LA Kings Do Development Camp Differently

AUDIO: Story includes audio interviews with Nelson Emerson and Mike O’Connell from the Los Angeles Kings development staff.


LA Kings Director of Player Development Nelson Emerson
(click above for larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Years ago, the Los Angeles Kings ran their annual summer Development Camp for their young prospects as many National Hockey League clubs still do: focusing on the on-ice part of the game, including lots of scrimmage time. Some teams emphasize the scrimmage portion of their development camps, using that to retain and increase fan interest during the off-season lull. Some teams even go so far as to make their development camp scrimmages enough of a spectacle in which fans buy tickets to watch the games.

In the early years of their Development Camp, the Kings did that, too. But as Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi built his team into a two-time Stanley Cup Champion in recent years, their Development Camp has evolved into one that stresses off-ice instruction and training as much or more than on-ice instruction and drills. In fact, over the past handful of years, it has not been uncommon for the Kings to not play a scrimmage at all during their Development Camp. On top of that, their camp is so low-key that the team does not announce exact starting times for on-ice sessions, and only one day is designated as “media day,” when the local media are granted access to the prospects and the development staff for interviews.

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LA Kings Terminate Mike Richards’ Contract Citing “Material Breach”

Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards, shown here during the
on-ice celebration after he helped lead the Kings to the
2012 Stanley Cup Championship on June 11, 2012,
at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — On June 29, the Los Angeles Kings terminated the contract of veteran center Mike Richards, citing a “material breach” of his contract.

The team issued the following statement.

“The Los Angeles Kings today have exercised the team’s right to terminate the contract of Mike Richards for a material breach of the requirements of his Standard Player’s Contract.”

The Kings also stated that there would be no further comment or details provided, at least, not in the immediate future.

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When It Comes To Mike Richards, Loyalty Becomes A Double-Edged Sword For LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi

Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards (center, with Stanley Cup behind his right shoulder), shown here during the
the team’s 2012 Stanley Cup Championship rally at Staples Center in Los Angeles on June 14, 2012.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

 

LOS ANGELES — On June 28, as expected, the Los Angeles Kings placed veteran center Mike Richards on unconditional waivers. Once he clears waivers, the Kings will buy out his contract.

Although the buy out will give the Kings immediate salary cap relief, giving them an estimated $4.5 million extra to work with under the cap per capfriendly.com and generalfanager.com (Kings salary cap would be an estimated $61.8 million, down from $66.4 million), the buy out will be amortized over ten years, as far as the salary cap is concerned, with the Kings taking the following cap hits:

2015 LA Kings Draft Preview

LOS ANGELES — In the 2012 National Hockey League Draft, the Kings had the final selection (30th overall). In 2014, they had the 29th overall pick, one ahead of the New Jersey Devils, who were moved behind all the other NHL teams in the first round as punishment for signing forward Ilya Kovalchuk to a contract that circumvented the league’s salary cap rules.

Getting stuck with the last pick in the first round of the draft (or 29th in 2014) was the “price” the Kings paid for winning the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014.

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LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi Issues Challenge To Doughty, Kopitar, Quick

LA Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi speaking to the media during the on-ice celebration after the Kings won the 2014 Stanley Cup Championship at Staples Center in Los Angeles on June 13, 2014.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi held another one of his patented, epic media conference calls on June 2, 2015, and during that call, he made it crystal-clear that he is expecting much more next season from his top three players, Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Quick.

Lombardi stressed that the challenge begins with their conditioning.

“I’m expecting these three to come back—they’ve never been at the top of our list, in terms of conditioning, and I think that’s going to be the first step for these guys, [for them] to say, ‘OK, it’s my turn,’” said Lombardi. “I think our top players have a chance now to become our best conditioned players. I think any great team—and you can look at the [Nicklas] Lidstroms, the [Steve] Yzermans, the [Tom] Bradys, all those teams, Kobe Bryant—the top players set the mark. It’s not the coach or anybody that gets in their ear. They show up in the top condition, ready to go for a full 82 games.”

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