Saturday, October 8, 2011

Need captions for these Kings-Sabres pics from Germany

The other day we had a lot of fun with a few Drew Doughty pictures from Hamburg, Germany - and several readers came up with some great captions.

Well, the fine folks at the O2 Arena in Berlin just posted an album of over 150 pictures taken during today's game between the LA Kings and Buffalo Sabres.

See if you can come up with an interesting caption for these photos...

#1 - Doughty asks if Ville Leino wants to do the limbo

VIDEO: Doughty post-game interview w/ German reporter

After the LA Kings lost 4-2 to the Buffalo Sabres earlier today in Berlin, Germany, Drew Doughty was interviewed by a local reporter...

For the MayorsManor post-game notes, as well as video highlights of the game, click here.

The Mayor 

Shop Today!

Germany: Sabres def Kings 4-2 - postgame notes and video

After a week long stay in Europe, the Kings will now return to the U.S. sporting a 1-1 record. They lost to the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 in Berlin, Germany earlier today. Here are some post-games notes and video highlights.

- Anze Kopitar scored both of the Kings goals, he now has three total on the young season.

- Jonathan Bernier is now 0-2 vs. the Sabres in his career. Ironically, he gave up four goals in both games.

- Math with Jack: Jack Johnson was one the ice for four of the goals scored in the game - Buffalo's second and third goals, plus both of LA's goals. Because Kopitar's first goal was on the power play, Johnson finished the night with a minus-1.

- Johnson and Alec Martinez were each credited with four blocked shots. Kopitar had three.

- Parse Watch Continues: Scott Parse had 17 shifts in 12:06 of total ice time, no shots on goal.

- The Kings outshot the Sabres 33-26. Kopitar led all Kings with five shots on goal, four each for Mike Richards and Justin Williams.

- Ethan Moreau, Drew Doughty and Matt Greene led the Kings with two hits each. Dustin Brown, who is usually among the leaders, wasn't credited with a single hit in the game.

NHL Premiere: LA v Buffalo pre-game notes, quotes and first goal contest

Good morning. It's time to grab some coffee and enjoy some hockey, all the way from Berlin, Germany. Here's your pre-game primer - featuring notes and quotes from several members of the Kings, as they prepare to face the Buffalo Sabres for the only time this season. Details for today's 'first goal contest' are also listed at the end of this article.

- Two line-up changes from yesterday, as coach Terry Murray will go with Jonathan Bernier in net (as expected). On November 19th last season, Bernier faced the Sabres in Buffalo and gave up four goals on 36 shots. The Kings lost that game 4-2.

- Murray's other change is replacing Trent Hunter with Kevin Westgarth among the forwards. This pushes Ethan Moreau up to the third line with Scott Parse and Jarret Stoll, while Westgarth will fill the right wing spot on the fourth line with Kyle Clifford and Trevor Lewis.

- East Coast Bias: In 21 career games, Mike Richards has 25 points (11 goals, 14 assists). Simon Gagne has 30 points (13 goals, 17 assists) in 33 games and Justin Williams has five goals and 10 assists (15 points) in his 26 games vs Buffalo.

- Parse Watch Continues: Due to Dustin Penner's 'lower body' injury (believed to be a sore groin), Parse remains at left wing on the third line. In the season opener on Friday, Parse had 16 shifts for 10:59 of total ice time. He also took two shots on goal and had zero points.

- Morning Math with Jack: After one game, Jack Johnson has an even plus-minus rating. He was on the ice for the final three goals of the game - when Marian Gaborik scored (to put the Rangers up 2-1), when Mike Richards tied it late in the third period and - obviously - when he scored the game winning goal in overtime.

Friday, October 7, 2011

LA Kings def Rangers in OT, post-game notes and video

Many of the areas the Kings were hoping to improve over the summer were on display front and center in today's 3-2 overtime win against the Rangers.

Jack Johnson scored a power play goal with about a minute left in the extra session and then was mobbed by his teammates, in a scene that looked more like a playoff game winner than the first game of the season.

Anze Kopitar showed no signs of the injury he suffered last season, picking up the first goal of the game and assisting on the one that tied things up with about five minutes left to play in regulation.

Here are a few post-game notes, followed by the video highlights:

- Overall, LA now sits at 44-62-19 against New York and they won't see them again this season - unless they were to meet in the Stanley Cup Finals.

- Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist is now 2-3-1 when playing the Kings and his counterpart, Jonathan Quick, is a perfect 2-0 against Broadway's Blueshirts.

- Richards vs. Richards lived up to the hype. Brad Richards played 18 minutes for the Rangers, went 9-for-11 in at faceoff dot and assisted on Marian Gaborik's third period goal. Mike Richards scored for the Kings and set up Johnson's game winner in 20-plus minutes ice time.

NHL Premiere: LA Kings vs NY Rangers pre-game notes, first goal contest

Hang on, relax. You only have less than an hour to go and you'll be just will be back!

To get you primed and ready to go, here are some quick tidbits on the Los Angeles Kings vs New York Rangers match-up. Also, be sure to take note of the details for today's 'first goal contest' listed at the end of this article.

- Kings all-time Record against the Rangers: 43-62-19. This is the only meeting between the two teams this season, as it was last year. When they squared off on February 17, 2011, the Rangers won in a shootout 4-3. Dustin Brown picked up two points that night and the Kings collected another point on their nearly-month-long road trip (post-game notes and highlights from that game can be accessed here).

- Rangers defeneman Marc Staal, one of their top defensemen, didn't make the trip to Europe due to lingering symptoms from the concussion he sustained in a game last year.

- Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist is from Sweden and earlier in his career played in the Frolunda HC system - the same organization that Kings' 2011 draft pick Michael Schumacher was part of last year (article).

- At least four former NHL players to suit up for both the Kings and Rangers will be in attendance - Luc Robitaille, Mattis Norstrom, Tomas Sandstrom and Bernie Nicholls.

- Richards vs. Richards: In 23 career games vs. the LA Kings, Brad Richards has 26 goals (seven goals, 19 assists). On the other side, Mike Richards has played 37 games against the New York Rangers, picking up 12 goals and 11 assists.

Kings' Richards, Doughty, Gagne on facing the NY Rangers

In just about two hours all the talk of the last five months will be washed away and the NHL season officially begins for the Los Angeles Kings.

Opening against a team as rich in history as the New York Rangers gives today's game a little something extra. Just ask the players. Prior to leaving for Europe, several of them shared some thoughts on today's game...

Willie Mitchell - "It's always fun to play them, they're an original six team. It doesn't matter how long you've played in the league - if you haven't played that long, you look forward to playing against the Rangers and guys that have been around, like me or Ethan Moreau, it's always a team that you look to have a lot of fun playing against because the tradition and history."

Drew Doughty - "I love playing the Rangers. They've been in the league a long time. This off season, they picked up Brad Richards and that's going to make them a much better team. I think it's going to be a great test for us to start the season. They're one of the better teams in the East and I definitely think we're one of the better teams in the West. So, it's going to be a real battle."

Anze Kopitar - "I'm sure it's going to be hyped up (in Stockholm) and I'm sure they might have a few more fans in the arena, because of their goaltender. But, it is what it is. We know that team and obviously we want to get off to a good start and then see what happens."

POLL: Where will the LA Kings finish in the standings?

The Los Angeles Kings last played a game in April.

You've had all summer to contemplate how the additions of Mike Richards, Simon Gagne and others will impact the team's offense.  Plus, the last month has provided multiple looks at the revamped Kings, via eight different pre-season games.

And earlier this week, predictions for the 2011-12 NHL season were posted here on MayorsManor.

Now, it's your turn...

Poll closes Monday morning at 8am PST.

The Mayor

Thursday, October 6, 2011

2011 Eddie Joyal Award winner announcement

Over his five pro seasons in the NHL, center Anze Kopitar has averaged 26 goals and 44 assists. Yet, he'd have to be near the top of any 'underrated player' list.

Few outside Los Angeles - or maybe the Pacific Division - are aware of just how good he truly is. Last year he became even better too, posting a plus-25 and getting some early talk as a Selke nominee before suffering a late-season injury.

He's also one of those rare players who is good all the time. A few friends could ask him to play a pick up game late one night and he'd still dazzle and amaze at both ends of the ice. Mailing-it-in must not translate to his native language.

[note: apparently, awesome doesn't he explains here]

You can argue that pre-season stats are meaningless, just don't tell Kopitar those games don't mean anything. If he's on the ice with a stick in his hand, he wants to score or be involved in a scoring play.

Two seasons ago, he posted five goals and three assists during the NHL exhibition season - earning the inaugural Eddie Joyal Award (given to the player who leads the Kings in pre-season points, honoring a member of the organization's first squad back in 1967 - more on that in a moment).

Last year, Jack Johnson edged out Kopitar for the 2nd annual award.

Borrowing a phrase that Kings fans hope they'll hear often about Kopitar in the months to come, he was back with a vengeance this pre-season.

Showing no signs of the leg injury that forced him to miss the final weeks of last year's regular season and all of the playoffs, Kopitar - who says he trained harder than ever this summer - appears more than ready to start the new season tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

NHL 2011-12 season predictions - timing is everything

Predictions - everybody loves them and if you're correct about half the time, you're doing pretty well.

Two years ago I had the Los Angeles Kings finishing sixth in the Western Conference. Nailed it.

Last season, I slotted the Kings at fourth during my NHL season preview article. That's certainly where they should have finished, if not for their horrible losing streak in November. As such, they ended up seventh - three notches back.

Further, as noted at the time... If GM Dean Lombardi added a high-end player before the trade deadline, the Kings would challenge the Sharks for the Pacific Division.

Which sort of brings us to this present.

Sure, Lombardi added Dustin Penner at the deadline last February. And getting a guy to play on the top line with Anze Kopitar definitely qualifies as a big move. However, the addition didn't net the desired results. Couple that with a power play that saw a huge drop off from the year prior and the aforementioned losing streak to dig out of - well, the timing wasn't right for a run at the Sharks.

Things have now changed.

Penner spent the summer committing himself to conditioning. Check.

Lombardi went out and acquired the long-needed second line center in Mike Richards. Check.

With Ryan Smyth's departure to Edmonton, the Kings had a new hole at left wing.  They could have moved a prospect in - an unproven commodity - or have relied on a role player to fill the hole, essentially asking somebody to try and overachieve. Instead, Lombardi signed veteran forward Simon Gagne.  Second line, check.

On defense, all six starters from last season - and arguably the best collective unit of six in the Western Conference - return and are back on the blueline. Check.

In net, it's Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier reprising their roles in Battle of the Goalies part II. Quick has spent two years rewriting the Kings record book and Bernier was lights out in the second half of the last season. Coach Terry Murray says he's going with the hot hand this year, rather than a planned 60 games-22 games split. So, goaltending - check.

What does this mean for the Pacific Division and the Western Conference?

After hearing bits and pieces leaked over the last few weeks during various radio appearances and on twitter, here are the official MayorsManor predictions for the 2011-12 NHL regular season...

10 Final Tidbits to wrap up the LA Kings pre-season

Just a few notes to close out the pre-season coverage as we march towards Friday's season opener...

- LA finished their eight-game exhibition schedule with a 4-2-2 record.

- For the second time in three years, Anze Kopitar led the team in pre-season scoring, picking up five goals and four assists, nine points total, in six games played (more on that in another article soon)

- Justin Williams, coming off shoulder surgery at the end of the last season, looks to be in fine form. He had the second most points in the pre-season (two goals, four assists, six points)

- Slava Voynov and Kyle Clifford were the only two players to participate in the maximum number of games (seven). Due to the split-squad games with Phoenix on September 21, it would have been impossible for anyone to play in all eight games.

- Kopitar led all players with five goals. Five players tied for second place with two goals each - Williams, Voynov, Brad Richardson, Alec Martinez and Ethan Moreau

FULL VIDEO: LA Kings preview show on Fox Sports West

If you missed last night's LA Kings preview show on Fox Sports West, fear not - Kings Vision has you covered. The video below features Kings captain Dustin Brown speaking to fans at HockeyFest, Kings analyst Jim Fox giving some predictions for the new season, they identify the x-factors for success this year and much more.

To read more about some of the off-season topics discussed in the video, check out these links:

Welcome to the Dustin Penner comedy hour

No June Gloom for Kings LW Dustin Penner

Matt Greene pulls no punches about Penner's conditioning

Kings GM Dean Lombardi - 'Anze Kopitar may be the new Blake Griffin'

Anze Kopitar is training in one of Europe's most beautiful cities

I'll have my predictions for the 2011-12 NHL season posted later today.

The Mayor 

Shop Today!

VIDEO: LA Kings at Hamburg Freezers (great highlights)

Below are the video highlights from yesterday's Kings game in Hamburg, Germany. Forget the fact that this was just a pre-season game, take note of the great camera angles and fantastic slow motion stuff they captured... it's really a thing of beauty.

All the goals are featured - along with nice footage of Justin Williams, Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Brad Richardson, Davis Drewiske, Ethan Moreau, Dustin Brown, Jarret Stoll, Jonathan Quick, Jonathan Bernier and more.

(video player after the jump)...

NHL Premiere: caption these three Drew Doughty photos

After a summer filled with some nervous Kings fans wondering if Drew Doughty would ever play a game in Los Angeles again - despite several reassurances by team management that he wasn't going to be traded and it was 'just business - the talented blueliner finally inked a deal on September 30th.

And while those same fans couldn't wait to see him back on the ice, it seems the photographers in Hamburg yesterday couldn't resist taking photos of him on the ice - literally!

Kudos to the Hamburg Freezers for posting several non-traditional hockey shots from the Kings 5-4 win in their final pre-season tune-up prior to Friday's NHL season opener.

So, let's have some fun with the three shots below - see if you can come up with the best caption for any or all of the pictures.



Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bye, bye Hamburg - Kings vs Freezers post-game notes

The pre-season is now officially over for the Los Angeles Kings after they defeated the Hamburg Freezers 5-4 earlier today in Germany.


- The Kings were allowed to play the game under German Elite League rules, thus they had 20 skaters, plus two goalies. The line combinations and D-pairings were:

Scott Parse - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Simon Gagne - Mike Richards - Dustin Brown
Brad Richardson - Jarret Stoll - Trent Hunter
Kyle Clifford - Trevor Lewis - Ethan Moreau

Willie Mitchell - Drew Doughty
Jack Johnson - Rob Scuderi
Alec Martinez - Matt Greene
Davis Drewiske - Slava Voynov

- The Kings goaltending duties were split between Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier.

- Kopitar led the offense, as he has all pre-season. He finished the game with three points (one goal, two assists). Williams (one goal, one assist) and Scuderi (two assists) each had two points in the game.

- Serge Aubin (who played with former Kings defenseman Rob Blake in Colorado during the 2002-03 NHL season) had two goals for the Freezers, while Brandon Brooks had one goal and added an assist.

- The three stars of the game were: 1) Cristoph Schubert 2) Aubin 3) Kopitar [no explanation for how/why Schubert received the first star]

- Total shots on goal were: Hamburg 42 (17 – 11 – 14) and Los Angeles 37 (16 – 17 – 4)

Double Anschutz: LA Kings v Hamburg Freezers preview

Believe it or not, the Kings will play their final pre-season game in less than an hour. After that, it will be about 72 hours until the 2011-12 NHL season is finally underway!

LA's opponent today, the Hamburg Freezers, are one of the many teams owned around the world by Phillip Anschutz - yes, the same guy who owns the Kings.

Below are few pre-games notes to get you primed and ready to go:

- The game starts at 10am PST and can be viewed for free online here (just know that the commentary may be in German... and according to Google translate, elfmeter means penalty)

- Nick Nickson and Daryl Evans are not doing a radio broadcast of this game

- According to coach Terry Murray, the Kings will skate eight defenemen in the game...meaning rookie Slava Voynov will be in the line-up again (Murray spoke about the rookie's play during his press conference yesterday, recapped here)

- Also scheduled to play on the blueline, making his pre-season debut, is Drew Doughty (read his pre-trip comments here, where he calls out Willie Mitchell)

- Reports from Germany also indicate Murray will have Jonathan Bernier relieve Jonathan Quick about half way through the game vs. the Freezers.

- Dustin Penner is not expected to play, after not feeling well and leaving the ice during practice yesterday

Five final thoughts on the Kings vs Avs at Frozen Fury 2011

In front of a sell-out crowd at the MGM Grand on Saturday (announced as 11.478), the Kings lost 4-1 to the Colorado Avalanche. To close the chapter on this year's event, here are five post-game notes...

- The last time the Kings lost a 60-minute game to the Avalanche in Las Vegas was all the way back on September 30, 2000. Peter Forsberg had four points that night (two goals, two assists), including setting up Chris Drury for the game winner with 31 seconds left.

- The only other time the Kings scored a single goal in a Frozen Fury game was 2005. Fresh off the NHL lockout the season before, Dustin Brown scored for LA that night. But, it wasn't enough, as the Kings eventually lost in overtime by a score of 2-1.

- Frozen Fury IX in 2006 saw the Las Vegas debut of Anze Kopitar, and he waited until late in the game to let his full presence be known, setting up Patrick O'Sullivan for the game winning goal with 52 seconds remaining. Since then, he had picked up at least one goal in every game - 2007 (goal and an assist), 2008 (power play goal), 2009 (two goals) and 2010 (goal and an assist). This year, he came away empty handed in the goal department. However, with an assist on Simon Gagne's goal, Kopitar pushed his points streak to six straight games in Las Vegas.

- All three stars of the game were from the Avs - 1. Matt Duchene, 2. Milan Hejduk, 3. Eric Johnson

- Although the event wasn't televised, fan-filmed footage of Gagne's goal can be found here

The Mayor


Richards, Mitchell, Kopitar talk about playing at Frozen Fury 2011

Kopitar in the lead for the 3rd annual Eddie Joyal Award

Frozen Fury 2010:  post-skate comments from Drew Doughty

Shop Today!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Murray says Voynov will play Tuesday - did he tip his hand?

Slava Voynov of LA Kings (photo: M. Zampelli)
Given the words and actions of LA Kings coach Terry Murray over the last few weeks, it at least appears like forward Scott Parse may be hanging on by a thread.

The team needs to get the roster down to 21 skaters by Friday, meaning one more cut is required.

Thus, either Parse, Davis Drewiske or rookie Slava Voynov won't be around for the season opener.

During a press conference earlier today in Germany, Murray may have tipped his hand when he shared the following:

"Voynov will play in the (final pre-season) game tomorrow...he's had a great training camp for us. He's coming off an All-Star year in the American Hockey League. His game has grown tremendously over the three years that I've been watching him in the training camps. Right now, he's on the threshold - he's knocking right on the door, can he make the National Hockey League and the LA Kings? He's been a fun player to watch. He's similar in his game to Drew Doughty - he's a 'puck skill' guy, he's got great vision on the ice, he's a second/third option player, he can find those guys and make really good plays. So, it's going to be another good look at him tomorrow night."

Previously in camp, Murray had said he'd be open to starting the season with eight defensemen. Thus, the option is there for Drewiske and Voynov to occupy those final two roster spots.

Voynov is also expected to debut his new #26 jersey in the game, after wearing #76 so far this preseason. Originally selected by the Kings in the second round of the 2008 NHL Draft, he entered training camp ranked by MayorsManor as the second best defensive prospect in the Kings organization and sixth overall (see the full list here).

Early tomorrow morning we'll have a special preview of the Kings pre-season game against the Hamburg Freezers.

The Mayor


Coach Murray looks at Slava Voynov vs Thomas Hickey on defense

Parse thinks the problems are between his ears, coach Murray unsure

Drewiske and Doughty - forever linked to Kansas City

Drew Doughty on his most annoying LA Kings teammate - and on taking Voynov's locker from him

LA Kings players take a humorous look at their trip to Europe - jock straps, clothes, teeth, etc.

Shop Today!

VIDEO: Frozen Fury XIV - proof that it actually happened

Many Kings fans returning to Southern California over the last 24 hours have been asking themselves one question - 'What happened this weekend in Las Vegas?'

Some are referring to what took place on the ice Saturday night inside the MGM Grand hotel, where the Kings were crushed 4-1 by the Colorado Avalanche...and more confusing were the shot totals, as LA managed only two in the first period and 14 in the entire game.

The same question is also being asked by the thousands of fans who enjoyed the Vegas lifestyle a little too much, only to wake up late Sunday morning and not remember much of what happened during the 12-18 hours prior.

Thanks to KingsVision, here are a few sights and sounds to jog those foggy Frozen Fury memories...

If you missed it over the weekend, be sure to take the Frozen Fury Trivia Challenge and read some pre-game comments from Mike Richards about his first Frozen Fury, plus thoughts from Anze Kopitar and Willie Mitchell - that article is linked here.

Immediately following the game, the Kings headed to the airport for a long flight to Germany. Prior to leaving North America though, many of the players shared some thoughts about the trip - including who was going to be the most annoying person on the flight, who would be the best/worst dressed in Europe and more. Be sure to check out that article here.

The Mayor 

MayorsManor podcast - European travel with the LA Kings

LA Kings plane ride (photo by J. Quick)
The MayorsManor podcast is back for the 2011-12 NHL season and this edition isn't going to need much of an intro.

Prior to the LA Kings departing for their season opening trip to Europe for the NHL Premiere series, we caught up with various players to talk about the experience in front of them.

All of your favorite Kings are included, like - Drew Doughty, Matt Greene, Jack Johnson, Anze Kopitar, Willie Mitchell, Dustin Penner, Rob Scuderi, Jarret Stoll, Kevin Westgarth and more. Even the new guys are get involved - Simon Gagne, Ethan Moreau and Mike Richards!

We play a slightly twisted game of word association, find out who will be the best dressed and worst dressed player on the trip, plus take a few guesses on who will be the most annoying person on the plane ride over.

Get to know a whole new side of this year's LA Kings team...

(audio player after the jump)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Drew Doughty on his most annoying LA Kings teammate

Last night, after the Kings mailed in a 4-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche and sent thousands of disappointed fans into casinos and bars throughout Las Vegas, the team and dozens of staff boarded a private charter and headed off to Europe.

First stop will be Hamburg, Germany - where the Kings will play their final pre-season game on Tuesday against a local team (more on that in a few days). Although it hasn't been officially announced yet, that game is also expected to mark the return of defenseman Drew Doughty to the line-up.

Around 6am last Friday morning, Doughty flew from Toronto to Los Angeles to sign his new 8-year contract. After a quick physical and then a 30-minute workout on the ice at the team's training facility, I chatted with him as he sat in his stall in the locker room for the first time since April.

It was a spot that rookie Slava Voynov had temporarily moved into in his absence during training camp. Doughty said the squatter from Manchester had been relocated by the time he arrived.

"I feel bad now," Doughty expressed. "It has been my locker for three years though, so I think I have a little bit of seniority to kick him out."

Now, that flight last night wasn't your typical shoe-horn 'em in, no room in the middle seat trip across the Atlantic. The Kings had plenty of amenities on the way over. Still, the flight left close to midnight and was scheduled to be around 11 hours.

Prior to leaving, who did Doughty think was going to be the most annoying person on the long ride over?