Saturday, March 12, 2011

RECAP: Rob Scuderi on NHL Power Play (Radio)

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi joined the guys on the Power Play to talk a little past (why he signed in LA), present (the road trip) and future (the Kings Stanley Cup possibilities).

Please note - as always, these recaps are near exact quotes. However, some information has been paraphrased for brevity.

Here's a quick recap...

* [topic: What did guys in the room say after the first period in Detroit, with the Kings trailing?] Most of the veterans and the guys talking had the same things to say 'Don't respect the team too much. The Red Wings have a way of putting a team in ah. You sit back and kind of watch them do there thing. Although they are a very good team, you have to remember we're a good team too.' Right off the bat in the second period everybody responded with the right type of attitude, and more importantly, the right type of play.

* [Any confidence carrying over from the 6-1-3 road stretch in February?] We were extremely disappointed in the January homestand. We had a great chance to make up ground and instead we lost a bunch. You don't want to play catch up hockey on the road. However, it seemed to light a fire under our rear ends and get everybody going. Yes, after having that success, we probably entered this road trip with the confidence we can do the same type of thing.

Kopitar 'Tricks Blue Jackets Out of Two Points

Anze Kopitar must have heard the whispers recently. With just one shot on goal against Phoenix and none against Vancouver, the natives were starting to get restless.

Where was the six-million dollar man?

Then, two assists against Dallas, a goal in Detroit and saving his best performance for last - a hat trick in Columbus.

For good measure, Justin Williams added a goal and two assists.

Jonathan Bernier picked up another win, pushing his streak to 4-0-3 in his last seven starts.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Kings at Blue Jackets Pre-Game Notes and Links

Rick Nash Bobblehead
Today marks the fourth and final meeting between the Kings and Blue Jackets, two teams heading in opposite directions since they met up on January 8th - Trevor Lewis' birthday.

Back then LA was mired in a horrible slump at home and stuck at 12th place in the standings. Since then, the Kings have found their groove - including a win in Columbus during their 6-1-3 February road stretch.

Here are some other key points to get you warmed up...

* There must be something about Rick Nash and the Kings visiting town. Last time it was Nash poster night. Tonight they'll be giving out Nash bobbleheads (pictured) to the fans attending the game.

* Several Kings players - including Jack Johnson and Brad Richardson - shared some thoughts on Nash in a MayorsManor article hereJarret Stoll said "You have to play him hard. You can't give him too much time and space. You need to be physical on him and you can't respect him too much. Obviously, you have to respect him a little bit. But, if you respect good players too much, by the end of the night they'll have three points."  Click the link to read more.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dustin Brown Undisputed Video - Extended Version

Throughout this season Kings Vision has been producing behind-the-scenes bio pieces on several of the players - including Wayne Simmonds, Matt Greene and Jack Johnson.

The newest segment is posted below, featuring Dustin Brown. A small portion of this will be shown during the next Kings telecast. Here, you get the full, extended version...

The Mayor

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Two Goals, Two Points and Two Wins in Detroit

"We came out of the gates a little slow" - Anze Kopitar on the Kings getting just three shots on goal in the first period.

Post-game news and notes from LA's 2-1 win...

* With their second win in Detroit this season the Kings finished the season series 3-1-0 vs. the Red Wings. There wasn't any pattern to the four games - overtime, a shutout, a blowout and one goal game tonight.

* LA is now 8-1-3 in last 12 road games.

* The game marked Jarret Stoll's 500th NHL game (214th with LA).

* Kopitar had three shots on goal, matching his total from the last three games combined. His goal in the second period was his 21st of the year and gave him seven points vs. Detroit this season (4 goals, 3 assists).

* PennerMania continues - Dustin Penner assisted on Kopitar's goal and led LA with four shots in the game.  He now has a small three game point streak as a King (1 goal, 2 assists).

* Dustin Brown took the team goal lead back with his 22nd goal of the season at 14:43 of the second period.

* After losing to Dallas on Saturday (in overtime) for the first time all season when ahead after two periods, LA shut things down in the third period tonight to get back on track - they're now 20-0-1.

* Drew Doughty led all skaters in the game with 26:48 of ice time.

* Jonathan Quick gave up just one goal over the two games in Detroit this season, stopping 79 of 80 shots.

* Has anybody heard from Ryan Smyth lately? Ryan Smyth, please pick up the white courtesy phone. Smyth to the courtesy phone.

Smyth and Westgarth Look Back to Move Forward

Nine days ago the Kings lost 7-3 to the Red Wings at Staples Center.

Defenseman Willie Mitchell said LA 'dominated' that game.

Regardless, they didn't get the two points they needed. However, the two teams will meet again tonight in Detroit.

Some of the Red Wings' motivation for the last game may have come from the Kings 5-0 shutout when the two teams met up in December.

It's something I asked Ryan Smyth and Kevin Westgarth about before the team left LA to begin this four-game road trip...

MM: Do you think the 'Wings were out to send a message after the December game or was it more that they scored a couple of early goals and built some momentum?

Smyth - "Well, I'm not too sure what they were thinking. But, obviously they were thinking come out and rebound. After we were up 1-0 I thought we had a few chances early and then they - they're a good team, they're a measuring stick, they hound the puck really well, all four lines and obviously their d-core are very solid."

Westgarth - "I'm sure it was a little bit of everything. Every team in this league has a memory. Guys don't like to get embarrassed, especially at home, and they got a couple...uh, (long pause)...I guess, lucky goals on us early on - that got us behind the eight-ball. I think we played really well. The irony in this Detroit series this season is that, I think, every team that has been out shot has won the game. So, it's been the battle of attrition going both ways in some ways. We look forward to the rematch."

LA Kings Prospects: Toffoli Rising, Hickey Dropping

Earlier this week I posted a recap of last Sunday's meeting with Kings GM Dean Lombardi and Assistant GM Ron Hextall.

Among the notes there were comments on several Kings prospects, including recent first round draft picks Derek Forbort and Thomas Hickey.

Now, for views from an independent source, has released their latest rankings of the team's prospects.

In what should come as no surprise, the player with the biggest jump was Tyler Toffoli. Scoring 50 goals the season after being drafted in the second round of the NHL Draft will do that. He's having an incredible season for the Ottawa 67's and is currently in a close race for the OHL scoring lead.

Some of HF's comments on Toffoli included, "He fell to the Kings in the second round largely due to concerns regarding his skating. With a league-leading 50 goals in 61 games so far this season, it's safe to say that slow feet or not, Toffoli is proving himself an exceptional sniper."

Kings - Red Wings Primer: Interview w/ Mike Modano

Mike Modano is the greatest American-born hockey player of all-time.

At least that's what the readers of MayorsManor said via their votes in a poll last week.

It's an obvious choice too, as he's scored more goals and points than other strong contenders, like Jeremy Roenick, Pat Lafontaine and Chris Chelios - not to mention his representing Team USA in 11 different international tournaments.

Taking nothing away from the other three though, perhaps what also helps elevate Modano to his deserved pedestal is his class. He's been one of the most respected players in the league for 20 years and remains so to this day.

While some eyebrows were raised last summer when he chose to sign with Detroit, rather than retire, those thoughts turned to concern when he severely damaged his wrist in November. Determined not to end his career on an injury, he battled back and returned to the league a few weeks ago.

Tonight he'll face the Kings for the second time since rejoining the Red Wings five games ago.

In the interview below we look back over his incredible career - talking milestones, memorabilia, Messier, head injuries Jaromir Jagr, Brett Hull...and of course, we play word association.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Matt Greene on Dustin Penner's Latest Challenge

When Dustin Penner arrived in town last week he made it clear - he was here to help the Kings win games, score some goals by using his size, listen to the coaches, play the team's system...and challenge Matt Greene to some ping-pong.

However, Greene quickly turned down the challenge, claiming he was 'retired' from the game because he doesn't continue doing things he's "not good at."

How about a different contest though?

MM: We know you turned down the ping-pong challenge, but Penner also says you're pretty good at guitar hero too...

MG: I don't know, I'm a little bit out of practice with video games. When he was living with me (in Edmonton) that's when it first came out. So, that was all the rage.

MM: You've moved on?

MG: Yeah, now I think I'm back to Tetris on the GameBoy.

MM:  Well, that's much easier to bring on the road. Maybe you two can square off this week during the trip...

Wayne Simmonds on Penner and Greasy Goals

photo courtesy of Michael Zampelli
Wayne Simmonds was perhaps one of the happiest guys on the LA Kings early last week. Not only had the team acquired a big left wing in Dustin Penner, but coach Terry Murray announced he would start Penner on a line with Simmonds and Anze Kopitar.

While Simmonds had seen top line minutes a few times throughout the season, more often than not, it was in a 'fill-in' role. This was an outright declaration of his spot on that line.

Yet, if one thing has been a constant this year on the team, it's been change - as in line changes. Just two periods after being named to the line, he was replaced by Justin Williams.

Still - Simmonds had a first hand look at Penner as a linemate and has had about a week to get to know him better...

MM: It's been a few games now, what have you seen from Dustin Penner so far?

WS: He's a great player. He's really good with the puck in tight. He has really good in tight hands, as you can tell. What you guys don't see in the (dressing) room is he's a great guy in the room. He's already meshed really well with all the guys. He's funny, everyone likes him and he's fit perfectly into our team. So, it's been great so far having him here.

MM: Besides the old 'we need two points' line, what are you thinking going into the upcoming games on the road?

Doughty and Kings Cough Up Lead, Stars Win in OT

"You should be able to shut that game down." - Kings coach Terry Murray

Yet, perfection is a difficult thing to maintain.

Coming into Monday night's game with the Dallas Stars, the Kings had an 19-0-0 record when leading after two periods this season.

That's no longer the case.

LA scored the first goal of the game and led 2-1 after forty minutes. Then, within the first three minutes of the third, the teams traded goals - including a beautiful goal by Kyle Clifford - to make it 3-3.

A few minutes later Drew Doughty had his pocket picked by Jamie Benn, who skated all the way down to the other end and scored short-handed.

It went to overtime and who else but Brenden Morrow sealed the deal for the Stars. In 61 career games versus Los Angeles he has 19 goals (second only to his 21 against Phoenix). More specifically, in 31 games at Staples Center he's scored 10 goals (tops on his tour around the league).

Five other game notes (and video highlights):

Monday, March 7, 2011

Coach Terry Murray on Rookie Trevor Lewis

By far, the least talked about forward on the Los Angeles Kings roster this season has been rookie Trevor Lewis.

Nicknamed Elvis because he shares the same birthday with the King of Rock-n-Roll, Lewis has scored two goals in 55 games played. His most productive pro year was 2008-09 with the Manchester Monarchs, when he had 51 points (20 goals, 31 assists). Obviously, those were different times, as he's playing mostly on the fourth line and seeing about 10 minutes of ice time per game in the NHL.

He was part of Dean Lombardi's first draft class as Kings' General Manager back in 2006.  Yet, has he become the forgotten King this season?

Coach Terry Murray shared the following thoughts on the question...

TM: "He fits in really well. You know, he's an LA King draft pick (2006 first round) and he's been around, he knows all these guys really well. So, as far as a fit, his personality and presence in the locker room is really good. He brings that high energy game to practice, to the game. He's a great skater. His penalty killing has really moved up the ladder, in my opinion - very strong, very dependable. We're seeing a pretty even performance in his even-strength play. When the opportunity is there, he has great composure to carry the puck out of difficulty, out of problems in his own end, to settle it, get on the go and get it into the other end of the ice. It's probably been, from the start of training camp, the one consistent part of his game that I've really liked. So, overall, his game is getting better. Again, he's very comfortable. He's settling into the NHL game and I feel down the road he can put some points on the board. Once his hands catch up with his feet I think he'll be more relaxed in those opportunities and he'll find a way to score. He has a great release."

The Mayor

Kings 'Most Likely' Opening Next Season in Europe

There is still plenty of hockey left to be played this season. However, for those looking ahead to the fall, here are two quick scheduling notes:

* As first reported by RinkRat on, the Kings annual pre-season game in Las Vegas vs. the Colorado Avalanche has been set. Frozen Fury XIV will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on October 1st.

[note: for some fun, take the Frozen Fury Trivia challenge]

* On a separate note, as reported a few weeks ago, stories in Europe have been circulating claiming the Kings will open the 2011-12 season in Germany - playing a two-game series with the Buffalo Sabres. A source confirmed to me this morning that the Europe opener is 'most likely' happening. Expect an announcement in the next week or so.

Some will like this, some won't.  If nothing else though, playing two games in Germany (expected to be in Berlin and Hamburg) will offset part of the recently announced ticket price increases for next season.

The Mayor


Interview with former King Noah Clarke - talking playing in Europe

Welcome to LA - 10 Tidbits on Marco Sturm

Interview with Marcel Goc of the Nashville Predators

Is Buffalo's Lindy Ruff the Original Rob Blake?

10 Tidbits on Frozen Fury XIII

RECAP: Dean Lombardi Meeting with 'Shareholders'

Kings GM Dean Lombardi met with a group of about 500 season ticket holders - whom he repeatedly referred to as the team's shareholders - at their training facility in El Segundo, CA Sunday morning.

Backing him up were Chris McGowan (Chief Operating Officer), Jeff Solomon (VP of Hockey Operations) and Ron Hextall (Assistant General Manager).

Among the topics covered were the power play (or lack thereof), the play of Drew Doughty, game times at Staples Center, Brad Richards, Dustin Penner, Kyle Clifford, Wayne Simmonds, head shots, fighting, etc.

And if you're wondering, yes - he did get the Flyers and baseball references worked in too.

Here are some of the key highlights:

(note: all comments were from Lombardi unless otherwise noted)

* He repeated the 'Scott Parse is one of our top-3 skilled players' line, originally used at HockeyFest last September.

* [topic: Marco Sturm] The biggest thing with Sturm was mental, it's tough coming back from an injury like that. "Not everybody is like Tony Granato, who was like a kamikaze pilot when he came back."

Dustin Penner Comments on PennerMania

One week ago today PennerMania was launched in Los Angeles.

On message boards and social media sites most Kings fans were over the moon about GM Dean Lombardi's acquisition of left winger Dustin Penner.

And by the time he made his debut on Thursday night vs. Phoenix it had nearly become an epidemic...even appearing as a trending topic on twitter for a few hours.

Then, when he scored his first goal as a King on Saturday afternoon it may have reached a new level too.

Yet, what about Penner? As coach Terry Murray said yesterday 'It's been a very intense probably month, maybe longer, for him' - so, does he even know what's going on? I asked him...

MM: Are you aware PennerMania is running wild in Los Angeles?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

PennerMania Shirts Now Available (save $5 today)

Penner Mania



Now Available!

They're finally here! Get your PennerMania shirts before end of day Monday and save $5.00 off the regular price. Several styles and colors to chose from, for both men and women. Heck, get one for your kid too.

Click here to visit the MayorsManor store. Use coupon code 5OFFSTPADDYS when ordering to save $5.00 off each shirt ordered.


The Mayor

Coach Murray on What He Wants From Dustin Penner

When Kings GM Dean Lombardi acquired forward Dustin Penner at the NHL Trade Deadline last Monday, coach Terry Murray knew many things about the type of player he would be inserting into his line-up soon thereafter.

'Big body' is one of the first things that nearly every person mentions when speaking about the 6'4" left wing.

However, now that he's had him for a two games and a few practices - including this morning, where Murray spent several minutes on the ice advising him one on one - what does he think of his overall game so far and what would he still like to see from Penner?

TM: That's all the conversation was, just overall you know - more relaxed, settled it, feeling more comfortable. That kind of conversation. Obviously, as days go by he's going to relax more and feel that he's understanding what it is that we're asking of him - structure, system. So, it's been good. I also addressed, in the conversation on the ice, the winning goal (scored by Vancouver yesterday). The puck comes around the board and a big body like that, I would like to see him just finish on that defenseman and make sure the puck gets out of the zone. I know there was a support guy, the 'D' pinched, and I think (Alex) Burrows kept the puck in at the blueline. To me it's a a matter of that's where you dig in and get the puck out of the zone at any cost and play hard and physical on them.

MM: When you say 'relax a little bit' does that mean he's been a little hesitant at times?

Third Time vs Canucks Not a Charm For Kings

Nearly every Kings home game this season could be described as solid goaltending, strong on the penalty kill and needing more offense.

For Saturday's game, just add in the opponent - Vancouver.

In addition to the video highlights below, here are the other key notes:

* PennerMania was officially underway at 5:28 of the first period when Dustin Penner notched his first goal as a King. The assists came from his newest linemate (Justin Williams) and the guy who filled in on the top line for a few games until Penner arrived (Brad Richardson).

* It was the only goal of the night for LA. Simplified - it's this, need more offense, need more shots. Getting 22 shots on goal probably doesn't qualify for coach Terry Murray's 'shoot first' club.

* Case in point, Anze Kopitar's one shot on goal in the last six periods of play. Really?

* Speaking of the coach though, when Murray is upset about something, you know the train has come off the tracks in a big way. He invented calm, cool and collected. Nonetheless, he didn't have much to say after the game due to some poor officiating late in the third.