The television schedule is out. The Stanley Cup champion Kings’ season-opening game against the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 8 at Staples Center will be part of a doubleheader shown by our friends at NBCSN. The rest of the network’s season schedule is top-heavy with Eastern Conference games, but there are 10 sets of Wednesday doubleheaders in which the Kings, Ducks, Avalanche and other Western Conference teams will be shown to a national audience.
The Kings’ games Oct. 8 against the Sharks, Nov. 12 and March 18 against the Ducks, Jan. 21 against the Sharks and Feb. 18 against the Avalanche are part of the package.
Other games involving the Kings: Dec. 9 against the Sabres, Dec. 27, Feb. 21 and April 11 against the Sharks, Jan. 28 against the Blackhawks, March 10 against the Avalanche, March 24 against the Rangers and March 30 against the Blackhawks,
Check your local listings.
The Kings on Monday announced a change in radio stations, moving their flagship outlet to KABC AM-790 from KEIB AM-1150 starting next season. Nick Nickson and Daryl Evans will continue to provide commentary on all Kings games, but there will be a partnership between the Cumulus-owned station and the team that includes exclusive events plus digital content available for Kings fans.
The switch was first reported Sunday by the Los Angeles Times.
“We are thrilled to partner with Cumulus and TalkRadio 790 KABC as we announce this agreement,” Luc Robitaille, the Kings’ president of business operations, said in a statement. “They are a strong and viable media and broadcasting brand in our community and they have a great overall reputation as a business and in the radio industry in particular. Our combined efforts will undoubtedly broaden the reach of the Kings with our current fans and in the broader community.
“This new relationship is also another example of how the Kings’ business and brand continues to grow and evolve.”
The Kings signed right wing Adam Cracknell and left wing David Van der Gulik to one-season contracts Tuesday. Cracknell, 29, played 65 regular season games in the NHL, all with the St. Louis Blues over the last four seasons. Van der Gulik, 31, has played in 48 games in the NHL in his career while with the Colorado Avalanche and the Calgary Flames.
The Kings on Tuesday hired Mike Stothers as coach of their American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, N.H. Stothers replaces Mark Morris, whose contract was not renewed after the 2013-14 season. Stothers has coached in the junior-level Ontario Hockey League in addition to the AHL with Grand Rapids (Mich.). He also served as an assistant with the Philadelphia Flyers and Atlanta Thrashers. He worked with Michael Futa, the Kings’ vice president of hockey operations and director of player personnel, when both were with Owen Sound of the OHL.
The Kings re-signed defenseman Jeff Schultz to a new two-year contract Monday, keeping him from hitting the free-agent marketplace Tuesday. Schultz, 28, spent the regular season with the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, N.H., but then played in seven playoff games. He’s likely to get a chance to become Willie Mitchell’s replacement next season. The Kings won’t re-sign Mitchell because of salary-cap concerns. Mitchell will become an unrestricted free agent Tuesday.
Schultz is the seventh defenseman the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings have under contract, joining Drew Doughty, Matt Greene, Alec Martinez, Jake Muzzin, Robyn Regehr and Slava Voynov.
The Kings’ options are limited. They’re nearly hitting their heads on the NHL’s $69-million salary cap for next season, but since they’ve just won their second Stanley Cup championship in three seasons, maybe the best move is keeping their roster relatively intact for 2014-15.
The Kings dealt forward LInden Vey to the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, the second day of the NHL draft. Vey will get a chance to play with the Canucks, who have made a number of moves the last two days, including trading center Ryan Kesler to the Ducks. Vey, 22, spent the better part of the last three seasons with the Kings’ American Hockey League club in Manchester, N.H. He had five assists in 18 games with the Kings in 2013-14, however.
Here’s what Goran Stubb, the NHL’s director of European scouting, had to say about Swedish forward Adrian Kempe, the Kings’ first-round draft pick: “He’s a big, strong, bullish forward who can play center or wing. He likes to drive hard for the net, using his strength and skating to his advantage. He plays the body and is aggressive when forechecking. He has a good defensive game for a player with his offensive skills; mobile, solid and strong. He’s a power forward, strong along the boards with smooth hands and is a very speed skater. He’s a solid two-way forward.”
The Kings waited and waited and waited some more before selecting left wing Adrian Kempe with the 29th overall pick in the NHL draft Friday in Philadelphia. Kempe won’t attend training camp and it could be several years before he makes the Kings’ roster, but he could be one of the more intriguing first-round picks..
It seemed the minute the Kings announced Tuesday they agreed with Matt Greene on a new four-contract that Willie Mitchell’s days with the team were over. Mitchell is simply caught in a numbers game on defense. The Kings are up against the salary cap for starters, and they have plenty of options if they don’t re-sign Mitchell, a 37-year-old who helped them win two Stanley Cup championships. Mitchell wanted to re-sign with the Kings, preferring to remain in Southern California. He might get one of those wishes if he signs with the Ducks, who could use another veteran D-man.
Here’s a list of Kings defensemen under contract, with expiration dates: Greene (2017-18), Drew Doughty (2018-19), Alec Martinez (2014-15), Jake Muzzin (2014-15), Robyn Regehr (2014-15) and Slava Voynov (2018-19).
Here’s what Mitchell had to say recently about his future:
“I mean, there’s lots of moving parts. I get it. There’s Willie Mitchell the player. There’s the salary cap, and then there’s as a GM you structure your team so, hopefully, you can have success over a long period of time. So I get it. If you’re asking me if I want to play hockey, hell yeah, and to be honest, I think probably this playoffs is the best hockey I’ve played.”