Archive for June, 2007

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Day one Draft thoughts.

June 23, 2007

Well like every other King fan that watched with anticipation of the Kings getting Cherepanov, Voracek, and Alzner. Turns out that none of them were selected and Dean Lombardi selected Thomas Hickey from the Seattle Thunderbirds with the fourth overall pick. Judging from Dean’s comments at the annual GM breakfast for the Season Ticket Holders and elsewhere he said that he drafts based on the best player there is. That doesn’t seem to be the case here and he went to draft based on need. On the bright side about this weekend is that Dean does very well at Drafting and it is NOT his weakness, he did very well at San Jose and played a part of what they have now. So I will give him the benefit of the doubt here. Drafting Hickey could very well be a good move down the road and he could be a great pairing with JMFJ.

By the way here is some information on the newest King Thomas Hickey, thanks to our friend Duff88 over at HF that did a great job writing these scouting reports up. Here is the report they did-

“Thomas Hickey is, second only to Kevin Shattenkirk, among the best defenseman in the draft in the transition game. A strong skater, Hickey has excellent vision and is a very good passer; giving him the quality to be a great player for moving the puck out of the defensive zone. Furthermore, Hickey seems to always be cool and plays a mature game, maneuvering with the puck with a lot of confidence. Although a bit on the small side, Hickey isn’t intimidated physically and is actually pretty strong. His defensive game is solid, although it could still use some work. Overall, Hickey has tons of potential and his offensive abilities and maturity are going to make him an interesting prospect to follow during his development.”

Tomorrow for Day two should be a very interesting day for the Kings. Keep in mind that Dean Lombardi went over to Europe to scout a lot of these players that have yet to be picked. A lot of North American players were selected in the first round, so we could be looking at some potential steals tomorrow from Dean Lombardi. Draft is not over yet folks so stay tuned.

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On the eve of the Draft

June 21, 2007

Less than 24 hours from finding out who the pick for the Kings will be, things are not getting any clearer as to who or what the Kings do with the Pick. Assuming the Kings don’t trade the pick then they will get Cherepanov, I believe this because the Dean drafts the best player on the board period, I realize there is a need to stock the cupboard with young solid Defenseman but with the amount of picks we have this year and next, this would be a logical time to pick Cherepanov. Consider that Dean loves that a player that has great hockey sense and that is one of the first attribute that he looks for. This blurb is from NHL.com-

“Cherepanov has been sensational in the Russian league during the fall. … Scored points in seven games in a row in October – on his way to beat records scored by Malkin and Ovechkin! … He has excellent hockey sense, excellent soft hands and is very smart on ice. … Has a good selection of shots. … Plays with passion and great attitude. … Could be the next Russian superstar.” – Denis Neznanov.

Has excellent hockey sense? HMMM. Granted there might be problems of Cherepanov coming over to play in the NHL, and Dean made mention in Rich Hammond’s Blog about Alexei Cherepanov-

(What do you think about Cherepanov and the possibility of getting him to come to theNHL?)

“I don’t think anyone questions his ability. When he wants to bring it, he’s a pretty good player. As far as the other things, you just don’t know. Obviously the Russian landscape has changed, not only in terms of their ability to get them over here but with the money the Russians can pay. You have to make sure he wants to be a NHL player and doesn’t turn into the Morozov category, where he’s a young guy in the prime of his career who turns down $3 million and goes home”

All that said I just don’t see Dean passing up on Cherepanov when we have solid but not bona fide defensemen in the pipeline. The question that comes up is whether Alzner is a blue chip prospect or will he just be solid…come tomorrow my money is on Cherepanov.

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Getting rid of the Goaltending plague.

June 12, 2007

Been a busy weekend, finally got a header. Mucho Gracias to BigJoe on LGK

Anyway moving on, the draft is next weekend and the Kings have a number of options to go. I’m always hearing about the Kings going after a Goalie to solidify the position until Jonathan Bernier comes up and is ready. I feel Bernier has a 2 years before he becomes a solid starter for the Kings. He will be in the Juniors for another year and possibly starting in Manchester next year or even the Kings if he wows the coaches like Kopitar did in previous camps before making the big club. It’s possible. In the meantime the Kings just recently signed a Swedish goalie Eric Ersberg to be the third goalie, and Dean Lombardi has talked about having 3 goalies to be NHL ready. So with that said somebody has to be the odd man out if the Kings are going to be looking for a number one goaltender to trade for or sign. According to Rich Hammond’s blog, the Kings aren’t looking at Giggy of the Ducks and there is no rumblings or whispers that Cloutier will be bought out.

So while this will sound crazy and before you click the x on your tab…what if there is a team out there like say the Minnesota Wild would trade us Manny Fernandez for Cloutier and a pick/prospect? Why in the **** would Minnesota take that deal? Simple Cap space. They can stash Cloutier in the minors and essentially clear about 4 million in cap space and they will have a pick and can go after a free agent. Kings get a solid goalie, something they haven’t had since the Felix “the cat” Potvin days.

So while I get ripped for thinking Cloutier might be traded, I will be evaluating some draft prospects to see who might be drafted by the Kings. Logan Couture, Van Riemsdyk etc. I still think it comes down to Alzner or Cherepanov. Stay tuned.

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What about Cherepanov?

June 8, 2007

This player is one of the most interesting prospects of the Draft. Seems that whenever I read about this guy, it is pretty clear cut. Either Cherepanov will be a superstar or he will be a complete bust. When it comes to the draft with Russians in particular it can be a bit uneasy for an NHL team to draft a Russian. The reason being is that in most cases, the professional teams in Russia can now pay their players on the same scale as the NHL does and in some cases more. Another good question is why would the Kings take a big risk on Cherepanov when we are in the middle of a rebuilding phase? If Cherepanov is a complete bust wouldn’t this set the franchise back? Well to answer that question, the Draft in any sport is a gamble unless there is a Crosby, Gretzky etc but if the Kings drafted Cherepanov then there is a chance the Kings can hit a home run. So if Cherepanov is available at #4 then there is a probability Dean will pull the trigger on him because Dean likes to take a gamble on players.

Some things about Cherepanov said at HF

“You can think of mix between Paul Stastny and Cheechoo, in my opinion. From Paul Stastny he had a good positional play in the offensive zone and around the net, excellent hockey sence, ability to deliever nifty passes to linemates and create space for them, slow skating, being calm under pressure, desire to go to corners and to the net. From Cheechoo he had this ability to score goals and make them look like garbage goals. He also will be less dependent from his center, Imo. From Cherepanov he has stickhandling, ability to make difficult things look simple.”

From Duff88 at the HFBoard and his site

“Alexei Cherepanov raised his draft stock through the roof after a very solid performance at the World Junior Championship. One of the most skilled players in the draft, Cherepanov is a good skater with amazing hands and very good vision. He already has an NHL shot and he has the natural abilities of a goal scorer. His consistency and work rate are issues, as well as his performance when the play gets physical and when he’s off the puck. For all the cons, Cherepanov, who beat Pavel Bure’s record for most goals by a Russian Hockey League rookie, still has superstar potential and his development will surely be very interesting to follow.”

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Time to look to the Draft.

June 8, 2007

With the Stanley Cup finals over, it’s time to forge ahead and start glancing over prospects that could be there at #4 for the Kings unless Dean Lombardi moves up or down. Have to remember that Dean doesn’t really draft based on the needs of his team. If there is one area in the pipelines that the Kings need to improve on it’s the Defensemen in the pipeline and need someone to go along with Petiot, Hersley, Fast, Andersen that are already in the pipeline.

The Rankings and scouting reports have indicated that Karl Alzner is the top rated Defenseman in the Draft but nobody really knows where his ceiling is. Though I feel this guy would pair up with JMFJ very well.

The following is from a Duff88 and Cup on HFBoards compiled their own lists of the top prospects available for the 2007 entry draft. Cup’s guide includes his own mock draft.

Duff88 Draft Guide.

“Karl Alzner is, by a fair margin, the best defenseman available in the 2007 NHL entry Draft. A defensive defenseman, Alzner is very comparable to former first overall pick Chris Phillips. He is a good skater, extremely solid defensively with excellent positionning and he has a great ability of moving the puck out of the defensive zone with a good first pass. Although not the most skilled offensively, Alzner has very good passing skills and can be a great player to help the transition game. He’ll need to learn to use his body more, but Alzner is already looking like a sure-fire NHLer, only his career role is tougher to predict.”

Im sure they will pull back from the Chris Phillips comparison after the game 7 fiasco against the Ducks.

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The 1993 Western Conference finals.

June 6, 2007

As Jim Fox has said, “This was the hardest hitting, most vicious series ever”. Though I was only 9 years old at the time, I remember this series as if it were yesterday. This was the series that prompted McSorely to get about 90 something threats. Kings had a lot of adversity just to get to this point of being in Game 7 of the 1993 Western Conference finals.

Now the Kings didn’t get off to a great start in the 93′ series because of injuries, particularly with Gretzky having back problems. When he came back the Kings got into the playoffs as a 6th seed. Facing the Calgary Flames, a team that bounced Gretzky and the Kings in 89′, the Kings bounced the Flames in the first round by scoring 33 goals. Next up for the Kings was the Vancouver Canucks. The Kings were huge underdogs against the Canucks and the reason being was that the Canucks simply had the Kings number by going 5-2 in the regular season against the Kings. Not to mention the Canucks were hard to beat at home, Kings couldn’t beat the Canucks at home in the last 4 tries. However in Game 5 the score was 3-3 heading into the second overtime and Sawchuk ripped one past Kirk McLean to end the game. The Canucks never recovered from that game and the Kings finished them off winning the series in 6.

Now here we are with the Maple Leafs up next, and once again the Kings are huge underdogs. While game 7 was incredible to watch, so was game 6 because the Kings were on the verge of losing to the Leafs in overtime with the score 4-4. In the extra period Luc Robitaille passed, now when he passed the puck you just knew the game was over when it was heading to Gretzky, and the Great One shoots it in. I could tell you about game 7, but you just have to watch it. There was tremendous pressure on Gretzky and both teams are battle worn. Thanks to Google here is the link to the thrilling game 7.

Game 7 1993 Kings vs Leafs

Some youtube stuff-

McSorely vs Clark

Series overview

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Kings sign Goalie

June 1, 2007

Kings signed goalie Erik Ersberg to a one way contract Kings GM Dean Lombardi announced today.

Erik Ersberg has some promise but doubt he will be the next Lundquist. This is also a good signing since they don’t have to worry about a Labarbera type situation happening again. Ersberg will not be subject to waivers. Manchester is looking at having a Ersberg/Quick tandem with this signing.