Ever since the Kings traded backup goaltender Jonathan Bernier to the Toronto Maple Leafs last summer there was some question as to Bernier’s replacement. The Kings acquired goalie Ben Scrivens from the Maple Leafs, but there was no guarantee he would get the job. The Kings had six possible candidates to serve as Jonathan Quick’s backup when training camp began. With camp at an end Sunday, the Kings cut the number to one when they released Mathieu Garon and handed the role to Scrivens.
Scrivens was the Maple Leafs’ backup last season, going 7-9-0 with a 2.69 goals-against average in 20 appearances. He also was 14-7-1 with a 2.22 goals-against average in 22 games for Toronto of the American Hockey League. Garon, a former Kings starter, spent last season with the Tampa Bay Lightning and was 5-9-2 with a 2.90 GAA.
So, it turns out Tanner Pearson, Linden Vey and Tyler Toffoli will play together again this season. The Kings loaned them to Manchester (N.H.) of the American Hockey League on Sunday. Those three formed the Monarchs’ top line last season, before Toffoli was recalled by the Kings late in the lockout-shortened NHL season. They played together at times during training camp with the Kings and in exhibitions. But there was simply no room for them on the Kings’ roster, which had to be trimmed to 23 by Monday.
This didn’t get much buzz on this side of the border, but the Canadian version of ESPN (except with tons of hockey highlights and games) asked for help from 14 unnamed NHL coaches and general managers to rank the league’s top 50 players. Four Kings made TSN’s list, led by center Anze Kopitar at No. 18. Defenseman Drew Doughty (19th), goaltender Jonathan Quick (22nd) and left wing Dustin Brown (48th) also made the cut.
Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins was No. 1.
The Kings announced announced a three-year contract extension with the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to continue playing exhibition games at the hotel’s arena. The “Frozen Fury” will continue through 2016. The Kings play host to the New York Rangers on Friday and the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday as part of the Frozen Fury XV this weekend. The Kings took a 10-3-2 record in Las Vegas into Friday’s game against the Rangers.
The Kings loaned defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk to the Manchester (N.H.) Monarchs of the American Hockey League on Friday, trimming their roster to 28 before playing their final two exhibition games in Las Vegas. The Kings face the New York Rangers on Friday and the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. They open the season for real on Thursday against the Minnesota Wild at St. Paul, Minn.
Dan Craig will play a key role in determining whether the NHL’s first outdoor game in Southern California is a success or a failure. Craig is the league’s ice-making guru, the man responsible for setting up and maintaining a rink for the Kings-Ducks game Jan. 25 at Dodger Stadium. Past outdoor games have featured snow and rain and even unexpected sun that threatened to turn the ice surface into mush. That’s all been preparation for playing a game in the warmth of Southern California. Everything Craig and his crew have learned from staging games in places like Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia will be put to the test when the Kings and Ducks take the ice at 7 p.m. on Jan. 25.
Craig spoke confidently Thursday about pulling it all together.
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty spoke Thursday about the allure of playing the first outdoor hockey game in Southern California, on Jan. 25 against the Ducks at Dodger Stadium. Doughty is a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays, but that doesn’t make the upcoming game at Dodger Stadium any less exciting. He admitted he might feel nervous about playing in front of 55,000 people, far more fans that have ever watched him play before.
The Kings loaned defenseman Derek Forbort and center NIck Shore to the Manchester (N.H.) Monarchs of the American Hockey League, cutting their training-camp roster to 29.
The Kings’ roster stood at 31 names as of Wednesday afternoon, and there aren’t likely to be any surprises when they take the ice for their season-opening game Oct. 3 against the Minnesota Wild at St. Paul, Minn. In fact, the Kings’ lineup for Tuesday’s 2-1 exhibition victory over the visiting Ducks was about what you might expect to see next week.
Kings left wing Dustin Brown skated with his teammates during Wednesday’s practice, his first full-speed workout with them since he hurt his hamstring on the opening day of training camp Sept. 12. Brown won’t play in Friday’s exhibition against the New York Rangers in Las Vegas, according to Kings coach Darryl Sutter. It’s unclear whether he will play in Saturday’s exhibition finale against the Colorado Avalanche in Las Vegas.