?

No, no Kings tattoos.  I have a giant "LA" tattoo that's about a foot tall, on the side of my ribs.  But, not anything that is Kings specific.  That's a very good idea though.  I think I might have to do that soon.

Yeah, you need to get that crown ink'd on there pretty soon.

That would be pretty rad.

Do you have a favorite player on the team right now?

Drew Doughty is pretty amazing.  I was a little thrown off last night though.  At first I thought people were booing him when they showed him on the big screen a few times.  Then I realized they were saying 'DRRREEEEWWWW'.  It threw me off for a second.

Final question - or maybe it's a guys will be back inside Staples for the Kings game tomorrow night...any chance you can talk them into letting you guys play every time the Kings score too?

I don't know.  Logistically I think they have some protocols they have to operate within, with the television people and stuff.  I like where they have us placed's pretty cool to play right before the game starts, to get everybody pumped up...then when they win, as soon as the horn blows, we're on playing the song.  There is good energy at those moments...

Definitely I think it would be great if we could play when they score too, to really drive it home.  But, I won't complain.  How we're doing it now, I'm more than happy with how it's going.

Joey, thanks for the interview and I hope we get to hear you twice tomorrow night too.


*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The Briggs ladies and gentleman.  Please exit the building to your left.

On your way out, click here to see video footage of last night's performance from section 308.

The Mayor


Interview w/ Greg Hetson - legendary punk rocker from Bad Religion and the Circle Jerks

10 Tidbits on Drew Doughty

Tuesday Tidbits - highlighting some of the most popular interviews on MayorsManor


Monday, April 19, 2010

Game 3 - video and pics from Staples Center

Drew Doughty ties a franchise record for most points by a defenseman in a playoff game (4 points...1 goal, 3 assists) and the LA Kings take a 2-1 series lead over the Canucks.

Video highlights courtesy of the NHL:

Lots of good pics tonight from the game too - check out the twitter link below.

The Mayor

Recap of Nick Nickson on NHL Live this morning

Not a lot of new ground broken.  Here are the five key highlights:

* When the Kings won the other night there was a great shot of Kings management up in a suite.  Hextall jumps up and Lombardi looks so calm, just sitting there.  Nick says Dean was trying to figure out who he'll be taking in the 7th round of the draft.

* Did it help the Kings at all to play in Canada, in such a hostile environment...did it help get the playoff juices flowing right away?  Nick thinks it did.  The players said they think it did.  They felt the goosebumps the minute they hit the ice.  The anthem got them pumped up.  After game one Nick says the players he was worried about the most coming in - guys without playoff experience, like brown and Kopitar - were the guys he was worried about the least coming out of game one.

* Justin Williams, why the benching in game two?  Terry Murray made significant changes.  Simmonds has played with Smyth and Kopitar this year and it seems like when he gets moved up there he has an extra jump in his step.  Murray was confident he could be effective up on the top line.  Since Williams has come back he seems to be a step behind.  Murray said 'It's the playoffs and I can't wait' for guys to find their game.

* What does LA need to do to score more goals against Luongo.  I think the changes they needed to make from game one to game two they accomplished.  They put more pucks on the net, they were able to get the forecheck and cycle going...and get more people to the net.  You need to disrupt Luongo's flow.

* It looks like Vancouver is playing 8 forwards and 4 defenseman. Meanwhile the Kings are playing all their lines.  Do you think that favors the Kings as the series goes more games?  Nick says yes, thinks the Canucks defensive is something to look at.  He's curious if they'll make a change tonight.  Salo is still hurt.  Alberts hasn't been effective.  As the series series wears on, he'll be keeping an eye on their defensive line-up.  A lot of people that follow the Kings think their top 9 or 10 forwards are pretty deep.  And a lot of times what happens in a playoff series ends up depending on the performance of the third or fourth line.  So that should favor the Kings.

Game three tonight.  7pm.

The Mayor

The Science of Hockey - interview w/ former NHL coach

The links between the LA Kings and Edmonton Oilers are strong - from the Miracle on Manchester in '82 to Wayne Gretzky being traded in '88 to the current trio of former Oilers now with the Kings.

In fact, the last time the Kings made the playoffs another former Oilers captain was wearing black and purple, Kelly Buchberger. And that 2002 team was coached by Andy Murray, a guy who had a reputation for working players hard in practice. Murray's Kings teams even set the NHL record for man games lost in a season.

Interestingly, Buchberger went on to become the strength and conditioning coach in Edmonton for awhile before moving on to become the team's assistant coach. By the time the Oilers made a run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006 - with a team that featured Ryan Smyth, Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene - their strength and conditioning coach was Dr. Chad Moreau. The older brother of Oilers captain Ethan Moreau, Chad is an LA based specialist who previously had worked with the Long Beach Ice Dogs of the ECHL.

After the disastrous season the Oilers had this year - including losing a franchise record 530 games to injury - people are looking for answers...and one area being looked at closely is the fitness of the players.

This is actually an issue facing all teams, including the Kings. So, we sat down with Chad to talk about the science of hockey. In this exclusive MayorsManor interview he responds to criticism form Oilers coach Pat Quinn, tells some interesting stories about Chris Pronger, speculates on what the next generation of fitness will be like in the NHL and goes into quite a bit of detail about what it's like trying to balance the needs of the players and the demands of management.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Night of Firsts

For the first time in eight years the LA Kings are battling for survival in the marathon that's known as the NHL playoffs.

Sixteen teams, two conferences, eight first round match-ups.  A long, long road ahead...with the team lucky enough to reach 16 wins first getting a one-on-one meet and greet with Lord Stanley's Cup.

Along the way records will be set and broken. The same can be said for bones, egos and hearts. Some - in fact, many - will probably be broken multiple times.

Last night was no such night. Instead, hope was realized.  Belief crept in for all the doubters.

It was also a night of similarities.  For the second game in a row the Kings and Canucks needed four periods to find a winner.

Two games in the series...and two matching scores...3-2 win in overtime.

The difference was the outcome.  Game two, Kings win - in a night of firsts...

Anze Kopitar's first playoff goal.

Kopitar's first overtime goal in the playoffs.

Kopi's first game winning goal in the playoffs.

Perhaps equally important to all three of those combined...Jonathan Quick's first playoff win.

Thank you made it all possible...

The Mayor