February 12, 2010 |
To march with Team USA on Friday in the opening ceremony, Kings defenseman Jack Johnson awoke at 5 a.m. on a day between games, jumped on a charter flight from LAX to Bellingham, Wash., and hired a car and driver for the 50-mile trip to Vancouver. Johnson wouldn't say what he paid to charter the six-seat plane for himself, his parents and his little brother. To him, the experience is priceless. "I had to take extreme measures to get here, but it was worth every bit of it," said Johnson, the lone NHL player in the procession.
February 10, 2010 |
Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry met at a selection camp for an under-18 team -- or so Perry recalls. Getzlaf thought it wasn't until after the 2003 draft, in which the Ducks chose him 19th and Perry 28th, that they began forming the bond that led to having their names engraved on the Stanley Cup in 2007 and on Team Canada's roster for the Vancouver Olympics. After a moment's thought, Getzlaf decided Perry was right. "He made that team and I didn't," the rangy center said, "so that's why he remembers it."
December 22, 2009 |
The countdown to the Vancouver Olympics will take another leap forward Wednesday, when Belarus will become the first of 12 competing hockey federations to announce its roster for the men's tournament. Russia, a potential gold medalist, will announce its powerful roster on Christmas. Defending champion Sweden will declare its entries Sunday. The parade will end with announcements by Canada on Dec. 30 and the U.S. on Jan. 1 during the Winter Classic. As the host nation and self-proclaimed inventor of hockey, Canada will face the most scrutiny and pressure in Vancouver.
November 10, 2009 |
Whoever wrote the script summarizing Luc Robitaille's career for the highlight film that accompanied his hockey Hall of Fame induction Monday got it wrong. "All Luc Robitaille did was score goals," the narrator intoned, but that wasn't true. Robitaille scored a lot of goals -- 668 of them. And 1,394 points, the most ever by a left wing in NHL history. But that's no more a description of Robitaille than calling Wayne Gretzky a hockey player. Robitaille was the heart of the Kings through good times and bad, for 14 of his 19 NHL seasons.
October 28, 2009 |
It's too early in the season to dream too big and these are the Kings, after all, masters of selling hope, if nothing else. But it's impossible not to be impressed that they are leading the Pacific Division and that center Anze Kopitar is leading the NHL in scoring, and neither of those feats would be possible without the other. Kopitar, in his fourth season and still awaiting his first playoff experience, has 10 goals and 21 points in 12 games. Drawn away from the fringes and into the action by linemate Ryan Smyth, who has made a living creating and potting rebounds in the trenches around the net, Kopitar has produced grand results.
October 10, 2009 |
Chris Pronger was born 35 years ago today, a few months after the Philadelphia Flyers won the first of two straight Stanley Cup championships. They haven't won the Cup since. Acquiring Pronger, a versatile, minute-gobbling defenseman with a mean streak as deep as he is tall, could go a long way toward ending that drought. Pronger was a vital part of the Ducks' 2007 Cup team, but his contract was due to expire after this season and they didn't want to be shackled with a long extension.
October 3, 2009 |
Drew Doughty might lead the Kings to the playoffs this season. The 19-year-old defenseman might develop into a perennial All-Star and win the Norris trophy often enough to buy a tuxedo for the awards ceremony, not rent. But not even then will he be allowed to forget his welcome-to-the-NHL moment last season. The Kings were playing Colorado and Doughty found himself one-on-one with winger Ryan Smyth, the gifted rookie against the wily veteran. One second, Smyth was in front of him. The next, Smyth had gotten through him and the puck was in the net. Doughty remembers it well.
July 5, 2009 |
Ryan Smyth didn't have to accept a trade to the Kings. The five-year, $31.25-million contract he signed with Colorado had a no-trade clause, and the Kings aren't close to Stanley Cup contention. But the 33-year-old left wing recognized a chance to lend his leadership to a team that needs it and on Friday agreed to come here for defensemen Kyle Quincey and Tom Preissing and the Kings' fifth-round pick in 2010. "I first want to thank the Colorado organization," he said by phone Saturday.