12:00 PM, Saturday. Not that you needed a reminder. - Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Plus: Anze Kopitar is back on the ice, the top 50 players in the NHL, and DREW DOUGHTY ON TWITTER?!?! Feels pretty damn good to be posting stories about an upcoming season of NHL hockey.
In four days, the banner goes up. The Kings are busy preparing for everyone's best shot this season.
- On Monday night, I attended the open practice at Staples Center. Over 6,000 fans also made an appearance to welcome the Kings back to the ice. For what it's worth, here were some observations...
- Anthony Stewart showed some decent scoring touch, perhaps putting more pucks in the net (during practice, of course) than any other King. He was not included on the third or fourth line during the 3-man drills, however; looks like he's going to have to beat out Kyle Clifford or Jordan Nolan for a gig on the fourth line.
- Darryl Sutter nearly got run over during a drill. Inexplicably, he spent the rest of said drill with a hockey glove in his mouth.
- Both Jonathans looked solid in net. In particular, they went back and forth during the 5-on-3 sessions matching each other save for save, before Justin Williams scored two beauties on Quick (off perfect feeds from Matt Greene and Alec Martinez, respectively). From there the Kings picked up the scoring.
- The teamwide shootout at the end: entertaining, if not particularly useful. Greene, Scuderi, Doughty, Drewiske, Bodnarchuk, Stewart, and King all found the net. Maybe we should just use defensemen in the shootout this year.
- Hot dog/beer combo: under $10. Thank you, one-time 50% concessions discount.
Anyway, it was certainly good to see the team back on the ice. Training camp, of course, is ongoing. Anze Kopitar was back on the ice today, skating with teammates; he is still doubtful for Saturday, but that is very encouraging. For continuing updates: KingsVision is your source for interviews with players and coaches; the (currently anonymous) LA Kings Insider is delivering detailed reports of each day; and Mayor's Manor is posting regular updates, including an interview with Darryl Sutter about the progress of dynamic prospect Tyler Toffoli.
- If you were looking for a cheap ticket for the banner raising... well, good luck. Also, the Kings' COO is named "Cheeseman"? Did not know that. [LA Times]
- Thomas Hickey and Richard Clune were picked up off of the waiver wire by the Islanders and Predators, respectively. Lighthouse Hockey wrote about where Hickey might fit in; he's got a great chance to make his NHL debut on New York's third pairing, especially if the Lubomir Visnovsky situation continues to drag. Meanwhile, The Predatorial has an analysis and quotes on the pickup of Clune, who alternated taking shifts on the fourth line at practice today.
- The Chicago Blackhawks are preparing for Saturday with a full, three-period intrasquad scrimmage. [Chicago Tribune]
- This means nothing, but I guess it shows that the Kings have earned some respect: "selections by a panel of experts" determine the top 50 players in the NHL. Five are Kings, including Anze Kopitar at #10. [TSN]
- Finally, Drew Doughty is on Twitter. His handle is @dewyy8. He got a "warm" welcome.
Finally got the roomie to get twitter. Give him a follow @dewyy8— trevor lewis (@trevorlewis22) January 14, 2013
Oh boy twitter entertainment valuejust went up follow @dewyy8 aka drew doughty aka brad doty.— dustin brown (@DustinBrown23) January 14, 2013
Funny my teammates chirp behind a phone #onepunchpackyourlunch— drew doughty (@dewyy8) January 15, 2013