Saturday, July 23, 2011

Kings prospect JF Berube probably seeking new nickname

Since being drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the fourth round of the 2009 NHL Draft, goaltender JF Berube has seen his stock quietly rise.

This past season he posted some of the best numbers in the entire Quebec junior league - including 32 wins, a 2.60 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage. His team then swept their first round opponent in the playoffs, only to lose a tough second round series in six games.

The highs and lows continued over the next few months for the 20-year-old netminder when soon thereafter he had minor surgery on his hip and later signed his first pro contract.

Now, it appears a change in nickname may be in order for the man known as 'Hollywood' - a handle Kings goaltending coach Bill Ranford spoke about during Development Camp.

"I saw that. But, I didn't even know that was his nickname," explained Ranford. "It's not really his demeanor. I'm guessing it was more the tie-in that he was drafted by LA because he doesn't come across as a Hollywood guy, by any means."

With Jeff Zatkoff recently signing a one-year deal, he and Martin Jones will most likely be the goaltenders in Manchester again.  Leaving all signs pointing to Berube staring the year with the Ontario Reign, the Kings' ECHL affiliate. However, Ranford wasn't ready just yet to commit to such a plan.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer Vacation with the Los Angeles Kings players

The Los Angeles Kings haven't played a game since April 14th. And they're not scheduled to return to their practice facility in El Segundo until mid-September.

Which means we're past the midpoint of the summer break. So, what have the players been up to? Here's a brief rundown of some of their activities...

Anze Kopitar - According to coach Terry Murray, "Everything is great with Kopitar." That's how he described things during a conversation following the team's Development Camp. Murray went on to explain, "It was a very serious injury (broken bone), but he's been cleared. He's doing all the off ice things necessary...and his plans were to get back on the ice at the end of this month."

Dustin Penner - The D.Penner comedy tour made a stop here at MayorsManor last week. Seriously, if you missed the interview, do yourself a favor and read it. He talks about his intense summer training, mixed in with some great one-liners on NHL marketing, the NBA lockout, his shoes and much more. (full interview)

Justin Williams - In our season-ending debrief with GM Dean Lombardi, he spoke of Williams needing to decide if he wanted to have surgery or go through more physical therapy this summer. "Obviously, there's an issue there," Lombardi said regarding his right shoulder. "It's going to be a player (decision)," he explained. "He can get it 90% back" without surgery, but "the issue is obviously the long term effect." A few days later it was reported that Williams opted for surgery and he's expected to be ready for training camp in September. (interview with Lombardi)

Simon Gagne - Have you heard, the Kings signed another former Philadelphia Flyer (

Mike Richards - He'll be introduced to the LA media next Wednesday afternoon.  MayorsManor will be on hand with full coverage.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

POLL: Los Angeles Kings - Which record falls first?

Taking a break from all the Development Camp interviews and notes, let's look at the Los Angeles Kings record book.

It's fairly safe to say that Jonathan Quick is well on his way to rewriting the chapters on goaltending. He's already established new single season marks for games played (72 in 2009-10) and wins (39, 2009-10). Plus, last season he tied Rogie Vachon's 2.24 goals-against average (1974-75) for tops all-time in franchise history.

So, how about over on the offensive side of the puck. Will one of the team's records be in jeopardy anytime soon?

Center Bernie Nicholls holds the goal mark, netting 70 in the 1988-89 season. Breaking it down by position, Luc Robitaille had 63 as a left wing in 1992-93 and right wing Dave Taylor scored 47 in 1980-81. Among the defensmen, Steve Duchesne found the back of the net from the blueline 25 times in 1988-89.

With the man advantage, Robitaille set the power play goals mark in 1991-92 with 26.

He also holds the record for most goals in a season by a Kings rookie, picking up 45 in 1986-87. Larry Murphy had a whopping 60 assists as a rookie in 1980-81.

Wayne Gretzky picked up 122 assists in 1990-91 and 168 total points in 1988-89. Neither of those will ever be broken, so - moving right along...

If it's penalty minutes you like, Dave 'Tiger' Williams racked up 358 during the 1986-87 season, a number that was eclipsed by Marty McSorley in the magical 1992-93 season (399 PIM).

Looking over the above numbers, which record do you think is most likely to be broken?

Poll closes Sunday at 7pm PST.

The Mayor


20 Questions with #20 - an interview with Luc Robitaille

The Original Interview with Rob Blake

Interview:  Hugging the Post with Kelly Hrudey

POLL: Best U.S. born Kings player of all-time

Who was the LA Kings Rookie of the Year?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

LA Kings prospect Linden Vey chirps Toffoli, talks Crosby

Linden Vey at Kings camp (photo: C. Ikiri)
Linden Vey was drafted by the Kings in the fourth round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, coming off a season in which he scored 24 goals and 48 assists for the Medicine Hat Tigers in the WHL.

There's nothing wrong with those numbers. They just don't scream of a future offensive powerhouse.

A statement that was confirmed the following year when he posted near identical numbers, 24 goals and 51 points.

However, he was on MayorsManor immediately following the Super Series in November - a prestigious junior hockey event that pits Canadian players against a team of Russian all-stars. Midway through that interview he said "I don't think you ever stop improving at any part of your game."

It wasn't just some cliche, throw away answer to another interview question. He meant it. And backed up his words by going on to score 46 goals and 70 assists. His 116 point total last season was better than any other player in Canadian junior hockey.

“Last summer, I spent a lot of time training with Tim (Adams, the Kings' strength and conditioning coach) here in Los Angeles. I think that was one of the things that benefited me the most," claimed Vey. "I've always struggled a little bit, conditioning and strength wise. Last year, I think I took big strides in that department, and it really helped me to be more consistent throughout the whole season.

"I could play each and every night. When we would have three games in three nights, I could play at a high level each night, whereas a couple seasons before, I would have a good first game and then I'd have to take the next couple games a little bit slower," said Vey. "I think when you're in condition, you can play more consistent throughout the whole season."

Despite posting staggering numbers though, sites like HockeysFuture still don't have him ranked among the top ten prospects in the Kings pipeline.

Compounding the perceived lack of respect, along with fellow Kings prospect (and OHL scoring champion) Tyler Toffoli, he was left off the Team Canada squad at last winter's World Junior Championship.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Muzzin at Kings camp - 'Hey Jake, what's up with that hair?'

Jake Muzzin at Kings Camp (photo: C. Ikiri)
On Friday we heard from LA Kings head coach Terry Murray, who shared some of his concerns with prospect Jake Muzzin's development in Manchester last year - although, overall, he said Muzzin has "definitely come a long way."

The 22-year old defenseman also stopped by MayorsManor to joke about his dislike for Tyler Toffoli and explained his rough play against the reigning OHL scoring champion during last Monday's scrimmage game.

Now, let's move on to the more important side of things. Hey Jake, what's up with that hair? He was sporting a mini-afro at Development Camp, quite the departure from the buzz-look he had when we last saw him in December. Is that the Manchester look?

"I don't know," said Muzzin. "I figure I'm going to lose it someday. So, I might as well grow it right now."

He played 11 games in Los Angeles last season before being sent to the AHL for the rest of the campaign. Originally signed by the Kings as a free agent in January 2010, he hopes to one day make it back to the NHL.

Yet, that road may have hit a speed bump earlier this month when Alec Martinez signed a two-year deal, essentially locking up all six starting jobs for defensemen on the Kings roster.

"Marty came up and played well. He deserves what he has," responded Muzzin. "I just need to continue to build and grow. Marty played in the AHL for a few years (too). We'll see how my season goes this year. After that, we'll see what happens. I just need to continue building in the AHL (for now)."

Kings assistant coach John Stevens had spent some time reviewing video with Muzzin before he was sent down in mid-November. Was there anything specific they asked him to work on?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Video Flashback - LA Kings hire head coach Terry Murray

On this day in 2008 Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi announced the hiring of the team's 22nd head coach - Terry Murray.

Since then, the parade of former Flyers have continued to head west.

In Murray's first year behind the bench the team went 34-37-11 and finished 14th in the NHL's 15 team Western Conference.

Since then, the Kings have posted 101 and 98 points, making the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time in about a decade.

Courtesy of Kings Vision, here's the press conference announcing the Kings new head coach...

Following this past season, Lombardi shared his thoughts on Murray's performance as coach.  Read what he had to say about what may have been Murray's most difficult challenge yet - a year that included a season ending injury to Anze Kopitar, a sub par performance from Drew Doughty and two extended losing streaks that nearly cost the team a shot a post-season play.  (link)

The Mayor

Goalie Chris Gibson - camp quotes and coaches evaluation

Vey shoots on Gibson at camp (photo: C. Ikiri)
When the Los Angeles Kings used their first selection at the recent NHL Draft to take a goaltender - well, it caught some people off guard.

Sure, everybody's heard the mantra 'take the best player available.'

However, the team will most likely have five goaltenders under the age of 26 playing pro hockey next season - two in LA, two in Manchester (AHL) and one in Ontario (ECHL).

Plus, with the market for goaltenders at a low point over the past few summers, was it really necessary to use such a high pick on another goalie at this time?

"I have no opinion on that," said Kings coach Terry Murray. "Quite honestly, I don't follow the depth of the organization. That's not my job. The people upstairs do what they need to do to keep everything in place."

Murray did admit to being a little confused though when he first met Chris Gibson earlier this week. "He's a Finn, he speaks English and when I first met him I thought he was French (because of his accent)," the coach explained. After Gibson told him he spoke all three languages, Murray responded with 'Wow, that's pretty impressive.'

On the ice, Murray was a little more clear on what the Kings acquired in Gibson. "He's a very competitive guy. This is an 18-year old player who played a lot, (37) games in the Quebec league last year - on one of the poorer teams in the league. He faced the most shots and still, at the same time, had a pretty high save percentage over the course of the year."