Kings vs Oilers – Game Preview w/ Kelly Buchberger

While Kelly Buchberger may not be the household name of Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin, hockey fans everywhere know the value of a player like him.

For those that may think calling him a poor man’s Mark Messier is a putdown – it’s not! – instead, think of him as Mess-light…a compliment of the highest standard. As a player, Buchberger was a winner and a leader. He knew what it took to win and did anything his team asked of him.

Although he spent much of his career with the Oilers (including a run as team captain), acquiring him from the Atlanta Thrashers in the spring of 2000 may have been one of the most important moves made by the Kings during their first 10 years at Staples Center (as written about here).

He won two Stanley Cups in Edmonton (1987, 1990) and finished his career with 1,182 NHL games.

These days he’s back with the Oilers, now serving as their assistant coach.

He was kind enough to join us for a preview of tonight’s contest.

MM:  Let’s start with a just quick recap of how the season is going for the Oilers so far…

KB:  We had a little bit of a slow start. A lot of our younger players have really caught on here a lot quicker than we thought. Probably in the last 15 games we’ve played our best hockey. Our leaders are leading and our young players are playing hard and scoring.

MM:  Breaking the game down into offense, defense and goaltending, how do you see the match-up tonight between the Oilers and Kings? Let’s start with offense and the Kings forwards…

KB:  There’s no questioning how much the Kings have improved their team over the last two to three years. When you have leadership the likes of Justin Williams and Ryan Smyth up front and the way they work, how intelligent they are about the game, the younger players really caught on quick. You can also look at Kopitar and how he’s really developed into a leader and a great player.

MM:  And on defense…

Their ‘D’, they move the puck well. Obviously, with Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson they log a lot of minutes. We have to be hard on them all the time. They’re always very active, so we have to be aware of them.  They have had solid goaltending throughout the year too. With our team, there’s no question we have solid goaltending.  Our youth has obviously got us a lot of wins because we seem to play hard for 60 minutes and very seldom do we take a night off.

MM:  There was a lot of hype surrounding the Oilers’ first round pick this past June, Taylor Hall.  Given how much information is reported on young players these days, people may feel like they already know everything about him.  Yet, has there been any part of his game that’s surprised you over the first half of the season?

KB:  I think the biggest thing right now is that he’s building more and more confidence for every game that he plays. He’s getting more confident with the puck and he’s making better reads. He loves to have the puck. If you watch him on a daily basis, he just loves to have the puck and he loves to make plays. We’re really happy with the way his development has gone so far.

MM:  Many Kings fans remember you fondly from your time here with the team. Any favorite memories from playing in LA?

KB:  I’d have to think it was the guys we had on the team. We had a great bunch of guys – from Rob Blake to Glen Murray to Luc Robitaille and Nelson Emerson. We had great people and it just made it so much fun coming to the rink. My family loved LA. We loved living in Manhattan Beach and just the culture around here. We loved the atmosphere. On the ice, we went to the second round (2001), but never got the job done. But still, very fond memories of being here in Los Angeles.

Buchberger was acquired by the Kings during a stretch when they hadn’t made the playoffs in seven years. Subsequently, they participated in post season play three years straight. Coincidence? I think not.

It’s probably also part of the reason the young Oilers are one of the fastest rising teams in the NHL. You just can’t replace that type of attitude and experience.

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

RELATED ARTICLES:

What Shoulda Been – Kings vs Oilers, November 2009

Painting by Numbers with Ryan Smyth – reliving key milestones, in his words

Best Acquisition of the Decade – notes on Deadmarsh, Buchberger and others
.

Recent Articles

Jarome Iginla on Trade to LA Kings and What’s Next

Following the completion of today’s NHL Trade Deadline, forward Jarome Iginla held a conference call with the media to discuss being traded from the Colorado Avalanche to the Los Angeles Kings.
On if knew he was going to be traded today:
“I talked to Joe and my agent Don, maybe a couple weeks ago. They said […]

Lombardi on Trading for Iginla and Expectations This Season

Following the completion of today’s NHL Trade Deadline, Kings GM Dean Lombardi held a conference call with the media to discuss his team’s acquisition of forward Jarome Iginla.
Lombardi on expectations for Iginla:
“We’re trying to bridge a gap here. It’s tough being in this middle layer, right now at the deadline. You’re caught between that […]

FREE REPLAY: Hoven on Sportsnet, Talking Kings Trades and Playoff Chances

Follow @mayorNHL
//
Enjoy a free replay of John Hoven on Sportsnet Radio in Calgary, where he joined host Pat Steinberg to talk about the Los Angeles Kings, Ben Bishop, Jonathan Quick, Peter Budaj, Anze Kopitar, trade rumors, upcoming games with the Calgary Flames, and much more.
The segment can be heard using the player below or […]

Major News Items

LA Kings 2017 Mid-Season Prospect Rankings: Top Two Players Revealed

The wait is over; it's time to reveal the top two players on our 2017 Mid-Season Prospect Rankings. Which player has earned the coveted No. 1 spot? As we finish off this multi-part series, we'll begin with a thank you … [Read More...]

More Prospect News