Saturday, May 1, 2010

Goose Eggs All Around

If only it was Tuesday night...or Thursday night...we could've used the tired ol' radio expression TwoFer Tuesday in the headline...

It was a double dose of shutouts Friday night for a pair of Kings prospects.

Jonathan Bernier and the Manchester Monarchs blanked the Worcester Sharks 5-0 to take a 2-1 lead in their second round AHL series.  Bernier's sixth playoff win with the team moved him into a tie with Jason LaBarbera for the most in Monarchs history. 

Bud Holloway, featured here yesterday, picked up an assist in the game - running his points streak up to seven games.  Shockingly, it was somebody other than Bud with the game winning goal...this time the honor went to Gabe Gauthier.  The four other Monarchs goals were scored by Trevor Lewis (2), Corey Elkins and David Meckler. 

Bernier and Lewis were both drafted in the first round by the Kings back in 2006 - just a few months after Dean Lombardi took over as General Manager.  Meckler was taken that same year, in the 5th round.

You can click here to read the official Monarchs recap of the game.

Up north in Calgary the Hitmen, led by Kings goalie prospect Martin Jones, blanked the Tri-City Americans 7-0 in their opening game of the WHL Finals.  League scoring champion - and Kings 6th round pick last summer - Brandon Kozun scored yet again.

Both series resume tomorrow night. a special bonus - you can catch the Hitmen v Americans game on TV (it's on tape delay, but still)...Fox Sports NorthWest will be showing the game at 12:30am PST on Sunday Morning (or late Saturday night, depending how you look at it)...DirecTV viewers can tune to 687.  Tell your DVRs to record WHL Jones and Kozun...enjoy.

You can view FSN's full TV schedule for the series by clicking here.

One more bit of news for you on the way out the door today...

Kyle Clifford, the only other Kings prospect of note still playing, had a pair of goals on Thursday night for the Barrie Colts...however, it wasn't enough, they lost...and are now down 0-2 in the OHL Finals vs. the Windsor Spitfires.  That series resumes in Windsor on Sunday afternoon. 

Readers of this site may recall back in September when Kings Assistant Coach Mark Hardy had plenty of good things to say about Clifford coming out of Rookie Training Camp.  Drafted last summer in the second round, he looks like a kid to keep an eye on.

The Mayor

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hey Bud, What's Your Problem?

If you were around in the early 80s, you know all about today's headline...taken from a classic movie that helped launch Sean Penn's career - Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

In turn, perhaps these are the playoffs that launch the career of Kings prospect Bud Holloway. Drafted in the third round, just months after Dean Lombardi was hired in 2006, he's on fire with Manchester right now.

The Monarchs have won five games in the AHL playoffs this spring...Holloway has scored the game winner in all of them!

A few guys taken before him have received more press - names like Bernier and Trevor Lewis...and his former teammate with the Seattle Thunderbirds, Thomas Hickey, received more pub when he was taken by Lombardi in the first round the following year...yet, Holloway has consistently just been biding his time and putting up points.

He finished his junior career by posting the third most goals in the WHL (2007-08).  Last year he started the season with Manchester and scored a goal in his debut.  He later made his way to Southern California...just not to play with the Kings, being sent down to the ECHL's Ontario Reign.  The 6' winger was perhaps the best player in Ontario, including leading the team in points and assists during the playoffs.

After this season he'll have one year remaining on his three-year entry level contract.

Holloway lead the Monarchs in points this season...and now has points in six straight playoff games.

He'll be looking for more Friday night when the Monarchs and the Worcester Sharks lace 'em up for game three of their second round series.


The Mayor

note: the official recap of the game can be found on the Monarchs website.

...and if you're having a bad day or in need of a good laugh, click here to see a 2 minute clip of Spicoli meeting Mr. Hand for the first time.

Matt Greene to play for Team USA

According to Kevin Allen of USA Today, Matt Greene will join Jack Johnson on Team USA at the World Championships next month in Germany.

Below is an excerpt from his article this morning:
The addition of Phoenix Coyotes' Keith Yandle and Los Angeles Kings Matt Greene Wednesday has strengthened USA's defense as it prepares to compete at the World Championships in Germany, May 7-23.

New Jersey's Andy Greene and Los Angles Kings' Jack Johnson were already committed to playing for the squad.

"The defense really got better yesterday," said USA Hockey's international hockey guru Jim Johannson. "Our first four are top flight NHL guys who play lots of minutes and the next four are all the perfect age bracket to gain identity...for the most part they were all solid contributors all year."
You can read the full article here:

The Mayor

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

High / Low Season Review with... the Mayor

Over the past six months a myriad of hockey personalities have stopped by with their opinions on the Kings and the NHL as a whole.  Names like Luc Robitaille, Jeremy Roenick, Mike Modano, Marcel Dionne, Jim Fox and many, many more.

Today, it's my turn.  The Mayor weighs in with his thoughts on the 2009-10 Kings season.  So, here we go...


* Drew Doughty - Nearly every game Kings fans and coaches are probably pinching themselves and asking 'Is he really only 20 years old?' He was amazing as a rookie and didn't experience the dreaded sophomore slump. In fact, he got better. The Olympics were invaluable to his learning experience and the Norris Trophy nomination was the icing on the cake to a great second season for DD.

* 101 Points - Hockey experts picked this team 7th, 8th or out of the playoffs.  To cross the century mark in points was fabulous for a team that is just now starting to come together.  You can see the potential in the core group of players...the potential that Dean Lombardi has been talking about the last three seasons.  If there was any knock on the regular season, it's the loss of points that could have been.  When a team gives up a point in a game coaches like to say 'it all evens out over the course of the year'.  By my count it didn't balance out after 82 games.  The Kings gave away about four more points than they stole.  Getting just one of those points would have meant a different match up in the playoffs.  However, I know...coulda, shoulda, woulda.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Daryl Evans recaps LA-VAN series on NHL Radio

Daryl Evans - former player and current radio analyst for the Kings - joined the Power Play on NHL radio this afternoon.  Here's a brief recap of his analysis of the just completed LA-Vancouver playoff series:

* The Kings came out and did exactly what they needed to do last night by coming out and setting the tempo early on.  They out-chanced and out shot the Canucks in the first period.  They scored first. And if the Kings could have found a way to open up a two goal lead last night, he believes they'd be back in Vancouver tomorrow night for game seven.

* Thoughts on Luongo - he wasn't extremely busy...he didn't have to make a large volume of saves in the series...but, when he needed to he came up big. Two big saves come to mind - the stop of Frolov in game four (that would have put the Kings up by two goals in the third) and the stop last night on Ryan Smyth "that looked to be a for sure goal."

* Is the fact the series was so close the 'positive' message the Kings have to take away from the series?  The loss is disappointing.  During the regular season the Kings were 29-0-2 when entering the third period with a lead.  They couldn't repeat that success in the playoffs, giving third period leads away in the three games at Staples Center.  They were outscored 11-3 in the third periods of this series.  So, there's some work to be done.  You have to give yourself a pat on the back for making the playoffs.  However, there's probably a handful of events in the series that if 'this or that' would have happened, the Kings would have been in control of the series.  They gave Vancouver a battle...and for this team and the organization - it's going to pay dividiends in the years to come.  In talking to the guys last night, they couldn't wait to get going again next year.  They wanted to apply what they learned.  They believe they're a playoff team now.

* Lots of questions about Quick coming out of the series.  What's your evaluation?  Quick played real solid, especially early on in the series.  He was a factor in the games the Kings won.  Looking at game five, I dont think you can point the finger at the goaltending.  The Kings inability to score 5 on 5 in the series was a factor.  He didn't get the support he needed at the key times.  The Kings had a total of 7 even strength goals in the six games.  Their power play was red hot and that kept them in the series.  Quick learned a lot.  He probably played more than anybody else in the league this year and he works harder than anybody.  If it wasn't for his strong play throughout the year, the Kings wouldn't have even been in postseason.  Next year it will probably be Quick and Bernier.  Splitting the duties next year will probably help both.  I dont want to say Quick was tired, maybe mentaly drained - but, it's a learning process for him and the organization.  The lack of goals were a greater factor in the outcome of the series.

* Simmonds was impressive in the series.  Thoughts?  He was a bright spot for sure.  His strong work ethic over the last two years has given him a spot on the team.  In a perfect world he probably belongs on your 2nd or 3rd line, even though he played up front with Kopitar at times.  Next year, with a few more pounds, he'll be even better.  The scouts did a great job in finding him and convincing Lombardi to draft him.  He led the team in +/- this season and he'll only get better as he matures.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Nick Nickson please pick up the white courtesy phone.  We've heard from Bob Miller in an interview here on Mayors Manor a few weeks ago...Jim Fox stopped by with his High / Low points from game four...above are some comments from Daryl (via NHL radio)...

Nick Nickson, you're on the clock...

The Mayor

Where Do We Go From Here?

The series with Vancouver had several positives.  As the dust settles here over the next 48 hours I'm sure it will be easier to see it for what it giant step forward for the franchise.

We'll be back in the days to come with a full debrief on what's next...what do the Kings need to do, who's available, what to do with Frolov...and so much more.

Mayors Manor will also have extensive coverage - including tons of interviews - of the 2010 NHL Draft being held in Los Angeles.

Additionally, we'll be covering NHL Free Agency, which kicks off July 1st...and the Kings Summer Prospects camp.

So, fear not, the hockey coverage here on Mayors Manor will continue between now and next season.  Let's just take a few days to rest.  It's been a long season and an emotionally exhausting playoffs.  Time to recharge the batteries for a day or so.

Then, it's pedal to the medal again...

The Kings will be just fine. 


The Mayor

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Keyword for today = FOCUS

The Kings game on Friday night was more like a nightmare.

So, it's not that surprising that as I awoke this morning looking for some inspiration for what lies mind eventually wandered to a 5 year old kid I met back at the Olympics in February.

If you dont recognize the boy pictured on the left, you need to have to check out the video link below.  I'm not sure what Terry Murray and the other coaches have planned for practice this morning...but, at some point, a speech like this is probably necessary.

Granted, the wording would have to be tweaked a little.  But, I'm sure you'll get the idea.

It's all come down to this.

Win or go home. 

I'm calling my shot right now...Kings win 4-1 after a speech like this!

The Mayor