Ryan Smyth on the almost-King, Ray Whitney

For the first time in…well, a really long time…the Kings were buyers at the NHL Trading Deadline last season – instead of the sellers the team had become the last five plus years.

Rather than trading away players for future assets, they acquired two rentals for a playoff push, Freddy Modin and Jeff Halpern. Neither were bad players, just not the player they coveted most. Ray Whitney, playing in Carolina at the time, was a key guy targeted by GM Dean Lombardi.

Fans in Los Angeles know him well, as he’s spent much of his career in the Western Conference – having played in San Jose, Edmonton, Columbus and Detroit.

Tonight, the Kings will see Whitney’s familiar face in Phoenix – where he signed a two year free-agent contract during the off-season. 

However, a few months before becoming a Coyote, there were many rumors floating around that a deal for Whitney was real close.

How close? Well, Kings forward Ryan Smyth played with him this summer on Team Canada’s squad at the World Championships in Germany. Let’s see what he heard…

MM: When you were with Whitney over in Europe, did the trade deadline rumors come up at all?

RS:  I surfaced it a bit.  Nothing came about.  He was willing to waive it (the no trade clause), but he was thinking of his family at the time.  He thought we had a good team.  He would’ve come. But, something happened…

[note: TSN's Bob McKenzie reported trade talks were far enough long that Carolina did give the Kings permission to speak with Whitney's agent about a contract extension, but he wanted three years - too many for LA's taste]

Not many people had you penciled in for Team Canada again.  Were you surprised to get the call and how much hockey did you feel you had left at that point, after the long season?

Obviously I had a few injuries throughout the year.  I broke my rib last season and then came off of that not too bad.  Then, getting into the playoffs is always exciting, especially with that energy.  But, anytime you get a call from your country it’s a thrill.  With a former Oiler heading it up, Mark Messier, and the coach being Craig MacTavish, my coach in Edmonton – I have a lot of respect for those type of players and for Team Canada, for that matter.  The youth and the excitement that they were bringing over was awesome.  I know Ray Whitney and I were the older guys, we relish those type of things and those opportunities.  It was unfortunate things ended for me with the injury.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Smyth, who had previously been named the captain of Team Canada, missed the second half of the World Championships after fracturing his ankle in practice.  Whitney wore the ‘C’ for the remainder of the tournament.

The original estimate of a four to six week recovery time on the injury looks to be accurate.  Although some may have been concerned over the summer, he appears to have healed up just fine.

Through five games, Smyth is leading the Kings in points (six) and after scoring again last night, is also tied for the lead in goals (three). 

He’ll get a chance to add to those totals later tonight against the Phoenix Coyotes and the almost-King, Ray Whitney.

The Mayor
www.twitter.com/Mayor119
www.facebook.com/MayorsManor

RELATED ARTICLES

Frozen Fury 2010 – preview with Ryan Smyth

What Shoulda Been – Ryan Smyth vs. the Oilers

Welcome to LA – Freddy Modin

Welcome to LA – Jeff Halpern

10 Tidbits on Frozen Fury - Smyth shares a piece of history with very few players

photo courtesy of Phoenix Coyotes
.

Recent Articles

Kings Ducks Pearson Playoffs

Talking Kings, Ducks, and Expansion on NHL Radio

Follow @mayorNHL Here is a free replay of the “The Mayor” John Hoven talking hockey today on Top Shelf with Jimmy Murphy. During the spot on NHL Network Radio, they discussed the Kings-Ducks rivalry, possible expansion in the NHL, Drew Doughty, Cam Fowler, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Stanley Cup, and much more. Give it a [...]

NHL Network Radio

AUDIO: Full 1-hour Kings Preview Show on NHL Radio

Follow @mayorNHL Buckle up! We have a full 1-hour preview of the upcoming LA Kings season for you. “The Mayor” John Hoven joined Boomer Gordon on NHL Network Radio for the first portion of the discussion, where they talked about Anze Kopitar’s new contract, Marian Gaborik’s decision to stay with the team, the salary cap, [...]

fathead banner

CONTEST: Win an LA Kings Stanley Cup Fathead

Summer can be painful for hockey fans, so MayorsManor is here to help you out. Thanks to our relationship with Fathead over the past few years, we’ve given away quite a few of their NHL products – via our show West Coast Bias on NHL Network Radio, as well as here on the website. Did [...]

Major News Items

Manchester Monarchs MayorsManor Kings by Blake Gumprecht

MAJOR NEWS: Kings Preparing To Move Top Prospects To SoCal

Note to webmasters/reporters: When recapping news or interviews from this site please remember to include a link to www.MayorsManor.com Follow @mayorNHL In a story that MayorsManor has been chasing for the … [Read More...]

More Prospect News