It’s been forever since the Kings played a game, right?
Well, not exactly. It only feels that way.
Later tonight they’ll begin what they hope is their playoff push over the final 32 games of the season.
To help get you back in the swing of things, here are ten stories you may have missed during the five-day All Star break…
* Jonathan Bernier will make his first career start tonight vs. the Minnesota Wild. Coach Terry Murray actually made the announcement prior to the Kings final game before the break. Jonathan Quick will start tomorrow vs. Edmonton.
* Andrew Brunette will play his 1000th game for the Wild tonight. Keep an eye out – later today we’ll have an article up detailing some of his accomplishments, like only missing three games since the start of 2001-02. In 42 career games vs. the Kings he’s posted 30 points (8g, 22a).
* Now for your scary stat of the day – according to the ‘strength of schedule’ table shown here, the five teams with he most difficult schedule in the second half are: Phoenix, San Jose, Edmonton, Chicago and Los Angeles. So, the good news is, three of the other four teams facing tough times are clubs the Kings are battling for a playoff spot in the West. More good news? Teams 6-10 are: Nashville, Anaheim, Columbus, Dallas and Calgary. Thus, the West will probably continue to be a dog fight all the way until the very end.
* If you’re in SoCal, you’re going to need to see some hockey before the Kings return home in 2014 (ok fine, February 24). Well, now is as good of time as any to get out and see the Ontario Reign. The Kings ECHL affiliate have seven home games before the next game at Staples Center, including this Saturday night. Then, on the 12th they’ll be wearing purple and gold jerseys to honor the Kings and giving away Luc Robitaille bobbleheads (more info here).
* Jeremy Roenick was spot on this weekend when he called Jonas Hiller’s all black mask “ugly.” However, I’m not so sure about this one – he also said Sidney Crosby is “way more talented” than Wayne Gretzky. Story here.
* This next one is loosely connected to the Kings. In a story that reads like something more from the Midwest than Hollywood, the new football stadium that AEG is planning on building in downtown LA will be called Farmers Field. Seriously. They have signed Farmers Insurance to a 30-year, $600 million naming-rights deal. If Office Depot was smart, they would have jumped on the chance to put another location next to Staples.
* Jarome Iginla to LA? Yes, the trade rumors are out there. However, just know that IF he gets moved anywhere, it isn’t happening until after the Heritage Classic on Feb 20. In addition to the Canadian Winter Classic they’ve added an alumni game that will include Theo Fleury. Sounds pretty cool already. Full rosters here.
* Anze Kopitar was robbed of the All Star Game MVP award, as discussed here. However, he is THIS CLOSE to winning the poll on NHL.com asking ‘Which Player Had the Most Impressive Performance’ – details here.
* The Royal Half posted a great article here detailing the history of the Kings’ Burger King jersey, including several facts you may not know.
* Bob Miller will be inducted into the California Sports Hall of Fame on February 27, details here.
And now you’re caught up.
Interview with Bob Miller – talking Kings history, his retirement and more
Clearing the Crease with Bernier – he talks about not playing enough
Interview with Andrew Brunette – previewing the Kings-Wild game