Saturday, March 10, 2012

VIDEO: Bernie Nicholls and Charlie Simmer on After Hours

Charlie Simmer and Bernie Nicholls share some funny stories during a recent edition of Hockey Night in Canada's After Hours program...

The Mayor

POLL: Who should the LA Kings honor next season?

It's been confirmed to MayorsManor that the LA Kings will keep the same jersey rotation for next year, including the purple (Forum blue) and gold version for three Legends Nights. As of now, the names haven't been finalized. However, a list of possible candidates is being pulled together. So, let's take a break from the playoff races for a moment and see what you guys think...

Over the course of 45 years, a lot of names have come through the organization. In an attempt to make things a little easier, we'll break this up into three eras. First up, we'll give you a list of pre-Gretzky stars (see below). In the next poll, we'll look at the 1988-2000 era (i.e. Kelly Hrudey, Marty McSorley, etc). Then, later in the week, we'll look at the Staples Center years (i.e. Ziggy Palffy, Ian Laperriere, etc.).

Most of the names on the list are obvious - such as Dave Taylor, who played more games in a Kings uniform (1,111) than any other player and has his number retired by the team. Yet, if you're not as familiar with some of the guys from the very early years, Brian Kilrea scored the very first goal in LA Kings history (something he talked about here). And Eddie Joyal was probably the first superstar hockey player in LA (discussed here).

Please select three people you think the Kings should honor next season:

Poll closes Wednesday at 8pm PST.

The Mayor

Friday, March 9, 2012

Matt Greene on Kings v Red Wings, plus tonight's ticket contest

For the Kings, their last visit to Joe Louis Arena wasn't pretty. An 8-2 loss in mid-December stands as perhaps their worst game of the year. However, to be fair, it came just a few days after the firing of Terry Murray - at a time when the team was in limbo wondering what would happen next, while John Stevens stood in as interim coach.

Prior to that game, LA had experienced rather unusual success in a building that's normally tough for most opponents. They were winners of three straight there, including a 5-0 shutout last year that was one of Jonathan Quick's best games in the NHL. He stopped 51 shots that night, something he's not likely to have to repeat tonight.

The Kings will be facing a banged up Detroit team - playing without Nicklas Lidstrom, Jimmy Howard, Pavel Datsyuk, Todd Bertuzzi, Jonathan Ericsson and a few others.

Still, it's the Red Wings. Just ask Matt Greene, who shared the following comments with MayorsManor about tonight's game...

"Detroit in Detroit? It is what it is - everybody knows that. Those aren't easy points," said Greene, who leads all Kings defenseman with 201 hits.

On Wednesday night's MayorsManor LIVE show, Greene talked about what it's like to play in front of friends and family back in Michigan. Dustin Brown also shared his thoughts on the challenges younger players have when going to Detroit for the first time. If you missed the show, you can hear their interviews here.

The Kings are expected to make one line-up change tonight, with Brad Richardson joining the fourth line in place of rookie Jordan Nolan. Last weekend, Richardson took himself for 'first goal' vs. the Ducks - saying he had 'a pretty good feeling about himself.' However, he was a healthy scratch that night, so we'll have to see if his confidence is still in place vs. the Red Wings.

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 Red Wings...or reply to the facebook / twitter updates that will be posted around 4:00pm. All correct answers will be pooled together and one random winner will be awarded the tickets. Good luck!

The Mayor

Mike Richards reacts to recent praise from Ian Laperriere

After Mike Richards was traded to LA last June, his former Flyers teammate Ian Laperriere came on MayorsManor and spoke very highly of him. Soon thereafter, Richards shared some memories of their time together in Philadelphia.

Then, Laperriere was back last week - this time, to talk about Jeff Carter coming to the Kings. As part of that interview though, Laperriere was again talking up Richards - saying if he was to start a team, Richards would be on his short list of five players he'd have to have.

Here's how Richards reacted upon hearing the comments...

"Coming from him, that means the world to me. He's a guy who helped me out a lot, just being a professional. You take a lot of things from a lot of different players that you play with. But, he's - I don't even know the word to describe how awesome he is in the dressing room and on the ice, how much care and how much effort he gives. If you take half the knowledge that he put out there the year I played with him, you're going to have success. So, coming from him, that means a lot. I have a lot of respect for him. It's sad the way it ended for him. But, he's a hell of a guy and I really appreciate that."

To read more from Laperriere's visit to MayorsManor and/or subsequent comments from Richards, please see the original articles linked below.

The Mayor


Ian Laperriere on Richards vs Pronger feud

Mike Richards - Laperriere guided me in the right direction'

Laperriere on the newest King, Jeff Carter

Simon Gagne - 'Mike Richards is the type of guy I want on my team'

Trevor Lewis dishes on his new roommate - Mike Richards

MayorsManor podcast with Ian Laperriere - health update and memories of his time in LA

Audio: Coach Darryl Sutter post-game comments vs CBJ

Kings coach Darryl Sutter usually provides some great quotes during his post-game pressers. Last night wasn't one of them. Following his team's disappointing loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, few Sutterisms were offered up. Basically, he's looking for a better effort and a more focused game from just about everybody except goalie Jonathan Bernier. Take a listen...

The Mayor 

Audio: Anze Kopitar post-game, Kings lose 3-1 to Jackets

After the Kings loss to the Blue Jackets in Columbus, here are some of the questions Anze Kopitar was asked in the media scrum. He wasn't offering any excuses for losing to the last place team in the NHL...

The Mayor 

Audio: Jeff Carter post-game, Kings lose 3-1 to Jackets

After the Kings loss to the Blue Jackets in Columbus, here are some of the questions Jeff Carter was asked in the media scrum. For a good laugh, be sure to listen to his answer about the promotion run in the arena last night where fans could get their Carter jerseys converted to a Jack Johnson version for free...

The Mayor 

VIDEO: Johnson post-game vs LA - 'I wanted to get this win'

Jack Johnson continued his hot play of late for Columbus last night. With his tenth goal of the season, he now has goals in back-to-back games and points in three straight for his new club. After the Blue Jackets downed the Kings 3-1, he sounded like a guy taking a few subtle shots at his time in LA as much as he was pumping up his current environment...

The Mayor


Matt Greene and Dustin Brown pre-game comments

Daryl Evans previews Kings/Carter vs. Blue Jackets/Johnson

Doughty on the Kings trading Jack Johnson to Columbus

Jack Johnson reacts to the trade

Why the LA Kings should trade for Jeff Carter and not Rick Nash

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Greene on Blue Jackets, Westgarth on tonight's 1st goal contest

Tonight marks the fourth and final meeting between the Kings and Blue Jackets this season, but none of the prior games had the same feeling as this one. Of course, the big story line coming in surrounds Jeff Carter and Jack Johnson. However, Columbus can't be taken lightly, they've won three in a row and the records for the two teams are pretty similar since February 1st - the Jackets have gone 8-7-1 and the Kings 7-7-2.

Columbus has only managed one win in the previous three games vs LA this year, it was a 1-0 victory in LA in early January. That was the Kings only regulation loss in the first month of Darryl Sutter's tenure behind the bench.

Defenseman Matt Greene shared these comments with MayorsManor about tonight's game...

"They have some juice right now," he began. "They have guys who are playing for roster spots and playing hard. I've been in that situation. They're not giveaway games. Guys are getting ready for next year, tyring to solidify their spot on the roster. It's going to be another tough game."

Here's Dustin Brown on the match-up...

"When a big trade like that happens, everybody understands everything surround the game. But, at the same time, I think everybody understands, it's pretty minor in comparison to (us getting) two points at this time of the year," said LA's captain. "In Columbus, the headlines might be about Jeff Carter coming back, but for this team it has to be about winning the game."

As for who will help get the Kings on the scoreboard first, Kevin Westgarth predicts it will be Drew Doughty picking up LA's first marker of the evening.

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 Blue Jackets...or reply to the facebook / twitter updates that will be posted around 4:00pm. All correct answers will be pooled together and one random winner will be awarded the tickets. Good luck!

The Mayor 


MayorsManor LIVE - Stoll, Westgarth and Mitchell share funny Jack Johnson stories

Daryl Evans previews Kings/Carter vs. Blue Jackets/Johnson

What I've learned so far this season... by Matt Greene

2011-12 Season Predictions - timing is everything

Daryl Evans previews LA Kings Carter vs CBJ Johnson

LA Kings radio commentator Daryl Evans helps preview tonight's game vs. Columbus. As you'd expect, much of the talk has to do with Jeff Carter and Jack Johnson.

Click here if you want to see what Johnson - now wearing number seven - had to say after scoring his first goal in a Blue Jackets jersey the other night. At the end of the video he also refers to tonight's match-up as 'just a game.'

Also, on last night's MayorsManor LIVE show, we featured Jarret Stoll, Willie Mitchell and Kevin Westgarth sharing some funny stories about Johnson.  If you missed it, click here to listen to the replay now.

The Mayor 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

MayorsManor LIVE call-in show tonight 8pm PST

MayorsManor LIVE kicks off a five-week run on Wednesdays later this evening. We'll be talking about all of the players and teams impacting the playoff races in both the Eastern and Western conferences.

Tonight, we'll also recap last night's Kings win in Nashville and look ahead to tomorrow's big game in Columbus - where Jeff Carter returns to town and a familiar face will be in a strange sweater, as Jack Johnson is now wearing #7 for the Blue Jackets.

To help us preview that game, Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell will stop by with some funny stories about his former D-partner. And Jarret Stoll will share one of Johnson's quirks when traveling, something that always made Stoll laugh. Plus, Kevin Westgarth will talk about a little pre-game ritual he and Johnson used to perform and who was injured when things went awry.

Dennis Bernstein of The Fourth Period will join me as co-host for another night of hockey talk galore. Call us up - (347) 426-3754 - we want to hear your questions and opinions.

UPDATE:  If you missed tonight's show, give it a listen in the player below...

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

Also, if you missed our trade deadline special from a few weeks ago, it's available for free right here.

We'll be back next Wednesday at 8pm PST with another show!

The Mayor

Marcel Dionne on Jonathan Quick and NHL goaltending

Jonathan Quick in retro gear (photo: Ikiri)
Fresh back from a five-day trip to Russia, Marcel Dionne arrived in LA last week to participate in the LA Kings Fantasy Camp. The night before he joined several other members of the Kings Alumni and this year's campers, I met with Dionne for a one-on-one interview, where we covered a wide range of topics.

[note: His thoughts on Anze Kopitar were posted here]

On his trip to Moscow, Dionne spent time with another Hall of Famer, Phil Esposito. They were there to help celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Russia-Canada Summit Series - including an outdoor game on legendary Red Square, a contest that featured former NHL greats Pavel Bure and Alexander Mogilny.

Dionne's 735 goals alone were enough to give some goalies nightmares. But, add in the more than 1,500 scored by that trio of companions and you're talking about an unlimited highlight reel of how to pick up points in the NHL.  Yet, in this feature, we'll take a look at the other side of putting pucks in the net - the guys wearing pads and a mask and trying to stop those snipers.

We began with an obvious one, Jonathan Quick - is he the real deal?

Sutter, Clifford and Nolan on fighting, being physical

Fighting is down in the NHL about 20-25%, according to recent statements by Commissioner Gary Bettman.

Scoring for the LA Kings has been, well until recently, down significantly since last year too.

For Kyle Clifford, it's been a bit of mixed bag in those two areas. True, his fighting majors are down - he had 18 last season and with only seven so far this year, he should come in significantly below that number.

Yet. on the offensive side of things, he's actually not that far behind his pace of a year ago - which is rather shocking considering (a) the Kings offense as a whole is down and (b) he's been used in a different role, especially since the hiring of Darryl Sutter.

With 10 points already in the books, and 16 games to go, he'll likely come close to the 14 points he tallied last year.

Playing along side Colin Fraser and Jordan Nolan of late may be freeing him to do concentrate on other things too, rather than just be a physical presence on the ice.

"Yeah, it definitely takes that kinda pressure off," said Clifford. "We have guys that have done that all year though. You look at Greener, even Brownie - he stepped up and dropped the mitts (vs. Shane Doan, here). So, it's always nice to have that extra piece here with Nolan, and Kinger can grab 'em too. I've seen him fight. He's a pretty good fighter. It's always nice having the extra physical bodies."

Cam Jannsesn - then of the Blues, now with the Devils - came on MayorsManor last season and talked about using websites like to scout opponents, including Clifford and Kevin Westgarth.  However, not every player puts as much thought into things ahead of time.

"I try not to analyze it too much," Nolan explained. "I don't like to square up with guys or tap them on the shins and fight. I like to fight in the heat of the moment and the battle, when you're into the game. Those are your best fights."

Elvis must love playing hockey in Nashville

Trevor Lewis and Music City, they just seem to go hand-in-hand.

Nicknamed Elvis, due to both guys sharing the same birthday (January 8th), Lewis made a rare appearance on the score sheet Tuesday night.

Entering the game vs. Nashville, he had only three points on the season (two goals and one assist). But, after assisting on Matt Greene's goal and adding one of his own, he nearly doubled his totals.

Also, by scoring the fifth goal in a 5-4 victory for LA, Lewis was officially credited with the game-winning goal - his first such marker of the season. Last year, Lewis picked up his first ever NHL game-winning goal guessed it...Nashville as well.

Here's video of last night's goal, set up by some aggressive play from Anze Kopitar:

Just prior to leaving for the road trip, Jeff Carter had some positive comments about the 25-year old former number one draft pick.  When asked which of his new teammates has caught his eye in the first week, he said - "I think (Lewis) doesn’t get much credit, but he does a lot of dirty work for the team. He’s out killing penalties, and I think on that line with Stolly and Pens, he gets in, he wins battles and stuff like that. He’s been a good player."

In the first few weeks following Darryl Sutter joining the Kings as coach, he too had some thoughts about Lewis' game and what he brings to the team.  Those statements and other related articles can be found below.

The Mayor


Coach Sutter offers early reviews of Lewis and Loktionov

Exclusive:  Trevor Lewis dishes on new roommate - Mike Richards

Lewis hopes they can 'find the back of the net soon'

Summer 2011: Lewis ready to make some noise at center or wing

Lewis responds to benching and Murray's comments

Exclusive:  Pics and stories from the player's Halloween Party

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Dustin Brown's game plan vs Nasville, plus LA ticket contest

Nashville's Pekka Rinne (photo by: Ikiri)
Last week, the Kings traveled to Nashville, outshot the Predators 31-28 and still came away with a 2-1 loss. Revenge isn't the top priority for LA captain Dustin Brown at the moment though.

"Considering the situation, at this point in the year, you're not looking at the opponent as a team we just played a week ago," he said. "It's just another game we have to find a way to win."

Actually, 'two-points per night' has sort of turned into the unofficial rallying cry for the next four games. "There are some teams on this road trip that are really playing really good hockey and we have to be prepared to grind games out," Brown declared.

Tonight in Nashville, it certainly won't be as an easy one, as the Predators have earned at least one point in 12 straight games at home.

"I thought we played a good game last time though," said the Kings leading goal scorer. "We went in there and did a lot of good things last time. Now, we have to have the same effort and find ways to score more goals."

Which means, in part, finding a way to beat Nashville's Pekka Rinne. The Preds' stellar netminder leads the league with 36 wins and sports a .927 save percentage.

So how do they beat him?

Exclusive: Kopitar responds to criticism, facing crossroads

Anze Kopitar is 24 years old.

Although he's about to complete his sixth full season in the NHL, it's an important fact to remember.

Drafted in the first round by the Kings in 2005 - and signed to a long-term, big money contract after only two years of pro hockey in North America - pressure and expectations come with the territory.

Yet recently, there's been extra heat heaved in Kopitar's direction. First, coach Darryl Sutter called him out last month, saying he wants his big center to be a 'more determined and purposed player.' Then, in an exclusive interview on MayorsManor just last week, Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne - he of 731 goals scored in the NHL - claimed LA's points leader needed 'a wake-up call.'

"Could it be better? Absolutely," replied Kopitar when I asked for his response to the criticisms and a personal evaluation of his game at the moment.

"I always take pride in being better everyday and working on things. Yeah, I do feel I can put a little more into my game. It hasn't been (recently) where it's been at times (in the past). I know I can dominate games and lead the team by example, definitely. It's just a matter of doing it every night. That's a challenge for me."

Yes, consistency has been a big part of the issue.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Honestly, Simon Gagne is just trying to be honest

Gagne in no contact jersey (photo: D. Sheehan)
When Ryan Smyth was traded to the Oilers last summer, the Kings were left with a big hole on the left side - a position they were already thin in. So, it wasn't much of a surprise when GM Dean Lombardi signed free agent Simon Gagne to take his place. The seven-time 20 goal scorer, was given a two-year contract. But, he had missed about 20 games each of the two seasons prior with various injuries.

Even so, his 17 goals in those injury-shortened campaigns were enough of a hope for a team needing offense. With only seven goals for the Kings this year though, LA sure could have used 10 more.

Yet, these days, stats aren't the primary focus for Gagne. He's been out of action with a concussion since the day after Christmas.

Having already missed 29 games and without any real timetable in place for his return, Gagne has recently started skating again - by himself and usually before or after the Kings practice. It's given him a chance to be around the team again while he and the doctors assess what's next.

Over the weekend, we caught up with him...

First question, of course, was how's he doing?

"Not bad, it's getting there," began Gagne. "Still not 100%, but there are no setbacks right now. It's improving and that's a good sign. Sometimes with these injuries you see guys having a setback, they need to take it easy. Sometimes they push themselves and (the symptoms return). So, right now, every time I'm pushing it's OK. So, it's a good sign."

How difficult has it been to sit out on the sidelines the last few months while the team has struggled to score...and, more recently, to not be able to play with Jeff Carter, his former teammate from Philadelphia?

POLL: LA Kings Player of the Week - 3.5.2012

It's Monday, so we're back with another edition of 'King of the Week' - a poll we run in conjunction with All the Kings Men podcast.

You can listen to this week's show in the player below, I cover the LA Kings' week that was and Buddy Oakes from Preds On The Glass checks in with a Nashville Predators report (the Kings next opponent). Plus, for added fun, everybody's favorite wisecracker The Royal Half also makes a guest appearance.

As discussed during the above podcast, here are the three Kings players nominated this week:

Jonathan Bernier - first star of the game vs Wild, shutout, 15 saves

Dustin Brown - two goals, two assists, plus-1, 10 hits

Jeff Carter - two goals, plus-1, nine shots on goal (including a team leading five SOG vs Anaheim)

Of course, if you don't like any of those choices, feel free to nominate your own...

Voting ends Wednesday night at 8pm PST.

The Mayor


Flyers Ian Laperriere on the newest King, Jeff Carter

Jim Fox talks Dustin Brown trade rumors - do the Kings want to move him?

Talking LA Kings trade rumors with goalie Jonathan Bernier

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Even with half the numbers, Stoll is twice the man of most

Stoll gives a fan a souvenir (photo: M. Zampelli)
It's one of the many cliches in sports, 'Player X is in a contract year, so expect him to put up big numbers this season.'

For Jarret Stoll, the saying couldn't be further from the truth.

With five goals on the season - and only 17 games left on the schedule - he's on pace to add one, maybe two more. Since becoming a full-time player in 2003-04, he's scored 20 or more goals twice and has scored at least 16 goals in each of the last three seasons.

Much of that drop off can be attributed to being used as a third line center now, due to the Kings off-season acquisition of Mike Richards.

Yet, if you go all the way back to July - soon after the deal happened - he said he didn't care where the Kings played him.

"I consider myself a guy who will play any role, any situation in order for us to win and to be a good teammate," Stoll said in a MayorsManor interview last summer. "I'm happy to play anywhere, as long as we win, have fun and get into the playoffs."

Even so, there's a very good chance his season totals will end up right around half of the 45 points he's averaged over the last two seasons.

VIDEO: Guest spot on Inside Sports after Kings-Ducks

Following the Kings 4-2 win over Anaheim last night, I joined Charles E. Smith, Jr on Inside Sports to talk about the game and LA's upcoming road trip to Nashville, Columbus and Detroit. After my opening segment, Smith also chatted with Dave Joseph of ESPN LA. Take a look...

If you're interested, I also joined the Inside Sports show after the Kings big win over the Chicago Blackhawks on February 25 - you can view that show here.

The Mayor 

Quotes from Ducks locker room after 4-2 loss to Kings

Visnovsky, Ducks defenseman (photo: Ikiri)
With both teams fighting for their playoff lives, Anaheim may have just seen their faint hopes of post-season play fall by the wayside. An early goal by Kings captain Dustin Brown, a pair from newly acquired Jeff Carter and Jonathan Quick in net was more than enough to shut down the Ducks offense.

You can't really fault the visiting team for trying though - they outshot LA 31-20, won the battle at the faceoff circle (52% vs 48%), plus were neck-and-neck with hits (29 to 31) and blocked shots (10 to 9). The difference was special teams, where the Kings picked up a pair of goals and the Ducks came away empty-handed.

And that was one of the key themes back in the locker room following their third loss of the season in LA...

Ryan Getzlaf on the overall game - "It’s a tough one. You know what, we’re pretty disappointed in this locker room, mostly with our effort. We weren’t as good as we needed to be to play tonight. They came out and played a strong game, and we didn’t respond the way we needed to, especially our special teams."

Getzlaf addresses if their playoff hopes gone - "No, we’re excited. We’re excited to play every night and excited to get back in this thing, and working hard to get there. We lost the special teams battle tonight, and that was the difference in the hockey game...There’s no doubt in here that we can still make this thing happen...Our group tonight has never stopped believing this whole time, and we’re not going to now."

Lubomir Visnovsky on the overall game - "Right now, we go like one, two wins, and two losses, and we go up and down. This is a very tough time for us. We need more wins. It’s hard to say something."