Thursday, March 15, 2012

LA Kings prospect report - checking in with Nick Shore

Shore at Kings Camp, July 2011 (photo: Ikiri)
Nick Shore has scored 13 goals for the Denver Pioneers this season.   And in the 11 games he's found the back of the net (there were two multi-goal games), his team has won all 11.

"I guess we need to do a little more of that then," he jokingly said when we talked last night.

The WCHA Tournament - better known as the Final Five - begins later this afternoon, with DU set to take on Michigan Tech in their opening game. Asked if winning that match-up was as simple as making sure he scored then, Shore was quick to look at the bigger picture.

"As a team, if we just have a good effort and play the way we can, I think we'll have a pretty good chance of winning."

Their determination was certainly tested last weekend when tournament play began. In a best-of-three series vs. Wisconsin, they dropped the opening game 1-0 and then took the next two. Things came right down to the wire though, as the last game needed overtime to decide the outcome.

"Nothing came easy that entire series," Shore noted. "But, I thought we did a pretty good job of bouncing back."

He also played a big factor in the series. While the score sheets show that he had two goals, the first one on Saturday was into an empty net. The big goal came on Sunday, with his team trailing.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

MayorsManor LIVE call-in show tonight 3/14 8pm PST

MayorsManor LIVE returns tonight at 8 pm PST. 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.

Among the items on tonight's show:

- Full discussion around the players and teams impacting playoff races in the Eastern and Western conferences.

- Legendary punk rock guitarist Greg Hetson (of Bad Religion and the Circle Jerks) will join us to share some stories. The self-proclaimed 'Gordie Howe of Punk' is a life-long hockey fan and has watched games all over the world while on tour.

- A recap of last night's Kings win vs. the Red Wings and a look ahead to Friday's game vs. the Ducks.

- A possible 'surprise caller' from the Manchester Monarchs to discuss their playoff hopes and a new player set to join the team tomorrow.

UPDATE: If you missed the show, here's the replay...

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

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

LA Kings sign one of the top college hockey free agents

In something that's becoming quite the norm around this time of year for Kings GM Dean Lombardi, he added another college hockey free agent today.

Forward Brian O'Neill, who just finished his senior year at Yale, has reportedly signed a one-year deal with the team. According to reports, O'Neill was offered a similar deal last year, but chose to return to college for his final season.

Over the last three years, O'Neill has been remarkably consistent, scoring 45, 46 and 46 points. He also picked up a hat trick last February against Clarkson - where Dave Taylor and Willie Mitchell played their college hockey. This season, he posted 21 goals (one better than his previous best from last year) in 35 games.

Some additional highlights from his NCAA career:

- As a freshman he only missed one game and led all newcomers with 12 goals and 26 points.

- The following season he led Yale in points (45) and his 1.32 points per game ranked 7th in Division 1.

- Last year, he was a first-team All-ECAC player and led the Bulldogs in goals and points.

- After finishing his college career with 163 career points, second best in Yale history (Jeff Hamilton had 173), his coach Keith Allain told the local paper, “As the total package, I can make the argument that he’s the greatest player in Yale history...In terms of what his teams produced, leading the team in scoring three years in a row — and he’s so much more than just a scorer. I could go on and on about the contributions he’s made to our hockey program."

On a side note, the kid appears to have personality too - he was voted "most humorous" by his Yale teammates

The 5-foot-9 Ivy League Player of the Year is apparently on his way to Manchester (AHL) today for practice and will make his pro debut on Saturday vs. the St. John's IceCaps.

Other college free agents signed during Lombardi's tenure include Kevin Westgarth, Davis Drewiske and Ray Kaunisto.

UPDATE: O'Neill did not make it to Manchester in time for practice today.  However, he is expected on the ice for Thursday's session and we should have an interview with him up on MayorsManor a few hours after that. Stay tuned.

NOTE: Information from the Yale University website, including the photo, was used to prepare this article.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Special announcement re: first goal and ticket contest

First off, a huge thank you to all who have entered the First Goal Contest over the last few seasons. And a special congratulations to those who have won some of the myriad of prizes to be given away - from t-shirts to Kings tickets and much more.

Don't worry though, this isn't an announcement that it's ending. In fact, it's quite the opposite! Later this week, will go through a complete upgrade to our new website, call it MM v3.

One of the most common pieces of feedback we've received of late is the difficulty in leaving a comment on the current platform. The 'issues' don't seem to happen for everybody, so you may not have experienced the same thing as other users. That said, among the many reasons we've spent the past few months creating a new site is to make things easier on you - including better navigation, flexibility of content (i.e. audio, video, etc.) and, of course, the entire process of commenting on articles.

To kick things off, we're going to have a 'soft opening' today (to use a retail or restaurant term). The full site will launch later this week.

However, we'd like all readers wanting to enter the First Goal Contest tonight to post their guess here.

After submitting your entry - which should be SUPER easy with the new form - feel free to take MM v3 for a test drive. You can click around, see what you like, see what's there, explore away. The only thing we ask in return is that if you have ANY feedback (good or bad, doesn't matter), please send it over via the CONTACT tab on the new site. We've even made that easy now too and we'd like your input!

Please note, this is a COMPLETELY new website. In many ways we've tried to keep a similar look to the current site. But, you'll quickly notice many changes - like all new navigation, a new logo, a new layout on the home page and improvements to the 'article' pages. There are LOTS of changes.

Get started by clicking HERE.

Good luck!

Monday, March 12, 2012

VIDEO: What type of music do the Kings players listen to?

You might have seen the tweet we posted a few weeks ago of Colin Fraser taking a lap around the Kings locker room with a microphone and camera in tow. Here's his report, as he finds out what type of music his teammates listen to on the way to the rink...

VIDEO: Jeff Carter's 200th career goal

In yesterday's win over the Blackhawks, LA Kings forward Jeff Carter scored the 200th goal of his career. It was game number 508 for Carter. As a comparison, Anaheim's Corey Perry has scored 202 goals in 519 games and Mike Richards has picked up 147 in 514.

If you missed Carter hitting the milestone, here's a replay...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Can Jeff Carter get five tonight for the LA Kings?

Five seems to be the magic number for the Kings newest forward, Jeff Carter.

In seven games since being traded to Los Angeles, Carter has scored in two of them - and both times he had five shots on goal. The other games saw zero shots on goal (vs. Columbus), one (vs. Nashville, the 3/6 game), two (vs. Minnesota and Nashville) and four (vs. the Blackhawks).

With Carter in the line-up the Kings are 4-3. However, the biggest change has been an overall increase in scoring by the team as a whole. For the first time in a quite a while, LA has two legitimate lines for their opponents to worry about. And guys on the Kings top unit have taken notice of another key element Carter has added to the team's offense.

"He definitely has wheels," said Anze Kopitar. "In the middle of the ice in their zone, that's where he makes the most damage. He gets open in a hurry. Then, he gets rid of that puck in a hurry and that's what makes him such a goal scorer."

It hasn't taken Dustin Brown long to like what he sees as well.

"The biggest thing that stands out is his speed," said the Kings captain, when talking about Carter. "(Against Anaheim), he broke around and had that breakaway after getting the puck in stride, probably a step behind or even with the defenseman from the redline, and separated himself. When you have a guy finding holes...they create a lot. Having those jump-though-hole opportunities is a (direct) result of him being big and fast."

Can he generate at least five shots on goal tonight? That seems to be the magic number for Carter.