Friday, December 9, 2011

LA Kings officially place Ethan Moreau on waivers

So much for waiting one more day to make a decision on which player had to leave in order to clear room on the Kings roster for Willie Mitchell's return - which is expected for tomorrow's game vs. Dallas.

Ethan Moreau has officially been placed on waivers. All other NHL teams will now have 24 hours to claim him. If he's not picked up by another team, his future is unclear at the moment.  He was a first round draft pick by the Chicago Blackhawks at the 1994 NHL Draft and he's played in 928 NHL games.

This season, Moreau had played in all 28 games for the Kings, bouncing between the third and fourth lines - and from the left to right side. He had one goal and three assists, to go along with a plus-minus rating of minus-3 and 20 penalty minutes.  His 50 hits were fourth on the team behind Dustin Brown (84), Matt Greene (79) and Kyle Clifford (60).

You have to wonder if Trent Hunter scoring that goal last night helped save his job or if Moreau was going either way.

Back when Moreau was still captain of the Oilers, he sat down for an in-depth interview with MayorsManor.  Click here to give it a read if you've never seen it before.  We cover some interesting stories together.

The timing of him going on waivers is at least a little ironic with the Stars coming in town tomorrow night.  You may recall, some of the sharpest criticism coach Terry Murray has had this season, directed at a specific player, came after Moreau's penalty during the Kings last game in Dallas two weeks ago.  The two events aren't connected, just ironic.

More info to come, as it becomes available.

The Mayor 


What I've learned so far this Ethan Moreau

Kyle Clifford cements his spot on the fourth line, others are on the clock

What I've learned so far this Kevin Westgarth

POLL:  What's the right roster move for the LA Kings?

Trent Hunter on his first goal and the postgame team meeting

Kings coach Murray evaluates the return of Alec Martinez

Kings defenseman Alec Martinez returned to the line-up last night after missing the previous 10 games with an 'upper body' injury - ironically, suffered in game vs. the Minnesota Wild last month.

With Martinez on IR, the Kings needed to make a roster move to get him back into the line-up. And the strong play of Slava Voynov suggests he isn't going anywhere. However, the expected waiving of Davis Drewiske will have to wait at least until the weekend because the Kings were able to place Willie Mitchell on IR (retroactive back to December 1, meaning he can come off tomorrow).

Again, for those curious about the roster process - essentially, to get Mitchell or Mike Richards back in the line-up, the Kings will need to make one roster move for each player. They can send Voynov, Andrei Loktionov or Kyle Clifford to the AHL without exposing them to waivers. Any other player on the Kings roster would have to be placed on waivers first, giving the other 29 teams a chance to take the player being waived. If such player goes unclaimed, he can then be assigned to Manchester. Thus, it's a slippery slope right now.

That decision can wait at least one more day though.

Back to Martinez.  He had 17:28 of total ice time and recorded one shot last night. Here's what coach Terry Murray had to say when asked for an evaluation of the young defenseman's return to action...

Jack Johnson - 'We have to do something different here'

From what I've observed over the last few years, Jack Johnson is one of those players who hates to lose more than he likes to win. When the Kings are victorious, there's usually a small smile or two and a 'on to the next one' attitude in the room afterwards. But, when they lose, you would see steam coming out of his ears if life were like a cartoon.

Johnson had his first multi-point game of the season last night, assisting on both Kings goals. However, understandably, he was in no mood to celebrate following the Kings third loss in a row.

Here's his take...

On his two points - "We don't score very much, so nobody is going to be racking up a lot of points. But, the point is, we're not scoring at all. So, it's hard. We only scored two goals again tonight. You're not going to win many hockey games only scoring two goals."

On seeing Anze Kopitar laying on the ice - "He's a tough guy. We all believed he would get up and get back in the game. We're all pretty positive with that stuff. He's a big, strong guy, so we were pretty confident he was going to get back in the game."

On what he saw from the Kings following the hit - "Everyone was working hard to try and score one on that five-minute power play. We wanted to score one for him. Nobody's out there not trying. (It was) another case of us only scoring two goals. It's not enough to win in this league."

On the meeting in the room immediately following the game - "It's pretty obvious this isn't good enough to win. It's not a lack of effort. Everyone here wants to do well. Everyone wants to win. But, we have to do something different here, in this room as players, to find a way to win hockey games."

To read postgame quotes from Kings coach Terry Murray click here. Also, click on the player's name to read comments from - Trent Hunter, Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown.

The Mayor 

Wild def Kings 4-2, quotes from the Minnesota locker room

Although the Kings out-shot the Wild 44-24 and out-hit them 46-22, they gave up a season-high four goals (for the third time) and that was too much for an offense that's unable to score more than two goals right now. Final score 4-2, and here's what they were saying in the Minnesota locker room after the game...

Coach Mike Yeo on the overall game - "It was nice to have a good start. It was nice not to have to sit here and talk about another attempt or a great job coming from behind and I thought we were sharp right from the get-go. We expected them to have a push. Certainly it was tough losing (Brodziak) tonight and I thought our guys really rose to the challenge."

Yeo on losing Kyle Brodziak - "Obviously it increased a lot of ice time for (Koivu), (Cullen), and for the lines. We started to roll those lines real frequently but also with Cody Almond. I thought not only did he step into that situation and play key minutes for us, but that was a big goal he scored. They had some good momentum going at that time and you could tell that took a lot of life out of them."

Rookie goaltender Matt Hackett on making his first NHL start - "I can’t even explain it. It’s been crazy. Best 72 hours of my life so far. Like I said, we got to keep it going and I’m just living the dream right now. Just got to jump in there and do the best you can. Today I had time to think about the game, usually I have a pre-game map, but I was so excited I didn’t really get to sleep. I was just focusing on what I was supposed to do and I felt like it went pretty well tonight."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Murray's postgame presser - includes his mtg with players

Quick highlights from LA Kings coach Terry Murray's postgame presser...

On the overall game - "Those [early period goals] are killers. You have a team [Wild] that is a really good defensive team. They’re the number one team in the league. They get a lead, they’re going to protect it; they have in the last games that I’ve watched in Anaheim and San Jose, and it’s a killer. You can’t give up a goal in the first shift like we did, at the start of the period. You work hard, you try to climb out of the hole, you try and turn the tables in the third period with lots of things but sometimes it’s too late and it’s too late tonight."

On the Kings goals - "Those are the kinds of goals, as far as attitude with pucks to the net and looking for opportunities, but that has to start right away…It’s just an easy play, it’s just a simple D-to-D behind the net play and you’re out of your zone, there was really no pressure. We made the mistake. We put the puck in your teammate’s feet and it ended up going around the boards, they recovered it right back and now we’re scrambling. Those plays are the ones that our haunting us right now, our own mistakes."

Dustin Brown on his hit total tonight, seeing Kopitar on the ice

Kings captain Dustin Brown had a season high 12 hits tonight vs. the Wild, to go along with five shots on goal.

After the game, he shared the following...

On his 12 hits in the game - "We need more intensity in our game and part of that is physical, I guess. But, I don't look at the stat sheets. The opportunities were there. Everyone is questioning my hit totals this year - whether it's the rules, and maybe that's part of it. But, I'm not going to run out of (my) way to get hits. Tonight the hits were there. Some nights there's not a lot of opportunity out there the way the game is played nowadays."

On seeing Anze Kopitar laying on the ice - "It's always scary when you see a player go down, regardless of if he's your best player. When you see a teammate go into the boards like that you just hope for the best. We have to find a way to capitalize when we have a five minute power play, or three-and-a-half minutes, whatever it was."

On the overall game - "They got a quick early goal and I turned the puck over on the second one. I just couldn’t make a strong play and then it was in our net and it was 2-0. It’s a tough team to play against when you are down 2-0. I don’t know exactly what happened on the first but I couldn’t make that play on the second. Look at our shot pool: in 40-whatever shots we got two goals. We have to find ways to score goals. I give Hackett credit, he made some pretty big saves."

On the improvements need - "We have to get around the net more. I thought tonight was better than it has been in the past. We have to just get to the net and find ways to get pucks through. We have to be stronger in front of the net, we have a couple guys that are there consistently but we need more guys going. That’s going to help us score goals."

Brown came on MayorsManor the other day and explained why his hit totals are down 24% for the season (link here)

More to come.

Comments from Trent Hunter and Anze Kopitar are already up on the homepage...and coach Murray's remarks from his postgame presser can be found here.

The Mayor

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Kopitar talking frustrations and goals after 4-2 loss

Anze Kopitar went hard into the boards early in the second period. Minutes later, he was back on the ice during the Kings power play. He finished the night with a team-high seven shots on goal.

The Kings out-hit the Wild 46 to 13, with three of those coming from Kopitar.

After the game, he shared the following...

On the overall game "We are going to have to score some goals, it’s as simple as that. It doesn’t matter how, deflections or rebounds, we need to pick the corner. Whatever it is, we are going to have to score more goals."

On the higher hit counts tonight - "Maybe a little frustration but…you have to be a little more physical and try to make something happen."

On the power play - "It’s frustrating and we know we have to do better. I guess if you don’t shoot the puck you can’t score. We’ve had some good puck movement but none of that matters if we can’t score."

Video highlights from the game are posted here.

To read postgame quotes from Kings coach Terry Murray click here. Also, click on the player's name to read comments from - Trent Hunter, Dustin Brown and Jack Johnson.

The Mayor

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Trent Hunter on his first goal and the postgame meeting

Trent Hunter played a total of 13:02 in the Kings 4-2 loss to the Wild tonight. He also recorded four hits and three shots on goal.

But, the most important stat related to Hunter was in the goal column. He scored his 100th NHL goal and first as a King - after going 0-15 this season.

"It's definitely nice to get that monkey off my back," said Hunter. "It's been a long gap and a long year. But, it was nice to see that one go in and now hopefully I can keep things rolling."

After the game it took several minutes longer than usual for the Kings dressing room to open for the media. What was being said?

"We were talking about what we need to do and how we need to play these games. As players, we know we need to be better. We're going to regroup and be ready for Saturday."

More to come.

[UPDATE - Murray talks postgame meeting and the hit on Kopitar here...Kopitar talks fustrations and goals here...and Brown talks his hit totals tonight and seeing Kopitar on the ice here]

The Mayor

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Wild at Kings roster notes, including a first NHL start

Some quick notes on tonight's game, featuring the Minnesota Wild's second (and final) trip to Staples Center this season:

- Coach Terry Murray was right yesterday, both Alec Martinez and Willie Mitchell won't be in the line-up tonight. However, in a reversal from the way things looked 24 hours ago, it's Martinez who will play. To create the roster spot for #27's removal from IR, Mitchell was added to IR - retroactive to December 1st, as his groin hasn't fully recovered.

- The status of Justin Williams is still TBD. He skated this morning, but his availability for tonight will be a game-time decision. Brad Richardson will skate in warm-ups tonight and will get the call if #14 isn't ready to go.

- Trevor Lewis will go back in the line-up tonight, playing right wing on the fourth line. Apparently, he's shown the necessary grit in practice the last few days.

- As of now, the lines appear to be:

Dustin Penner - Anze Koptiar - Dustin Brown
Simon Gagne - Jarret Stoll - Williams/Richardson
Ethan Moreau - Andrei Loktionov - Trent Hunter
Kyle Clifford - Colin Fraser - Trevor Lewis

Of course, that's all subject to change on a shift by shift basis.

UPDATE: The plan now is to flip-flop Stoll and Loktionov. So, Stoll returns to the third line.

- For the Wild, they've announced Matt Hackett will make his first NHL start in net. He came on in relief the other night vs. San Jose and earned his first victory. Hackett was selected by Minnesota in the third round of the 2009 NHL Draft and played junior hockey in the OHL. Last season he was the starting goalie for the Wild's AHL farm team, the Houston Aeros - who lost the championship in a six-game series with Binghamton. Former Kings defenseman Darryl Sydor was the assistant coach on that team (he's now an assistant with the Wild) and former Kings draft pick Patrick O'Sullivan played forward for them. In his junior days, Hackett was teammates with future Kings draft picks Jordan Nolan and Robbie Czarnik.

- Devin Setoguchi was placed on IR earlier today by the Wild. He'll miss the action tonight at Staples Center.

Game time is 7:30pm PST.

The Mayor 


Patrick O'Sullivan reflects on his days with the Kings

Interview with Robbie Czarnik - the forgotten Kings prospect

Dr. Terry Murray with the latest updates from the infirmary - notes on Richards, Mitchell, etc.

Trevor Lewis responds to benching, coach Terry Murray's comments

Dustin Penner says Corey Perry was 'mlking it' after he hit him

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Penner talks Corey Perry 'milking it' and the Hockey Gods

Before we turn the page towards toward tonight's game with Minnesota, there's still a few notes left over from practice yesterday.

Late last night we posted an article where Kings coach Terry Murray said that Tuesday's game vs. Anaheim was Dustin Penner's best game of the year.

There's no denying that Penner seems to be living up to the words he said last week, where he claimed to be healthy for the first time all year and was ready to go. He looked good in Saturday's game with Montreal and even more impressive against the Ducks.

"Better than I was two games prior," said Penner, when asked if he was feeling better about his recent performances. "But, it's only two games."

While he may have humble there, he did admit to being excited about playing his old team - "It always is. I played with Getzlaf and Perry for most of my time with them. So, it's always nice to grade yourself against some All-Stars and Olympians. Those two guys have been playing really well and getting better every year for a long time. That makes it a nice measuring stick for a lot of guys."

In a few articles yesterday we also mentioned that several players noted that the feeling on the bench Tuesday was different than other games this season when the team was down 2-0. After hearing it from a few of the Kings, I asked Penner if he felt it too...

"Yeah, everybody was talking on the bench. Kopi and I were excited to play with each other and we wanted to go out there and win it. We were a victim of the hockey gods, I think. Anaheim was owed a game because of the last few (where they came back from ahead to lose two games). We probably win that game if they had held the lead against Philly or Minny."

Kings coach Murray - 'Penner really stands out in my mind'

Tuesday night in Anaheim Dustin Penner had seven shots on goal, his season high with the Kings this season. Last year, his highest total with the team was 10, against those same Ducks. Prior to being traded to LA, his high water mark for the season with the Oilers was - wait for it - yes, against Anaheim.

One of the many rules of professional sports, athletes usually increase their output and level of effort against their former teams - either consciously or subconsciously.

After practice yesterday, several players noted the mood around the Kings bench was much different Tuesday than what they've experienced this season when the team has been down a few goals to other teams. This time, there was still a feeling of 'We're going to win this thing.'

I asked coach Terry Murray why he thought Tuesday was different - say, compared to the game before, where they were also down 2-0 to Montreal...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Murray says Kings have confidence and are in 'good shape'

Earlier today we posted the first batch of comments from coach Terry Murray's post-practice media scrum.  So far, we've looked at very specific areas - the play of Kyle Clifford and his system, which hasn't produced many goals of late. Now, Murray goes a little higher level.

First up, an overall summary of the season as a whole...

"We're in pretty good shape," said the Kings coach. "We made a lot of changes over the year. We brought in new players, veteran players. It takes them time. We were hoping that Scott Parse would come in and really contribute to the team. That broke down, he's out and done, probably for the year. Penner is starting to get going. He's gone through a lot here, through the summertime and getting himself to the level of play that we want. He had a couple of injuries right from the start, with the groin injuries, then he broke his hand. So, there's a lot of that happening. Doughty comes in late, after the training camp and misses the early part. So, there's been a lot of things. Overall, the team has come through with an incredible amount of confidence. We're in pretty good shape."

As Murray is prone to do, he went on to back up some of his statements...

Clifford cements his role on fourth line, others on the clock

Kyle Clifford is still 20 years old.

That's an important point to remember. Yet, sometimes, a hard fact to keep in mind. People have been calling him things like 'a kid trapped in a man's body' for the last few years. While true, some were expecting more from The Colonel coming into the season - especially after his coming out party during last year's playoff series with San Jose.

He's played in all 27 games this season and has three points to show for it (one goal, two assists). In his 27th game last year, he picked up his second goal and fifth point. So, he's not that far behind.

However, back the post season, he put up five points in six games - including tying for the team lead with three goals.

Still, while nobody probably expected him to be a top-six forward this year, does he belong on the fourth line?

"Well, that's actually where he should be, is on the fourth line, in reality" said coach Terry Murray after practice today. "That's where he played last year. He showed great signs in the playoffs last year, had some nice success. You'd like to think he could make a step up to third line and he will be there someday - that would be his position down the road. But, again, second year, it's not easy. His work ethic, his attitude, his try is tremendous. He loves the team. He works hard for the team and wants to win every night. But, there's a process that you need to go through and he's in the middle of it right now."

Dr. Terry Murray with the latest updates from the infirmary

Besides the fact that many guys IN the line-up haven't been producing at their normal levels, the Kings also have several players OUT of the line-up lately.

Following practice today, coach Murray provided updates on the four players who all seem to be just days away from returning...

On Justin Williams (hand injury suffered last night) - "It's more of a therapy day, rehab is (related to being hit on the hand last night in Anaheim)...I do expect it [him to be in the line up tomorrow]. I don't know that for absolute. He'll get treatment today, come in tomorrow and give us a feel as to how he’s doing.

On Mike Richards (on IR following hit last Thursday) - "Progressing. That's all I can say. That’s all I know, actually. He’s in every day, riding the bike, getting more acclimated, getting exercise and a feel for his own self...usually the players see doctors on game night. So, I'm sure they'll have another conversation tomorrow."

On Willie Mitchell (sore groin suffered last Thursday) - "Full practice, looks really good, skated and participated in all the drills, looked comfortable. I’ll have a conversation with him here after, to see where he’s at for tomorrow...I think after Willie goes through the practice here today, it's going to be more important to see how he is in the morning, rather than this afternoon. We'll make a decision after the morning skate."

On Alec Martinez (on IR following Minnesota game on 11/12) - "Pretty close to getting going. He’s been out there the last few days in practice, doing everything and feeling pretty comfortable. So, it’s just a matter of getting everybody in here tomorrow and seeing how they’re doing."

Asked if there was a possibility both Mitchell and Martinez would be in the line-up tomorrow, Murray said, "I don't think so. One of the two, it's a good possibility."

Last hour, Murray talked at length about the Kings' lack of scoring (link).

The Mayor


Xbox hurting Dustin Penner, but Mike Richards may be helping

Alec Martinez hopes to have money left over for sticks

Willie Mitchell and Mike Richards admit to bromance

Kings at Coyotes: what to watch for - with Justin Williams

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Breaking down the lack of scoring with Kings coach Murray

The LA Kings haven't been scoring enough goals to win hockey games on a consistent basis and everybody's talking about, including coach Terry Murray.

Following practice today, he not only answered questions, he also had some facts to share...

Question: Is the parity in the league - and the fact a lot of teams play the same system - part of the reason for the lack of scoring?

TM: Pre-lockout (2003-04), the number one scoring team in the NHL scored 262 goals (Ottawa). Last season, the top scoring team in the NHL, the Vancouver Canucks, put up 262 goals (note: it was actually 258 last year). So, it hasn't changed much. The thing that has changed now though is the neutral zone play is much tighter. We saw it last night with Anaheim and we're seeing it, basically, with every team in the league. Everybody's pulling back to their own blueline. It's a very tight structure now in the middle of the ice. It is difficult to have a possession entry. Organized attacks, you can get organized, but there comes a time when you're being fronted - now, you just have to go get pucks in deep and you have to go recover them. So, it's hard and it's hard for everybody in the league right now.

Question: Has there been any change in the system that has led him to believe the offensive numbers would go down?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Kings at Ducks pregame primer - will it be number 1 or 500?

Tonight is the third game of the six-game series between the Kings and Ducks.

Since they met up for a pair of games last month, Anaheim fired their former coach (Randy Carlyle) and replaced him with Bruce Boudreau - who had previously coached the Washington Capitals.

A few years prior, Boudreau worked for the Kings and coached their minor league affiliate in Manchester. His final season there, he had a team featuring Dustin Brown, George Parros and Mike Cammalleri. They won 51 games during the regular season and lost in the first round of the playoffs for the fourth straight year. That was the end of Boureau in Manch.

While in Washington, Boudreau faced the Kings four times and lost every one of them.

He's also yet to win behind the bench in Anaheim, dropping his first two games.

So, tonight he'll be seeking his first win with the Ducks and his first win vs. the Kings.

On the other bench, LA coach Terry Murray is looking for his 500th win as an NHL coach.

Stoll is looking for 'more than one or two goals' vs Anaheim

Stoll vs. the Ducks (photo: M. Zampelli)
Jarret Stoll just continues to do whatever is asked of him.

Coming into the season, the Kings needed Stoll to become the team's new third line center, dropping down a line to make room for newly-acquired Mike Richards. Then, a few weeks ago, he was moved to right wing in an attempt to improve LA's anemic offensive output. Now, for the last four periods, he's been back as the second line center, due to an injury suffered by Richards (coming on a hit by Sean Bergenheim) in the second period of last Thursday's game with Florida.

Tonight, the Kings will travel to Anaheim and play in a building Stoll seems to enjoy playing in, picking up 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) in 16 career games.  He also has recorded more shots on goal there (41 total) than in any other road city.

LA will have a new obstacle though, Bruce Boudreau will be behind the bench for Anaheim. Since being hired last week, the Ducks have gone 0-2 for their new leader.  Yet, they scored three goals in both losses - a feat the Kings haven't accomplished in two weeks.

"They're all tough games and (this) one will be too. They will be a highly incented group to play hard and play smart for him and get a win for him," said Stoll, while referencing the Ducks new head coach. "We have to bring our game. We have to pick up our game. Our number one focus is probably scoring and putting the puck in the back of the net, getting more than one or two goals."

If that's going to happen, his line will most likely need to contribute.

Stoll has only one goal in his last 21 games and his right wing, Trent Hunter, has yet to score a goal this season. Meanwhile, Dustin Brown will be looking to continue his recent strong play at left wing.

Game time is 7pm.

Also, please note that all shirts in the MayorsManor store are on sale for 50% OFF until midnight tonight.  The offer code is given down below.

The Mayor 


LA Kings players on their favorite moments in Anaheim

RECAP:  Dean Lombardi meeting with shareholders

Dustin Penner looking to bring the Penner Cup to LA

Jarret Stoll - LA Kings players were 'fed up' with things

Stoll and Murray talk center, left wing possibilities

Stoll on the missed penalty and referees in Saturday's game vs. Montreal

50% OFF all shirts until midnight tonight, use offer code SHIRTATNIGHT

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Dustin Brown explains why his hit totals are down 24%

Dustin Brown, LA Kings (photo: M. Zampelli)
Over the last few years, there are certain things you can count on when watching an LA Kings game. Such as - Anze Kopitar will pick up a point, Jarret Stoll will win a bunch of faceoffs, Matt Greene will block some shots...and Dustin Brown will deliver a few crushing hits to the opposition.

Yet, if the latter seems to be with less frequency this season, well - it has been.

Last year Brown finished with 300 hits, up from 287 the year prior. Through 26 games played this season, his 72 hits have him on pace for a total of 227, down 24%.

When asked about the decline, Brown doesn't see it as him responding to the league-wide crack down...

"Definitely (the league) is looking at it more closely. But, I don't think it's changing my game," said the Kings captain. "I think what's happening is our system is starting to get more detailed. There are opportunities to get hits. But, you don't want to run out of your way to get hits. We're starting to learn our system a little bit better. On the forecheck, if I'm F1, I can get my hits. If I'm F2 or F3, I have to make some reads. Again, hitting, I try to be as physical as possible. I think it provides a spark for this team. However, I think there are definitely instances where maybe I pull back, not from a standpoint of the league rules or whatever. But, just from trying to stay in a better position on the defensive side of the puck and really focusing on doing all of the things right - as opposed to making the big hit and maybe taking myself out of the play."

As a point of reference, last Thursday he had six hits against Florida (his season best) and then five hits on Saturday vs. Montreal. He played on the top line in both games.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Four LA Kings prospects make preliminary WJC rosters

Later this week we'll have a full prospect report posted, including a look at what's going on out east with the Manchester Monarchs.

For now, here's the big news of the day...

Team Finland and the USA have submitted their preliminary rosters for the upcoming World Junior Championships (Canada's was released last week).

This is the top tournament in the world for the 'under-20' aged hockey players and many of the games will be televised in the U.S. on the NHL Network.

Four LA Kings prospects have made the lists...

USA - Derek Forbort, defenseman, University of North Dakota, first round selection 2010 NHL Draft

USA - Kevin Gravel, defenseman, St. Cloud St. University, fifth round selection 2010 NHL Draft

Finland - Christopher Gibson, Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL), second round selection 2011 NHL Draft

Canada - Tyler Toffoli, Ottawa 67's (OHL), second round selection 2010 NHL Draft

For Team USA, a total roster of 30 players was announced. They will hold a pre-tourney camp from December 17-23 and their final 22-player roster will be known December 22.

Meanwhile, Canada put out a roster of 41 players, who will start their camp this Saturday in Calgary. Toffoli, who was the leading goal scorer in all of junior hockey last year, was a surprise omission from last year's team and he'll be looking to make sure the same thing doesn't happen again.

POLL: LA Kings Player of the Month - November 2011

Time for some more house cleaning. Sure, this poll should have gone up on Thursday morning. Life happens. And yes, this poll is for the month of November. So, it does not take into account anything that occurred Thursday night vs. Florida or Saturday afternoon vs. Montreal.

Here we go...

First, a look back at the team as a whole. In the month of November, the Kings were 6-5-2, a little worse off than their 6-3-2 record in October. Their 28 points were second best in the division (behind Dallas, 29) and placed them sixth in the Western Conference. LA is also 6-1-2 vs. Pacific division opponents.

The power play, which had been converting at 23.1% in October, had fallen to 17.4% at the end of the NHL's second month. On the penalty kill, things had dropped a few points as well, going from 86.1% down to 84.4%.

Individually, here are your nominations for Player of the Month, November 2011:

{listed in alphabetical order)

Simon Gagne - four goals, four assists

Anze Kopitar - four goals, six assists, still leads the team in points

Jonathan Quick - 4-5-2 record, .924 save percentage, one shutout

Mike Richards - nine goals, one assist, moved into team goal scoring lead

Slava Voynov - one goal, one assist, 10 shots on goal in seven games since being called up

Who gets your vote?

Vote now, poll ends Wednesday morning at 11am PST.

For the record, last month's winner was Jonathan Quick. He captured 63% of the votes, the most ever in one of our 'Player of the Month' polls. Full results are available here.

The Mayor


LA Kings player of the month - November 2010

Simon Gagne on LA's loss to Montreal - 'We kind of shut down'

What I've learned so far... by Mike Richards

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Warming up the leftovers with Clifford, Greene, Westgarth

Things have been a little busy lately, so it's time to play catch up this morning. Sometimes, you have 'extra' quotes that just never see the light of day because of timing, other news stories popping up, etc. Then, they're lost forever. Rather than let that happen, let's back track for just a moment. After all, this should be a slow Monday...

Below are comments from Kevin Westgarth and Matt Greene after the physical game vs Florida on Thursday - plus, Kyle Clifford following Saturday's contest with Montreal.

Westgarth on the surprising amount of rough play in the Kings-Panthers game - "There was a bit of frustration on both of the teams. Then, when their player takes a bit of a run at one of our better players, it pisses everybody off. It was great to come out with the win. We weren't as good as we should be tonight and it's pretty awesome that we came out with the win. It's great to see some of the snarl out of the boys. I think it should be quite a game when we get back over there in Florida."

NOTE: The Kings will play the Panthers in Florida on Thursday, February 9. Also, to see the hit Sean Bergenheim put on Mike Richards, click here.

Westgarth on watching much of the Kings roster get involved in the physical aspect of the game - "I love seeing the boys take care of each other. That's why I'm here. But, that's the whole mentality. If everybody has each other's back, then we can all play that much more confident and that much better. Sometimes I grit my teeth a little too much maybe and just want to do something to deal with it. But, I think the guys did a great job of stepping up, being real physical, and going right back after them. Hockey teams, and especially our team, have memories. We'll keep this one close to our chest."