Saturday, December 24, 2011

VIDEO: Bob Miller on the Kings vs Sharks rivalry

Another game, another night with minimal offense. The Kings and Sharks skated to a 1-1 tie through the first 60 minutes of action last night in San Jose. Neither side scored in overtime, however the Sharks won via the shootout after four Kings players couldn't find a way to put one past Antti Niemi.

The Kings are 1-0-1 in the Darryl Sutter era.

Yesterday afternoon, Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Miller spoke with Dan Rusanowsky of the Sharks about the San Jose vs. Los Angeles rivalry...

The Kings return to the ice for a morning skate on Monday at 10am, followed by a game that night vs. the Phoenix Coyotes. It will be another 7pm start at Staples Center.

Happy holidays!

The Mayor


Kings v Sharks - pregame primer with Marty McSorley

MayorsManor interview with Bob Miller

Kings v Sharks - pregame primer with San Jose captain Joe Thornton

MayorsManor interview with Sharks captain Rob Blake

POTY - Darryl Sutter ends his first press conference with double peace sign

Doughty on the Sharks - his memories and concerns

Shop Today!

Friday, December 23, 2011

POTY - Darryl Sutter ends presser with double peace sign

The first half of Wednesday's press conference to announce Darryl Sutter as the new Kings' coach was largely uneventful. Just your normal, run-of-the-mill presser. Most people in the room were waiting to talk to GM Dean Lombardi once things were over - as he's always good for a good quote or a hundred.

Then, Sutter decided to steal the show with what may be the off-ice moment of the year. He ended things by throwing up double peace signs...

To watch the entire thing unfold in real time, click here to view (thanks to Kings Vision).

To read quotes from Lombardi after the presser - where he talks about Sutter as a GM, comparisons to the Boston Red Sox, the Kings players using injuries as an excuse this season, expectations moving forward, the Red Wings almost trading Steve Yzerman and so much more - click here.

The Mayor

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dustin Brown on what the Kings used to win tonight

Dustin Brown's last two games have perhaps been his best back-to-back performances this season. He played over 22 minutes in tonight's game, second only to Anze Kopitar among the forwards, and - like on Monday vs. Toronto - he scored a goal in regulation and added one in the shootout as well.

He now has four points in the last four games (three goals, one assist) and his six hits led the team tonight vs. the Ducks. That also gives him 37 hits in the last seven games. For good measure, he also led all players in the game with five shots on goal.

Back in the dressing room, following the Kings 3-2 win, he had this to say...

On the overall game - "Right now it’s about getting points. That’s the most important. Secondly, we’re starting to put good games look at the stats like O[ffense} zone time, you’re starting to see guys hold onto the puck more. That’s two fold. When you’re spending more time in their zone it wears them down a little over the course of the game. At the end of the day, it keeps our defense pretty rested. We have some guys back there that play big minutes. When they can catch a breather for two or three minutes in a row while we're cycling and working hard, it pays dividends for those guys."

On the shootout - "I’ve been struggling the last year and a half on my shootouts, so I’ve just been working on it a little more, simplifying my moves...I was going to go exactly where Stolly [Jarret Stoll] went and I felt like he [Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller] was shading that side of the net so I just switched it up at the last second there."

On his goal in regulation - "It might not have looked like much, but the pass that Kopi gave me, I don't know if a lot of guys can do that. It's a three foot pass that goes a foot in the air and lands flat. I just got into position to shoot and he put it in the right spot."

Quotes from the Ducks locker room after 3-2 loss to LA

Although it's tough to call a game in December a big win, tonight was about as big of a win as the Kings have had all season. They wanted to start off the Darryl Sutter era with a win and they did just that, downing the Ducks 3-2 in a shootout.

Anaheim hasn't won on the road since October and after the game, both coach Bruce Boudreau and captain Ryan Getzlaf seemed to be looking for moral victories in tonight's loss...

Boudreau on the overall game - "I thought for sure when we got that power play in the overtime that it was going to happen. It didn’t. Then they got it and I thought ‘uh-oh, this is what usually happens’ and then when we killed that off I thought ‘I don’t care, we are going to win it in the shootout.’ I mean, the shootout is a crapshoot—anything can happen with it. Overall, I hate to keep saying it, but I thought we played pretty solid. The difference between winning and losing is sometimes just the attitude and believing that you are going to win or believing you are going to lose."

Boudreau on the Ducks power play - "The play we drew it up there was the first one and it was a near miss. What I couldn’t understand is why they didn’t go back and try it again because they play was open and it was there and you have options off it but I’ll talk to the guys and we’ll see the day after Christmas."

10 Tidbits from coach Darryl Sutter's pregame presser

Tonight marks game one of the Sutter-era with the LA Kings.

Following the team's traditional morning skate at their practice facility in El Segundo, the newly appointed coach shared some thoughts. Here are 10 tidbits from his morning debriefing...

- "I think we're ready to go. If you look at our season to date, we've struggled at home, right? So, we need to get out of the gate and get all of our lines and all of our defensemen playing well right off the start."

- "(Mike) Richards is cleared to play. We'll dress a couple extra guys in (the pre-game) warm-ups, just to be sure."

- "Those young guys are dynamic guys and you see that in practice. The veterans are exactly what the coaching staff said they were. They're quality guys, most of them have had success and they want to have it again. I'm just giving them a little more direction and away we go."

- "I think you have to harness (the energy tonight) a little. But, I think at the same time, the way we have our lines (set-up), we have enough of a veteran presence on every line that we can handle it."

- "There's a familiarity there (with the roster), even not knowing them personally, but you know the players. You know what their tendencies are and how they like to play. That's irrelevant. I know the guys and I'm comfortable."

Mike Richards on coach Sutter and his return vs Ducks

In perhaps the best news of the day for the LA Kings, Mike Richards has been officially activated from IR and is set to play in tonight's game vs. the Anaheim Ducks.

The Kings top goal scorer through the first two months of the season, Richards has missed the last eight games due to concussion like symptoms suffered in a game against Florida on December 1st.

His return will be more than welcomed by an offense that hasn't scored more than two goals in a game without him. He missed the team's last game vs. Anaheim. However, in the two previous games with the Ducks this season, Richards scored three goals.

Due to the NHL roster freeze until next week, he was able to be activated from IR without a corresponding roster move. However, the situation probably is just delaying the inevitable, as one will be needed next week (provided everybody remains healthy until then).

After practice today, Richards provided a few early thoughts on the Kings new head coach, Darryl Sutter...

"Just as I expected, he's a very smart hockey guy. At times, it's tough to tell in practice. But, I've talked to a lot of people around the league who have played for him and I didn't hear one bad thing about him. He's an intense guy and demands the best. I think that's what we need right now."

On his return to action tonight, Richards added - "I'm excited to play again. It's frustrating just sitting in a dressing room and not being able to do anything to help. So, I'm looking forward to playing."

The Mayor


Dustin Brown says the LA Kings are full of 'excitement' today

Panthers at Kings - pregame primer with Mike Richards

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

Dustin Brown says the LA Kings are full of 'excitement'

Dustin Brown (photo by M. Zampelli)
There's still plenty more content to come from yesterday's chat with Kings GM Dean Lombardi (and that will be posted either later this afternoon or tomorrow on MayorsManor).

However, let's briefly turn our attention to what some of the players are thinking right now. First up, team captain Dustin Brown.

When asked what one word could be used to best describe the mood of the team right now, #23 said 'excitement' - and then he offered the following explanation as to where that excitement comes from...

"A lot of things factor into it. The last week has been pretty emotional and tough. We had a big, huge win in Toronto and now we're back, with Darryl coming in - I think guys are excited about the prospect of getting back on track. Sometimes you just need a change. Finally, this has been solidified - officially. It was kind of a distraction that whole road trip, with 'Is Darryl going to be our coach or not?' That's not what the players were thinking. That's what the media was thinking and that's what they were asking about. Meanwhile, we had to play against Boston, Columbus, Detroit and Toronto. As a player, that what my focus was on. But, now that this is settled, we can just go about business."

On the new line combinations, which features Brad Richardson playing up front with Brown and Anze Kopitar...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi on cheating vs earning it

The Dean Lombardi show continues. Already posted are quotes about Steve Yzerman nearly being traded by the Red Wings, Bobby Valentine coaching the Red Sox and the Kings needing an identity - and yes, those three things are related to his hiring of Darryl Sutter as coach of the Kings.

If you're late to the party, all of today's Deano Moments were courtesy of a 30-minute scrum with the boss following today's presser in El Segundo.

Here's the Kings GM on improvements needed by the team...

"I don't want to change our game. What Murph [Terry Murray] put in place, as far as defensively top-5 in the league, that has to stay. We have to add to our game. Part of that is we're going to make it more difficult on you. That's going to be a transition."

More on the same topic...

"You have to make sure you're not a dinosaur. But, you still come back to this is a simple game. And you see it in the playoffs. At times in the regular season it can look certain ways and you can get away with things, 3-in-4 nights. But, let's get real. When you see those playoffs, they're a war. And if you're ever going to be there, you better learn it. You can maybe cheat your way through some points at times in the regular season. But, I think it's a short cut. When you're going to go up against the Bruins in seven games, like you saw last year, and going into Chicago last year, those series - those are wars. You might as well earn it during the regular season."

The Mayor


Lombardi on identity, expectations and the Red Wings nearly trading Steve Yzerman

Lombardi on the Kings using injuries as an excuse this season

Lombardi uses Bobby Valentine and the Red Sox when explaining why Sutter was a good hire

Lombardi on Sutter, Bobby Valentine and the Red Sox

With Kings GM Dean Lombardi speaking on a variety of topics - for over 30 minutes - following today's press conference to announce Darryl Sutter as the team's new head coach, there is a lot of information to type up. Two articles have already posted. Here's the third set of quotes. This time around, Lombardi is reacting to a questions about Sutter being away from coaching for quite some time...

"Well, how long has Bobby Valentine been out of coaching? [A reference to the Boston Red Sox recently hired manager] Heck, he's been out longer than Darryl, right? So, I think there's a few things that I find attractive in all of this. He was really good when we were in San Jose (together) and starting from scratch there, building it a little at a time. Even then, sometimes coaches - and rightfully so - it can get really like this [where players tune the coach out]. We come from the same background and we've had our battles. But, the beautiful thing about it was, it was never about power. It was never about ego. It was about winning.

"So, he really did show during that building process - like, a very different team than (he had) in Chicago, with Roenick, Belfour, Chelios - this was a team we were staring from scratch and it was a piece at a time. And he was good through that.

"The other thing that happens, I don't think they stop coaching. And we've heard that in the other sports. Whether they're in the broadcast booth or a General Manager, it's just instinct. They're like war veterans. They can't stand being on the mountain, they have to be in the thick of it...I really believe that, they don't stop coaching.

Dean Lombardi on the LA Kings using injuries as an excuse

More from Kings GM Dean Lombardi following today's press conference where Darryl Sutter was announced as the LA Kings new head coach...

- On injuries this season and if the team was different with Mike Richards in the line-up - "You could say that - or Drew, if you want to go to the holdout, then Drew getting a concussion, then Mike going out. But the reality is, every team deals with it. That's always going to be the case. So, what do you need to learn (from it)? Hey, when these guys are out, Stollie, Brownie, Kopi, you have to pick it up. Again, that's part of the process. I don't think you can use injuries. And I don't think the players feel that (way either). In talking to them a lot this week, I never got that sense that they were using injuries as an excuse. I think they were pretty good about (saying) - 'Hey, we gotta be better.'"

- On the sense that he did get from the players - "The one think about this group, and I think it's critical, there's no question they care. If you don't care, then you can't push and you're never going to get to where you want to go. (Last) Monday was hard on all of us. Then, meeting with them again on Wednesday, I don't doubt that they (felt) accountable, there is a sense. I think they all respected Murph [Terry Murray], as we all do. There was no question, to a man, they thought he was a good man. In the end, I think I like the way they handled it. It wasn't easy. And it wasn't an easy meeting on Wednesday either. But, there were no punches pulled. Sometimes the ones you get maddest at the most are the ones you love the most."

More to come.

Already posted - Lombardi on identity, expectations and the Red Wings nearly trading Steve Yzerman (read it here).

The Mayor 

Lombardi on identity, expectations, near trade of Yzerman

Following this afternoon's press conference to 'officially' announce Darryl Sutter as the new coach of the LA Kings, GM Dean Lombardi held court for over 30 minutes. With respect to time, we'll break things up into multiple articles. Here's the first batch of quotes...

On what Sutter brings - "If you take a larger perspective and if you could capsulize it, I would say 'identity.' I think the one thing he immediately gives your team is an identity. Clearly, having known him as a man, you know he stands for something. And usually when you have an identity and you stand for something, some people are going to like it and some people aren't. But, you're going to stand for something. That was the experience I had with him in San Jose. I think he clearly did that in Calgary (too). As soon as he comes in, your team starts getting an identity. So, if you ask me for that intangible, that you can't define or you can't put into numbers - and I think that's critical - I really do think that we've struggled with that a bit this year. And I think if we're ever going to get to the level that we want to get to, I don't care how good your players are, or whatever, you have to establish an identity and stand for something. 'This is the way we're going to play' and away you go. I think you can say that in any sport."

Has this team struggled with expectations - "Yes. I alluded to that last year. It was the first time there were real expectations. I think some of the struggles we saw with the swoons were a by-product of that. I also don't know if we dealt with success very well, because we'd go on a run, then we'd go the other way. I had talked to them during the season about that. This has been a critical message to them. Yes, you're young players and we do have some solid veterans in there. But, if you're going to get to the level you want to go to, you're going to have to deal with expectations. Then, I think what happened this year - when you bring in Mike (Richards) - whether they learned enough last year, now the bar gets raised even higher. But, it's like I told them in Columbus (last week) - 'This is where you wanted to be. You don't want to be a Cinderella team.'"

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Darryl Sutter to be welcomed aboard by Bob Miller

If there is one thing synonymous with the LA Kings, it would have to be Bob Miller - the voice of the team for nearly 40 years. Fittingly, he'll oversee tomorrow's press conference where Darryl Sutter will be officially announced as the Kings new head coach by GM Dean Lombardi.

Today is an off day for the team, as they returned home late last night from a week-long road trip that saw them go 2-2 (with victories over Columbus and Toronto). Sutter will 'coach' the team at practice tomorrow morning, just prior to the news conference.

As a reminder, all Kings practices are free and open to the public at their training facility in El Segundo. The on-ice workout is scheduled to begin at 10:30am and probably last about one hour.

Sutter's press conference will be for media only. However, the event will be streamed live on at 1pm PST.

For those unfamiliar with the 53-year-old Sutter, he's previously been the head coach in Chicago, San Jose and Calgary. He helped lead the Flames to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2004 and his career record behind the bench is 409-320-131 in 860 regular season games.

He will make his official debut as the Kings' coach on Thursday when the team hosts the Anaheim Ducks at Staples Center.

For more on Sutter, check out the article titled 'Making the case for Darryl Sutter as coach' we posted last week (linked below).

MayorsManor will be on hand for all the festivities tomorrow, so be sure to follow along on twitter and/or facebook for live notes and quotes.

The Mayor 


In-depth interview with Bob Miller - great stories and insight about his time with the Kings

Making the case for Darryl Sutter as coach

Dean Lombardi evaluates coach Murray's performance - from exit interview last season

Lombardi - 'Kopitar may be the new Blake Griffin'

Shop Today!

Monday, December 19, 2011

NHRA funny car driver Jeff Arend talks Kings vs Leafs

It doesn't matter what the field is, be it acting, music, racing or you name it - if you bring up hockey and there's a Canadian present, they're usually quick to jump into the conversation.

Over the last few months, a few of the stars of NHRA Drag Racing have stopped by MayorsManor to talk hockey and racing. Today, we'll share some highlights from a conversation with funny car pilot Jeff Arend.

"Of course, I'm a hockey fan," he proclaimed. "I grew up in Toronto! The winters are a lot longer there than they are in California. So, that's what we did all the time, play hockey and go and watch hockey."

It's been quite the journey for a guy who first got involved in racing at the age of 17, while still north of the border. Fifteen years ago he became the first Canadian driver to eclipse the 300-mph barrier. And the following year he began working at the prestigious 'Frank Hawley’s Drag Racing School' - a place many NHRA racers have used to launch their careers.

"I'm still a bit of a die-hard Leafs fan. But, now that I've relocated out here, I like to watch the Kings," said the San Dimas, CA resident.

Like those Kings are experiencing this year, he knows all about the ups and down that play out over a full season - as well as the struggles to stay alive in the standings.

Dustin Penner reimagines the LA Kings as pro wrestlers

With the Kings in Toronto today to play the Maple Leafs it's only fitting that we work in a little pro wrestling. After all, the capital of Ontario, Canada is one of the strongest markets in North America for action inside the squared circle - including hosting WrestleMania VI (Hulk Hogan vs. the Ultimate Warrior) and WrestleMania X8 (Chris Jericho vs HHH and Hulk Hogan vs. the Rock).

Dustin Penner, who has long since been outed as a wrestling fan, subtly hinted at a possible heel turn himself a few weeks ago in an article here.

Now, he's back - this time to reimagine his teammates as pro wrestlers. Here's who he thinks some of the LA Kings could have been if they weren't hockey players...

Justin Williams - Ravishing Rick Rude

Alec Martinez - Rey Mesterio Jr.

Dustin Brown - one of the Bushwhackers

Kings at Maple Leafs - notes on Melrose, Mitchell, mistakes

Tonight will be the end of an era on at least two fronts.

First, interim coach John Stevens will be coaching his last game for the Kings - as Darryl Sutter is expected to be officially announced as the team's new bench boss tomorrow and resume game duties Thursday vs the Ducks.

Second, beginning next season, gone will be the days of the Kings and Maple Leafs only playing on rare occasion - as the NHL will feature a new balanced schedule, where each team will play a home and road game against the other 29 clubs.

For now though, Kings v Leafs is still something special. Not only is Toronto the undeniable hockey capital, but these two teams put on one of the greatest seven-game series in playoff history back in 1993. More on that in a minute though. First up, some notes on tonight...

- Slava Voynov and Alec Martinez will sit out, while Willie Mitchell is expected to return to the line-up. Yesterday, he proclaimed there were no further setbacks in his recovery from a sore groin and he's looking to be on the Kings blueline come game time.

- The same can't be said for Mike Richards. Although he's been traveling with the team since Friday, he's still not ready for contact. A better status of his situation should come later this week when the team is back in LA and he has a chance to see the doctor again.

- Don't look now, but Dustin Penner quietly had his first multi-point game of the season on Saturday. Of course, it went largely unnoticed due to the team losing 8-2. However, it's yet another positive sign of his recent play.

- "Flat-out mistakes that cost us goals," that's what Rob Scuderi had to say about the debacle in Detroit over the weekend.

- Look for Drew Doughty to have his best game of the season tonight. He'll be playing in front of friends and family and the young defenseman tends to raise his level of play in 'big games.' For him personally, this is a big one.

Now, here's a look back at a pivotal point in time for each franchise...