Saturday, November 19, 2011

Quotes from Red Wings locker room after def. LA Kings 4-1

Already posted on the homepage are quotes from Matt Greene and LA Kings coach Terry Murray.

Now, we head over to the Detroit locker room for comments following their 4-1 win over the Kings at Staples Center this afternoon...

Head coach Mike Babcock on the overall game - "I thought we played good. The story of our year is we’ve played a lot of good hockey and we found ways to make enough mistakes that we haven’t been able to win enough. You can’t continually get 38 shots a game and give up 22 or 24 and not win. Eventually it’s going to happen for you. It was great to see Pavel [Datsyuk] get a couple tonight. He’s a goal scorer, wants to score, wants to feel good about himself. I thought we had a great effort out of [Henrik] Zetterberg’s line…We had a huge save on the penalty shot that wasn’t even a penalty. The other play I thought was huge was when they scored short-handed and we responded on the same power player."

Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom on the game - "We wanted to hang onto the puck, especially offensively in their zone. Try to grind their D[efense] and get some shots on their goalie with traffic. We had the PP going early on that really got us going…We stuck with our game plan for 60 minutes tonight. We played solid defensively, tried to clear the rebounds in front of the net for [Jimmy Howard]. On the offensive side we did a great job of really hanging onto the puck...They got that short-handed goal and we responded right away by scoring on the power play and getting ourselves right back into the game…Special teams was very important today."

More later.

The Mayor


Postgame comments from Matt Greene - 'We played right into their game'

Postgame comments from LA Kings coach Terry Murray - talks Kopitar, Richards and the loss

Kings vs Red Wings pregame - five things to know

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Quick quotes from Kings coach Terry Murray after 4-1 loss

I'll have more Terry Murray quotes from his post game presser up later.

Here are some key highlights though...

On Anze Kopitar's first career penalty shot - "It was a critical time, but I would answer today that it was a small part of it—the missed opportunity there to score."

On the overall game - "Things turned after they made it 1-1. They scored right away on the power play after we got a short-handed goal that I thought was really going to be a huge momentum boost for us. I don’t know what happened on that. I haven’t watched the replay on it. I just remember Brownie [Dustin Brown] looked like he almost got tackled there as he was coming out to the point to the loose puck. But they score right away and started to feed off of some of the turnovers and some of the decisions that we made to get the puck back to them. By the end of the second period they had the game going the way they wanted and we ended up chasing it."

On Mike Richards' shorthanded goal - "He is one of the better penalty killers in the game I think. He has always got that anticipation. He’s ready for those plays that he might be able to jump on to put some pressure on the other team. He did it again tonight. Again, that to me was a huge play. Against a team like Detroit, that should be a great opportunity for you to feed off of that kind of momentum."

Comments from Murray on Drew Doughty and the Kings' penalty kill up later.

The Mayor

Matt Greene - 'We played right into their game'

In the Kings 4-1 loss to the Red Wings this afternoon, defenseman Matt Greene played 13:42, took one shot and had three hits. He was also a plus-1.

After things wrapped up, he spoke to the media...

On the overall game - "They capitalized on turnovers and we didn’t. When you play these guys there are shifts when you’re in your zone for a little while, but tonight it was way too much. We turned pucks over and played right into their game. They had a great game; a lot of their guys were playing really well. We played right into their system like that, so they’re going to have great success."

On special teams - "They had a good power play and we could be better on penalty kills. We got to make plays out there."

On the claim the Red Wings are too old and too slow - "They say that every year and nothing really changes. They have guys who play their system really well and as gifted as they are, they’re a really good defensive team. We turned the puck over in the neutral zone and we paid for our mistakes."

More to come.

The Mayor

Detroit Red Wings at LA Kings - five things to know

When the Red Wings arrive at Staples Center this afternoon, it will be the first time they see the Kings this season.

- Over the last six games between the two teams, LA has gone 5-1-0.

- The Kings are 6-1-0 with Slava Voynov in the line-up. Yes, they are also 2-0 with Andrei Loktionov too.

- Detroit's power play has converted at 16.4% through 17 games, while the Kings' have clicked at 20.2%.

- LA's penalty kill has also performed better, killing off 82.7% compared to Detroit's 77.8%.

- Jimmy Howard has gone 8-5-2 this season, with a 1.90 goals against average and .928 save percentage. Kings coach Terry Murray will counter with Jonathan Quick.

Be sure to follow along on twitter and/or facebook for live quotes from the locker room following the game.

The Mayor

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Occupy The Ponda - Kings at Ducks pregame primer

Divisional games in any sport are supposed to be close. So, last night's 2-1 win by the Kings in a shootout looks to fit the bill. However, it was probably a game where they gave the visiting Ducks a free point.

LA entered the third period up 1-0 on a goal by Mike Richards, who converted a Jack Johnson shot during a 5-on-3 power play.

With less than four minutes remaining in the game, Teemu Selanne tied things up. It was his 51st goal and 110th point (in 93 games) against the Kings, his personal best against NHL team.

Still, when things were over, Anaheim coach Randy Carlye acknowledged his team didn't play a full 60-minute game - "We didn’t really get our game going until the last half of the hockey game, then we played a lot more of the type of game that’s going to be required."

Bobby Ryan credited the Kings goaltending for shutting them down most of the game - "We had so many chances there and Quickie [Jonathan Quick] kept standing on his head and really sucking pucks in, not allowing any kind of rebounds in and chances for us all game."

Quick will start again tonight for the Kings, as they look to go up 2-0 in the Freeway Faceoff series. LA's only line-up change will be Brad Richardson replacing Trent Hunter.

After 103 games between the two cross town rivals, each side has 46 wins (there were 11 ties). Who will get to 47 first?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Quotes from Anaheim Ducks locker room after 2-1 LA win

There's no denying the Anaheim Ducks offense has been struggling.

Entering tonight's game with the Kings, they had averaged only 2.0 goals per game and 20 of their 34 goals had been scored by just four players (Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan and Teemu Selanne).

After the Kings defeated the Ducks 2-1 in the shootout at Staples Center, here's some thoughts from the Anaheim dressing room...


On the overall game - "The power play advantage was six to one at one point in the hockey game and usually when that happens you are going to be on the receiving end of the shot clock. We didn’t really get our game going until the last half of the hockey game, then we played a lot more of the type of game that’s going to be required."

Coach Murray says 'Frustration is good' after Kings 2-1 win

Although the Kings put up 17 shots in the first period - a season high - and outshot the Ducks 37-24, it still took a shootout to decide tonight's game.

After the Kings 2-1 win, thanks to shootuout goals from Jarret Stoll and Justin Williams, here's what coach Terry Murray had to say...

- On the overall game: "Frustration is good. If you’re getting 37 shots, you get 30 shots after two period and you’re getting frustrated because you’re not scoring, that’s OK. That means you’re doing a lot of good things to get frustrated about. That means you’re putting pucks to the net…The five-on-five play was good. The mentality of getting pucks to the net and having traffic was very good. I liked our power play tonight, we moved it around, we got pucks to the net."

- On Justin Williams scoring in the shootout after his late-game penalty gave the Ducks a power play: "I acknowledged that in the dressing room post-game. It was a huge goal for him to get us the two points. It’s unfortunate with the penalty, he’s just doing the things he has to do to recover some pucks on the fore-check as fast as possible. I think he was just a little off-balanced and the stick just happened to come down…He bounced back. He scored a huge goal for us to get the two points."

- On the play of the two Russian call-ups, Andrei Loktionov and Slava Voynov: "I thought both were very good. Loktionov was on Richards’ line and they played against the top lines on Anaheim here tonight. I was very confident with his play without the puck. Both guys [Loktionov and Voynov] are very skilled with the puck. They’ve got a lot of composure. They see the ice. They make some plays…They’re both going to be very good players."

More later.

The Mayor 


Kings vs Ducks - pregame primer for tonight's game

Kings vs Ducks: the first time it mattered this much

Kings prospect Ray Kaunisto calls Ducks fan 'a lost cause'

In the plans:  LA Kings vs Anaheim Ducks outdoor game

LA Kings players on favorite moments in Anaheim

Dustin Penner on the Penner Cup - Kings vs. Ducks, March 2011

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Loktionov talks Hextall, Kozun and other Kings prospects

Loktionov preseason goal (photo: M. Zampelli)
The Russians are coming. It's the story that's dominated the Kings headlines in most places the last few days.

Slava Voynov and Andrei Loktionov, both drafted by the Kings in the 2008 NHL Draft, were recalled from Manchester (AHL) in separate transactions about 24 hours apart.

Following practice yesterday, we spoke one-on-one with Voynov (posted earlier today) and then Loktionov, who arrived in LA just a day before his Russian comrade.

Back in the minors, Loktionov had gotten off to a quick start, scoring three goals in the Monarchs first five games. Since then, he's gone twelve games without a goal. However, he still left the AHL as the teams top point producer, largely behind his 11 assists (which are more than double any other player on the team).

Here's what the 21-year old forward had to say...

- Ron Hextall, Kings Assistant GM (who also serves as the Monarchs GM), called him on Sunday morning to let him know the Kings were calling him up to the NHL.

- Regarding his recent lack of production in Manchester - "We changed linemates after only one week. I was playing with Marc-Andre Cliche and Jordan Nolan. Then, Cliche moved to play center. Then, they moved Brandon Kozun (to my line)."

Ducks at Kings Freeway Faceoff - pregame primer

Tonight will be game number 103 between the Kings and Ducks.

Last year, Anaheim took the season series four games to two.

Through 17 games played by each team, the scales are titled towards the Kings - they have more wins (8 to 6), points (19 to 15), have scored more goals per game (2.41 to a league low 2.00), given up fewer goals per game (2.24 to 2.82), have a better power play (20.3% conversion to 13.6) and have won a greater percentage of faceoffs (51.9% to 46.6%).

What does all of that mean? Not much. The Ducks come in having won the last three games played between the two clubs, including the last two in Los Angeles.

Don't expect a heavyweight fight tonight either. George Parros is out recovering from eye surgery. Kevin Westgarth will be a healthy scratch.  (If you want to read a great story about Parros and a Chewbacca suit when he was a Kings prospect playing in Manchester, click here.)

Over the summer, Mike Richards was on MayorsManor talking about his relationship with Corey Perry (here) - which followed up Bobby Ryan talking about his friendship with several Kings players (here) the previous off season.

Still, don't expect a love fest out on the ice. The tension has been growing between these two teams over the last few years.

Slava Voynov... The LA Kings Savior?

Slava Voynov in LA (photo: C. Ikiri)
With Slava Voynov and Andrei Loktionov back in town this week, it was time to brush up on my Russian translation skills.

I called up old friend Alexander Frolov first, but his number had been changed. When I dialed up Vitali Yachmenev next, he just wanted to talk about playing with Gretzky at the Forum - so he wasn't much help.

Alex Zhitnik was worth a shot, but I couldn't understand a thing he said. So, finally, I called up Kelly Hrudey. He doesn't speak Russian, however he always takes my calls.

Although none of the above really happened yesterday, the following did take place...

After practice, I tried to ask Voynov a few questions. It wasn't the thick Russian accent or basic level English that gave me the most trouble though - it was trying to understand what he was saying while smiling from ear to ear. I'm really not sure who was happier, Voynov or Loktionov. They both were smiling so much it was starting to freak me out.

Here's some crib notes from our chat:

- He actually practiced with the Monarchs on Monday, then was told he'd been called up. It wasn't long before he was at the airport and headed to LA.

Penner on missing the Ducks game, when he'll be back

Penner after LA Kings practice
When the Kings returned from Europe last month, Matt Greene shared a story about the one thing he never wants to see again...and yes, it had to do with Dustin Penner.

Well, yesterday, it wasn't quite up to the level of the Greene story - but, Penner was practicing with a yellow jersey on, due to his 'upper body' injury.

As Jarret Stoll referred to him - Penner is just a large, bear of a man.  So, that's a lot of yellow and perhaps too much for the eyes.

He was the last one off the ice. In fact, by the time he made his way to the back, all other players were gone. Yet, as The Killers played on the ipod in the background, we had time for a quick chat...

MM: Any idea when you'll be back?

DP: Day to day, month to month, to week to week.

MM: That's about as clear as a middle body injury.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Murray not impressed with Loktionov so far, chance is now

Loktionov in preseason (photo: M. Zampelli)
Along with his comments about Slava Voynov and the new defensive pairings (posted in earlier articles last hour), Kings coach Terry Murray had plenty to say about the 'other' Russian who's now in town, forward Andrei Loktionov.

For the second day in a row, Murray had the 2008 NHL draft pick playing on the Kings' second line, with Mike Richards and Dustin Brown.

Following practice, Murray talked a little bit about the expectations surrounding Loktionov right now...

"He'll be playing on one of the top two lines here, playing with Richards, that's an important position that he's in. Same as Voynov, he's in a position to play some important minutes."

The move to put him on the left wing is at least eyebrow raising, as Murray and Loktionov both spent quite a bit of time late last season and over the summer talking about the fact the young Russian is better suited for the center position. Murray addressed that point as well...

"Well, I had many different scenarios in my mind on how it would all come together in the summertime, thinking Loktionov would really feed off of his opportunity from last year. I felt his training camp was off, quite frankly. in the exhibition games, in the practices, I saw some hesitation, I saw him not handling the puck, not transporting the puck through the middle of the ice and creating in the offensive zone, as I envisioned it would be. So, with that, that's where it ended up at the start of the year - with him back in Manchester. Now, it's a situation where I need a player to fit into a position. We're pretty much set down the middle. If he's going to fit in and be a player for us, he's up on an IR replacing Penner, we're looking for offense and we're looking for goals. We feel with Loktionov fitting in there now, he's going to give us that same look - creativity, he's a hockey player, he has a high IQ on the ice, I think. He's going to make plays with Richards and Brown."

He went on to talk about any motivational tactics he may use on the two players just called up from Manchester...

Murray gives major props to Martinez, talks Voynov's return

As noted in the post last hour, after Kings practice today coach Terry Murray discussed he defensive pairings he'll be using tomorrow night against the visiting Anaheim Ducks.

With Slava Voynov back in LA, to replace the injured Alec Martinez, things were mixed up a bit - as Voynov will be partnered with Willie Mitchell, Drew Doughty's regular partner, rather than just sliding into the spot Martinez held alongside Matt Greene.

When asked about the pairings, the first things Murray noted was how impressed he was with Martinez in the last game...

"Voynov's back and you know why he's back - that's the only way you can bring him back up is through putting a player on the IR. Unfortunately, for the Marty (Martinez), that will give him a little bit of time to get some rehab and get back back into the line-up. I was very surprised that he came back and played the other night. He really showed me a lot of character. He sucked up quite a bit of discomfort to be able to come back and play. And he scored a huge goal, that was good for him."

As for why Voynov will be paired with Mitchell, here's the explanation...

Kings coach Murray 'Jack and Doughty are coming of age'

One of the more newsworthy items coming out of Kings practice this morning was coach Terry Murray revealing how he'll use the just-called-up Slava Voynov.

With Alec Martinez going on the injured reserve list yesterday, it allowed the Russian blueliner to return to Los Angeles.

Murray said he'll be pairing Voynov with Willie Mitchell, moving Drew Doughty to play with Jack Johnson, and leaving Rob Scuderi with Matt Greene.

On the reuniting of Johnson and Doughty, a pair Murray went to quite a bit following both having success for their national teams at the 2010 Winter Olympics, here's what the coach had to say...

"I used it on the power play, going back a couple years ago. They played very well together. They're coming of age where they play hard for each other. There's always a time early in a career, when you're young, when you want to try to do a lot of stuff out there. Right now it's about the team and a pair of d-men being very good, playing a lot of minutes, playing in important and critical situations, and getting the job done. All four of those guys that we're talking about are mobile, they pass the puck, see the ice and, ideally, you want to get the puck going as quickly as possible and have those guys joining as part of the attack. And helping on that secondary part of the scoring."

Did the fact the Kings are playing Anaheim, a division opponent, twice this week have anything to do with how Murray decided to put the pairs together?

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Russians are invading LA - are you prepared?

The Kings will have have a new injection of Eastern European blood when they take the ice on Wednesday night against the visiting Anaheim Ducks.

Two of LA's top prospects were recalled today - forward Andrei Loktionov and defenseman Slava Voynov. Both were born in Russia and drafted by the Kings in the 2008 NHL Draft.

Although they've played the last few seasons together in Manchester, New Hampshire for the Kings' top minor league affiliate, they were born about 1,000 miles apart in their native land. Loktionov hails from Voskresensk, a city not far from Moscow, while Voynov is originally from Chelyabinsk - which is further east on a map.

Voynov held down the fort while Drew Doughty was negotiating a new contract with the Kings during training camp and was the last player cut before opening night rosters were submitted to the NHL.

Then, after Doughty was injured in the fourth game of the season, Voynov was recalled and played the next five games with the team - picking up two goals and an assist. He also scored a goal in his last game with the Monarchs this past Saturday. It was his third goal and fourth point in the AHL this year.

Halloween costume pics, stories from the LA Kings party

On Tuesday, October 25, it may have been some other players dressed up as the Kings - because coach Terry Murray's team just didn't look like themselves in a 3-0 loss at home to New Jersey.

A few nights earlier, the Kings did actually trade in their sweaters for a variety of different costumes at the team's annual Halloween party.

In something that sounds more like a joke - but it's the truth - the big winners of the night were Simon Gagne and his wife, who dressed up like clowns. "They really went all out," said forward Trevor Lewis and defenseman Matt Greene called the pair "awesome."

Apparently, it was so good they won the 'award' for best dressed - a small 'Emmy-like trophy' according to Jarret Stoll.

Several players commented they also liked Rob Scuderi's choice of outfits (he and his wife came as Duff Man and Marge Simpson). Another popular get up was worn by captain Dustin Brown, who came as one of the tight clothed officers from Comedy Central's Reno 911.

However, the always sharp dressed Stoll had high praise for an unlikely forward, one who barely ever shows a personality to the media and is known for being a man of very (and I mean VERY) few words.

POLL: Which player should the LA Kings call up today?

Two big things happened over the weekend. First, the Kings offense woke up and scored five goals on Saturday night - the third time they've hit the nickel mark this season. Then, yesterday, left wing Dustin Penner was placed on the injured reserve list for a hand injury he suffered back in Thursday night's game vs. the Canucks.

When Scott Parse went down last week, center Colin Fraser was activated.

This time around, they don't have an extra forward here in LA waiting around. So, expect to see somebody from Manchester (AHL) headed West.

Down two left wings, who could it be?

Here are the likely candidates to select from (in alphabetical order)...

Rich Clune, LW - one of only two players on this list who has NHL experience (played 14 games for the Kings in 2009-10) known primarily as an agitator, he plays a high energy game and ironically, any consideration he gets will be in large part be due to two players who left the organization

Ray Kaunisto, LW - one of the rare left wings on this list and the funniest guy from Manchester on twitter...he'll call out anybody, even his own wife

Dwight King, LW - the other player on the list with NHL experience (six games last year)...he was also the guy the team tried to call up when Jarret Stoll was suspended in the playoffs, but they couldn't get it done in time...was one of the last players cut in camp this season...has six points in 17 games with Manchester this season

Sunday, November 13, 2011

LA Kings def Wild 5-2 - postgame locker room comments

After the Kings defeated the Wild 5-2 in front of another sell out crowd at Staples Center on Saturday night, here was some of the reaction coming from both locker rooms...

- Dustin Brown on the overall game: "The last four periods is a tell tale sign of how we need to play with the puck. The defense moved the puck a little quicker getting it up the ice."

- Brown on the power play goal by Alec Martinez: "That was probably the turning point in the game, really. We had a five-minute opportunity to really put the nail in the coffin and [Justin] Williams made a good play from low and we found a goal to go up 2-0 and we went from there.”

- Coach Terry Murray on his milestone game: "It doesn’t really feel any different, anything special. It’s a game that was very important for us to win. I really liked the focus coming into the game tonight. The players came out right away with the kind of intensity and attitude of moving their feet, getting pucks going north, and recovering pucks. That was a huge first goal that Fraser scored on a nice play by Moreau from behind the net. That’s what I like about the milestone: the fact that the team played well and won the game."