It will be an interesting season for the Kings and their organization. On the NHL level, the Kings will face a pivotal season- they need to show L.A. that they are not penny pinching, but rather building a strong, defensive team. They will need to replace fan favorite Luc Robitaille and his on-ice and community presence. They will also have to hope Felix Potvin can go into his bag of tricks for another season and that the first full season without Rob Blake looks more like the end of last season than what many experts are predicting. Here is a rundown of best and worse case scenarios:
Best Case- The Kings play defense like last season, Potvin sparkles in net again and Bednar and Heinze pick up some of the scoring slack. Ken Belanger patrols the ice to keep the skill forwards healthy and Josef Stumpel and Ziggy Palffy are healthy all season and are effective with Adam Deadmarsh. Eric Belanger takes the next step that the Kings think he can and Modry, Boucher, Lilja and Karalahti can fill in the final defensive pairing.
Worst Case- Potvin returns to the form that had him ticketed to the IHL last season. The defense is ineffective and lacks the hammer on the power play. Bednar turns into Tomas Vlasak. Karalahti and Lilja prove to be too slow and Boucher and Modry realize they are bottom-tier NHL defensemen. Ken Belanger suffers an early concussion and is unable to deter opposing players from running Ziggy Palffy and Josef Stumpel, who spend the majority of the season injured. Eric Belanger returns to the funk that kept him from the NHL before last season Read more»
The Kings are moving along in their preseason schedule, and there have been some surprises – both good and bad. With two cuts already having been made, here is where the Kings are.
First, the development, or lack thereof, of Jaroslav Bednar has to be the primary concern. No matter what anyone says now, the Kings planned on having Bednar on one of their top two lines. After spending the summer saying that he was not like Tomas Vlasak, Bednar has spent the last two weeks proving that he might be exactly like him.
The play of some young forwards has been encouraging. Even though they will likely not make the team, Yannick Lehoux and Jared Aulin have shown that they have NHL-caliber stuff and will be here soon enough. Add to that the surprise play of Chris Schmidt and Derek Bekar along with solid play by Adam Mair and the Kings have the chance to have a young prospect crack the everyday lineup. It will likely be Mair or even Bekar, but the once written-off Schmidt has shown some signs of life and he may finish the season with the big club. Young tough guy Ryan Flinn is battling the likely enforcer Ken Belanger for the muscle spot and if nothing else, he has a steel dome and fears no one on the ice which has been a successful formula for more than one tough guy in the league.
Young defensemen Joe Rullier, Richard Seeley, Tomas Zizka and even Andreas Lilja have shown some spark. Lilja appears to be too slow to be the player they once thought, but he could be a player in the mold of Sean O’Donnell, and those kind of defensemen are valuable. Zizka looks Read more»
Kings Director of Professional Scouting Ace Bailey and scout Mark Bavis were among the thousands of victims from Tuesday’s cowardly acts of terrorism.
Ace Bailey was a two-time Stanley Cup winner in Boston and a highly regarded scout in Los Angeles. His off-season input lead to the signings of Steve Heinze and Ken Belanger. He leaves his wife and son.
Mark Bavis, 31, was instrumental in the Kings’ off-season. He played a major role in the drafting of David Steckel. Bavis has a twin brother who coaches at Boston University.
The entire LA Kings Hockeys Future staff extends their deepest sympathies and condolences.
LOS ANGELES KINGS ORGANIZATIONAL ROSTER
Owners: Philip F. Anschutz and Edward P. Roski Jr.
President / Governor: Tim Leiweke
Executive Vice President / Chief Financial Officer: Dan Beckerman
Executive Vice President / General Counsel: Ted Fikre
Vice President / Sales & Marketing: Kurt J. Schwartzkopf
Vice President / Human Recources: Kevin McDowell
Assistant to President: Rogatien Vachon
General Manager: Dave Taylor
Assistant General Manager: Kevin Gilmore
Assistant to the General Manager: John Wolf
Director of Player Personnel: Bill O’Flaherty
Director of Professional Scouting: Ace Bailey
Director of Amateur Scouting: Al Murray
Professional Scout / Director of European Evaluation: Rob Laird
Amateur Scouts: Mark Bavis, Greg Dreschel, Parry Shockey, John Stanton, Michel Boucher
European Scouts: Vaclav Nedomansky, Ari Vuori, Victor Tjumenev
Media Relations / Team Services: Mike Altieri
Trainer: Peter Demers
Speed-Strength / Conditioning Coach: Joseph Horrigan
Equipment Manager: Peter Millar
Assistant Equipment Manager: Rick Garcia
TV Commentators: Bob Miller and Jim Fox
Radio Commentators: Nick Nickson and Daryl Evans
Affiliates: Manchester [AHL] Reading [ECHL]
Head Coach: Andy Murray
Assistant Coaches: Dave Tippett, Mark Hardy, Ray Bennett
Goaltending Consultant: Andy Nowicki Read more»
When the Kings gave up on Aki Berg last season, the Kings seemed pretty happy about getting rid of Berg and getting a draft pick. They also acquired left wing Adam Mair and while most hockey pundits don’t give Mair much of a chance to contribute, he will help the Kings this season.
There isn’t much to Adam Mair. He stands about 6-0 and weighs about 190 pounds. He has a pretty good shot and loves to play the body. He will drop the gloves if need be, and he is defensively responsible. That description fits not only Adam Mair, but about half of the Kings’ potential line-up. What makes Adam Mair stand out among the others?
Mair has never been a scorer. His career high 25 goals in 56 OHL games in 1997-98 is his high water mark. He is not a great distributor of the puck- his 35 assists in 1996-97 were the most he’s ever had. How can Mair help the Kings?
Adam Mair has the potential to be what the Kings need- a gritty player who can get both his team and his fans into a game with one hit. He has only one speed- extra high intensity. The Kings and their fans know what a player like this brings- they have seen Ian Lapperriere develop into a fan favorite and a vital cog in the Kings’ machine.
Trying to make a team over from the offensive team that feature Luc Robitaille to a grinding, playoff-style team with players like Steve Heinze and Adam Deadmarsh sets the table for a guy like Adam Mair. He can offer the open ice hitting, the defensive intensity and even pop in some goals with his heavy and accurate shot. Mair didn’t get much of a chance last Read more»