Saturday, March 3, 2012

Ducks Kings primer - Where is all this confidence coming from?

Who will score the first goal of the night for the Kings?

Here's what the players had to say when asked that question yesterday after practice. It should be noted that all season long, the only player to not take somebody else was Doughty. He went with himself for a game about a month ago (but, didn't turn the trick).

This time around, the whole room was feeling lucky...

Jarret Stoll - "I'll take myself, I'm due."

Kyle Clifford - "I feel pretty confident in myself, I take me."

Trevor Lewis - "I'm going to say myself."

Jeff Carter - "Probably me...I want it, I need it"

Doughty - he just pointed at himself and said, "Me!"

Brad Richardson - "I have a pretty good feeling about myself."

Not so sure how that's going to be possible from the press box, as he's scheduled to be a healthy scratch.

Richardson went on to say, "I'll give an honorable mention to Carts. But, most likely, it will be me."

Colin Fraser, who sits next to Richardson in the locker room at TSC was willing to double down on the idea, chiming in with "It's going to be Richie, on a pass from me."

Dwight King had other ideas - "I'll go with my right winger, Carts. I think he's due. He had quite a few shots the last game and he's bound to have one go in."

If you'd like to participate in the MayorsManor First Goal contest, we'll be giving away a free pair of tickets to an upcoming Kings home game. It's easy to play, simply leave a comment below with the LA player you think will score first vs. the Ducks...or reply to the facebook / twitter updates that will be posted around 7:00pm. All correct answers will be pooled together and one random winner will be awarded the tickets. Good luck!

The Mayor

Friday, March 2, 2012

VIDEO: Hockey Player Problems - with the LA Kings

Four players from the LA Kings - Mike Richards, Jarret Stoll, Dustin Penner and Matt Greene - describe various hockey player problem in this edition of Cabbie Presents...

Can't wait to talk to Stoll tomorrow. 'Hey Strollsy!'

For some more fun with the Kings, click here for their unique takes on the trip to Europe earlier this season.

The Mayor 

Marcel Dionne - 'Kopitar needs to make a decision'

Anze Kopitar, LA Kings (photo: Ikiri)
"I told (Anze) Kopitar 'You aren't touching the puck enough. I don't like your breakout.' I think Kopitar can make magic with the puck" - Marcel Dionne on MayorsManor in 2009.

Getting a chance to speak with a legend is always an honor. However, to chat with somebody as open as Dionne, it's always a chance to learn and gain insight from one of the greatest goal scorers of all-time.

He's back in town for the Kings Fantasy Camp this weekend and we spent some time together last night on a variety of topics, which I'll post over several articles.

First up, here are some updated thoughts from Dionne on the Kings highest paid player...

"I think Kopitar's at the point in his career where he has to decide what he wants to do. Does he want to be the guy? If I was him, he should be looking at the situation and what's going with (Evgeni) Malkin. When (Sidney) Crosby was playing, Malkin was happy to be second fiddle. Then, when Crosby went out, Malkin took over. He wins games on his own. Kopi has to do that! You can't wait for wingers. You gotta make it happen. Some nights he's gotta be the guy. And if he's not, now it's getting to the point in his game where it's going to be tough to get up to the level he wants to be. Everbody knows him, everybody knows how he plays.

Ian Laperriere on Wayne Simmonds and hurt feelings

In pro wrestling terms it was a classic heel turn. The babyface (good guy) loved by millions, says something ever so casual - yet instantly turns off his longtime admirers.

This one is going to be pretty simple to follow...

And with those few little sentences, Wayne Simmonds turned from a guy who was universally loved by hockey fans in LA into public enemy number one back in December.

Having played in both cities himself, when I spoke with Ian Laperriere a few days ago, I asked him for his take on the situation...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Frozen Fury XV details, plus Kings-Ducks pre-season game

Somebody warn Elvis, the Kings are returning to the Las Vegas desert for another tilt vs. the Colorado Avalanche.

Frozen Fury XV will take place on Saturday, September 29th - at MGM Grand Garden Arena, just like usual. Although this will be the 15th edition of the annual pre-season spectacular, it will actually mark the 17th time the Kings have played a game in Vegas.

Back in 1991 they hosted the New York Rangers for an outdoor game at Caesars Palace (video) and Frozen Fury II was actually a double-header, with games on Saturday and Sunday nights.

LA holds a 10-5 record in Frozen Fury games and Colorado is 5-8, including a decisive 4-1 victory this past October.

In addition to the 13 games vs. the Avalanche, the Kings have also played one game each against Phoenix and San Jose (losing both). The were scheduled to play the Anaheim Ducks in 2004. However, that game was cancelled due to the NHL lockout.

The weekend after this year's edition of Frozen Fury, the Kings will host the Anaheim Ducks at Citizens Business Bank Arena - home of the Ontario Reign, LA's ECHL affiliate. It will mark the second time the Kings have played there, having lost to the Sharks 2-1 in a shootout in 2009.

Earlier this season, the Kings and Ducks split their annual pre-season series, with each team winning on the other's home ice by a final score of 3-1.

Ticket information and additional pre-season games will be announced at a later date.

If you've never taken the Frozen Fury Trivia Challenge, give it a try here.

The Mayor

LA Kings vs Colorado Avalance - Saturday, September 29, 2012 in Las Vegas, NV
LA Kings vs Anaheim Ducks - Saturday, October 6, 2012 in Ontario, CA

Sutter explains the future for rookies Nolan and King in LA

Dwight King (photo: Ikiri)
On Friday, February 10 the Kings made a few roster moves, allowing them to call up Jordan Nolan and Dwight King from Manchester (AHL).

Monarchs Director of Hockey Operations Hubie McDonough notified King first and gave him an assignment - please tell Nolan that he's going with you to New York to play the Islanders. Now, that's not normally how things are done, but it was warranted due to a tight schedule. After all, a car was coming to get them and they needed to pack.

Although athletes are known to prank each other, King says he played it straight when informing his roommate he was about to make his NHL debut.

"It's a little different, I guess, for your first time call-up," King explained. "But, I'm pretty nice. You don't want to spoil a moment that like that. So, I just told him the basics."

A six-game call-up last year did little to help prepare King for what he was about to get himself into. For starters, he was thrust onto a line with Mike Richards - who wasn't even with the team last season. And Darryl Sutter was behind the bench, not Terry Murray.

"I met him, or ran into him in the hallway and shook his hand," said King, when describing his brief encounter with Sutter a few weeks prior in Manchester (the coach went back to observe two games during the NHL All-Star break). "One of his brothers, Rich, was the assistant coach on my junior team in Lethbridge.  He didn't really know me though.  So, that was the extent of our little chat."

Since then, King has played nine games for Sutter in LA and scored a pair of goals.

Flyers Ian Laperriere on the newest King, Jeff Carter

Jeff Carter comes to LA (photo: Ikiri)
This piece doesn't need much of an introduction. Ian Laperriere is one of the most honest and straight forward guys in hockey. He'll tell you exactly how it is and he always speaks from the heart.

In a MayorsManor podcast two years ago he had some choice words for former teammate Sean Avery and he shared his admiration for Mike Richards immediately after the Kings acquired him last summer (note: both of those interviews are linked below).

So, when LA GM Dean Lombardi traded for Jeff Carter last week, of course, the first person I reached out to was Lappy. He's sort of become the unofficial Flyers correspondent for MayorsManor.

We played part of his interview on Sunday's MayorsManor LIVE show. However, here's more of what he had to say about the Kings' newest forward...

"He's a goal scorer," Laperriere began, when describing Carter. "I think the Kings went to take care of their weakness. They've had a hard time scoring goals this year. One thing that Jeff Carter can do is score goals, and big goals too. He's a big body out there who can shoot the puck. He's really good on the power play (too)...That's why Dean and his staff went and paid a pretty good price to go get a proven goal scorer."

As for Carter's much publicized problems in Columbus, his former Flyers teammate understood part of what was going on...

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

VIDEO: Kings rookie Jordan Nolan gets his first NHL fight

Rookie Jordan Nolan had another memorable game for the Kings last night - not only picking up his second NHL goal, but also introducing himself to the Wild's Marco Scandella...

It was Scandella's first NHL fight as well.  Perhaps he bit off a bit more than he can chew for his inaugural tilt though.

You can check out more of Nolan's handy work from Manchester over on his page at

The Mayor 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

MayorsManor LIVE call-in show returns Wednesday March 7

Many of you have been asking, so we wanted to go ahead and make the announcement now, MayorsManor LIVE (the call-in show) will be returning on March 7th for a weekly run through the remainder of the season. We'll be on each Wednesday at 8pm PST.

A special thank you goes out to all who have listened and called in - including Ian Laperriere, Jim Fox, Kings prospect Ray Kaunisto and other special guests - as we've been getting this new project off the ground. Most of all, thanks for the ongoing support provided by the MayorsManor readers. We couldn't have done it without you!

Next week, Dennis Bernstein of The Fourth Period will join me as co-host for another night of hockey talk galore. Call us up, we want to hear your questions. Here's the show page - Hockey Chirps Live, March 7, bookmark it.

If you missed our trade deadline special from Sunday night, it's available for free right here.

The Mayor

Penner weighs in on the one-year anniversary of the trade

Pennermania, circa 2011
Happy Anniversary.

Those just might be the least honest words to ever appear on MayorsManor.

Today marks the one-year anniversary of what's turned out to be one of the most disappointing trades in LA Kings history.

After struggling for long stretches in the first half of last season the team went on a hot streak in the month of February and GM Dean Lombardi swung big at the trade deadline, picking up the most coveted name on the market - Dustin Penner.

While Lombardi paid a steep price - prospect Colten Teubert, a first round draft pick last year and a third rounder this year - conventional wisdom, at the time, was it was a good trade. The Kings added a proven goal scorer (he had averaged 25+ goals the prior four seasons) and they didn't have to move anybody off of their current roster.

The fan sentiment around Penner today is far different than it was a year ago though.

With a goal vs. Vancouver, in just his second contest wearing a Kings uniform, he began a career-best six-game point streak. Pennermania was truly running wild in Los Angeles.

Since then, he has five goals and thirteen points, and most of the cheers have turned to boos.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sean O'Donnell on Jonathan Quick and the Stanley Cup

Sean O'Donnell (photo by Cikiri)
Long time followers of MayorsManor - especially those who've listened to any of my radio interviews - know that when talking about Jonathan Quick, I often make mention of a passing comment Sean O'Donnell made to me in Las Vegas in the fall of 2009.

To set the stage properly, it's important to understand that the season before that conversation took place, Quick had split time between Manchester (AHL) and Los Angeles. And the year prior to that, he was in the ECHL. So, with only 47 games of big league experience, very little was still known about Quick.

Yet, O'Donnell told me that he saw big things in Quick's future, including a Stanley Cup.

From talking to players over the years you develop the ability to cut through some of the rhetoric and fluff. Make no mistake about it, O'Donnell wasn't pumping the tires of a teammate when he said it. In fact, he's the one that brought up Quick.  With such praise coming from a well respected veteran (one with over 1000 games played, a former team captain, Stanley Cup winner, etc.), I took note.

Then, as if O'Donnell knew the script, Quick went on to win 39 games that year - setting the Kings' single-season franchise record in the process. He went on to top that with a stellar season last year and a Vezina Trophy worthy campaign is underway at the moment.

So, when I had a chance to catch up with O'Donnell over the weekend, I just had to know... What did he see in Quick way back then?

10 Tidbits on Jeff Carter - Welcome to the LA Kings

Jeff Carter, LA debut (photo: M. Zampelli)
The trade winds aren't the only weather related activity surrounding the LA Kings these days, as there was a flood of information on Jeff Carter to dig up and get to the bottom of this weekend. Here are 10 Tidbits on LA's new forward, using a hodgepodge of notes and quotes...

- He was drafted in the first round of the OHL and NHL drafts. His dad was also taken in the OHL draft - between Mike Gartner and Dino Ciccarelli in 1976 (both are in the Hall of Fame). At just 5-foot-8, Jim Carter played one season for the Oshawa Generals and gave up hockey. By the way, Jeff's listed at 6-foot-4.

- Carter on why he chose jersey #77: "I wore seven all the way up until I got to Philly. Seven is obviously retired there (Bill Barber). So, I was given 17. I've worn 77 a few times here and there. So, I thought I'd switch it up for a bit...I asked for it. Darren (Granger), the equipment guy, said he had to ask a few people. Then, he came back and said it was alright. I told him I'd wear 17 if it as going to be a problem though."

- Represented Canada twice at the World Junior Championships. In 2004 he had Richards as a teammate (when the U.S. beat Canada for the goal medal) and Colin Fraser was with him in 2005. Carter was named a first team all-star at both tournaments.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sean O'Donnell on his former teammate Jeff Carter

Thanks to everybody who listened in to MayorsManor LIVE tonight. Sorry we ran out of time before we could get to all of the live calls.

Below is the full clip from veteran NHL defenseman Sean O'Donnell, where he answers questions about his former teammates, Jeff Carter and Mike Richards.

Of course, O'Donnell has played over 1,100 games in the NHL, after starting his career with the LA Kings. He's gone on to play for several other organizations, including the Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks. O'Donnell also won the Stanley Cup in 2007 and is the former captain of he Minnesota Wild. Needless to say, he has the resume to back up what he says here...

If you missed tonight's full episode, including a 'surprise' call from Kings prospect Ray Kaunisto (of the Manchester Monarchs), comments from Ian Laperriere of the Philadelphia Flyers and others - click here to listen to the replay. It's about as much NHL trade talk as you can handle.

For some bonus coverage, here's a conversation with Jim Fox from earlier today where he addresses the Dustin Brown trade rumors. Is he likely to be dealt? See what Fox has to say.

The Mayor 

Jim Fox talks Dustin Brown rumors - is he being traded?

Thanks to everybody who listened in to MayorsManor LIVE tonight. Sorry we ran out of time before we could get to all of the live calls.

Here's Jim Fox, who we pre-taped a segment with just before going on the air. He answers questions about Jeff Carter, addresses the Dustin Brown trade rumors and more. Take a listen...

We'll have the full Sean O'Donnell quotes on Carter and Mike Richards posted shortly.

If you missed tonight's full episode, where we heard from Ray Kaunisto of the Manchester Monarchs, Ian Laperriere of the Philadelphia Flyers and others - click here to listen to the replay.  It's about as much NHL trade talk as you can handle.

Also, if you missed our exclusive one-on-one interview with Brown - where he opens up about the trade rumors - click here to read that piece now.

The Mayor 

MayorManor LIVE call-in show tonight - trade rumors and special guests

Just a quick reminder that we're looking to hear from you hockey fans! Dennis Bernstein of The Fourth Period will join me tonight to co-host 90-minutes of wall-to-wall NHL trade rumors. We'll be giving you everything you need to know about tomorrow's trade deadline - who's being shopped, who's not leaving, what teams want in return for certain players and more.

Expect a full look from around the NHL and we'll be taking LIVE calls from you, the listeners. Have a rumor that you want to talk about? Dial us up and we'll give you our take on it.

As if that's not enough though, we'll also be talking with Jim Fox on the rumors surrounding the Kings, as well as their recent acquisition of Jeff Carter.

Plus, two of Carter's former teammates - Ian Laperriere and Sean O'Donnell - also check in with their take on the Kings' new forward. What do they make of all the drama that went down in Philadelphia? And, Lappy will share his opinion of whether the Flyers will be dealing James van Riemsdyk.

You don't want to miss tonight's show!

UPDATE: If you missed it, check the show page here: Mayor's Manor radio - Hockey Chirps Live or listen to the full replay in the audio player below...

Listen to internet radio with MayorsManor X Hockey Chirps on Blog Talk Radio

NOTE: Because we ran long this week, the Jim Fox interview can be found here...and the full comments from Sean O'Donnell can be heard here.

The Mayor

VIDEO: Guest spot on Inside Sports - talking LA Kings trades

After the Kings 4-0 win over the Blackhawks last night, I was a guest on Inside Sports. Live from the press box at Staples Center, we talked about Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter, Jack Johnson, will the Kings make another trade before the deadline, what's going on in Manchester and much more. I'm the guest for the first half of the show, followed by Brian Kennedy (author of My Country is Hockey).

I was even able to work in two Dodgers references...

The Mayor 

LA Kings Dustin Brown talks redemption, Carter and Stoll

Imagine if your dream was to play in the NHL. So, at the age of 15 you move away from home - and across the border to Canada - so you can further your skills. A few years later, you're drafted in the first round by a team 2,700 miles away and on the other side of North America. After spending a year in the minors during the NHL lockout, you become a full-time player.

So far, it's a story that's probably similar to many players around the league. Now, add in that in 2007 you commit to your organization by signing a six-year contract, wanting to be part of what they're building. And the following year, you earn the team's captaincy.

Yet, four years later, you hear your name come up in trade rumors. Yes, it's a business. But, as Dustin Brown told us in an exclusive one-on-one interview on Friday, he was hurt by some of the things being talked about.

Growing up, kids are taught that actions speak louder than words. For Brown, he added an exclamation point to the statement by responding to everything he heard with one of his best games as a King - scoring three beautiful goals, including the final one short-handed, giving him a natural hat trick.

Back in the locker room, we chatted again...

VIDEO: Dustin Brown's natural hat trick in 4-0 win last night

If you like the horn at Staples Center, you're going to love the video below.

These highlights from last night's Kings game vs. the Blackhawks feature clips of Jeff Carter, Jonathan Quick, Anze Kopitar, Jarret Stoll, Dustin Penner and several others. Yet, the night belonged to Dustin Brown.

After the game, I asked him which of the three goals were his favorite - "The first one. Stolly probably made the play happen. He skated all the way up the ice, drove the 'D' back. That gave me a little bit of room to cut to the middle and I just found a way to score."

On Friday, Brown sat down for a one-on-one interview with us where he opened up about how he was dealing with recent trade rumors. If you missed it, be sure to give it a read here.

On Saturday, he made the ultimate 'actions speak louder than words' statement.

The Mayor 

Comments from Blackhawks locker room after 4-0 loss in LA

Blackhawks fans will likely dismiss their 4-0 loss in LA as not that big of a deal, especially considering they were without captain Jonathan Toews.  On the other side of the ice, Kings captain Dustin Brown figured prominently in the outcome - scoring the game's first three goals and assisting on his team's other marker.

Chicago entered the night holding a 10-1-1 record in the last 12 match-ups versus LA, with their only loss in regulation being a 2-0 game at the United Center on December 28th.  So, the Kings now hold back-to-back shutouts over the team with third best offense in the Western Conference. Even with the win though, the Kings are still on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs, while the 'Hawks sit sixth in the standings.

After the game, here's what they were saying back in the locker room...

Patrick Sharp on the overall game - "There’s room for more offensive chances; there are ways to get stronger and get more pucks to the net. There’s nothing really more to say, we’ve got to find a way to put one in the back of the net. We need to get some guys on it, and do the things that we’re doing and find a way to get it in the back of the net and it’ll be a huge positive for us."