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Category: Jonathan Quick

Kings after deadline: Kings 6, Columbus 4

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Notes and quotes from the Kings' 6-4 victory over Columbus at Staples Center. Thanks, as always, to PR guru Jeremy Zager, whose Grandma Schwartz is going to come to a hockey game very soon.

Kings Coach Terry Murray

On the game: "It was a great start to the game, first half of the game I thought was exactly what you wanted to have with the compete, with the intensity and doing the right thing, getting it in, scoring some goals.  Things started to change after we gave up that first goal, we got a little too casual again with puck management through the middle of the ice, gave them a lot of energy and gave them a lot of life the rest of the game I thought from that point.  Bottom line is we get that win, hopefully good things can start to happen here as we build off this."

On Jack Johnson's seven-year extension: "That’s great for Jack. He’s a young guy that’s going to be a great player in this game for a long time, so it’s great to get him locked up.  Those young defensemen are very hard to find, the guys with skill and talent and ability like that.  I’m hoping that he and Drew Doughty can end up being the anchors of this blue-line core for a long time."

On Jonathan Quick’s performance: “When you get a 4-0 lead like that, now you want to just play the right way, your goaltender has to stay real sharp do the right stuff, keep it simple, just stop the puck. . . . I think when he’s on his game those are easy plays for him.”

Kings center Anze Kopitar

On the game and a full lineup:  "Greenie [Matt Greene] talked about it before the game, to take a look around the room.  As healthy as we’ve been all year, right from the get-go, and we added Sturmie [Marco Sturm] to the lineup, too. Those are the guys and I’m pretty sure there’s not going to be any major changes.  We have to feel comfortable with everybody that is here and we have to trust that everybody is going to do their job.  It was definitely not the way we wanted to finish that game but two points is two points."

Continue reading »

Kings expect Ponikarovsky, Mitchell to return Saturday

Left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky and defenseman Willie Mitchell are expected to return to the Kings’ lineup Saturday against Columbus at Staples Center, good news for a team that has been making bad news daily during a five-game losing streak.

Ponikarovsky, who injured an ankle Dec. 26, and Mitchell, who hurt his left knee Dec. 16 in only his second game back after a concussion, had no restrictions in practice Friday at El Segundo and said they’re ready to go. Ponikarovsky will play on the left side with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, back to his natural right-wing position after moving to the left for a while. The second line was also revamped — again — with Marco Sturm on the left, Jarret Stoll at center and Wayne Simmonds on the right.

Coach Terry Murray said he wasn’t sure who will come out of the lineup when Ponikarovsky and Mitchell return, though forward/defenseman Peter Harrold — who was on right wing Thursday — is an obvious candidate to be scratched.

“Today I skated a full practice just to get ready mentally,” Ponikarovsky said. “Physically I was ready, but mentally I have to focus and get back.”

Although Murray was definite in saying Mitchell and Ponikarovsky will return, Mitchell termed it as “a pretty good chance” he will play.

“As long as it doesn’t get worse then it’s fine,” Mitchell said. “You feel like you can do your job and not be a liability to the coaching staff or your teammates because that’s what’s most important.”

There was one hold-your-breath moment involving Mitchell on Friday: the veteran defenseman twisted his knee during a drill and got up slowly, skating in circles for a few moments until he was sure he could continue. He shrugged it off.

“That just happens. Anyone who’s had the injury I had, you tweak it a little bit, it burns for a little while and goes away,” he said. “All the guys who have had similar injuries go through that, so this is part of the program.”

Jonathan Quick will start in goal Saturday for the Kings, who are halfway through an eight-game homestand and have yet to win a game. Murray also said he wants enforcer Kevin Westgarth in the lineup Saturday and again Monday, against Toronto.

Look for more at www.latimes.com/sports
-- Helene Elliott

NHL All-Star voting ends with Sidney Crosby at the top

Sid_500 

After more than 14.3 million votes were tallied, Sidney Crosby and three of his Pittsburgh Penguins teammates are among the first six players (three forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender) selected for the NHL All-Star game on Jan. 30.

Crosby, who leads the league in scoring, collected the most votes of anyone: 635,509. Joining him are
Penguins' forward Evgeni Malkin, defenseman Kris Letang and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

Rounding out the first six are forward Jonathan Toews and defenseman Duncan Keith of the Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks.

The remaining 36 All-stars will be selected by the NHL next week. Under a new format, the 42 selected players will cast their own votes to decide the captains and alternate captains of the two teams.

The appointed team leaders will then choose their own teams in a televised draft.

Though Crosby was the top vote-getter, Letang, a write-in candidate, was next highest with 477,960 votes.

Of the Ducks and Kings? Not enough votes to get in the top six.

For the Kings, the forward with the most votes was Anze Kopitar at 64,142; for the Ducks, it was Teemu Selanne at 43,873. The top Kings defenseman in terms of votes was Drew Doughty at 166, 489. For the Ducks, it was Cam Fowler, a write-in candidate, at 14,160. Also noteworthy: Kings defenseman Jack Johnson, also a write-in candidate, collected 22,641 votes.

Among goalies, Fleury had 426,305 votes. The Kings' Jonathan Quick came in ninth with 80,084, and the Ducks' superb net-minder Jonas Hiller deserved more than the 15,681 he received. He has had to face 1,159 shots against (more than any other goalie by far) yet still has 19 wins (tied for second in the league) and a 2.54 goal-against average (16th) and a remarkable .925 save percentage (fourth in the league).

Click here for the full lists of the final vote count: forwards and defensemen and goalies.

-- Debbie Goffa

Photo: Sidney Crosby. Credit:  Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press.

Final (mercifully): Coyotes 6, Kings 3

Match the Kings, whose sterling defensive play and goaltending had given them the NHL’s second-best team goals-against average and a four-game winning streak, against the Phoenix Coyotes, who had been held to a single goal in each of their last four games, and what do you get?

A completely unexpected collapse by the Kings and a scoring spree for the Coyotes.

Phoenix scored four times in the first period Wednesday and sent Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick to the bench by scoring six times on 18 shots midway through the second period, a surprising display by both teams in a 6-3 victory for the Coyotes before a crowd of 15,153 at Jobing.com Arena.

The Kings (22-13-1) will finish a stretch of four games in five nights by facing the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday at Staples Center. Jonathan Bernier was scheduled to start that game before he was called on Wednesday to relieve Quick, and it seems likely that plan won’t change. He actually made several good saves during his time in net Wednesday.

Continue reading »

After two periods: Coyotes 6, Kings 3

The Kings, who entered the game with a 2.20 goals-against average that ranked second in the NHL, gave up four goals in the first period to the Coyotes, who had scored a total of four in their previous four games. Phoenix scored those goals on 12 shots at Jonathan Quick, wreaking havoc on the Kings’ .920 team save percentage.

It was wacky, it was wild, it was a parade of ugly defensive plays in every form imaginable.

And it got worse, with the Kings facing a 6-3 deficit after two periods at Jobing.com Arena.

Shane Doan began the scoring parade at 5:31, after Jack Johnson couldn’t handle a rolling puck in his own zone following a pass from Drew Doughty. Scottie Upshall took it away and passed across to Doan, who scored on the Coyotes’ fourth shot of the game.

The Kings matched that at 7:39. Kevin Westgarth took a long shot — think somewhere in the neighborhood of Scottsdale — and Anze Kopitar got a piece of it. The puck squirted through Ilya Bryzgalov’s pads and was tapped over the goal line by Brad Richardson.

The Coyotes took a 2-1 lead at 9:20, when Ray Whitney got behind Johnson and had an open right side to deposit a pass from Keith Yandle. The Kings again pulled even, this time when Ryan Smyth deflected a shot by Doughty from the top of the circle at 11:24, but the Coyotes had an answer for that tooas Upshall skated in deep on the left side and scored over a sprawling Quick to give Phoenix a 3-2 lead at 12:16.

The Coyotes extended their lead to 4-2 at 15:34, during a power play, on a redirection by Brett MacLean for his first NHL goal in his first NHL game.

The Kings made it a one-goal game again at 16:07. Kopitar controlled the puck and came out from behind the net before throwing it toward Bryzgalov. Before it got to the goalie it caromed off Marco Sturm’s back and into the net.

The pace slowed in the second period, but only barely. Phoenix scored on a power play at 6:11, with  Doan going to one knee, and again at 10:03, on a long shot by Kyle Turris. That was all for Quick, who was replaced by Jonathan Bernier after giving up a half-dozen goals on 18 shots.

Bernier had already been told that he would start at home on Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers, and it’s not clear if his unexpected appearance will change Coach Terry Murray’s plans or if he will start anyway.

More from Jobing.com Arena later, at www.latimes.com/sports.
-- Helene Elliott, in Glendale, Ariz.

 

 

Kings' Kopitar happy to share Slovenian spotlight, and other notes...

Kings center Anze Kopitar no longer has the distinction of being the only Slovenian player in the NHL, and he’s glad to have the company.

The Red Wings recently called up left wing Jan Mursak, a native of Maribor, Slovenia. Mursak replaced winger Dan Cleary, who suffered a broken ankle a few days ago.

Like Kopitar, who left home to play hockey in Sweden, Mursak had to leave to improve his hockey skills. Mursak played in the Czech League and the junior-level Ontario Hockey League and was drafted by Detroit in the sixth round in 2006. He has spent the last two seasons with the Red Wings’ American Hockey League affiliate.

Kopitar said he knew Mursak well and that they played together growing up. Kopitar is about five months older than Mursak.

“We played on a few national teams together. He’s actually a friend of mine,” Kopitar said after the Kings skated Wednesday morning in preparation for their game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena. “I know him. We’ve actually skated during the summer, too. A few times. He’s from the same hometown as my girlfriend.” That’s Maribor, the opposite side of the country from Kopitar’s hometown of Jesenice.

“I played against him all the time," Kopitar said. "We’re pretty much the same generation.”

But he said there weren’t many other Slovenians on a path to the NHL — except maybe Kopitar's younger brother, Gasper. “There’s a few good young players. I think it’s just a matter of making the right decision and sticking with it. That’s the only problem, I think,” Kopitar said.

That and the fact players must leave the country to advance their careers.

“They probably have to. If not juniors, they probably have to go somewhere in Sweden, Finland, maybe Czech or something so they can develop,” he said.

Incidentally, Kopitar’s father, Matjaz, is coaching Slovenia’s national team though he remains based in Los Angeles.

Speaking of national teams … Kings left wing Kyle Clifford had hoped to earn a place on Team Canada’s roster for the world junior championships last year but didn’t make the cut. He attended Canada’s summer camp in advance of the current tournament, but he’s watching it from afar because he’s busy establishing himself in the NHL as a physical and tireless player with a decent upside offensively.

“Plan A was to be here. If I wasn’t here, Plan B was to be in the world juniors,” he said. “Everything worked out like planned. I’m here now, and I’m happy. I wish them all the best.”

Kings Coach Terry Murray has become a huge Clifford booster.

“We all felt he should have been selected last year and he wasn’t, so we decided to keep him so they couldn’t have an opportunity to get him this year,” Murray joked. “I’m glad he hasn’t come and asked me if he could go. I would have been disappointed, actually.

“He’s making great strides here and he’s a great kid. It’s great to see the attitude that he brings every day to the practice — going to the rink early to get himself ready. Every game he’s on the first bus. He’s just a rink rat. He wants to play the game and play the right way, and he wants to become a very successful pro hockey player for a long time, and he’s doing all the right stuff with his respect for the game, for the veteran players.

“And he’s showing to us, the coaches, that he’ll do whatever it takes, put in the work, the time, to keep our trust and keep it going on the ice."

A few notes on goaltender Jonathan Quick, courtesy of broadcaster Nick Nickson:

Quick — who is scheduled to start Wednesday night -- is the first goalie in Kings history to record three road shutouts in one month (at Detroit Dec. 13, at Colorado Dec. 21 and at San Jose on Monday). The club record for shutouts in one month — home and road — is four, set by Felix Potvin in March 2001.

Only five King goalies have ever recorded three shutouts in one month: Potvin had four in March of 2001 and three in January 2002; Quick has three so far this month, Kelly Hrudey had three in March 1991, Rogie Vachon had three in February of 1977, and Gerry Desjardins had three in January 1969.

Look for more from the game, at www.latimes.com/sports

-- Helene Elliott in Glendale, Ariz.

 

Kings: Injured Alexei Ponikarovsky will sit again; Jonathan Quick to start against Coyotes

Kings_500 
 

Greetings from rainy Glendale, Ariz.

Left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky, who missed Monday’s 4-0 victory at San Jose because of a lower-body injury that is believed to be an ankle problem, was the first player on the ice for the Kings’ morning skate Wednesday but didn’t participate in many drills. Afterward, Coach Terry Murray said Ponikarovsky won’t play Wednesday against the Coyotes.

“He’s still a little lame. Feeling a lot better,” Murray said. “He’s gone through two days of pretty intense treatment. Still some swelling, a little bit of tenderness. Not able to cross over, pivot, open up -- all those things that hockey players have to do. So we’ll just keep pushing the rehab work. When his body’s ready to go he’ll get back in.”

Murray also said defenseman Willie Mitchell, who suffered an apparent knee injury Dec. 16 at St. Louis, skated on Wednesday at the team’s El Segundo training base. Murray said he had no update beyond the originally stated week-to-week projection.

Otherwise, Murray said the lineup will be the same Wednesday at Jobing.com Arena, with Jonathan Quick starting in goal. He also confirmed that Jonathan Bernier will start at home Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Murray and the rest of the coaching staff watched the Coyotes lose to the Ducks Tuesday night to start a rare set of back-to-back home games, and they took lots of mental notes. Murray said the Coyotes were uncharacteristically loose at the start off the game and later played a more urgent, press-up game that he expects to see them play Wednesday.

“More three on the puck, defense are going to be aggressive down the boards, defense are going to be jumping up on the play on the attack on a pretty consistent basis and probably play more pucks off the net than what they did," he said. "I thought they overpassed and looked for some cute plays in the offensive zone [Tuesday] night. So I’m sure there will be a change of attitude tonight.”

More in a little bit, including Kyle Clifford’s thoughts on not being at the world junior championships and Anze Kopitar welcoming a fellow Slovenian to the NHL.

-- Helene Elliott in Glendale, Ariz.

Photo: Alexi Ponikarovsky. Credit: Jerry S. Mendoza /Associated Press.

Moon shot? Airmail? By any name, Kopitar-to-Brown goal was memorable

Kings Coach Terry Murray gave his players Tuesday off except for an afternoon meeting, but the rest of the hockey world was still marveling at the high lob pass by Anze Kopitar to Dustin Brown that put Brown  behind the Sharks defense and in position to score the Kings’ final goal in their 4-0 victory at San Jose on Monday.


Here’s the goal, in case you missed it...


And here’s what Brown, Kopitar and Murray had to say about it after the game.

Question to Brown: Did you know that was coming?

Brown: “Yeah, we’ve actually tried that in similar situations. You probably don’t realize it because it’s never connected like that. Either I’m thinking he’s going to do it too early [and] I’m going too fast or he flips it on a second too late and it ends up being an icing. Tonight we both were on the same page with that flip. He put it right there.”

Question to Kopitar: Brown said you had tried that play before but it had never quite connected.

Kopitar: “We have. We’ve connected a few times. It just wasn’t a case like this. Either the [defense] was back so it wasn’t like a clear-cut breakaway. Tonight it worked out pretty well."

Question to Murray: When you saw Kopitar lift that pass to Brown, he said they had tried it before but never connected. Is that the time when maybe you can try it, or were you nervous and did not like it?

Murray: “It’s just to get it going north. That was the most important thing. You wonder if it’s going to be an offside. I’ve only seen that play connect one time before, ever. It was a pretty creative move.

“Actually just to release pressure it’s the right kind of move to make too. Get it over the top. The old moon shot. Then you just hope that maybe something happens off of it.”

Murray also said Tuesday that he plans to start Jonathan Quick on Wednesday against the Coyotes and is leaning toward starting Jonathan Bernier on Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers at Staples Center. Through Monday’s games quick ranked third in the NHL with a .932 save percentage, second in goals-against average at 1.86, tied for third with four shutouts and third in wins with 18.

“The game [Monday] night was a good game for him," Murray said of Quick. "He’s been playing a very good game here in the last while too. Just get him right back into it.”

Murray said he hadn’t made a firm decision on Thursday’s starting goalie but Bernier is likely to get the nod. “He’s played pretty well too in his last couple starts. And there’s no need, necessarily, to go back to back with Quicker right now,” Murray said.

He also said he will wait until Wednesday morning to judge the readiness of left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky, who missed Monday’s game because of a lower-body injury. “He seemed to be walking a lot better [Monday] night but that doesn’t necessarily mean a lot when it comes to skating,” Murray said. If Ponikarovsky can play, his return would likely be the only change from Monday’s lineup.

And on his night off, Murray planned to scout the Coyotes against the Ducks on Tuesday at Jobing.com Arena.

Etc.

Kings prospect Brayden Schenn had a goal and four assists in Canada's 7-2 rout of the Czech Republic at the world junior championships.

-- Helene Elliott, in Glendale, Ariz.

 

 

Kings, Ducks ready for Boxing Day game

Bernier_300 Happy day after Christmas, or Boxing Day to our Canadian friends.

The Kings and Ducks arrived at Staples Center on Sunday before workers were finished changing the surface after the Clippers’ victory over Phoenix, a game that started at noon. The Staples crew is accustomed to quick changeovers but this one was tight — and the quality of the ice, which stays beneath the court and can be iffy under the best of circumstances, is sure to be dubious.

The Kings will have a new/old look for their game against the Ducks. Jonathan Bernier got the start in goal, and Coach Terry Murray said the rookie would get at least one more start in the upcoming stretch of four games in five nights. He said he wasn’t sure which game Bernier will play, but he’s trying to make sure Jonathan Quick gets rest and that Bernier regains his confidence and can be a reliable backup.

Bernier won his last start, at Nashville on Dec. 18, one of only three wins in his eight starts. But Murray said he was encouraged by Bernier’s performance in that game.

“I saw a player who has more of an aggressive attitude, challenged shooters, looked very confident after being out of the lineup for an extended period of time but came back and showed the confidence to the team that he was ready. He was solid,” Murray said.

In addition, Marco Sturm will start the game on the top line, with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. Brad Richardson, who had been on the left side, moved to the fourth line with Trevor Lewis and Alexei Ponikarovsky.

Sturm played there late in the Kings’ 3-2 victory over Edmonton on Thursday after being eased back into the lineup on the fourth line.

“I think it’s time to just get him going. He’s got a couple of games under his belt now,” Murray said. “I spoke with him this morning before the practice about getting back into hockey and skating and feeling good again and he said he felt much better in the third period, more instinctive in his game.”

The timing isn’t there yet. “I’m going to push him a little bit on this,” Murray said. “I don’t want to say, ‘OK, take your time to get into it.’ You’ve got to demand a little bit more and he has to put some pressure on himself to get going.

Continue reading »

After one in Chicago: Blackhawks 1, Kings 0

 

The first period was punctuated by some rattling hits, though the off-ice officials’ tally of 23 hits for the Blackhawks seems inflated. The Kings were credited with 13 hits.

The only goal of the period was scored on a 40-foot laser by Jonathan Toews, off a feed by defenseman Brian Campbell, at 11:30. Troy Brouwer did a nice job of jostling for position with Kings defenseman Jack Johnson and creating a screen in front of Jonathan Quick as Toews unleashed a shot from about 40 feet. It apparently deflected off Drew Doughty.

Kings winger Justin Williams hit the crossbar in the early going but the Kings didn’t mount much sustained pressure on Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford.

Kings enforcer Kevin Westgarth and Blackhawks enforcer John Scott, who had tangled at Staples Center Nov. 27 in a bout that left Westgarth a bloody mess, tangled again Sunday to no one’s surprise. Westgarth did better but still didn’t win.

We’ll have more later at www.latimes.com/sports

Helene Elliott in Chicago

Kings' defense hurting: Mitchell is week-to-week, Greene is back in L.A. for tests

Greetings from Nashville, where a Garth Brooks concert prevented the Kings from practicing at Bridgestone Arena on Friday and sent them to the Predators’ practice rink near Vanderbilt University.

Defensemen Matt Greene and Willie Mitchell missed practice and won’t play Saturday.

Greene, still feeling the effects of a hit to the head Monday at Detroit, stayed overnight in St. Louis before returning Friday morning to Los Angeles. He’s scheduled to undergo tests to determine why he has been feeling wobbly and will be reevaluated next week.

Mitchell, who suffered an unspecified lower-body injury during the Kings’ 6-4 loss at St. Louis on Thursday, saw a doctor in Nashville on Friday afternoon and a club spokesman said the veteran defenseman is week-to-week. He will stay with the team and get treatment while the team finishes this five-game trip.

And lest we forget … forward Brad Richardson, back in L.A. with what’s believed to be a concussion, has been riding the bike and skated in El Segundo on Friday. His status is day-to-day.

The defense pairs Friday were Rob Scuderi-Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson-Peter Harrold and Alec Martinez-Davis Drewiske.

Murray said he planned to speak to General Manager Dean Lombardi about calling someone up before Saturday’s game against the Predators because that’s the first in a back-to-back sequence that ends at Chicago, so the pairs could change. But Lombardi later said via e-mail that he's holding off because of roster issues for the upcoming holiday trade freeze and the possibility of Marco Sturm being activated in the next few days.

One notable change up front: Kyle Clifford was skating on the left with Michal Handzus and Wayne Simmonds, in place of Alexei Ponikarovsky. Clifford got considerable time in that spot Thursday and apparently isn’t giving back to Ponikarovsky.

Or, as Murray put it, “I wasn’t real pleased with what was going on with the other player on that left side, to be quite honest.”

Ouch.

Murray also said Sturm has looked so good in practice he might get the newly acquired left wing into the lineup sooner than he expected. Murray had planned to get Sturm into the lineup next Wednesday but could do that before this trip ends Tuesday at Denver.

Also, Jonathan Bernier will start in goal, ending Jonathan Quick’s streak of eight straight starts. This had been scheduled for a while because Bernier shut out the Predators here March 30 and beat them at Staples Center Nov. 6 for the last of his two victories this season.
We’ll have more later at www.latimes.com/sports

-- Helene Elliott in Nashville

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