Why the NHL should copy baseball’s playoff format

Ronnie Shuker
(Photo by Noah Graham/NHL)

If the NHL playoffs were similar in spirit to Major League Baseball’s, there’s a good chance the Los Angeles Kings wouldn’t have won the Stanley Cup in 2012. They would’ve had to play the Calgary Flames in a one-game showdown just to get into the playoffs and probably would’ve lost.

More on that later, but first to the matter at hand.

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Why do ex-Flyers personnel succeed in L.A.? More freedom

Ron Hextall won a Cup with L.A., but will he succeed as Flyers GM with owner Ed Snider influencing him? (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

The migration of on-and-off-ice talent from the Philadelphia Flyers to the Los Angeles Kings franchise that has won two of the past three Cups is not lost on observers. At various points in the past 15 years, the Flyers (a) employed L.A. GM Dean Lombardi as their western scout, and Kings assistant coach John Stevens as their coach; (b) centered their core of forwards around Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, who each have two rings with the Kings; and (c) had Ron Hextall as their director of player personnel before he joined L.A. and was part of their Cup win in 2012.

Hextall returned to the Flyers last summer and will enter his rookie year as Philly’s GM. His best chance to deliver a Cup is if owner Ed Snider leaves him alone to work at it. That hasn’t always been true in the nearly five decades Snider has owned the team. And the success of the Kings – the success of components not good enough for the Flyers – should show Snider the best thing he can do to satisfy his competitive urges is to wall himself off from hockey decisions.

Because in the modern era, it’s a fact: Stanley Cups are won by teams whose owners stay out of the picture.

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Fantasy Pool Look: Kings, Canadiens and Lightning off-season looks

Los Angeles Kings

It’s the 12th annual off-season look at each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint. Every year I run through the teams alphabetically – but switch starting points each year. This year I’m doing something different and reviewing the teams in reverse order of regular season finish. This week we take a look at the Kings, the Habs and the Lightning.

Los Angeles Kings
Gone – Willie Mitchell, Linden Vey, Colin Fraser

Incoming – Adam Cracknell

Ready for full time - Tanner Pearson is still eligible as a rookie, just sliding under the wire with 25 games played last season. He made it quite clear in the post-season that he belongs in the NHL for good and in fact played very well as part of “That 70s Line” with Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli. There isn’t any reason why that line will be broken up in the season ahead, which makes Pearson a dark horse for 45 or 50 points if all three of them remain healthy. Read more

Five reasons to be excited about another outdoor NHL game in California

Adam Proteau
Dodger Stadium (Noah Graham/NHLI via Getty Images)

The NHL announced Wednesday it will stage another California outdoor game – this one Feb. 21, 2015 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara between the host Sharks and the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings. Here are five reasons to be excited about the event:

5. Outdoor games will be more of a novelty this year. Last year the NHL staged six outdoor games – in Detroit, Los Angeles, Chicago, Vancouver, and two in New York City – but NHL brass has said there will be fewer outdoor games this season. So there will be a fresher feel to this one.

4. It’s California outdoor hockey – who knows what can happen? Everything went off without a hitch when the Kings hosted the first NHL California outdoor game in history last season and L.A. lost to the Anaheim Ducks 3-0. But Mother Nature can always be a challenge – and despite the savvy of NHL ice guru Dan Craig, the elements could be an issue. The league has had great luck with weather thus far in its outdoor games, but sooner or later… Read more

Rumor Roundup: The Los Angeles Kings’ Justin Williams dilemma

Justin Williams

NBC Sports’ Joe Yerdon speculates the Los Angeles Kings could be in an awkward situation this season with winger Justin Williams, whose clutch play in the 2014 playoffs earned him the Conn Smythe Trophy as post-season MVP.

Williams, who turns 33 in October, is entering the final season of his contract at a cap hit of $3.65 million. The Kings have more than $59 million invested in their roster for 2015-16 and have several young players – including promising forwards Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson – due to become restricted free agents.

With the salary cap expected to rise significantly next season, Yerdon doubts the Kings will have difficulty re-signing their free agents, but he feels retaining Williams could stunt the development of one of those young forwards. If the Kings believe it’s time to promote Toffoli, Yerdon says they could either bid Williams farewell or try to find a way to retain the veteran winger while promoting Toffoli. Read more

Logan Couture: Kings loss still hurts, Sharks don’t care about analytics

Ryan Kennedy
Logan-Couture

Logan Couture is a good sport, but as he helped raise money for the Smashfest charitable event in Toronto last week, you could tell there’s a weariness surrounding him these days when the press is around. That’s because he knows there will inevitably be questions about his team’s collapse against Los Angeles in the first round of the playoffs, when San Jose could not close out a 3-0 series lead. The Kings would go on to win four straight, of course, and ultimately the Stanley Cup.

“You think about how much it hurts,” he said. “It’s sad. The feelings aren’t gonna go away, probably ever. It’s something that sticks with you a long time. It should be motivation for our team.”

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NHL logo rankings No. 24: Los Angeles Kings

Adam Proteau
KINGSlogo (via sportslogos.net)

The Los Angeles Kings may have won two of the past three Stanley Cup championships, but in THN’s current NHL logo ranking contest, they’re not nearly as much of a mover-and-shaker. Our in-house panel of judges ranked L.A.’s current logo 24th overall.

The Kings’ straight-ahead approach to this incarnation of their logo – featuring the initials of the city above the crown that in some form has been a part of every logo since the organization’s inception in 1967 – isn’t especially creative or eye-catching. Sure, it’s better than some of their more daring fashion experiments, but that’s damning with faint praise.

Maybe you think you could improve on the Kings’ current logo. If so, submit it to editorial@thehockeynews.com – and once our logo rankings conclude, we’ll share them online.

(All logos below are from Chris Creamer’s website.)

HISTORY OF THE KINGS LOGO

When the Kings debuted in the 1967-68 season, they wore purple jerseys at home and gold on the road. The colors were chosen by team owner and expat Canadian Jack Kent Cooke, and represented royalty – and to match nicely with the color scheme of the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers. The crown logo that appeared on the jersey differed from the primary logo.

After eight seasons, the Kings changed logos for the first time. The team added horizontal lines around the name to provide a sense of speed, and kept their second logo for eight years (while also adding purple pants after spending their initial seasons wearing gold pants).

In 1988, the Kings’ logo changed drastically. Gone was the purple and gold, replaced by a black-and-silver version of their previous logo. The change coincided with the acquisition of NHL icon Wayne Gretzky, and their new colors were a match with a different L.A. team – the NFL’s Los Angeles Raiders (who have since relocated back to their original home in Oakland). Because there were no throwback jersey nights, Gretzky would never wear purple and gold in his eight years with the organization. Read more