I sat down with center Derek Armstrong. Since he’s one of the few veterans in the locker room now, I wanted to get his thoughts on playing on a team with so many young guys. Here’s his thoughts…
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Derek Armstrong threw out the ceremonial first pitch this afternoon at Dodger Stadium. Thanks to the Dodgers’ fantastic staff photographer, Jon SooHoo, here’s some pictures from the day. Armstrong met with Dodgers catcher Russell Martin, a Montreal native and a hockey fan, and manager Joe Torre…
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We did something like this after last season, breaking down the players. Since it’s expected to be a slow period for the Kings, seems like a good opportunity! I’ll try to get through a few players every day, and I’m curious to see what everyone’s opinions are of these guys. So we’ll start with forwards and go in alphabetical order. Up first…
This season: 77 games, 8 goals, 27 assists, plus-4 rating.
Positives: Nagging injuries have been a problem in the past, but Armstrong played a career-best 77 games. He also managed a minus-4 rating on a team that allowed 35 goals more than it scored. As usual, served as a steady, respected presence in the dressing room and proved himself most valuable as a third-line center, when he could focus more on defense than offense.
Negatives: Played a career-high in games, but his eight goals were the fewest of his five-year Kings career. The low production came even though he totaled a career-best 118 shots on goal. Armstrong also had a career-high 63 penalty minutes. Too often, he is forced into second-line center duties, and that does not suit his game.
Looking ahead: By now, it’s pretty clear what Armstrong can and can’t do. He’s a consistent performer, for the most part, but the Kings need Michal Handzus, or some other center, to step up so that Armstrong doesn’t have to center the second line on a regular basis.
Contract situation: Signed through 2008-09 (cap number of $1.5 million next season).
Announced during the game by the Kings:
AS VOTED BY THE MEDIA
Most Valuable Player: Anze Kopitar
“Bill Libby Memorial Award” for Best Newcomer: Jack Johnson
“Mark Bavis Memorial Award” for Outstanding Defenseman: Jack Johnson
Defensive Player: Patrick O’Sullivan
AS VOTED BY THE KINGS PLAYERS
Most Inspirational Player: Dustin Brown
“Ace Bailey Memorial Award” for Unsung Hero: Jeff Giuliano
AS SELECTED BY THE KINGS CARE FOUNDATION
Community Service: Derek Armstrong
AS SELECTED BY THE KINGS BOOSTER CLUB
Most Popular Player: Dustin Brown