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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

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LA Kings React To Carter-Johnson Trade; Wait For Possible Other Skate To Drop

LA Kings newly-acquired forward Jeff Carter, shown here with the Columbus Blue Jackets after recording a hat trick during a 6-3 win over the San Jose Sharks on February 21, 2012, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.
Photo courtesy: Los Angeles Kings

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The morning after the blockbuster deal that sent defenseman Jack Johnson, along with a conditional first round draft pick, to the Columbus Blue Jackets, in exchange for forward Jeff Carter, both determination and a bit of shock seemed to be apparent in the Los Angeles Kings dressing room following their practice on Friday.

With their horrendous play of late, a deal to shake things up seemed inevitable.

“I think we all thought something was going to happen,” said defenseman Drew Doughty. “We didn’t know who, or what, or anything like that. You never want to see anyone go, but it’s part of the business.”

“With the way we’ve been scoring goals, there was that possibility,” said right wing and team captain Dustin Brown. “There was the thought that we needed more goal scoring help. We’ve been stumbling lately, so that puts the pressure on a little bit.” Read more of this post

Los Angeles Kings: Dustin Penner, Slava Voynov Are Both Anxious Get Off To Strong Start

After being sidelined by leg injuries, LA Kings left wing Dustin Penner is working to get off to a strong start.
Photo: David Sheehan

EL SEGUNDO, CA — After being the target of heavy criticism for his poor play and physical conditioning late last season after being acquired from the Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings left wing Dustin Penner dedicated himself to improving his strength and conditioning during the off-season.

Even then, Penner had fans up in arms about his alleged poor conditioning after a photo appeared on Twitter back in August that “proved” he was badly out of shape.

The photo turned out to be totally misleading—an understatement of epic proportions, as Penner’s dramatically improved strength and conditioning had already been well-documented.

After all that, Penner was looking forward to getting off to a strong start, but you may know what author John Steinbeck wrote about the best laid plans…

Indeed, instead of starting off on the right foot in the Kings’ season opener against the New York Rangers in Stockholm, Sweden on October 7, and against the Buffalo Sabres on October 8 in Berlin, Germany, Penner was sidelined for those games by multiple injuries.

Read more of this post

Down On The Farm With The Manchester Monarchs: Blue Line Corps May Be Their Greatest Asset

DOWN ON THE FARM: Between goaltending and their defensive corps, the Manchester Monarchs’ greatest strength will be on their side of the red line in the 2011-12 season.


Thomas Hickey is beginning to look like he might develop
into the defenseman the Los Angeles Kings were hoping
for when they selected him with the fourth overall pick
in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
Photo: Steve Babineau/Manchester Monarchs

LOS ANGELES AND EL SEGUNDO, CA — The Manchester Monarchs, the primary minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings, are 1-1 after their first two games of the 2011-12 season, allowing just three goals in those games. They return to action tonight against the Providence Bruins, the start of a three-games-in-three-nights road trip in which they will also face the Portland Pirates on October 15, and the Springfield Falcons on October 16.

Although no one in their right mind, would draw conclusions about a team based on just two games, especially so early in a season, the Monarchs figure to be one of the stingier teams in the American Hockey League.

Indeed, with goaltenders Martin Jones and Jeff Zatkoff expected to improve upon solid seasons in 2010-11, the rest is up to the skaters in front of them. Read more of this post

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