Friday, September 24, 2010

Camping Guide 2010 - Interview w/ Nic Deslauriers

Defenseman Nic Deslauriers is a kid I've been greatly impressed with from the moment I first saw him on the ice live (see last year's training camp articles). The Kings originally selected him in the third round of the 2008 draft and he appears to have a solid NHL future in front of him.

He was traded earlier this summer from his junior team of the last three years, the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, to the Gatineau Olympiques in the Quebec Junior League (QMJHL).

Given the Kings injury situation, he had an outside shot at making the Kings roster this season. However, earlier today he was reassigned back to juniors.

Prior to being shipped off, Nic makes his MayorsManor debut...

MM: Let's back up a week or so. How did Rookie Camp go for you, prior to starting the main camp last weekend?

BREAKING NEWS - first training camp cuts (updated)

The first of two cuts from this year's training camp are forward Tyler Toffoli and defenseman Nic Deslauriers.

Toffoli is actually expected to play tonight for the Ottawa 67s in their OHL season opener, when they take on the Soo Greyhounds.

Deslauriers, who was recently traded from the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies to Gatineau Olympiques, is on his way back to the QMJHL.  We also just posted a new interview with him right here.

More updates as they're announced today.

[UPDATE - the Kings have now officially announced today's cuts...among the others included - Manchester gets Elkins, Holloway, Jones, Kozun, Nolan, etc.  Also back to juniors: Berube, Weal and Vey.  To see the complete list click here.]

The Mayor

OHL Season Kickoff w/ Ottawa GM Brian Kilrea

Yesterday's look at the Windsor Spitfires featured a glimpse into the man running the reigning and defending champion (that's a Bruce Buffer-ism for all you MMA fans), Warren Rychel.

Later tonight, the OHL season gets underway for two franchises at different points in their development. Neither the Ottawa 67s, nor the Soo Greyhounds enter action ranked in the top-10.  However, both are looking to make some noise as the season wears on.  Tonight, they begin by playing each other.

Each team is led by a GM with strong ties to the Kings organization too.  Dave Torrie has had numerous recent draft picks in the Soo - guys like Wayne Simmonds, Jordan Nolan and Andrew Campbell.  Over in Ottawa, Brian Kilrea's legendary career behind the bench saw him coach former Kings Jim Fox and Rychel, along with this year's second round selection, Tyler Toffoli.

Kilrea also will forever be linked to Los Angeles because of his unique accomplishment on October 14, 1967...when he became the first player in Kings history to score a goal for the franchise.

A few years ago he hung up his coaching whistle - after winning over 1,100 games and earning a place in the Hockey Hall of Fame - for a stint as the GM of the 67s.

Prior to their game tonight with the Soo, we caught up with the junior hockey legend to talk about his time in the OHL.

In another MayorsManor exclusive interview, we talk with Brian Kilrea...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

2010 Eddie Joyal Award - gm3 leaderboard update

After the Kings lost to the Coyotes by a cumulative score of 5-2 tonight, some people may be asking 'Where is the offense?'

Fear not, it's preseason. Not only does it not mean much in the big picture, but the games are being somewhat watered down due to the Kings setting an NHL record by inviting 427 people to training camp this year. In fact, the rumor I heard was that next year they plan on trumping their own 'super camp' idea by being the first team to ever play three preseason games simultaneously.

My understanding is they'll be hosting a game at Staples, while also playing games in Anaheim and San Jose. Should be a good time.

That's next year though...back to the updates on this preseason...

Tonight in Los Angeles the Kings had one goal, from Brayden Schenn (his first of the preseason, assisted by Dustin Brown and Jack Johnson). Over in the desert, Poni Boy (Alex Ponikarovsky) picked up an unassisted goal.

Thus, after three games we have a three-way tie for this year's Eddie Joyal Award:

OHL season kickoff w/ Windsor GM Warren Rychel

Several of his former teammates will tell you, 'Warren Rychel' wasn't exactly the first name that came to mind when thinking of which players would turn into coaches or general managers after their days on the ice were over.

Yet, there's no arguing with the results.

The former Kings tough guy is coming off back-to-back championships at the helm of the Windsor Spitfires. He was voted the 2008-09 OHL Executive of the Year and appears as hungry as ever to continue winning. Some of his current peers even say he may just be the hardest working GM in the league.

So, how did a guy who once posted consecutive NHL seasons of 300-points in penalty minutes make the successful transition from enforcer to executive?

Prior to his Spitfires taking the ice tonight for the start of the new OHL season we went looking for answers to that question and several others.

It's an exclusive interview with Warren Rychel...

MM:  Five years prior to going to the Stanley Cup Finals in '93 with the Kings you were playing junior hockey in the OHL.  It's 20 years later and you're a successful executive running a team in the league.  Catch us up, how did you go from NHL tough guy to running the Spits?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

2010 Eddie Joyal Award - gm1 leaderboard update

With the first preseason game now in the books for the Kings, we have an early leader for this year's Eddie Joyal Award.

Although both of the predicted winners, Brad Richardson and Michal Handzus (listed at 2-1 favorites), each scored a goal in the Kings victory over the Avs, it was two players completely off the board that took the early lead.

Justin Williams, who scored the final goal of the game, also picked up an assist on the game winner - giving him two points for the night.  Tying him with a pair of points was Jarret Stoll.

So, after one game, here are the leaders:

2 pts  Williams (1g, 1a)
2 pts  Stoll (2a)
1 pt    tied with one goal each: Richardson, Handzus and John Zeiler... yes, John Zeiler!

The 2nd Annual Eddie Joyal Award

During the offseason we've brought you many interviews with players from throughout Kings history - guys like Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne, Brian Kilrea (scored the first ever goal in team history) and Noah Clarke (first Southern California born player to score a goal with the team).

Today, we take another look at a guy from the inaugural season - Eddie Joyal.

With pre-season set to officially start later this evening, it seems appropriate to review what he did while wearing the purple and gold...and why there's an award named after him.

In the summer of '67 there were certainly plenty of questions heading into the King's first training camp. Different than a team of high-end 'assets' like Dean Lombardi has spent the last few years acquiring here in Los Angeles, it was a bunch of 'miscellaneous parts' at that point.  As an expansion team, Jack Kent Cooke's upstart group was a hodgepodge of pieces acquired from the original six teams; plus some free agents, misfits, leftovers, cast offs and other assorted guys on skates.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Camping Guide 2010 - Interview w/ Thomas Hickey

A little more than four years ago two former NoCal sports executives headed south to take over a pair of struggling Los Angeles franchises.

Ned Colletti has since rebuilt the Dodgers into a team with a strong core and plenty of prospects. Ironically, they've been known for decades as a pitching-first franchise - today, it's one of the weakest positions in the organization.

Nearly on a parallel track, Dean Lombardi has re-built the Kings from the ground up. And while they've primarily been known for their offensive players - with names like Dionne, Gretzky and Robitaille - today, it's largely goaltending and defense that provide a foundation for the future.

One of those key components on the blue line is Thomas Hickey.

He was Dean Lombardi's first "real" draft pick, as the 2006 event he presided over was merely a few months after being hired.  The selection, fourth overall in 2007, has been a controversial selection almost from the moment his name was read at the podium.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Camping Guide 2010 - Interview w/ Jordan Weal

On June 27, 2009 the experiment ended. Six years earlier, the Kings had used the second of two first round picks they received in a deal with Colorado (for Rob Blake) to select 6'7" Brian Boyle.

On that day he was jettisoned to the New York Rangers for a third round pick in the 2010 NHL Draft.

Then, 364 days later, Jordan Weal joined the Kings.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the story isn't the connection to the still-controversial Blake deal or the apparent flaming out of Boyle's (perhaps) promising career. Instead, it's why Weal was even available with the 70th pick to begin with. Why was he still there in the third round?

That's about a full round later than the average of where four high profile scouting lists had him pegged.  NHL Central Scouting ranked him 30th, International Scouting Services #32, The Hockey News #41 and TSN had him #48.  That should have put him as a possible late first rounder...or early to mid second rounder, at the latest.