Kings Update

By Michael Harbison

The Kings head into the final two pre-season games
against Colorado with 28 players still up and five more to be cut. The most recent cuts claimed veteran minor league defensemen Brett Hauer and Jason Holland, veteran Rob Valicevic, tough guy Ryan Flinn and promising young defenseman Tomas Zizka who had a great pre-season and camp. Expect to see Zizka back up sometime this season, his puck skills were very evident in the pre-season, he has already passed up most of the young defenseman that have been in the system for a few years now, including Richard Seely and Joe Corvo.

Andreas Lilja has continued to be a disappointment,
an overage veteran drafted out of the Swedish Elite league in the 2nd round of the 2000 draft, Lilja has a nice set of wheels and can move the puck, but his head is not in the game enough and he has consistently taken stupid penalties this pre-season. Barring any injuries Lilja will be sent back to Manchester in the final cut.

In better news, winger Adam Mair has been outstanding
so far in the pre-season, displaying the grit and hard work he was known for during his junior days. Mair is in a dog fight with Steve Kelly, Scott Thomas and Randy
Robitaille for those final roster spots. Mair could be a contributor this year for the Kings, and would look great on a line with Ian Laperriere.

Rookie Jaroslav Bednar has recovered from an awful
start to the pre-season by picking up a couple of goals in his last two games, but more importantly than the goals, is the fact that Bednar doesn’t look out of place out there like he did earlier in camp. With
the Tomas Vlasak disaster fresh in the minds of the
staff, the Kings want to put Bednar in the best possible position to succeed.

Just a quick update for Kings fans wondering how much
Yanick Lehoux will light up the Q this year, well he is off to a good start. Playing in his first game Friday night since being sent down, Yanick scored 2 goals and added 2 assists for a 4 pt game. Both of
Yanick’s goals came shorthanded, something he did a
lot of last year as well.

Stephane Fiset yesterday went unclaimed in the
Waiver Draft in which any club in the NHL could have had him for free, this might be enough proof that Fiset’s days as a NHL goalie, much less as a starter are over. The Kings are now stuck in the dilemma of
what to do with him, he is slated to earn $2.75
million whether he plays in LA or Manchester. Dave Taylor was probably hoping that Vancouver would grab him and his $2.75 million contract. Taylor is going to have to eat up at least half of his contract and
hope some club desperate for a veteran back-up would
give the Kings a mid-round pick for him.