Anze Kopitar, Ray Emery

Best and worst sweaters of all-time: Los Angeles Kings

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From the early days of Dave Taylor and Marcel Dionne in Los Angeles to the current times with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, the Kings have always been proud of their crowns and that’s with good reason. The Kings have always looked good in Hollywood and while that’s necessary when playing there, there’s a look or two that stands out above all over their history.

Best: I’ve stressed from the get-go with this series that sometimes teams get it right immediately and have an original look that beats all comers. Such is the case with the Kings whose purple and gold original sweaters are magnificent. When they added names to both the home and road sweaters in 1977 that’s when things got really real for the Kings. That look was so good that the Kings used the purple road sweaters as special alternates last year and will do it again this season. That kind of beauty is hard to find these days.

Worst: I’ve dilly-dallied with some of the other brutal sweaters. I didn’t hammer down on the Islanders’ fisherman, I didn’t bury the Vancouver “Flying V’s”, but I will thoroughly trash the Kings’ 1996 alternate sweater. You’ll know this one better as their “Burger King” third jersey because of the creepy head of the king over the shoulder while there were swooping streaks and an odd numbering and lettering style on the sweater. It’s creepy, it’s weird, and it’s part of a pack of third jerseys from that year that defy explanation. Worst of all, they made Gretzky wear these at one point. Egregious. The guys at The Royal Half did an incredible writeup on the history of the Burger King sweater that’s more than worth your time to read, just remember to avert your eyes when gazing upon the king himself.

Silver and black attack: When Bruce McNall bought the Kings and pulled Wayne Gretzky away from the Oilers, the Kings broke out a very Raiders-like silver and black look that the Great One helped make look iconic for the time. It helps that the Kings saw their greatest success with Gretzky with these sweaters and it makes even more sense that it’s a look that the Kings are going back to this season.

Assessment: Like it or not, the Kings are going back to the silver and black look thanks to the inspiration by their recent third sweater. Some dig the new “LA” crest that makes you think of the 90s Kings (I’m one of them) while others despise it. Their now former home black and purple sweater will be their alternate and they’re making the road sweaters a white version of the black sweater. To me it’s a nice look and since I have a slight affinity for the 90s Kings look, I’m cool with it. That said, getting teased occasionally with the 60s-70s purple Kings sweater with the crown is a cruel tease. It’s such a sweet look it hurts to see it only rarely.

Devils unveil ‘The Salute’ statue in honor of Martin Brodeur

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The New Jersey Devils on Monday unveiled ‘The Salute’ — a statue paying homage to one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, Martin Brodeur, who will have his No. 30 uniform retired Tuesday at Prudential Center.

“Looking at the pictures of my career and some of the events that meant a lot to me, I always saluted the fans,” Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, told the Fire and Ice blog.

“That picture, at different times, in different jerseys, actually, like with Team Canada, it all came to that same pose.”

More on the statue from the Devils:

The 900-pound bronze statue was created by renowned sculpture and artist Jon Krawczyk, who worked with Brodeur on the design. Krawczyk, a Boonton Township, N.J. native and lifelong Devils fan, who also created the hockey statue on Championship Plaza outside of Prudential Center, personally drove “The Salute” from his Malibu, Cali. studio to the arena late last week.

Video: Panthers furious after Abdelkader ‘cheap shot’ hit on Barkov

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The Florida Panthers are fuming after their skilled 20-year-old forward Aleksander Barkov left Monday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings following a hit from Justin Abdelkader.

Abdelkader caught Barkov with a hard hit near the goal line as the Panthers player tried to move the puck up ice early in the second period.

The only call on the play was to Panthers’ blue liner Alex Petrovic for the retaliatory cross check on Abdelkader. Barkov left the game and didn’t return with an upper-body injury.

Members of the Panthers irate with the hit, and the fact there was no call.

“It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald. “It was frustrating, the whole bench felt that way. We’re not happy with it. It turned the game around. Barkov has tough shoes to fill. It looked pretty serious. We’ll see how the league handles it and I think they will. I just don’t know how it wasn’t handled on the ice.”

“You hate to lose your top player, but that’s part of the game,” added Panthers’ head coach Gerard Gallant.

“We’re disappointed to lose him. I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way and explained to me it was a clean check. It’s tough. It happens quick and we get to see the replay. I think it’ll be looked at. [Abdelkader] left his feet a little and got him in the jaw.”

The Panthers gave up three goals in the third period in a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings.

Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues

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In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.

After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.

The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.

— He extended his scoring streak to a career best seven games, and did so with two beauty goals versus the Ducks.

— From Dec. 18 to Feb. 8, he’s appeared in 21 games. In that span, he’s recorded 34 points.

— Crosby is now into the top five among NHL players in points, with 53 in 51 games this season.

He wasn’t the only Pittsburgh player to have a big night. Keep in mind, Evgeni Malkin wasn’t even in the lineup due to a lower-body injury.

Ten different Penguins players recorded points. In addition to Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang had multi-point efforts, and four players — Kunitz, Crosby, Olli Maatta and Patric Hornqvist — were plus-four.

The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.

The Islanders also have a game in hand.

Panthers’ Barkov (upper-body injury) leaves game versus Red Wings

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The Florida Panthers will be without Aleksander Barkov for the remainder of their game versus the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.

As per multiple reports, Barkov will not return due to an upper-body injury suffered after a hit from Justin Abdelkader early in the second period.

Abdelkader wasn’t given a penalty on the play. Barkov didn’t play another shift after that hit.

In 42 games this season, the 20-year-old Barkov has 16 goals and 35 points.