Rob Blake #4 of the Los Angeles Kings watches the puck after taking a shot against the New York Islanders during their game at the Nassau Coliseum on January 31, 2008 in Uninodale, New York.
(January 31, 2008 - Source: Andy Marlin/Getty Images North America)

Blake: I always wanted to return to Kings


When former Kings assistant GM Ron Hextall left to join the Philadelphia Flyers, it didn’t take long for Los Angeles to appoint his replacement: Rob Blake.

For Blake, accepting the job made a lot of sense. After retiring following the 2009-10 campaign, Blake worked for the NHL Department of Player Safety. He enjoyed his time there, but he missed the competitive drive that came from working with a team.

Still, it wasn’t just a desire to compete for a Stanley Cup again that facilitated the move. It was also that it was the Los Angeles Kings making the offer, which would allow him to return to the franchise that originally drafted him in 1988.

“I’ve always wanted to do that since I can remember,” Blake told LA Kings Insider.

That wasn’t always made clear to Kings fans. Back in 2001, the team traded him to the Colorado Avalanche after their efforts to ink him to an extension had failed and they were in danger of watching him walk away as an unrestricted free agent.

Blake returned to the Kings for a second stint starting with the 2006-07 campaign, but his return only lasted for two seasons before he headed to the division rival San Jose Sharks.

“I understand it, and I know that there are some – and even if I sat with them and explained my side, from 15 years ago to today, they might not side with me,” Blake admitted. “So I’m not so worried about that…This is my third time coming back here. But it’s like, I want to be back. And they’ve wanted me to be back.”

Blake added that he’s gain some perspective on how the business and management side of hockey works since his retirement.

“Throughout your career you see players move or yourself, or other players that you played with, and you question why they’re moving,” Blake said. “A lot of it has to do with the way teams have to be structured. And it’s a business. It doesn’t matter.

“It’s not a personal agenda, and that takes a player – I think he can never understand that until he’s done in his career – that it wasn’t personal. When you’re playing, it’s personal. It always has been. But when you step back and you watch – I watched it from the league’s side, and now I’m watching it from the team’s side – it’s rarely personal. It’s business.

“That’s their job, to win and to give the best possible things they can.”

Now that’s his job too.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?