Three things about the L.A. Kings shootout loss to the Islanders

Kings forward Dwight King, left, scored the only goal in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Islanders. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Kings forward Dwight King, left, scored the only goal in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Islanders. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

 

Dwight King scored the KIngs’ only goal during a 2-1 shootout loss to the New York Islanders on Thursday at Staples Center. Brock Nelson countered for the Islanders, who also got shootout goals from Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen. Jonathan Quick robbed former Kings defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky from point-blank range after an excellent cross-ice pass from another ex-King, Thomas Hickey, in overtime.

Here are three things that stood out about Thursday’s defeat:

First, the Kings sorely missed winger Justin Williams, who couldn’t play after suffering an eye injury during their victory Tuesday over the Dallas Stars. Williams’ place on the Kings’ top line with Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik was taken by Jordan Nolan, a grinder who works his tail off but doesn’t have the scoring touch. The Kings couldn’t say when Williams might be back in the lineup. They hoped they would have to play without him for only one game. With goals at a premium, the Kings need all the offensive help they can get at this point in the season.

Second, Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin said it best when asked how the Kings can generate more scoring chances and more goals. “Instead of trying to look for cute plays on the outside, putting it (the puck) on net and driving it,” he said. “We’ve got to do a better job of getting pucks to the net.” The Kings played far too often on the perimeter. When they did drive to the net, King scored on a pinball deflection off a centering pass from teammate Mike Richards only 3:49 into the game.

Third, it’s obvious by now that the Kings are skating with targets on their backs. It comes with the territory as defending Stanley Cup champions. You could see from the opening minutes that the Islanders were not content with a split of their games in Southern California. They got two points in Anaheim on Wednesday and were determined to secure two more Thursday in Los Angeles. The Kings should know by now the rest of the league wants to knock them off their lofty perch. Thursday’s game was simply more evidence of it.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Eligibility question

I got an e-mail question the other day about Thomas Hickey’s AHL eligibility. Under the AHL/CHL agreement, a player must be either 20 years old or have played four years of junior hockey in order to be eligible to play in the AHL. Hickey has played three full years of junior hockey, plus five games in 2004-05. I’m told that does NOT make him eligible for the AHL under its agreement with the CHL. A player must play 25 games in order to have officially “played” a CHL season. (sorry about the typo earlier). So if Hickey doesn’t make the Kings, he will go back to Seattle of the Western Hockey League.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Prospect evaluation: Hickey

Thomas Hickey
Defenseman
DOB – 2-8-89
Stats:
Seattle (WHL)
- Reg season: 11 goals, 34 assists (45 points), 49 PIM
- Post season: 1 goal, 9 assists

Seattle Coach Rob Sumner on Thomas Hickey:

“He was a year older, and physically he could really battle. The physically maturity helped him round-out his game. I think it has improved his shot. His skating ability and his shot are strong aspects of his game.”

Leadership: “He’s our captain, and as an 18-year-old player, that is rare in our league. Usually that is for 19 or 20-year-olds. He really go into the leadership mix at 16 because he was such a good player and logged so much ice time as a young player that he was a leader among that young group and respected by the older guys. He formally got in to the leadership mix at 17 when I put an ‘A on his sweater, and that was very young, but he was ready for it. He is mature beyond his years.”

Development areas:

“He dominates at our level against the young guys, but looking ahead to the NHL, there are very, very strong men at that level and he’s going to have to take another step strength and physical development-wise. And I think his shot has improved, but I think the next step is to create more strength on the shot as well.”

NHL next season?

“I know the guy and how competitive he is and how he comes to play and impact games, so I would certainly never count Thomas out. I think the world of Thomas and believe he is going to be a great NHL player.”

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Hickey update

Thomas Hickey sat out part of the WHL playoffs because of a concussion, but that wasn’t his biggest problem. Hickey had surgery this week to repair a torn ligament in his ankle and will be off the ice for 6 to 8 weeks. It’s not known when exactly the injury happened, but Hickey definitely played for a while, knowing he was hurt bad. If you’re the Kings, that’s both admirable and terrifying. Hickey should be skating by the time the Kings have their prospects camp in July.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Hickey probably out

According to the Seattle Times, Thomas Hickey is unlikely to play tonight. Hickey took a knee to the head during Friday’s game, and although the word isn’t being used, he’s almost certainly suffering from a concussion. Seattle plays Tri-City tonight in Game 3 of the WHL Western Conference semifinals. The series is tied 1-1 and the teams play again Wednesday. Here’s the story…

T-birds’ Thomas Hickey might not play in Game 3 vs. Tri-City

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Hickey/Monarchs update

Following up on the Thomas Hickey story, he did not play last night for Seattle, the day after he took a knee to the head during a game. According to a couple newspaper articles, holding out Hickey was precautionary, but we’ll see. The WHL Western Conference semifinals resume Tuesday, with Seattle and Tri-City tied 1-1.

Also, rather than recap a lot of information, I’ll refer you to the Union-Leader’s stories about Manchester, which have some good stuff about Jonathan Bernier and an injury to Brian Boyle. Kevin Provencher does a great job of covering that team. Here you go…

Bernier sharp in debut with Monarchs

Monarchs Insider: Kings’ future starts in Manchester

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Hickey scare

Thomas Hickey took a knee to the head in last night’s Seattle Thunderbirds game and had to be helped to the locker room. No specific diagnosis was given, but Hickey returned to the bench for the third period, even though he didn’t play. After the game, Seattle coach Rob Sumner told the Seattle Times, “Hickey was cleared and was OK to play, but given the score, we decided to hold him out. We got a lead and tried not to take our foot off the gas. They’re a very good team, and I’m sure they’ll come back hard.” Game 2 is tonight, and there’s no indication that Hickey won’t play, but we’ll see.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email