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Category: NHL

Pancakes with the Kings' Dustin Penner!


The Los Angeles Kings' Dustin Penner


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.

What's next?

"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. 


Dean Lombardi gives his explanation of controversy

NHL investigating clock operation on last-second Kings goal

— Lisa Dillman

Photo: Dustin Penner serves up some pancakes. Credit: Lisa Dillman / Los Angeles Times.

Scoring-challenged Kings recall pair from Manchester; Stoll on IR


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. 


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-- Lisa Dillman

Photo: Jarret Stoll. Credit: Joel Auerbach / Getty Images.

Anaheim mayor calls Honda Center upgrade 'fan-tastic'

Honda Center

Ducks and Honda Center owners Henry and Susan Samueli were joined by Anaheim city leaders Wednesday in a ground-breaking ceremony for the $20-million Grand Terrace project, described as the most extensive upgrade in the venue's history and another sign of the city's still-strong interest in enticing the NBA's Sacramento Kings to move south.

"We can envision a day fans will attend NHL hockey, concerts and NBA basketball games here," Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait said at a ceremony complete with hard hats for guests, shovels in the ground and Ducks mascot Wild Wing at the wheel of a bulldozer.

"It will be fan-tastic," Tait added, a reference to the dated NBA ad campaign that some in the crowd missed, causing the mayor to explain, "That's supposed to be funny."

Anaheim is awaiting a March 1 deadline that Kings' owners have for Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson to reveal a financing plan for a new arena in the state capital.

The NBA last year asked Kings owners the Maloof brothers to delay a decision on moving south for a year, allowing Sacramento officials more time to produce an arena plan. The move came after Anaheim last March approved a $75-million bond plan that would improve the Honda Center and provide a $50-million loan to the team's owners.

Anaheim was to merely act as an escrow broker in that now-expired deal, with the $75 million actually coming from the Samuelis.

Tait said Wednesday that if a similar deal comes about, the city will stay out of it, after being subjected to criticism by some who were confused about its involvement in the Samueli loan, thinking it was a typical bond deal, which it was not.

Continue reading »

Ducks beat Flames, 3-2, in eighth round of shootout


Niklas Hagman wasn’t exactly sure where he fit in the long-and-winding shootout between the Ducks and Flames on Monday night at the Honda Center in Anaheim.

“I can’t even … I was the sixth, seventh, eighth shooter? I don’t even know,” he said.

Eight was enough as Hagman scored the winner in the shootout against his former teammates, giving the Ducks a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames.

The Ducks might be floundering, losing to the minnow Columbus Blue Jackets the other day and having looked directionless in November and December.

But at least the Ducks had one thing going for them at home.

They can still beat the Flames.

On Monday, that vestige of pride survived the tense shootout. Calgary had not won in Anaheim since Jan. 19, 2004, a 14-game losing streak, making the Honda Center a haunted house for them. And Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff stays at 299 career victories, thwarted by a fellow Finn and teammate who claimed off waivers by the Ducks.

There was still some suspense even after Hagman’s shootout goal. The Flames could have pushed it into a ninth round but Duck goalie Jonas Hiller stopped Mikael Backland’s effort.

“We really needed those two points. We really wanted it,” said Hiller, who faced 26 shots and stopped six of the eight attempts in the shootout.

The Ducks grabbed the two points after having blown a 2-0 lead. Scoring for them in regulation, both goals coming in the first period,  were Bobby Ryan, at 15:52, and Matt Beleskey at 17:51.

Calgary’s goals came from Alex Tanguay and captain Jarome Iginla. Iginla’s third-period goal, coming on the power play, was his 20th of the season, and it marks the 14th season he has hit, or bettered, the 20-goal plateau. The Flames went on the power play when Ducks’ defenseman Luca Sbisa received a five-minute major and automatic game misconduct for an illegal hit to the head of the Flames’ Tim Jackman.

The run against the Flames is the Ducks’ longest win streak against one opponent at home in franchise history.

--Lisa Dillman

Photo: Anaheim's Niklas Hagman fires the winning shot past Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff in the eighth round of the shootout Monday night. Credit: Harry How / Getty Images

Case of the controversial clock: the plot thickens

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.

-- Helene Elliott

Kings' Dustin Penner flips pancake flap for good cause

FabforumWith 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.

Proceeds will go to the Kings Care Foundation. Full details are available at

--Helene Elliott

Photo: Dustin Penner. Credit: Harry How / Getty Images.


Dean Lombardi's explanation on clock controversy


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.

Kings update: Limited progress for Simon Gagne

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.

Gagne's agent has not been available for comment.

Continue reading »

Sidney 'Broken Neck' Crosby pushes himself, on ice last 2 days

Sidney Crosby

Sidney Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins star, has been out on the ice practicing -- extensively -- with injured teammates two days in a row just days after reports that he'd suffered not only a concussion but also a neck injury.

The neck injury has created a stir online and among NHL fans. Some were referring to it as "a broken neck."

Penguins Coach Dan Bylsma said, according to the Penguins website, that it was "definitely" nice seeing Crosby on the ice two days in a row. And, he said, it was a boost for teammates: "You get a little excitement in the building when they see 87 coming out."

The neck injury was news to the Penguins. They were reportedly unaware of it prior to Crosby's visit to neurological spine specialist Robert S. Bray in Los Angeles last week.

The team said Bray diagnosed Crosby with a concussion and also discovered an unspecified neck injury -- but, Bray said, the injury was "fully healed."

The Penguins' medical staff got a few slams for apparently missing the neck injury. But Bylsma defended the staff, saying Crosby had gotten "every possible support" from the Penguins and the team medical staff.

Monday's workout was extensive, according to the Canadian Press. Crosby -- "broken neck" or not -- apparently rocked it. Teammates reportedly said it was his best practice since he played Dec. 5.

That was the last time Crosby played. After sustaining head shots in consecutive games in early January 2011, he sat out more than 10 months. He returned Nov. 21 and had 12 points in eight games. But his symptoms came back after the Dec. 5 game, a physical one, against the Boston Bruins.

"Some sort" of update on Crosby is set for Tuesday, USA Today reports. Fans can hope they'll hear when Crosby is set to play again.


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Clippers bring da noise in victory over Thunder

Hunt for NHL playoff spots to get really serious now

-- Amy Hubbard

Photo: Sidney Crosby plays Dec. 5 against the Boston Bruins. Credit: Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press

AT&T Wireless tops biggest national TV sports advertisers


The research firm Nielsen said Tuesday that AT&T Wireless was the biggest advertiser on national televised sports in the 12 months ended last Sept. 30, spending $423.5 million on national network and cable TV ads.

In its report "State of the Media: 2011 Year in Sports,"Nielsen said the wireless company's national TV ad spending was more than twice that spent by the second-place advertiser, Bud Light, the Anheuser-Busch beer that spent $210.2 million.

Wireless phone companies, in fact, accounted for three of the seven largest national TV sports advertisers. Verizon Wireless was third on Nielsen's list at $207.7 million and Sprint Wireless was seventh at $147.4 million.

The report did not break down ad spending by sport, but it did say overall national TV sports advertising climbed 5.8% in the year to $10.9 billion.

The increase was slightly above the 5% increase in the amount of live national TV sports content that was available on network and cable in the 12-month period, which totaled 42,500 hours, Nielsen said.

The other top advertisers: McDonald's, DirecTV, Geico, Southwest Airlines, State Farm Insurance and Miller Lite beer.

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: A television camera above the field in St. Louis before the NFL's St. Louis Rams played the Washington Redskins on Sept. 26, 2010. Credit: Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Tim Thomas tells why he skipped White House visit


Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, who refused to go to the White House when the Stanley Cup champions were honored there Monday, explained his reasoning on his Facebook page.

In what he says will be his only comment on the matter, Thomas wrote:

I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People.

This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government.

Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL.

This is the only public statement I will be making on this topic. TT

Here's a thought: At the next Republican debate, let Thomas moderate. He's a goalie, so nothing should get by him.


Patriots hang on to beat Ravens, 23-20

Joe Paterno legacy: From triumph to tragedy in days

Giants jump in feet first to beat 49ers, reach Super Bowl

-- Houston Mitchell

Photo: You can look all you want, but you won't see Tim Thomas in this photo of the Boston Bruins meeting Monday with President Obama. Credit: Alex Wong / Getty Images





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