The most famous Japanese hockey player in Kings history – more accurately, the only Japanese hockey player in NHL history -was in the news again today.
Yutaka Fukufuji made 47 saves but took the loss as host nation Kazakhstan defeated Japan 4-1 in the gold-medal game at the Asian Winter Games. Fukufuji, who appeared in four games for the Kings in 2006-07, was named Best Goalkeeper of the tournament by the Tournament Directorate. The 28-year-old left North America two years ago and currently plays in the Asian League, according to Wikipedia.
A few notes from the Manchester Monarchs, the Kings’ AHL affiliate:
Scoring his third goal in as many games Friday evening, defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov (12-25=37) holds sole possession of first place on the Monarchs with 37 points.
Voynov also leads American Hockey League defenseman with 37 points on the season and is tied for the lead among AHL blueliners with six power-play goals to his credit.
LW Bud Holloway recorded an assist as well as his team-leading 16th goal of the season in Saturday’s 4-0 blanking of the Albany Devils. He has 36 points (16-20=36) in 51 games to place second on the Monarchs in points. Holloway also assisted on the game-winning goal and added a power play goal of his own as insurance in Saturday’s contest against Albany.
Martin Jones stopped all 26 shots he faced to pick up his third shutout of the season against Albany. Jeff Zatkoff missed the game with an undisclosed illness. A night earlier, Jones absorbed a 4-3 shootout loss against the Worcester Sharks.
The Monarchs (31-16-1-4) have a tenuous two-point lead on Portland (30-15-4-1) in the Atlantic Division; Portland has two games in hand. Things could change in a hurry this week: Manchester plays four games in five days, all at home, beginning Wednesday.
If only Slava Voynov were playing for the Kings …
Complete that hypothetical scenario in your minds as you wish. Here’s one possibility: He would have been the second-fastest skater in the NHL had he been invited to the NHL SuperSkills competition Saturday.
The defenseman gained the title of fastest skater in the American Hockey League on Sunday with a timed skate of 14.197 seconds in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Compare that to Saturday’s competition among NHL All-Stars in Raleigh, N.C., won by the New York Islanders’ Michael Grabner – 14.061 seconds in the preliminary round; 14.238 in the final.
The Manchester Monarchs duo of Voynov and Martin Jones are the only Kings prospects taking part in the AHL’s All-Star weekend. The game itself is tomorrow at 4 p.m. (Find the complete broadcast listings here; it looks like the best local viewing options are on Time Warner Cable channel 101, ahllive.com and NHL Center Ice.)
Goalies are usually the sacrificial pawns of hockey all-star games, but Jones was credited with the second-best save percentage at the skills competition. The rookie stopped 21 of 29 shots (0.724 save percentage) for the Eastern Conference. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins goaltender John Curry claimed the top goaltender award by stopping 21 of 28 (.750).
The East beat the West 19-7.
After the draft, Dean Lombardi praised second-round pick Vyacheslav Voinov for his willingness to come to North American and play junior hockey, if necessary. It seems as though it’s going to happen. A story in the Times & Transcript, a newspaper based out of New Brunswick, indicated that Voinov will be at the start of training camp for the Moncton Wildcats when camp opens Aug. 29.
Moncton selected Voinov with the fifth overall selection in the Canadian Hockey League import draft.
“All indications are they’ll both be at camp,” Moncton coach Danny Flynn said, speaking of Voinov and fellow Russian import Alexander Fomin. “Voinov just arrived in Ottawa on the weekend. He’s training there because that’s where his agent lives.”