Here’s what Kings coach Darryl Sutter had to say about Tyler Toffoli, who had a goal and an assist in a 4-3 shootout victory Thursday over the Ducks: “He had a tough camp last year, so the difference in demeanor would be that this year he’s playing well two games in, and last year he struggled. We get along good. He’s a good boy.”
There is no timetable for Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick’s exhibition debut, at least not one for public consumption. Quick, coach Darryl Sutter and the team’s medical staff will determine when Quick’s surgically-repaired wrist is sound enough for him to play.
“We’ve got a lot of minds put together trying to figure it out,” Quick said. “We’ll figure it out. We’ve got a little time. Obviously, it’s going to happen in a hurry. I’ll come in and keep working every day and keep getting better like I have been and, hopefully, I can get a couple of games in.”
Quick played only 49 games last season because of a nagging groin injury, well down from a career-high of 72 set during the 2009-10 season. He said he hadn’t thought much about decreasing his workload for the coming season, leaving the decisions up to the coaching staff.
“You love playing games, so you never voluntarily ask for games off,” Quick said. “I think the coaching staff has a good feel for goaltenders and the team and what’s best for them. They run the ship and we just go to work. That’s it.
“They tell me to take a day off, I take a day off. They tell me I’m going, I’m going. You want to be involved. You want to be a part of it. You work so hard all summer to play in those games, you want to try to get in there and be a difference-maker for the team.
“So, you want to be a part of it, obviously. I don’t have a number in my head that I want or anything like that.”
Here’s some of what Kings coach Darryl Sutter had to say after a split-squad loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Monday in Glendale, Ariz.: “You are still wanting to see more of your young players who you want to give opportunities to in an exhibition game, as I said before. When you play two in one day there are a lot of guys that normally would not get a game at all, so now they get an opportunity.”
Here’s more: “Looking at Jeff (Carter), Tanner (Pearson) and Tyler (Toffoli) as a unit not as Jeff Carter. And we are trying to get some lines together and seeing if it can work together. Yeah, I think that line is really good. They were good all night.”
The Kings play split-squad exhibitions against the newly renamed Arizona Coyotes. Here’s the full schedule of preseason games: http://kings.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=97755
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
The Kings on Wednesday took a step toward planning for the day Darryl Sutter is no longer their coach. Sutter and general manager Dean Lombardi announced assistant John Stevens was promoted to the new job of associate head coach, an indication he’s in line as Sutter’s replacement. What’s more, assistant coach Davis Payne and goaltending coach Bill Ranford were given new contracts.
“Our coaching staff has been an integral part of the success of our team the last three years,” Lombardi said in a statement. “We are extremely pleased that they will remain part of our team and continue together as we strive for excellence.”
Here’s what Kings coach Darryl Sutter had to say about the difference between this Stanley Cup championship and the one in 2012:
“We did it a different way in ”11-’12. That’s something that I don’t think could ever happen again if you go back to that because of winning as a road team all the time. This year was totally different. A lot of new players in our lineup. We knew we had to, at some point … during the Olympics, I always thought about this, ‘How are we going to beat Chicago? How are we going to beat Chicago?’ Dean got Gaborik. We were able to put some kids in, go from there, so … ”
Sutter referred to Kings general manager Dean Lombardi’s move to acquire Marian Gaborik from the Columbus Blue Jackets at the NHL trade deadline March 5.
Thanks to the NHL’s crack media relations staff for the following …
The Kings will play their 26th game of the playoffs when they take the ice to play the New York Rangers in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Friday at Staples Center, matching an NHL record set twice previously The Philadelphia Flyers in 1987 and the Darryl Sutter-coached Calgary Flames in 2004 each played in 26 games, losing in seven-game series in the Final. …
The Rangers’ victory in Game 4 means there will be no sweep in the Final for the 15th consecutive time. The last Final to be decided in only four games was the Detroit Red Wings’ win over the Washington Capitals in 1998, the fourth in a row after the Red Wings beat the Flyers in ’97, the Colorado Avalanche beat the Florida Panthers in ’96 and the Wings lost to the New Jersey Devils in ’95. …
The Kings outshot the Rangers 27-6 after Martin St. Louis scored what proved to be the game-winning goal at 6:27 of the second period in New York’s 2-1 victory Wednesday. The Kings fired the first nine shots on goal in the third period and outshot the Rangers 15-1 in the final period and by 41-19.
Marian Gaborik slipped effortlessly into the Kings’ lineup after a March 5 trade from the Columbus Blue Jackets. He clicked almost instantly with center Anze Kopitar and began producing at nearly a point-per-game pace.
Gaborik scored 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) in 19 regular-season games and he had 21 points, including a playoff-leading 13 goals, in 24 contests before the Kings faced the New York Rangers in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday.
Now the question is how quickly will the Kings move to re-sign the 32-year-old Slovakian?The price could be steep since Gaborik’s last contract, a five-year deal he signed with the Rangers before the 2009-10 season, paid him an average of $7.5 million per season.
Gaborik certainly has proved to be worth every penny of a pro-rated deal that required Columbus to pick up 50 percent of his salary for the final one-quarter of 2013-14 after Kings general manager Dean Lombardi acquired him for Matt Frattin and two draft picks at the deadline.
“You want to be a complete army,” Lombardi said.
The Kings needed scoring.
They went into the playoffs as the lowest-scoring team of the 16 postseason qualifiers, averaging a meager total of 2.42. Thanks in part to Gaborik, they upped their average to a playoff-leading 3.50 going into Game 4 of the Final at Madison Square Garden.
Best of all, as far as the Kings are concerned, Gaborik and Kopitar have formed the dynamic scoring combination that was glaringly absent in what was a popgun offense before the trade. They have played together since Gaborik joined the team for a March 6 game against Winnipeg.
“Darryl stuck with us every since he got with us,” Kopitar said, referring to Kings coach Darryl Sutter. “It is a process, but it seemed like we clicked fairly good and fairly fast. Now it’s time to really bring it, obviously. He’s a big-time player.
“I’m sure it’s hard to come to a different team with different systems and different styles of play. You have to fit in really quick, and I just think everybody helping him out, you try to be in his ear, but at the same time you kind of want to lay off and have him do his thing. I think he’s done a really good job.”
Kings coach Darryl Sutter has made a habit of not answering even the most straight-forward questions when the mood strikes him. He did it again before Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, although it could be argued that he answered exactly as he wanted to during a post-morning skate session with reporters.
Steve Levy of ESPN asked Sutter, “What concerns you most about tonight’s Game 3 here in New York.” Without pausing, Sutter responded without a trace of humor, “I think the biggest concern would be that we’re coming into Madison Square Garden and playing the New York Rangers.”
When the laughter died for a moment, Sutter added, “Makes sense.”
When it died again, he said, “It’s logical.”
More laughter followed, including from Levy, who clearly expected a more expansive answer from Sutter. Guess he hasn’t been paying attention.