September 8th kicked off the LA Kings Annual Hockey Fest celebration. The event sold out with over 3,000 tickets purchased. The morning began with a ‘Town Hall’ meeting and audience Q&A featuring Kings President/GM Dean Lombardi, newly appointed Assistant GM Rob Blake, Vice President/Hockey Operations and Legal Affairs Jeff Solomon, Head Coach Daryl Sutter and the “Voice of the Kings” TV Broadcaster Bob Miller. Most questions involved salary cap issues and player contracts but, before every single question asked during the event, a very sincere thank you and words of appreciation were given from fans old and new, from near LA and those with a far commute. Following the Q&A session there was a small pep rally and player introduction. Due to a family commitment center Mike Richards was not in attendance.
Following the Town Hall meeting was the fan favorite Kids Only Press Conference featuring defensemen Drew Doughty and Matt Greene, goaltender Jonathan Quick, and left-wing Kyle Clifford. Hosted by the Kings in-arena host JayFlats, co-host and former Ice Crew member Carlynn Bathe and Bailey the mascot, the press conference opened up with the first question directed to all players “Can you twerk?” the audience and players alike laughed with amusement but unfortunately none of the players volunteered. Other questions were “Do you have any pets?” “What did you do with the Stanley Cup?” “What is your favorite comic book?” “What team do you hate the most?” and countless other questions only to come from the mind of a child.
The rest of the day consisted of tours of the Kings locker room, ice skating on the Staple Center ice (the first up close introduction of the new logo at center ice), video shoots for the new opening video to be played on the jumbo-tron at Staples Center before all home games, the release of the annual Ice Crew swimsuit calendar, player autograph sessions, a Fox Sports West media panel, and analytic coaching and special teams Q&A.
Rookie Camp/SoCal Hockey Future Games
September 7th was the first of 2 SoCal Hockey Future games between the Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings. The event took place at the Ducks home arena the Honda Center and was free to the public with over 7,000 fans in attendance. If fans were unable to make it to the Honda Center there was a live stream of the game online. The rookie Kings won the game with a final score of 6-1. Goals scored by the Kings included 2 by Tanner Pearson, 2 by Andy Andreoff, 1 for Nicolas Deslauriers, and 1 for Colin Miller. J.F. Berube blocked 26 of 27 shots during his 40 minutes of play and Mathias Niederberger finished off the 3rd period in net.
September 9th concluded the 2 game series between the rookie Ducks and Kings players at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, Ca. The event was again streamed online and cost of admission was a $5 donation towards the Kings Care charity organization. The Kings swept the Ducks in the final game of the series 3-2 with 40 minutes of fighting penalties between the two rookie teams. Official lineup and stats for the game can be seen here.
A shoot out followed both games with the Kings shooting first each time. The Ducks won the shoot out at the Honda Center and the Kings won the shootout at the Toyota Sports Center.
The Kings took the ice for the first time on Thursday September 12th at their practice center in El Segundo Ca. The first group came out at 10am and group B took the ice at 2pm. Captain Dustin Brown left the ice early due to a mild hamstring injury.
September 15th marked the first preseason game for the Kings with 2 games scheduled with a split squad against the Phoenix Coyotes. The lineup for both games can be viewed here. Unfortunately the Kings lost both games with scores of 5-1 at Staples Center and 4-2 at the Jobing.com Arena. The biggest news from those games was Kings center Jordan Nolan’s legal hit on Coyotes Rusty Klesla which resulted in Klesla leaving the ice on a stretcher. Nolan received a minor penalty for roughing and upon leaving the penalty box Coyotes Paul Bissonnette left the bench in an illegal line change to join in on an altercation resulting in a 10 game suspension. Bissonnette is appealing his suspension, however if the appeal is not granted the first game he will be eligible to play in will coincidentally be against the Kings at the Staples Center October 24th. Video of the hit can be seen here.
The 1st round of preseason cuts were made September 16th, reassigning 8 players to junior teams and leaving 49 players on the Kings roster. The reassigned players included:
Justin Auger – RW (to Guelph Storm of OHL)
Matthew Campagna – C (to Sudbury of OHL)
Patrik Bartosak – G (to Red Deer of WHL)
Nick Ebert – D (to Windsor of OHL)
Dominik Kubalik – LW (to Sudbury of OHL)
Zachary Leslie – D (to Guelph of OHL)
Kurtis MacDermid – D (to Owen Sound of OHL)
Marcus McIvor – D (to Brampton of OHL)
The Kings 2nd preseason game took place September 17th at the Honda Center against the Ducks with a Kings win of 6-0. Goals scored by the Kings included 2 for Jeff Carter and 1 each for Matt Frattin (his first playing for the Kings), Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, and Scott Sabourin. Jonathan Quick made his first preseason appearance in net for the first two periods blocking a total of 12 shots, while Mathieu Garon finished out the third period stopping 11 shots.
The Kings faced an overtime loss Friday night at the Pepsi Center against the Colorado Avalanche with a final score of 4-3. The Avalanche scored the first goal of the game early into the 1st period followed by 2 goals for the Kings. The second period saw no goals by either team. Then just 38 seconds into the third period, Dwight King scored a power play goal with the Kings leading 3-1. By the end of the period Colorado tied up the game and scored only 45 seconds into overtime. In net for the Kings were Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones.
Saturday September 21st saw the second round of cuts. 1 player was re-assigned to a junior team and the other 14 cut will make appearances at the Manchester Monarchs training camp set to open Wednesday. See the story here for those cuts.
The next game is scheduled at home against the Anaheim Ducks Tuesday September 24th. The game will be televised on Fox Prime Ticket. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster. This will be the last game before the Kings head out to Las Vegas and host the New York Rangers and Colorado Avalanche for their annual Frozen Fury event. 2 game combo tickets are still available as well as single tickets to Friday and Saturday‘s game at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino.