Tag: Scott Parse

Jeff Carter, Mike Richards

The Kings, the Cup and Lord Stanley’s hangover


If winning the Stanley Cup is one of the toughest accomplishments in sports, how tough is it to win two in a row?

That’s a question the LA Kings will answer in 2012-13.

Historically speaking, capturing consecutive titles has been difficult. There have been just two repeat champions since 1990 — the Pittsburgh Penguins 1991-92 and the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98.

For you mathletes out there, that’s 15 years without a back-to-back champ — which isn’t overly surprising. A full playoff run combined with the regular season is (usually) over 100 games in length, a grind that takes a massive physical toll.

And since the lockout, that toll seems to have increased.

The 2006 Cup champion Hurricanes didn’t make the playoffs in 2007. The 2007 Cup champion Ducks lost in the opening round of the 2008 playoffs.

Detroit and Pittsburgh briefly reversed the trend by each making consecutive Stanley Cup finals in 2008-09, but the trend returned with the 2010 Cup champion Blackhawks (bounced in Round 1 of the 2011 playoffs) and the 2011 Cup champion Bruins (out in the opening round in 2012.)

That said, the Kings are uniquely positioned to buck that trend.

The biggest reason — as mentioned in the offseason report — is that L.A. returns almost its entire Cup-winning roster, a rarity in today’s NHL. Whereas the Bruins and Blackhawks lost key contributors following their victories, the Kings’ biggest loss might be Scott Parse, who appeared in nine regular season and zero playoff games.

Also consider the theory that Los Angeles’ run wasn’t super taxing. Taxing sure, but in the context of previous runs, not so much.

The Kings were average performers for half regular season — Anze Kopitar said they were “way more aggressive” after Darryl Sutter took over — and their playoff run consisted of 20 games with no series going longer than six (whereas three of Boston’s series went to Game 7.)

And hey, it wasn’t like the Kings were shouldering years of lengthy playoff runs. Last season was the first time L.A. advanced past the opening round since 2001.

The flip side of this, though, is that L.A. now has an unprecedented profile. The bullseye on its collective backs will be magnified by 1) the highest expectations in the club’s 45-year history, and 2) the immense spotlight that’s sure to be on Jonathan Quick after winning the Conn Smythe and signing a $58 million contract.

So…are the Kings well positioned to repeat, or will the task be too tall?

Let us know in the comments section.

Offseason Report: Los Angeles Kings

2012 NHL Stanley Cup Final – Game Six

From July 16-Aug 16, we’ll be profiling all 30 NHL teams by recapping what they did this offseason and previewing their upcoming campaigns.

2011-12 Season

40-27-15, 95 points. Third in the Pacific Division, eighth in the Western Conference.

Defeated Vancouver (4-1) in the conference quarterfinals, St. Louis (4-0) in the semis, Phoenix (4-1) in the finals and New Jersey (4-2) in the Stanley Cup finals.


Andrew Bodnarchuk


Scott Parse (UFA, still unsigned)

2012 Draft

First round, 30th overall — LW Tanner Pearson (OHL Barrie)

Looking back

While it might not seem like L.A. did much this offseason, GM Dean Lombardi made a plethora of moves to retain last year’s Cup-winning team — including a major one for Jonathan Quick.

The Conn Smythe winner received a 10-year, $58 million extension in late June, putting the Kings in the unique position of having four players under contract through 2019 (Quick, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty.)

Lombardi didn’t stop spending with Quick. He was aggressive in retaining all of his key unrestricted and restricted free agents, inking deals with Dustin Penner (one year, $3.25 million), Dwight King (two years, $1.5 million), Jarret Stoll (three years, $9.3 million) and Colin Fraser (two years, $1.65 million).

As such, the Kings will head into 2012-13 with a near-identical squad. The most notable change came behind the bench, where ex-Blues head coach Davis Payne was named as Darryl Sutter’s assistant, replacing Jamie Kompon (who signed on in Chicago.)

Looking forward

The Quick signing was soon followed by reports that backup goalie Jonathan Bernier — the 11th overall pick in 2006 — expected to be shipped out of Los Angeles. The highly-touted ‘tender has high pedigree (Bernier was named the AHL’s top goalie in 2009-10) and could net Lombardi a nice asset in a trade, which has to be tantalizing given the Kings have nearly $8 million in available cap space.

Other than Bernier, the Kings’ focus will be on trying to successfully defend the Stanley Cup for the first time since Detroit won back-to-backs in 1997-98. Rarely do teams return almost their entire Cup-winning rosters — consider the last three:

— Boston lost Tomas Kaberle, Michael Ryder and Mark Recchi.

— Chicago lost Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien, Kris Versteeg and Antti Niemi.

— Pittsburgh lost Hal Gill, Rob Scuderi, Miroslav Satan and Petr Sykora.

Have Your Say

Vote in our poll and let us know what you think of Los Angeles’ 2012-13 outlook in the comments section.

2012 Stanley Cup finals at a glance: Los Angeles-New Jersey preview

Matt Greenem


All times Eastern; *if necessary

Game 1: Wednesday, May 30, at New Jersey (8 p.m., NBC)
Game 2: Saturday, June 2, at New Jersey (8 p.m., NBC)
Game 3: Monday, June 4, at Los Angeles (8 p.m., NBCSN)
Game 4: Wednesday, June 6, at Los Angeles (8 p.m., NBCSN)
*Game 5: Saturday, June 9, at New Jersey (8 p.m., NBC)
*Game 6: Monday, June 11, at Los Angeles (8 p.m., NBC)
*Game 7: Wednesday, June 13, at New Jersey (8 p.m., NBC)

Three storylines to follow

1. Solidifying a “dynasty” vs. winning that first Cup

The New Jersey Devils are far removed from a franchise Wayne Gretzky once called a “Mickey Mouse” operation. This will mark their fifth Stanley Cup finals appearance as they attempt to win their fourth championship. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Kings’ last trip to the finals came before the beginning of the Devils quasi-dynasty, but they’ve never won it all despite being in the NHL since 1967.

(Regarding the Devils “dynasty”: Yes, we do realize Adam Henrique was 13 the last time the Devils won a Cup. So instead of dynasty, how ’bout Mart-asty?)

One could make this a story of a “big” market versus a small/medium-sized one, but the truth is that one franchise (Devils) is playing with house money while another (Kings) faces some serious pressure to reach a summit that has proven elusive since Day 1.

In some ways, this match echoes the NBA Western Conference finals’ match of the San Antonio Spurs (the Devils) and the Oklahoma City Thunder (the Kings). The Spurs/Devils hope to add yet another championship to their resume while the upstart young team is making good on quite a bit of hype.

source: Getty Images2. Passing of the goaltending torch?

To extend that analogy, perhaps Martin Brodeur is the Tim Duncan to Jonathan Quick’s Kevin Durant.

Brodeur’s place is already cemented in NHL history; he has plenty of team and individual records, some of which might never be broken. Winning another Stanley Cup will just expedite his trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame and make it tougher for people to argue against his greatness. Like Duncan, he hasn’t often had the “wow” factor, yet his productivity is staggering.

Meanwhile, Quick is like Durant: hungry, dynamic and in the prime of his career. Maybe he won’t win the Vezina Trophy, but he’s absolutely in the argument regarding the best netminders in the NHL. On paper, you’d have to think that Quick is the better of the two goalies at this point in their careers, yet that thought and his lack of championship rings puts more pressure on the young American netminder.

3. Ilya vs. his replacements

The Kings may have viewed Ilya Kovalchuk as the “missing piece” when they courted him heavily during the free agent summer of 2010. Kovalchuk opted to stick with New Jersey much like Brad Richards went with the New York Rangers the following summer, though. After being spurned by a star who would have made Los Angeles more top-heavy, GM Dean Lombardi opted for the trade route, bringing in Mike Richards, Dustin Penner and Jeff Carter.

It took a while for those new players to find some cohesion, yet now the Kings are a team that seemingly has the right mix of top players and depth on offense to go with a great defense and a world-class goalie.

Of course, Kovalchuk gives the Devils the right mix of talent to make the Kings worry for a simple reason: New Jersey might provide a taste of Los Angeles’ own medicine. Both teams forecheck as aggressively as any squad that had remote success in this year’s playoffs. Each group has some depth to go with all that marquee talent.

They’re not mirror images of each other, yet when it comes to aggressive forechecking, they’re kindred spirits. The Devils – and Kovalchuk – might just represent a look that locomotive Los Angeles hasn’t seen much of lately.


No. 8 (West) Los Angeles: 40-27-15 for 95 points (3rd in Pacific) | No. 6 (East) New Jersey: 48-28-6, 102 points (4th in Atlantic).

Leading playoff scorers

Los Angeles: Dustin Brown (7G-9A-16PTS) | New Jersey: Ilya Kovalchuk (7G-11A-18PTS)


Devils won 2-0

Oct. 13: at New Jersey 2, Los Angeles 1 (SO)
Oct. 25: New Jersey 3, at Los Angeles 0

Playoff history

First meeting

Stanley Cups

Los Angeles: Zero | New Jersey: Three (1995, 2000, 2003)


Los Angeles: Scott Parse (hip), Kevin Westgarth (hand) and Simon Gagne (concussion – has been making progress)| New Jersey: Henrik Tallinder (leg)


Click here to make your 2012 Stanley Cup finals selection – including the number of games.

Tale of the Tape: Kings vs. Coyotes

Justin Williams,  Drew Doughty, Dustin Brown, Rob Scuderi, Anze Kopitar, Oliver Ekman-Larsson

On Sunday, the Phoenix Coyotes will host the Los Angeles Kings in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals (3:00 pm ET, NBC). The Kings are up 3-0 in the series; here’s a look at recent history between the two clubs.

Leading scorers

Los Angeles: Dustin Brown (7G-8A-15PTS) | Phoenix: Antoine Vermette (5G-4A-9PTS)

Starting goalies

Los Angeles: Jonathan Quick (11-1, 1.41 GAA) | Phoenix: Mike Smith (8-6, 2.02 GAA)


Season series tied 3-3

Oct. 20: Los Angeles 2 at Phoenix 0
Oct. 29: at Phoenix 3, Los Angeles 2 (OT)
Dec. 26: at Los Angeles 4, Phoenix 3
Jan. 5: at Los Angeles 1, Phoenix 0 (OT)
Feb. 16: at Phoenix 1, Los Angeles 0
Feb. 21: at Phoenix 5, Los Angeles 4 (SO)

Game 1: Los Angeles 4, Phoenix 2

Two gaffes by Jonathan Quick (particularly a center ice goal given up to Derek Morris) made the score deceptively close. The Kings dominated much of the play, carrying a 48-27 shot advantage. Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown were their usual impact-making selves, but Dwight King’s two goals ended up being a sign of things to come. This was one of the best Kings’ performances of the playoffs and probably their best team effort of an impressive series.

Game 2: Los Angeles 4, Phoenix 0

While Game 1 was deceptively close, the Kings weren’t as great as the score indicated. Instead, the Coyotes were guilty of a series of self-inflicted wounds, particularly during the second period when they took some uncharacteristically undisciplined penalties. Shane Doan was ejected for boarding Trevor Lewis (which didn’t result in further discipline) while Martin Hanzal was thrown out for boarding Dustin Brown (which netted him a suspension). Amid the carnage, Jonathan Quick (24 saves) had a relatively quiet shutout while Jeff Carter scored his first career playoff hat trick and the Kings’ first playoff trio since Wayne Gretzky did it in 1993.

Game 3: Los Angeles 2, Phoenix 1

This contest was more along the lines of what people expected from this series, but the results weren’t any more positive for the Coyotes. Daymond Langkow scored to give Phoenix its first lead of the series but Anze Kopitar only needed about two minutes to tie it up 1-1. Dwight King continued his improbable playoff success with an unexpectedly gorgeous game-winning goal. Meanwhile, a few questionable penalties left Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett livid.


Los Angeles: Scott Parse (hip), Kevin Westgarth (hand) and Simon Gagne (concussion).

Phoenix: Adrian Aucoin (undisclosed) and Raffi Torres (suspended).

Western Conference finals at a glance: Phoenix-Los Angeles playoff preview

Coyotes Kings


All times Eastern; *if necessary

Game 1: Sunday, May 13 at Phoenix, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Game 2: Tuesday, May 15 at Phoenix, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)
Game 3: Thursday, May 17 at Los Angeles, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)
Game 4: Sunday, May 20 at Los Angeles, 3 p.m. (NBCSN, CBC)
Game 5: *Tuesday, May 22 at Phoenix, 9 p.m. (NBCSN, CBC)
Game 6: *Thursday, May 24 at Los Angeles, 9 p.m. (NBCSN, CBC)
Game 7: *Saturday, May 26 at Phoenix, 8 p.m. (TBD, CBC)

Three storylines to follow

1. The goaltending. Early punditry figures this series will be decided in net, where Jonathan Quick and Mike Smith have been their teams’ MVPs thus far (and two of the leading Conn Smythe candidates as well.) Being Pacific Division rivals, the two have faced off numerous times this season, reflected in their statistics:

Quick vs. Phoenix: 3-1-2, 9.32 save percentage, 1.79 GAA, two shutouts

Smith vs. L.A.: 3-1-1, .938 save percentage, 1.76 GAA, one shutout.

2. The rivalry. A full season of scrapping in the airtight Pacific resulted in these two disliking each other a great deal. Most of the malice stems from a Feb. 16 game in Los Angeles that featured the following chain of events:

Dustin Brown taking out Rostislav Klesla with a high hit (Klesla missed 10 games as a result.)

Shane Doan fighting Brown.

Martin Hanzal fighting Mike Richards.

Raffi Torres fighting Colin Fraser.

Paul Bissonnette fighting Kevin Westgarth.

Two weeks later — in the sixth and final regular season tilt — Kings forward Kyle Clifford was given five and a game for a headshot on Phoenix’s Gilbert Brule.

3. The travel. “I think it’s pretty obvious that Phoenix would definitely be the better team from a travel standpoint,” Kings captain Dustin Brown said prior to the Coyotes’ defeating Nashville. “Being an hour flight or less there and back — that’s the only obvious advantage to Phoenix.”

While last year’s Western Conference final between Vancouver and San Jose was a booking agent’s dream — the two cities are a two-hour flight apart and share a time zone — it hasn’t always been that way:

2010: Chicago and San Jose (1835 miles apart)
2008: Detroit and Dallas (998 miles apart)
2007: Anaheim and Detroit (1968 miles apart)

It’s roughly 350 miles between Los Angeles and Phoenix.

And then another 10 to Glendale.

Records (reg. season)

No. 3 Phoenix: 42-27-13, 97 points (1st in Pacific) | No. 8 LA: 40-27-15, 95 points (3rd in Pacific)

Leading playoff scorers

Phoenix: Antoine Vermette (5G-4A-9PTS) | LA: Dustin Brown (6G-5A-11PTS)

Starting goalies

Phoenix: Mike Smith (8-3, 1.77 GAA) | LA: Jonathan Quick (8-1, 1.55 GAA)


Season series tied 3-3

Oct. 20: Los Angeles 2, at Phoenix 0
Oct. 29: at Phoenix 3, Los Angeles 2, SO
Dec. 26: at Los Angeles 4, Phoenix 3
Jan. 5: at Los Angeles 1, Phoenix 0, OT
Feb. 16: Phoenix 1, at Los Angeles 0
Feb. 21: at Phoenix 5, Los Angeles 4, SO

Playoff history

First meeting

2012 playoffs

Phoenix: Def. Chicago 4-2 (WC quarters), def. Nashville 4-1 (WC semis) | LA: Def. Vancouver 4-1 (WC quarters), def. St. Louis 4-0 (WC semis)

2011 playoffs

Phoenix:  Lost to Detroit 4-0 (WC quarters) | L.A.: Lost to San Jose 4-2 (WC quarters)

Stanley Cups

Phoenix: None | Los Angeles: None


Phoenix: Raffi Torres (suspension), Kurt Sauer (concussion) | Los Angeles: Scott Parse (hip), Kevin Westgarth (hand), SimonGagne (concussion)