2011-12 Year-In-Review: Quick, Blue Line Corps Were LA Kings’ Greatest Strengths

Los Angeles Kings superstar goaltender Jonathan Quick,
shown here during the team’s Stanley Cup Championship Rally
on June 14, 2012, at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
(click to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — While the Los Angeles Kings struggled mightily to score goals throughout most of the 2011-12 regular season, the addition of forward Jeff Carter, and the recalls of rookie left wings Dwight King and Jordan Nolan, along with rookie defenseman Slava Voynov, gave the team balance throughout their lineup. That balance allowed head coach Darryl Sutter to add a new wrinkle to their system, one that gave them the ability to play much more aggressively on the puck, while maintaining, if not strengthening, their already very solid defensive zone play.

The Kings were able to use those changes to their advantage during the final two months of the regular season to squeak into the playoffs, and then, make their dominating run through Vancouver, St. Louis, Phoenix and New Jersey during the playoffs, on their way to the first Stanley Cup Read more of this post

Los Angeles Kings: Not Easy For Black Aces To Stay Focused, Ready

Los Angeles Kings backup goalie Jonathan Bernier sprawls to make
a save during a recent practice session.
(click to view a larger image).
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Every team in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs has them, but they are usually unseen, or keep to themselves, staying out of the limelight, patiently waiting for their chance to crack the lineup, often a fleeting opportunity, at best.

These are the Black Aces, the extra skaters and goaltenders who rarely get the chance to play in the post-season, if at all, during a team’s run through the playoffs.

But wait a minute…where on Earth did the term, Black Aces come from, anyway?

As it turns out, the term was derived from the “Dead Man’s Hand” in poker, consisting of a pair of eights, the Ace of Spades, and the Ace of Clubs. Read more of this post

LA Kings: Injuries To Mitchell, Richards Give Drewiske, Penner Another Chance

Left wing Dustin Penner must find his game quickly and start pulling his weight on the scoresheet with the Los Angeles Kings facing some rather strong adversity with the loss of defenseman Willie Mitchell and center Mike Richards to injuries.
Photo: David Sheehan

LOS ANGELES AND EL SEGUNDO, CA — While earning a 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on December 1 at Staples Center, the Los Angeles Kings paid a heavy price, and will face heavy adversity for the first time this season.

During that game, the Kings lost veteran defenseman Willie Mitchell during the first minute of the game. He was joined in the trainer’s room by center Mike Richards, who took a blow to the head late in the second period from Panthers’ forward Sean Bergenheim.

Mitchell (lower body injury) is expected to miss at least the next two games, while Richards, who has what is officially being called an upper body injury, has been placed on injured reserve.

Read more of this post

Making Do Without Doughty: Los Angeles Kings Open 2011 Training Camp

TRAINING CAMP COVERAGE: Frozen Royalty’s coverage of the Los Angeles Kings’ 2011 Training Camp begins with details on who might get ice time as a replacement for holdout defenseman Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar’s ankle and how it held up on the first day, more on Dustin Penner’s conditioning, and on Dustin Brown trying to build chemistry with new line mates. Includes 15 audio interviews from Day 1 of training camp.


LA Kings left wing Dustin Penner lost more weight during the 2011 off-season than originally believed.
Photo: David Sheehan.

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The Los Angeles Kings hit the ice for the first time during their 2011 Training Camp on Saturday, September 17, and, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, or vacationing in a desolate, primitive area, isolated from the hockey world, you know that defenseman Drew Doughty is in the midst of a contract dispute with the Kings, and is now a holdout.

Indeed, the 21-year-old defenseman was nowhere to be found when the Kings hit the ice at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California, their practice facility.

With no end in sight in the Doughty saga, the story was not just his absence, but who might fill his skate boots should he continue to holdout.

“The plans [for training camp] do not change at all,” said head coach Terry Murray. “We’re going to miss Doughty. I wish he was here to be a part of it. He’s a very important player, he’s a big part of the locker room, and a fun guy to be around. He’s a great player for us, but the plans do not change for the training camp. We have to get ready for the start of the year.” Read more of this post

Los Angeles Kings Defenseman Prospect Jake Muzzin Likely To Be Waiting Awhile For His Turn

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Last season, defenseman prospect Jake Muzzin came out of nowhere to make the Los Angeles Kings’ 2010-11 opening night roster, despite having playing in just one regular season game and 13 playoff games at the American Hockey League level in 2009-10.

Defenseman prospect Jake Muzzin speaks to
the media during the Los Angeles Kings
2011 Development Camp at the
Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California,
July 11-12, 2011.
Photo: Gann Matsuda

Prior to that, the 6-3, 213-pound native of Woodstock, Ontario was a standout with the Sault Ste. Marie (Soo) Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) for four seasons, scoring 15 goals and adding 52 assists for 67 points in 64 games with 76 penalty minutes.

That was when he caught the eyes of the Kings scouts. The result: the Kings signed him as an unrestricted free agent on January 4, 2010, to a three-year, entry-level contract.

Muzzin was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the fifth round (141st overall) in the 2007 National Hockey League Entry Draft, but had surgery to repair two herniated discs in 2005, and played sparingly in 2006-07—just 37 games.

Not wanting to take a risk on a young player who already had major back problems, the Penguins did not sign Muzzin to a contract, nor was he selected in the draft by another NHL team. Accordingly, he became an unrestricted free agent during the 2010 off-season. Read more of this post

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