With all the focus on Prospect Rankings and the NHL Trade Deadline of late, we’ve accumulated quite a few random notes to pass along. Here’s the latest in our 10 Tidbits…
1. Starting in Ontario
There’s quite a bit going on out in the Inland Empire related to the building used for Ontario Reign games. For starters, the relationship between the team and the arena management company should be significantly improving in the months ahead, if not immediately. For those unfamiliar with the situation, here’s a very brief rundown. AEG, parent company to the Kings and Reign, used to manage the building. Then, a few years ago, the city awarded the contract to SMG, a competing arena management firm, in the hopes of booking more concerts and other activities at the arena. This created some tension over the past few seasons, with the Reign staff not getting the same level of access to the building they once had. In part, this is also one of the reasons the Reign now practice out of TSC in El Segundo. Well, as noted recently, AEG and SMG are merging. Given some of the text messages we received the morning of the announcement, sounds like any rumors of the team possibly leaving when they’re lease is up can now be put to bed.
Another little tidbit on AHL Ontario, it's looking more and more like this off-season management and players will relocate to the South Bay. Team would practice out of TSC and bus to the vault for games.
— The Mayor John Hoven (@mayorNHL) February 18, 2018
AEG used to manage building in Ontario. Since that changed in 2016, it has been a steady stream of challenges for the Reign. Kings have been impressed with the way Sharks run their ops in San Jose. Relocating to South Bay could make lemonade out of lemons.
— The Mayor John Hoven (@mayorNHL) February 18, 2018
Everybody should pump the breaks on any talk of the Reign relocating for now. Games will continue to be played in Ontario. Team has three more seasons left on their contract there. (Note: original tweets were about practicing at TSC, and Twitter made a hard left from there.) https://t.co/dnWmFhzgT2
— The Mayor John Hoven (@mayorNHL) February 19, 2018
Well here's some pretty big news out of AEG – and this impacts the arena in Ontario…https://t.co/Hia38qjmtn
— The Mayor John Hoven (@mayorNHL) February 7, 2019
2. Name It
In more Ontario news, the name on the side of the building may soon be changing. From what we gathered, when their original 10-year agreement expired in 2018, Citizen’s Business Bank re-upped on a limited basis, perhaps with a maximum one-year term. We continue to hear a national name, like Toyota, will be taking over the naming rights in Ontario this summer. However, in speaking with an AEG executive this week, nothing sounds imminent.
I still think it should be @tuffshed Arena… then the whole building could be referred to as #TheShed, instead of just the penalty box when @davejosephla is announcing penalties.
Regardless, I'll miss calling it #theVault – a term coined by @Jim_Alexander many many years ago.
— The Mayor John Hoven (@mayorNHL) December 31, 2018
3. Completing the Reign-related hat trick
The building is set to – finally – get their new HD scoreboard this summer, believed to be around June sometime. Originally, there were plans to install it before the current AHL season got underway, but they just ran out of time. Regardless, they’ll still get a good six month head start on sprucing things up before hosting the 2020 AHL All Star Game next January.
4. Stat Check
Speaking of specialty events, the NHL recently put on their Stadium Series game in Pennsylvania. Following Philadelphia’s defeat of Pittsburgh, the league sent out a notes packet to media members with various stats. Two of them caught our eye. First was this nugget: Road teams are now 16-8-3 in the NHL’s 27 regular-season outdoor games. This bodes well for the Kings, who will visit Colorado next February for an outdoor game at the U.S. Air Force Academy. That pattern is also consistent with the two prior contests Los Angeles has been part of, losing to the Anaheim Ducks when the Kings served as the home team in 2014, and then winning a game in Northern California the following year against the host San Jose Sharks.
Here’s another stat following that Penguins/Flyers classic: teams that score first are now 15-8-4 in those 27 regular-season outdoor games. This advantage also held true for both of the Kings prior Stadium Series games, the Ducks scored first and won the Dodger Stadium game. But, when LA defeated the Sharks, do you remember who scored first?
5. More than a severe storm hitting New England
On the other side of the country, things don’t sound so swell in Manchester. Once considered one of the darlings of minor hockey in the Northeast, with regular attendance above 5,000 during their AHL days, the ECHL Monarchs now has an average attendance of about half that number. AEG had continued to own the ECHL version of the franchise after relocating their bigger brothers to Ontario in 2015. However, one year later, the ECHL Monarchs were sold and now that group is looking to sell the team, as explained in a local newspaper article here – and possibly suspend operations if they can’t find a new owner, at least according to one additional report this week.
6. Finnish Fever
Fresh on the heels of Rasmus Kupari landing in the No. 2 spot on the LA Kings Prospect Rankings, how about this nifty little pass from the talented Finn earlier this week:
Can we talk quick about Heponiemi’s goal assisted by Kupari?
We don’t have to. Both #GoKingsGo and #FlaPanthers have drafted well. pic.twitter.com/lGH4tgscaC
— Juha Rapanen (@njayhee31) February 27, 2019
Katso tämä. Sen jälkeen katso se uudestaan.#Kärpät #Liiga pic.twitter.com/PVW9aKLPB2
— Oulun Kärpät (@OulunKarpatFi) February 28, 2019
7. Doubling Down
He wasn’t the only Kings prospect in the news this week either. Both goaltender David Hrenak and forward Jaret Anderson-Dolan were recently feeling the love on twitter, as well.
LA Kings goaltending prospect… https://t.co/xdsrMY6wWi
— The Mayor John Hoven (@mayorNHL) February 26, 2019
🚨 Anderson-Dolan (12)
🍏 Luc Smith
⏰ 4:08 (3rd) PP
📈 SPO 6 – PG 1#GoChiefsGo pic.twitter.com/ATh883Jrnu
— Spokane Chiefs (@spokanechiefs) February 28, 2019
Which was then followed by this the next morning:
Wednesday, February 27, 2019 pic.twitter.com/Sl9VcYpt0i
— The WHL (@TheWHL) February 28, 2019
For more on all of these LA Kings prospects, see here for our latest scouting reports.
8. This Week on Campus
With the NHL playoffs still a ways off, things are already heating up on the college hockey front. Now is the time to be checking your local TV listings to catch many up and coming NHL prospects. Next week, Hrenak and the top-ranked St. Cloud Huskies have a huge showdown with Mikey Anderson (a potential future captain in Los Angeles) and the defending national champions from Minnesota-Duluth. First, though, Anderson and crew will take on Miami (of Ohio) in a pair of games this weekend. Meanwhile, Kings defensive prospect Cole Hults and Penn State will play at Notre Dame; and don’t forget about Arizona State, one of the best stories in all of hockey this season – they’ll be traveling to Minnesota. All three of those matchups can be seen on DirecTV this Friday, March 1.
9. Behind the Bench
On the Kings coaching front there are few things that should be clarified. Although GM Rob Blake did not specify a timeline for putting the next head coach in place during his conference call with the media earlier this week, we can definitively say one thing – Willie Desjardins will not be back (as discussed here in greater detail). We’ve said this on twitter for many months now. However, we continue to get questions about him, so let’s end that and move forward. As for Marco Sturm, yes the Kings like him. We hear good things about him from both management and the players. Does he have the experience necessary to take over next season? The jury is still out, as we understand things. It’s certainly possible he’ll get the gig. However, if making a bet today, we’d still expect Blake and the Kings to go outside the organization for their next hire… while retaining Sturm as an assistant. And, no, we don’t see Tony Granato as a viable candidate for the head coach position in Los Angeles. He has a sweet gig in Wisconsin and doesn’t exactly fit the bill of what they’re looking for currently.
10. Endless Options
Finally, for those who like to play the ‘What If?’ game, here’s something to think about. The Kings could enter training camp with as many as 20 different forwards having a legitimate shot at earning a roster spot next season. And that doesn’t even factor in any prospect, bridge player, or free agent (Artemi Panarin?) they may acquire next season. We’ll delve into that whole situation via a separate article sometime real soon. Don’t you worry.
LA loves stars. Players like the Bread Man (27yr old, high point producers) are rarely available. Kings have a responsibility to explore the possibility. IMO – it's a summer thing, not a Trade Deadline thing… Unless they found a very creative way to part with some assets. https://t.co/3BkxCNb31f
— The Mayor John Hoven (@mayorNHL) February 16, 2019
By the way, it was Kyle Clifford who opened the scoring at Levi’s Stadium in 2015.
Understanding Kyle Clifford and the LA Kings Becoming One And the Same
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