How the Kings prepare for the playoffs

The words “playoffs” and “Los Angeles Kings” haven’t gone together in a1-murray.jpg few years (since 2001-2002 to be exact) so you’ll have to forgive head coach Terry Murray if being asked about how to prepare for the playoffs is a bit new to him as it’s his first time back there since he took the Panthers to the playoffs in 1999-2000.  Yeah, the Panthers.

Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider asked if Murray if going “pedal to the metal” with four games left is the way to play it now that they’ve qualified for the playoffs.

“The last thing you want, as an organization, is someone on the outside, at the end of the day, evaluating the last half a dozen games and saying, `I wish they had played that guy, or started that goaltender, or played harder.’ It just eliminates all doubt on anybody’s part. But the most important part, again, is getting your own team ready, fine-tuning it, pushing to get yourself ready for the playoffs.”

Well chosen words for Murray who, until the Kings hired him to be head coach before last season, had been out of work since being canned by those same Panthers 36 games into the 2000-2001 campaign after the team started 6-18-7-5 that season. Incidentally, remember how much those four number record lines stunk? I need to dust off my old NHL slide rule to figure out what exactly that meant. At least seeing only six wins makes it easy to see that they were pretty bad that year.

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier
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Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench, and that’s only counting what the Flyers are paying Gagner.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, which reminds you that these guys are more than just numbers – whether those numbers be disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may only become more painful.

Video: NHL drops hammer, suspends Torres for 41 games


One of the NHL’s most notorious hitters has been tagged by the league.

On Monday, the Department of Player Safety announced that San Jose forward Raffi Torres has been suspended 41 games — half of the regular season — for an illegal check to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The length of Torres’ suspension is a combination of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ history of delivering hits to the heads of opposing players, including Jordan Eberle, Jarret Stoll, Nate Prosser and Marian Hossa.

“Torres has repeatedly violated league playing rules,” the Department of Player Safety explained. “And has been sanctioned multiple times for similar infractions.”

The league also noted that Torres has been warned, fined, or suspended on nine occasions over the course of his career, “the majority of which have involved a hit to an opponent’s head.”

“Same player every year,” Ducks forward Ryan Kesler said following the hit on Silfverberg. “I played with the guy [in Vancouver]. He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”

As for what lies ahead, things could get interesting upon potential appeal:

Torres successfully appealed a suspension under the previous CBA, getting his punishment for the Hossa hit reduced from 25 to 21 games.

Under terms of the new CBA, Torres isn’t categorized as a repeat offender because his last suspension came in May of 2013 — more than two years ago.

Of course, part of the reason Torres hasn’t run afoul of the league in two years is because he’s barely played.

Knee injuries limited Torres to just 12 games in ’13-14, and he sat out last season entirely.