Who should be the Kings’ starting goalie this season? It figures to be the biggest question of training camp and one that doesn’t have an obvious answer. Should they go with the potential of Jonathan Bernier or the experience of Jason LaBarbera? Or somewhere in between, with Erik Ersberg? Or a wild card? You make the call…
I had Jack Johnson on the phone for a few minutes and got to ask a few questions about the upcoming season. The main reason for the call was a little Hockey News feature about players who did something interesting during the summer. In Johnson’s case, that meant resuming his education at the University of Michigan. Johnson took an upper-level writing class, an American literature class, an American culture class and a psychology class and got an A in each class. Johnson said he intends to take classes every summer until he gets his degree (academically, he’s halfway through his junior year right now) and said he might look into taking some online courses during the season.
Here’s what Johnson had to say about some topics relevant to the upcoming season…
ESPN.com did its statistical projections for the 2008-09 hockey season. Here’s how they have some of the Kings doing this season…
Anze Kopitar — 28 goals, 44 assists, minus-19
Patrick O’Sullivan — 32 goals, 34 assists, minus-15
Alexander Frolov — 26 goals, 40 assists, minus-8
Dustin Brown — 26 goals, 26 assists, minus-15
Jarret Stoll — 15 goals, 27 assists, minus-13
Jack Johnson — 9 goals, 33 assists, minus-19
Teddy Purcell — 14 goals, 21 assists, minus-12
Drew Doughty — 3 goals, 22 assists, minus-6
Jonathan Bernier — 23 wins, 2.74 goals-against average, .915 save percentage
Jason LaBarbera — 9 wins, 2.83 goals-against average, .912 save percentage
(Oops, let’s try this again. The previous poll only allowed for one choice…)
Well, yesterday’s vote gave the Kings a fourth line of Handzus, Ivanans and Armstrong, which probably isn’t realistic unless Armstrong would move to the wing. More likely, it would be Ivanans, Handzus and Richardson. But it’s an interesting debate. Now, moving on to the defensemen. Who should be the six defensemen? How many young guys would you pick?
The Kings will webcast the two rookie games against the Phoenix Coyotes next month live on lakings.com. A team of rookies will travel to Phoenix to play on Tuesday, Sept. 16 (6 p.m.) and Wednesday, Sept. 17 (2 p.m.) and both games will be available on the site. The rookies will be on-ice in El Segundo starting Friday, Sept. 12, and the first full-time on-ice session will be Friday, Sept. 19.
I understand that everyone is clamoring for some type of update on Patrick O’Sullivan and (to a lesser extent) Jarret Stoll, but there simply isn’t one to give right now. The word from the Kings today is essentially the same that I reported three weeks ago, that they feel they’re closer on Stoll and not panicked by either situation. Should they be more panicked? You can decide for yourself… As far as O’Sullivan, the only real update, from a team official, is that while there is still no agreement, “nothing bad has happened, there haven’t been any steps back.” I’d like to tell you more, but that’s all I can give you right now. Understand that neither side is going to be motivated to tip their hand as far as negotiations. As much as I, as a writer, might like them to negotiate through the press, they know better…
Well, the last poll would have given the Kings a third line of Boyle, Handzus and Calder, but since the first two are strictly centers, that’s obviously not realistic. So, since Boyle got more votes than Handzus, we’ll bump up fourth-place Matt Moulson and make it a Moulson-Boyle-Calder line. So here’s what you’ve given the Kings so far:
Last chance to pick three forwards to crack the Kings’ lineup…
The Minnesota Wild announced its single-game ticket pricing today, and it includes “Premium pricing” for 12 of the 41 home games. For games against Anaheim, Boston, Colorado, Dallas, Detroit, Montreal, N.Y. Islanders, Nashville Ottawa, Tampa Bay and Toronto, prices will increase by a range of $5 to $20.
Now that you’ve given the Kings a second line of Frolov, Stoll and Purcell, what to do with the third line? Remember that this can go a couple different ways. Do you try to create a third line that will bring some scoring depth, or focus on more of an “energy line”? Who’s the right center for the line and who might play well with him on the wings?
After the draft, Dean Lombardi praised second-round pick Vyacheslav Voinov for his willingness to come to North American and play junior hockey, if necessary. It seems as though it’s going to happen. A story in the Times & Transcript, a newspaper based out of New Brunswick, indicated that Voinov will be at the start of training camp for the Moncton Wildcats when camp opens Aug. 29.
Moncton selected Voinov with the fifth overall selection in the Canadian Hockey League import draft.
“All indications are they’ll both be at camp,” Moncton coach Danny Flynn said, speaking of Voinov and fellow Russian import Alexander Fomin. “Voinov just arrived in Ottawa on the weekend. He’s training there because that’s where his agent lives.”