Kings center Anze Kopitar finished fourth in voting for the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward. Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks, Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins and Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings finished ahead of Kopitar. The Kings’ leading scorer for the sixth consecutive season, Kopitar recorded 42 points in 47 games (10 goals, 32 assists) during the lockout-shortened regular season.
So, what’s next for Kings right wing Tyler Toffoli? Kings coach Darryl Sutter would like the 21-year-old to gain strength and stamina before training camp begins in September. Sutter might also consider switching Toffoli from the right wing to the left in order to make that side of the ice a little stronger than it’s been the last two seasons. Dustin Brown is the Kings’ top left wing, but the production on that side drops off considerably. Toffoli could fill the void, if the Kings decide to go in that direction.
Tyler Toffoli knows all about the increased speed and sense of urgency that comes with climbing the ladder as a professional hockey player. After all, he’s climbed it at a great speed and with a keen sense of urgency. The Kings’ right wing scored 100 points (52 goals, 48 assists) in 65 games with the junior-level Ottawa 67s in 2011-12. Then he scored 51 points (28 goals, 23 assists) in 58 games with the Manchester (N.H.) Monarchs of the American Hockey League in 2012-13 and was named the Rookie of the Year. He also scored five points (two goals, three assists) in 10 games with the Kings.
John Stevens, an assistant coach with the Kings for the past three seasons, is considered the front-runner for the vacant Vancouver Canucks head-coaching position and is expected to be interviewed by the team later this week, according to a report. The Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper, reported on its website that the defensive-minded Stevens would be a good fit for the Canucks. Vancouver fired Alain Vigneault after the San Jose Sharks upset the Canucks in the first round of the playoffs.
The Kings failed to defend their Stanley Cup championship, with the Chicago Blackhawks knocking them off in the Western Conference finals. Kings captain Dustin Brown shared his thoughts on where the Kings fell short in their bid to become the first team to repeat as champions since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and ’98. Said Brown:
Kings captain Dustin Brown wasn’t right during the Chicago Blackhawks’ five-game victory in the Western Conference finals. Brown revealed after the Kings’ double-overtime loss in the decisive Game 5 that he played with a torn knee ligament. Days later, in his exit interview with reporters, he detailed how the injury impacted his play.
Kings winger Dustin Brown acknowledged playing the Western Conference finals with a torn knee ligament. He said he was hurt in a collision with Dan Boyle of the San Jose Sharks in Game 6 of the Kings’ second-round victory. Surgery isn’t necessary, but Brown will need rest and time in order to be sound again before training camp.
Kings center Mike Richards said he felt helpless while sitting out with a concussion for three games during their conference finals loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Here’s more from the veteran, who returned to the lineup and scored an unforgettable goal on a deflection in the closing seconds of regulation play to force Game 5 to overtime:
Mike Richards sat out three games during the Kings’ conference finals loss to the Chicago Blackhawks because of a concussion suffered when Dave Bolland cracked him behind the net late in Game 1. So, Richards knows how hard-hitting the Kings’ playoffs were in 2013. Here’s more on his view of the physical play, starting with the first round victory over the St. Louis Blues: “I know, personally, it was one of the most grueling first series I’ve played. … I think this was the most physically draining (postseasons).”
The 25th annual Dave Taylor/Jim Fox Golf Classic will be held Monday (June 24) at the Moorpark Country Club in Moorpark. It’s for a good cause, benefiting cystic fibrosis patient care and research. You can sign up to play or become a sponsor by calling 323-939-0758 or by visiting losangeles.cff.org/golf. Several members of the Kings alumni will be on hand, although the exact list hasn’t been released as of Monday afternoon.