Kings defenseman Alec Martinez scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in double-OT in Game 5. (Photo by John McCoy Daily News)
Remember this? The New York Rangers certainly do. They face the Kings on Thursday at Staples Center for the first time since Alec Martinez’s goal in double-overtime sent the Rangers home without the Stanley Cup. The Rangers begin a three-game trip to California on Wednesday against the Ducks in Anaheim. Their minds were focused on the Kings and a return to Staples Center, however.
“I think it will always be in the back of the memory,” New York’s Rick Nash told Rangers beat reporters the other day. “I think the rest of your life, whenever you say L.A., that memory will come up. But in saying that, it’s a new season, so it doesn’t really matter what happened last season.”
Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr suffered an unspecified upper-body injury during their 6-4 victory Thursday over the St. Louis Blues and could not finish the game. It wasn’t immediately clear how serious the injury was or whether Regehr could play in Saturday afternoon’s game against the Arizona Coyotes at Staples Center.
One thing was for sure, however. The Kings cannot afford to lose another veteran defenseman for a prolonged period. They have been without Slava Voynov since Oct. 20, when he was suspended by the NHL because of a domestic violence arrest. Voynov was ordered to stand trial in the case earlier this week.
Regehr has been sidelined for three games already this season because of an undisclosed injury. Alec Martinez sat out seven games because of an upper-body injury and Jake Muzzin missed six games because of an upper-body injury.
Kings defenseman Alec Martinez signed a six-year contract extension Wednesday. (Photo by John McCoy Daily News)
Defenseman Alec Martinez came through for the Kings with two enormous goals to help them hoist the Stanley Cup last spring. The Kings then came through for Martinez in a big way with a six-season, $24-million contract extension Wednesday.
It’s another in a series of long-term deals given by Kings general manager Dean Lombardi, who also has locked up forward Marian Gaborik (seven years, $34 million) and defenseman Matt Greene (four years, $10 million) with new extended contracts.
In addition, Martinez becomes the fifth player to be signed through at least the 2020-21 season, joining Gaborik, team captain Dustin Brown, forward Jeff Carter and goaltender Jonathan Quick. Two others, Jake Muzzin and Mike Richards, are signed through 2019-20.
Martinez, 27, has played in 221 regular-season games for the Kings and 59 more in the playoffs. He scored series-winning goals in overtime in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against New York Rangers and in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Overall, the Rochester Hill, Mich., native has 25 goals and 62 points in his career.
Alec Martinez (27) played for the first time after missing seven games after undergoing finger surgery. (Photo by John McCoy Daily News)
Well, it depends. Here’s what Alec Martinez said to say after playing for the first time after sitting out for seven games because of finger surgery: “It felt good to be back playing again. It’s not too much fun being out. As for my game, I’m not too happy with it. I had to shake off a little bit of rust. I know I’ve got a better game in me next game. At the end of the day, we got the two points. That’s all I care about.”
Here’s what Kings coach Darryl Sutter said, bringing up Martinez’s name after reporters failed to do so after a 2-0 victory over the Boston Bruins on Tuesday at Staples Center: “Whenever guys come back from injuries, they have a lot of energy, and he and Robyn (Regehr, his defense partner Tuesday) were really good.”
Here are a few things to watch when the Kings face the Predators in Nashville:
The Kings’ three-game trip continues with a stop in Nashville to play the rejuvenated Predators (13-5-2). The Kings are 11-6-4 overall, but only 1-4-3 away from the cavernous confines of Staples Center. They began their trip by falling behind the Dallas Stars by three goals en route to a 5-4 loss Saturday
Kings coach Darryl Sutter continues to overplay defenseman Drew Doughty, who was on the ice for a career-high 33 minutes, 7 seconds Saturday. Injuries and the indefinite suspension of Slava Voynov have left the Kings shorthanded on the blue line. Sutter would prefer to play Doughty less and has acknowledged the harm in overworking him.
The Kings received salary-cap relief from the NHL last week in the Voynov case, but haven’t exercised their flexibility to recall anyone from Manchester (N.H.) of the AHL. Alec Martinez has been skating, but it’s uncertain when he’ll be sound enough to play after he underwent finger surgery.
The Kings still haven’t made a formal announcement on the surgery that was performed on defenseman Alec Martinez’s finger Friday. Most teams send out a press release revealing the news. Kings coach Darryl Sutter had this to say after Saturday’s 3-2 overtime victory over the Ducks: “Everything went well. It was basically a finger. They had to do some suturing on his finger and clean up his nail. When it heals, then he’ll be ready.”
Kings defenseman Alec Martinez had finger surgery Friday.
If it’s not one thing, it’s another for the Kings. Just when it seemed their defense crops might be back to something close to full strength again, they lost another valuable member when Alec Martinez underwent finger surgery Friday morning.
Kings general manager Dean Lombardi informed the club’s website of Martinez’s surgery, but did not provide further details. It wasn’t immediately certain how long the Stanley Cup playoffs hero would be sidelined, or precisely what was done during the procedure.
Martinez, who scored the series-winning goals in Game 7 of the Western Conference final against the Chicago Blackhawks and Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the New York Rangers, was injured while blocking a shot in the second period of Thursday’s loss to the Dallas Stars.
His absence means the Kings are down to only six healthy and eligible defenseman again, with Robyn Regehr poised to return to the lineup for today’s game against the Ducks after sitting out three contests because of a lower-body injury.
Slava Voynov continues to serve an indefinite suspension imposed by the NHL after his arrest last month on domestic violence charges after an incident at his Redondo Beach home. The Kings placed him on non-roster status earlier in the week in order to sign free agent Jamie McBain.
Kings defenseman Alec Martinez, the hero of the team’s Game 7 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference finals and their Game 5 win over the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final, knows about pressure situations. He didn’t believe the Kings delivered when needed in their season-opening game Wednesday against the San Jose Sharks. Here’s what he had to say:
“We obviously didn’t have the start we were looking for. We can’t come out like that against a hockey club of San Jose’s caliber, or anyone in the league, quite frankly. We weren’t ready. We just didn’t come out the way we needed to.”
Here is the best of the best writing on the Kings from the opening weekend of training camp, starting with Los Angeles News Groups columnist Mark Whicker’s look at Stanley Cup playoffs hero Alec Martinez: http://www.dailynews.com/sports/20140920/alec-martinezs-journey-with-los-angeles-kings-becomes-legendary
My look at the moves the Kings’ rivals in the West made during the summer: http://www.dailynews.com/sports/20140919/anaheim-ducks-the-west-bulk-up-to-challenge-los-angeles-kings
Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times takes a look at defenseman Drew Doughty and his goal of winning the Norris Trophy here: http://www.latimes.com/sports/kings/la-sp-kings-drew-doughty-20140920-story.html
Dillman also catches up with captain Dustin Brown here: http://www.latimes.com/sports/kings/la-sp-dustin-brown-kings-20140922-story.html
In the Orange County, er, Los Angeles Register, Rich Hammond previews the Kings’ No. 1 goal in Monday’s split-squad exhibitions with the Arizona Coyotes: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/kings-635851-monday-home.html