Nearly everyone in the hockey world believes it will happen. And why wouldn’t they?
The Columbus Dispatch reported that the Kings were believed to be among the five teams on Nash’s approved list. Indeed, talks have occurred this week between the Kings and Blue Jackets regarding what it will take to acquire the dynamic right wing.
Although deals this complex don’t happen in the space of a few hours, or keystrokes, the Kings possess the assets to make it come to fruition: a promising goalie, a wealth of defensemen, and youth. It adds up to an intriguing mix that GM Scott Howson can sell to his disgruntled fan base in Columbus.
And speaking of disgruntled....
The seemingly endless goodwill and patience of Kings’ fans vaporized with the arrival of their mail the other day, which brought the announcement of a significant season-seat price increase. Their frustration and anger was nicely summarized by Times colleague Helene Elliott.
Which comes back to Nash.
Very rarely do hockey trades work on an organizational (hockey department) level and marketing level. This accomplishes both and would quell the outrage about the price increase.
Nash to Los Angeles is the marquee move that Kings’ president and GM Dean Lombardi tried to pull off, first with Ilya Kovalchuk and, more recently, last summer with Brad Richards, who ended up with the New York Rangers.
Did we mention Lombardi’s boss, AEG’s Tim Leiweke, likes headline-making moves? OK, check that. Loves them.
Keeping David Beckham in L.A. and bringing a bona fide star to the Kings, all in all, would not be a bad couple of months of work for Leiweke.
-- Lisa Dillman
Photo: Rick Nash. Credit: Terry Gilliam / Associated Press
Good morning from the International House of Pancakes on the corner of Manchester and Sepulveda — actually, not too far from where the Kings once played, at the Forum.
Impressively, a tired Dustin Penner, operating on very little sleep, is serving pancakes, signing autographs and having his picture taken with Kings fans. Considering more than $3,000 was raised for the Kings Care Foundation, there was this obvious question for the marketing whiz kids, Penner and Kings fan John Hoven, who runs the website Mayors Manor.
"Probably wrestling," Penner said with a shrug and a smile.
That was the same wit he displayed when he talked about getting hit with debilitating back spasms, missing the Kings' game against Columbus in early January. The next day at practice Penner then told us — with that same sly wit — how it happened. He added that he had hurt his back when he sat down to eat pancakes made by his wife, smartly noting that they were "delicious."
The incident, as if often happens these days, went viral on the Internet. Penner became a major target in cyberspace, apparently from those not knowing that you can hurt your back with the slightest of movements.
Another look at the most-anemic offense in the league -- coupled with an injury to forward Jarret Stoll -- happened to be enough for the Kings to finally swing into action on Friday.
They recalled forwards Dwight King and Jordan Nolan from their American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, and assigned struggling defenseman Slava Voynov to Manchester. Additionally, Stoll was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.
Stoll, who was apparently injured in the third period of Thursday's loss at Florida, has five goals and 10 assists in 55 games and one point in his last 10 games. His last goal was on Jan. 9 against Washington. The injury ends his streak of 177 consecutive games played.
Stoll is hardly the only struggling Kings' forward. He was a minus-two against the Panthers and center Mike Richards was a minus-three in that game.
Voynov has been scratched the last three games on this trip and has not played since Feb. 3 at St. Louis.
In 20 of 55 games this season, the Kings have scored one goal or less.
The Kings have been closely monitoring the progress of King and Nolan. Coach Darryl Sutter watched them play during the All-Star break and, more recently, Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi has been on hand to evaluate Manchester. Both King and Nolan are 22 years old.
King has 29 points in 50 games this season with Manchester, and he appeared in six games with the Kings last season.
Nolan, the son of former NHL coach Ted Nolan, will be making his NHL debut. Ted Nolan coached the Sabres for two seasons and the Islanders for two seasons. The Kings play at the Islanders on Saturday.
Nolan has 22 points in 40 games with the Monarchs this season.
Another video clip has surfaced in the Twitterverse that seems to show the clock at Staples Center paused twice during the final seconds of a Kings game, a precursor to an incident that occurred late in the Kings’ 3-2 victory over Columbus on Wednesday and triggered an investigation by the NHL.
The clip above of a game played Jan. 21 appears to show the clock pausing twice in the last four seconds. It didn’t draw any attention at the time because nothing significant happened in those final seconds that required review, and the Kings lost to Colorado, 3-1.
Despite a pause of about a second on Wednesday, Drew Doughty’s goal Wednesday with 0.4 of a second showing on the clock was allowed to stand and gave the Kings a victory that could prove crucial in their playoff drive or in playoff seedings.
A league spokesman said Friday he had not been aware of the apparent Jan. 21 clock pauses and that he would forward the information to executives who are looking into what happened on Wednesday.
Colin Campbell, the NHL’s senior vice president of hockey operations, told The Times on Thursday that the league will look into mechanical and human error as possible causes of the problem in the Kings-Blue Jackets game.
With only four goals this season, Kings left wing Dustin Penner won’t win the NHL scoring title. But he has won over many fans with his humorous take on the day he sat down to a pancake breakfast and suffered back spasms that kept him out of a game.
Penner has joked about the incident and now has partnered with the Kings and IHOP for a pancake breakfast that will benefit the team’s charitable foundation.
Seventy-five fans will have a chance to eat a buffet breakfast with Penner on Feb. 13 at the Westchester IHOP, at 8600 South Sepulveda Blvd. Fans can buy different prize packs that give them a chance to be chosen to share breakfast of pancakes, bacon, eggs and orange juice or coffee.
A $10 package includes a signed Penner player card and one chance to win tickets to the pancake breakfast. A $25 package includes a signed card, a sheet with two pairs of Kings eye black and three chances to win tickets. A $50 package includes a signed part, two pairs of eye black, a key chain and seven chances to win tickets.
The NHL is investigating whether human error or a glitch in the clock system at Staples Center was responsible for prolonging the Kings’ game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday long enough for Kings defenseman Drew Doughty to score the decisive goal in a 3-2 victory.
Colin Campbell, the league’s senior vice president of hockey operations, said Thursday he believes the Blue Jackets were wronged because the clock was paused with 1.8 seconds left in the third period and Doughty’s goal with .4 of a second left should not have been allowed. “In our opinion it was one full second,” Campbell said of the stoppage.
The decision won’t make much difference to 30th-ranked Columbus but could prove crucial for the Kings, who are battling for a playoff spot.
In determining playoff seedings when teams are tied, wins gained in a shootout are subtracted from each team’s win total and the greater win total gets the better seeding. Had Doughty’s goal been disallowed the game might have gone to the tiebreaker, potentially reducing the Kings’ wins in regulation and overtime.
The pause was not immediately seen by officials in the NHL’s Toronto situation room, where every goal is reviewed. Campbell said the initial concern in Toronto was to determine if the puck had crossed the goal line before time expired according to the clock burned into the corner of the footage they saw. Not until later did they back up the frame-by-frame footage to the moment the clock stopped. Seeing that hesitation with 1.8 seconds left persuaded him Columbus had gotten a bad deal.
“When you look at it, regulation was over when L.A. scored so yes they did,” Campbell said in a phone conversation. “They didn’t have the opportunity to get a point for a tie game. They didn’t get a point from the tie game, which they would have got and they weren’t afforded the opportunity to go for an extra point in overtime or a shootout.”
Campbell said the league had contacted the clock’s manufacturer, Daktronics, to determine if the clock was at fault and will send technicians to Staples Center to examine the clock and the system. Campbell also said the NHL will send a representative to Los Angeles to meet with the off-ice officials, who are employed by the league. That crew includes the person designated the game timekeeper Wednesday—whom Campbell would not identify—as well as the official scorer, penalty timekeeper and others.
Although Campbell said he believed there had been other problems with the Staples Center clock involving basketball games, Staples Center spokesman Michael Roth said he was unaware of such difficulties.
Columbus General Manager Scott Howson posted a blog on the team’s web site criticizing the process that allowed the goal to stand and emphasizing how important the extra point for the win could be for the Kings, but that blog was later removed.
Campbell said investigating the incident is crucial to maintaining trust and credibility in Los Angeles and every other arena in which NHL games are played.
"We have to peruse two areas,” Campbell said. “There’s a human element, where a fellow’s operating the clock. And was there a human mistake here? So was there human error in this case? Is he watching the play? Did he think there was a high stick? Did he think there was a hand pass and he accidentally stopped it and started it? Or was there an error in the Daktronics clock?
“We’ve talked to the Daks people. We’ve also asked them if it’s humanly possible to stop the clock and start it just one second.”
Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi said via email that the clock was correct and no extra time had been added.
“Those clocks are sophisticated instruments that calculate time by measuring electrical charges called coulombs,” he said. “Given the rapidity and volume of electrons that move through the measuring device the calibrator must adjust at certain points which was the delay you see. The delay is just recalibrating for the clock moving too quickly during the 10 – 10ths of a second before the delay.
“This insures that the actual playing time during a period is exactly 20 minutes. That is not an opinion. That is science. Amazing device quite frankly."
Campbell discounted Lombardi’s comment. “I read it and it sounded interesting,” Campbell said.
Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi said there is a scientific explanation for the apparent hesitation by the scoreboard clock at Staples Center on Wednesday night that preceded the last-second goal by Drew Doughty in the Kings' 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Times colleague Lisa Dillman asked Lombardi to respond to comments on the goal made by Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson. Here's Lombardi's email reply:
"Those clocks are sophisticated instruments that calculate time by measuring electrical charges called coulombs – given the rapidity and volume of electrons that move through the measuring device the calibrator must adjust at certain points which was the delay you see. The delay is just recalibrating for the clock moving too quickly during the 10–10ths of a second before the delay. This insures that the actual playing time during a period is exactly 20 minutes.
"That is not an opinion -– that is science -– amazing device quite frankly."
-- Helene Elliott and Lisa Dillman
Photo: Dean Lombardi. Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein / Getty Images.
NHL spokesman Gary Meagher said Thursday morning the league is reviewing events surrounding the apparent clock stoppage at Staples Center on Wednesday night that led to a goal by Kings defenseman Drew Doughty being allowed with four-tenths of a second left in the third period.
Meagher said the review actually began at 2 a.m. Eastern time, shortly after the game was declared over with the Kings earning a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Colin Campbell, the NHL's senior executive vice president of hockey operations, told the Canadian Press news agency that league officials watched the replay later and noticed the discrepancy.
The goal was reviewed by NHL executives at the league’s situation room in Toronto and was allowed to stand. But Columbus General Manager Scott Howson said his coaching staff saw on video replays soon afterward that the clock appeared to stop with 1.8 seconds left and then resumed. Doughty’s goal, he said, should not have counted because it occurred after the clock would have expired had it not stopped.
The clock is controlled by an off-ice official who is employed by the NHL, Meagher said. That’s the game timekeeper.
Meagher said the league is looking into many aspects surrounding the call, including why the apparent problem with the clock wasn’t noticed in the building or by NHL executives who were monitoring the game at the league’s situation room in Toronto.
-- Helene Elliott
Photo: Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, center, celebrates with right wing Justin Williams, left, and defenseman Jack Johnson after scoring the game-winning goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press.
There are very few answers -- and many questions -- when it comes to the murky case of Kings winger Simon Gagne, who suffered a concussion Dec. 26.
Kings President and General Manager Dean Lombardi answered a few questions with one of his own Tuesday.
Lombardi said any improvement has been of "marginal progress."
"Is he close to playing?" Lombardi said. "No. He's been making progress very slowly and that's the way I expect it to continue."
In fact, Gagne is nowhere close to being able to resume skating, Lombardi said. That would be the first hurdle in a series of steps Gagne would need to take before resuming his NHL career, assuming he is able to ever do so.
The Kings’ lineup for Saturday’s game at Staples Center against the Colorado Avalanche will be the same as it has been recently, Coach Darryl Sutter said, which means defensemen Alec Martinez and Davis Drewiske and forward Kevin Westgarth will be scratched.
There was something else familiar about the Kings’ lineup on the ice for their morning skate Saturday at El Segundo: former Kings standout Bernie Nicholls, invited by Sutter several weeks ago to work with the team, was on the ice again to work with players. “Quite honestly, I enjoy having Bernie around,” Sutter said.
Nicholls, who accompanied the Kings on their trip to Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver last week, seems to have settled into an unofficial role as a power-play consultant and intermediary between the coach and the players. Sutter credited him with boosting the lagging power play over the eight games before Saturday’s encounter with Colorado — the Kings were six for 30 with the man advantage during that span — and said Nicholls is welcome to stay as long as he wants.
“You can’t have enough good experience or communication with these guys,” Sutter said. “I think that’s something we need. With a real young team you need more individual stuff. I believe that.”
Sutter said the power play had improved by about 2% and the team’s total of goals scored at home had increased slightly too. “Half a goal. You get another half a goal a game and maybe it’s just something that he’s talked to one kid about that can help,” Sutter said. “That’s all we’re trying to do.
“Originally he wasn’t going to come on that last trip. I said, ‘You know, you’ve got to see some of these guys on the road because they’re different home and away.’”
Sutter also said he would discuss Nicholls’ future duties next week, when the All-Star break and a scheduling quirk will give the Kings eight days between games.
“I’ll talk to him once the break starts,” Sutter said. “I get caught in the moment always so I’ve got to use the days properly to kind of reset where we’re at.”