Friday, May 7, 2010

Kings + Michigan + IIHF + USA...and the Spirit of 76(k)

In just a few a time-zone far, far away...Captain Jack (Johnson) and his Kings teammate, Matt Greene, will lead Team USA onto the ice at the 2010 Hockey World Championships.

Surrounding them will be slightly over 76,000 fans...enough to set a new world record for hockey attendance.  And enough people to make a hell of a lot of noise.

In fact, yesterday on NHL radio an executive from USA Hockey (Jim Johannson) said that he expects most of the crowd to be standing and singing much of the game...if not the whole game.  According to Johannson, it's just par for the course when you pack a football stadium (that's soccer stadium to you Yank') full of hockey fans and get them all liquored up.  That's how they roll, Euro style.

Captain Jack and Greener aren't the only players with a connection to both the Kings and the attendance record.  Former Kings forward Mike Cammalleri was at the University of Michigan back in 2001 when the Wolverines faced off against Michigan State in the Cold War game...played outdoors at the Spartan's football stadium, filled with 74,000 students, fans and alumni.  That fun filled event set the current record, which will be broken later this afternoon.

Although the 76,000 and change that will witness today's tournament opening game between Germany and the U.S. will just barely beat the current hockey attendance record set by Michigan-MSU, it's going to obliterate the record for the World Championships.  It was way back in 1957 when 55,000 fans filled (then) Lenin Stadium in Moscow to watch the Soviets and Swedes battle it out for gold at the final game of the Worlds.  After today, that achievement will be no more.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hey Bud, let's party...well, almost.

With their series tied 2-2, the Manchester Monarchs traveled to Worcester tonight for a pivotal game five match-up vs. the AHL's Sharks.

Ho, hum...another game, another shutout for Jonathan Bernier.

And then there's this little tidbit...Bud Holloway had ANOTHER game winner! This guy is playing out of his mind right now. The Monarchs have been victorious in seven playoff games this year, with Holloway picking up the game-winner in SIX of those!

Incredible? Amazing? Unbelievable? How about all of that and a little more...damn, Bud.

His goal was the only puck to find the back of the net the entire game.  Meanwhile, Bernier stopped 30 shots at the other end of the ice.  So, with their 1-0 victory, the Monarchs now hold a 3-2 lead in the second round series.

Holloway (3rd round) and Bernier (1st round) were both selected by the Kings in the 2006 NHL Draft, just a few months after Dean Lombardi was hired.  For now, they're polishing their resumes in Manchester.

Bud, Bernier and the boys will be looking to party hard on Friday night. A win at home and the series is over.

To view video highlights from last night's game, courtesy of the AHL, click here.

The Mayor

Captain Jack steers Team USA onto TV

Captain Jack Sparrow once said 'The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can’t do.'

And according to Team USA...well, Jack Johnson CAN indeed play hockey - pretty well, in fact.  Earlier today he was named Captain of the USA squad getting ready to play in the Hockey World Championships over in Germany.

More on that in a minute though.  The other big news is...and hockey fans probably haven't uttered these words since the dispute with Versus was resolved about six weeks ago...DAMN YOU DIRECTV!  It looks like NBC's Universal Sports will be televising the Championships.  However, if you have DirecTV, you won't be seeing anything - they don't carry the channel.  Cable subscribers can click here for more info.

Now back to Captain Jack (Johnson, that is)... draft note

With the Kings out of the playoffs now most (some?) of the attention among LA hockey fans has turned to the draft - being held here in SoCal next month. has also slowly been rolling out their draft experts over the last month or so, offering various predictions for the first round.  Last month they offered five different mock drafts - eat your heart out Mel Kiper fans.  A few of their guys had the Kings drafting...gulp...a player labeled 'the Next Frolov' - Stanislav Galiev (we had a recap article on that one up here).

Well, today came a new nugget from  They asked three of their experts to do a second mock draft.  Hope you're sitting down for this one.

After each player projected to be taken by the Kings the author was allowed a one line justification of his pick.  It usually is a comment about the player.

However, Brad Holland's prognostication had this gem on the Kings organization:

PICK:  Nick Bjugstad, C, Blaine (HIGH-MN)SKINNY: Not much the Kings need – they're loaded in almost every position – Bjugstad a good backup to Kopitar.

Re-read it a few times.  Not often will you see things like that written about the Kings.

Even though it's not completely true - they aren't loaded with forwards - it's still amazing what Dean Lombardi has done with the franchise in just a few short years.

The Mayor

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Kings Johnson & Greene get things started for Team USA

The IIHF's World Hockey Championships kick off on Friday in Germany. As a tune-up, Team USA played their lone pre-tournament game earlier today. And a pair of Kings defensemen helped lead the charge. Jack Johnson had a goal, while Matt Greene chipped in with an assist in the 3-1 win.

The following is a snipet of the official game recap from USA Hockey:
After Yorick Treille gave France a 1-0 lead at 11:01 of the first period, Okposo knotted the score with his first marker 4:52 into the middle frame. Matt Greene (Grand Ledge, Mich./Los Angeles Kings/Univ. of North Dakota) sent a pass to Nick Foligno (Buffalo, N.Y./Ottawa Senators), who fed Okposo with a cross-ice goalmouth pass for a tap-in goal past Fabrice Lhenry.
While on the power play, the U.S. grabbed a 2-1 advantage with 7:29 remaining in the second period. T.J. Oshie (Warroad, Minn./St. Louis Blues/Univ. of North Dakota) collected a Brandon Dubinsky (Anchorage, Alaska/New York Rangers) pass behind the French net and fed Jack Johnson (Ann Arbor, Mich./Los Angeles Kings/Univ. of Michigan) at the top of the left circle, where he fired a one-timer over Lhenry's blocker.
You can read the full report by clicking here.

Team USA will begin pool play on Friday vs. host Germany. They'll then play again on 5/10 and 5/12.  For you diehards out there, you can watch the games online for a small fee. Just click here for the details.

The Mayor