Toews, Smyth, Momma and What You Missed…

Researchers say one of the most popular vacation weeks among the American workforce is the time between Christmas and New Year’s. With that behind us, it’s now on to 2011.

The Kings are home tonight to take on the Chicago Blackhawks. Ryan Smyth had this to say about the game “Chicago set the barrier high with winning the Stanley Cup last year. They have a couple of wins against us this season, which we felt we played fairly decent for the most part. But, (we) fell short of the points.”

Jonathan Quick will start in goal for Los Angeles, who will be looking to bounce back after dropping three in a row to Phoenix, Philadelphia and San Jose.

Corey Crawford was in net for Chicago last night, losing 2-1 to Anaheim (their third straight loss also). So, perhaps the Kings will face Marty Turco.

In somewhat surprising news, ‘Hawks captain Jonthan Toews will return to the line-up. He was expected to be out several more weeks with a shoulder injury. Instead, he was out just six days.

Final note on Chicago…although many teams do a ‘Dad’s Trip’, where the player’s fathers attend several  games with the club, the Blackhawks are doing something different this year – they’ve brought their moms out west with them for the organization’s first ever ‘Mom’s Trip.’

Because many of you were unavailable last week, make sure you take a peek at what you missed…

* Kevin Westgarth’s New Year’s Resolutions – he shares what several of his teammates may have committed to for 2011, with thoughts on Dustin Brown, Ryan Smyth, Jack Johnson, Michal Handzus and more.  Article available here.

* The 2011 World Junior Championship wraps up this week in Buffalo.  Several of the Kings players stopped by to share their memories from the tournament, as linked here:  Ryan Smyth talks ’95, Drew Doughty on 2008 and Jack Johnson on the medals Team USA should have won.

*  Reunion Week – three former Kings stopped by Mayors Manor last week:

– Perhaps the most popular King in the last 10 years, Ian Laperriere, made a return visit to help preview the Flyers game.  He comments on the Kings, Chris Pronger and Jody Shelley, plus updates us on his injury status (available here).

– Playoff hero, Eric Belanger, checked in with a Kings-Coyotes preview and discussed his relationship with Luc Robitaille and Laperriere (available here).

– Dave ‘the Hammer’ Schultz was once the baddest man in the NHL and he still holds the single season record for penalty minutes – more than 30 years after setting the mark.  The former Flyer and King was our guest last Thursday and he covered a variety of topics, including fighting in the game today, the toughest guy he ever faced, the NHL rule named after him, Marcel Dionne and…yes, even pro wrestling.  Check it out here.

*  In non-Kings related news, Sharks captain Joe Thornton made his inaugural visit into MayorsManor on Saturday as part of our LA-SJ preview.  One of the topics he discussed was taking over the ‘C’ from Rob Blake (available here).

When you’re all done catching up on your reading, you have one more item to check off your to-do list.  Today is the last day to vote for the 2011 NHL All Star team. Jonathan Quick, Anze Kopitar and the Kings need your help. Voting is easy – click here to vote online or text the LAST NAME of your favorite player to  81812.

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John Hoven is a member of the of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and co-hosts Kings of the Podcast. He is also the founder and editor of MayorsManor.com, which has been named Best Sports Blog in Los Angeles by LA Weekly and Hockey Blog of the Year by Yahoo Sports. Click "ABOUT OUR TEAM" above for a full bio.