Jeff Carter

NHL on NBCSN: Sharks face Kings in California clash

1 Comment

NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign with Wednesday’s second game as the San Jose Sharks host the Los Angeles Kings at the SAP Center at 10:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

Beating the Los Angeles Kings handily to open the 2014-15 season obviously didn’t erase all the pain from that infamous “reverse sweep” in the 2014 playoffs, but the San Jose Sharks still got a measure of revenge with that 4-0 win.

The Sharks will get another chance to spite the Kings tonight, as things haven’t been going smoothly for the defending champions lately. The aim is obvious enough for a Kings team that is currently on the outside of the playoff picture, as NHL.com notes.

“We need to be in that playoff spot before the break. No doubt about it,” Drew Doughty said . “We need to win this game. It’s a division game and it’s a big rivalry. We need to win it, and we need to go into the break feeling good about ourselves.”

Really, you can trace the bad times back to a 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Dec. 6. Including that defeat, the Kings have gone 6-7-7 in their past 20 games. More recently, Los Angeles has dropped three straight games and six of seven, squandering precious points from an expired seven-game homestand.

(While four of those defeats netted standings points, there was also the frustration of leaving points on the table.)

Much of those struggles stem from Jonathan Quick’s prolonged slump.

After starting brilliantly (.942 save percentage in October), Quick’s individual stats have dropped significantly each month; his January save percentage has been a putrid .861.

That’s not to say that the Kings are the only team that sees room for improvement, of course.

You know things aren’t going great for a team when its head coach questions their drive, as Sharks bench boss Todd McLellan did on Tuesday.

After beating Toronto to begin this seven-game homestand, the Sharks have dropped two straight games. They would greatly benefit from exploiting this opportunity to load up on standings points.

As much as these two perennial contending California teams have been struggling lately, there’s still plenty of talent on hand. From Joe Thornton to Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture, the Sharks remain loaded with scoring skill. Los Angeles can go toe-to-toe in that area with Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter as well while also boasting elite defenseman Drew Doughty.

Sharks – Kings games are always an entertaining watch, but things get that much more interesting when there’s something on the line. That’s the case tonight, January game or not.

Update: Kings’ Pearson breaks bone in lower leg

10 Comments

The Los Angeles Kings delighted cheesy nickname enthusiasts by resembling “That 70’s Line” of Tanner Pearson, Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli, but they’re dropping like flies on Saturday.

First, word surfaced that Toffoli is out indefinitely with mono. Now Kings fans cringe in anticipation to hear how bad Pearson’s issue might be as he fell feet-first into the boards during the second period of tonight’s wild game against the Winnipeg Jets.

Update: Bad news from LA Kings Insider’s Jon Rosen: the 22-year-old broke a bone in his lower leg.

As you can see, Rosen got confirmation from the team, but the Kings didn’t release any sort of injury timeline for Pearson. One would assume that we’ll know about that soon, whether that comes on Sunday or in this coming week.

Kiss of bad luck: Kings’ Toffoli sidelined with mono

3 Comments

If you’re prone to being annoyed by cheesy word play, kiss your patience goodbye, because Los Angeles Kings forward Tyler Toffoli’s missing Saturday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets because of mono.

That’s the word from the OC Register’s Rich Hammond, who asks the question on many hockey peoples’ minds: is that better or worse than the mumps?

Here’s a quick rundown of the ailment via Web MD:

Mononucleosis, also called “mono,” is a common illness that can leave you feeling tired and weak for weeks or months. Mono goes away on its own, but lots of rest and good self-care can help you feel better.

Mono usually is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). It is most often seen in teens and young adults. Children can get the virus, but it often goes unnoticed because their symptoms are mild. Older adults usually don’t get mono, because they have immunity to the virus.

At first, the impression was that the mumps might be worse, but then again:

Either way, it’s a bummer for the Kings, as they had just reaped some rewards for reuniting Toffoli, Tanner Pearson and Jeff Carter.

After season-low ice time, rumors swirl around Kings’ Richards

27 Comments

Last night’s Stanley Cup Final rematch was a rough one for Mike Richards.

The veteran Kings center played a season-low 9:07 in the 4-3 loss, including just two shifts in the final frame for a grand total of 81 seconds.

The man in charge of ice time distribution, head coach Darryl Sutter, didn’t name names in his postgame presser, but did allude to issues his team had against the Rangers.

Per LA Kings Insider, they included:

“We had trouble keeping up with a fast team.”

“We had some top players tonight not in the checking mood.”

“We need to get some more out of good players, that’s for sure.”

“We’ve got to continue to be better checkers right through our lineup.”

In regards to which — or, how many — apply to Richards, well, that’s up for debate. Sutter also talked about taking bad penalties and the Rangers scored a PPG following Richards’ interference penalty in the first period, so there’s that to consider as well.

That Richards had this kind of performance in a Cup Final rematch is a tad ironic. He, along with his namesake — ex-Rangers center Brad Richards — were two of the most maligned individuals last spring, thanks in large part to their onerous contracts; while New York opted to use a compliance buyout on the remainder of Brad’s nine-year, $58.5M deal, Kings GM Dean Lombardi opted against doing the same to Mike’s 12-year, $69M pact.

More: Richards: I gave Lombardi ‘my word’ I’d work harder in the offseason

It hasn’t taken long for Richards’ name to surface in trade talks, however.

The first instances came in mid-November, when a pair of TSN reports suggested L.A. was inquiring about moving Richards out of town.

“I don’t think the notion they might be prepared to part with him is necessarily performance-related as much as it is reality-related,” McKenzie said on TSN 1050 radio. “And that is on a team that’s got Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter and Jarret Stoll as your top three centers.

“Do you have room for a guy making that kind of money as arguably a fourth-line center?”

Now, the smoke appear to be surfacing again. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was on Fan 590 Radio Friday morning, and said the following (per Nicholson Hockey):

“Justin Williams scored another couple of goals last night. He had a really strong game. He was one of the best L.A. players in the loss. They are trying to sign him to an extension. He’s a free agent at the end of this year.

“They’re a year and a half from having to deal with Kopitar, who, by every stretch of the imagination, deserves the same contract that Toews and Kane got, and who knows what he actually wants. But they know it’s going to be a big number. So they are trying to do some things to kind of clear the decks a bit.

“I’m sure they’re calling and asking teams like Toronto and Winnipeg, where they think that maybe Richards would be willing to go, to test it.”

The trade deadline is on March 2. Stay tuned.

Related: Sutter calls out Mike Richards on game-losing goal

Carter, Gaborik (illness) could be in Kings lineup against Oilers

The L.A. Kings, losers against the Calgary Flames on Monday, should have Jeff Carter and Marian Gaborik in their lineup when they play the struggling Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday.

That’s according to LA Kings Insider. Both players have been dealing with illness, although Carter did play against the Flames, with more than 17 minutes of ice time.

“Jeff played with balls and gutted it out…he was sick all night, gave us what he got,” Kings’ head coach Darryl Sutter told LA Kings Insider.

The coach added: “Well, obviously Gaborik couldn’t play yesterday. That was his decision, so I’ll make the decision today.”

The Kings have won three of their last five games, however those two losses in that span have come against the Flames, which continue to surprise and hang around in the Pacific Division playoff hunt despite sitting 29th amongst NHL teams in Corsi For percentage at five-on-five.