Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Kings Get A Poni

The 30-year old Ukrainian-born Ponikarovsky is almost a mirror-image of Frolov.  Poni, similar to Fro, is as streaky as they come.  He'll show glimpses of world-class talent only to disappear for weeks at a time.  His inconsistent play frustrated Leafs management and fans alike.  The Pittsburgh Penguins outbid a number of teams for Ponikarovsky at last season's trade deadline to lineup with Sidney Crosby only to have Poni disappear and be a healthy scratch during the playoffs.

Poni isn't nearly as skilled as Frolov but Poni is a better defensive player.  Poni's 6'4 frame adds size up front and he definitely likes to hit more than Frolov.  He'll help the Kings cycle the puck in the offensive zone; four-20 goal seasons prove that he's got a nose for the net. 

Here's what Poni had to say about the Kings.  Per Helene.
"Kings were trying to bring me in at trade deadline but it didn't work out...I knew they still had interest in me.  With the the Kovalchuk situation everything was on hold but they came to me and said they want to see me in their lineup."
Poni is a nice complimentary player but he's just that.  A complimentary player.  He's another fringe second-line player who joins a battle with Smyth, Williams, Parse, Brown and Simmonds to battle it out for the chance to skate on the first-line with Kopitar.  With that said, the Kings still have a gapping hole in their top-six.  The Kings forward core looks decent but how much better does it look with Frolov AND Ponikarovsky?  Terry Murray's head would have exploded having to deal with both of them but still...

I'm going to continue to rally for a Paul Kariya-Teemu Selanne reunion in Los Angeles. 

PREDICTIONS for the 2010-11 season
Ponikarovsky- (17 G- 29 A- 46 PTS)- I don't see Poni getting the same opportunities in L.A. that he did in Toronto.  He'll play on the second and third lines for most of the year; assuming that Smyth stays relatively healthy.

Frolov- (36 G- 44 A- 80 PTS)- Call me crazy but I think Frolov is going to do wonders in New York playing first-line minutes with Marian Gaborik.  A few Kings fans think that Rangers Head Coach John Tortorella won't be much of a fan of Frolov's inconsistent play.  I'm of the belief that once Frolov gets some top-line minutes again; his game will take off. 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Voynov: NHL-Ready or KHL-bound?

While the Kings wait for the next chapter of the Ilya Kovalchuk Saga to unfold...
Traktor's (KHL) Director said #LAK prospect Voinov and #FLA prospect Dadonov will return to KHL if either can't make NHL team this season.
Voynov surprised alot of people when he made the jump directly to the AHL as an 18-year old.  He's a smooth skating defenseman who's got some offensive upside.  He's made huge strides over the past two seasons but it didn't sound like Ron Hextall was totally convinced that Voynov could make the jump to the NHL next season during his wrap-up session with Hammer.
Slava improved this year, defensively, and played a much more sound defensive game. He’s got to get better at communicating with his teammates. I think the language is part of it. I was a little surprised when I met with him at the end of the year, though, that he talks a lot better than he did a few months ago, even. But it’s the real quick communication on the ice. He’s still got some work to do there. He’s got to get better at that. Offensively, I think he can push his game to another level next year, but again, this is a 19-year-old kid playing in the American league. I wouldn’t say he’s knocking on the door. He’s got a little bit of work to do, just like the rest of them.
If the Kings fail to acquire another top-four defenseman before training camp opens; the Kings will have two spots open on their blueline with the departures of OD and Randy Jones.  Voynov will most likely battle other prospects like Andrew Campbell, Davis Drewiske, Thomas Hickey, Alec Martinez and Jacob Muzzin for the remaining spots.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

What's Old Is New Again?

I have no idea what's going on with Ilya Kovalchuk and the Kings.  So here's some other random thoughts.  Brad Richardson's arbitration is coming up next week according to Hammer. 
Unless the Kings reach agreement on a contract with Brad Richardson in the next week, he will have his arbitration hearing on July 23 in Toronto.
I have no idea what type of money Richardson is looking for but if it's anything over a million; let him walk. He made $600,000 last season. He recorded 11 goals and 16 assists and was one of the Kings most consistent bottom-six forwards. With that said, the Kings need to play this smart. They haven't signed Kovalchuk yet because they're worried about keeping their 'core' together. Richie was useful but he's not a core player. He's a bottom-six grinder that can occasionally chip in offensively. Does he deserve anything more than the 2-year, $1.8 million contract Scott Parse got? Probably not.  If Richie walks, I've found his replacement.  If Richie stays, I've found Fro's replacement.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Well...There Goes Fro...

 As we reach Day 14 of the Ilya Kovalchuk saga; I began to put together a list of possible alternatives in case Kovy decides to go elsewhere.  One of those options was obviously bringing back Alexander Frolov.  According to Dmitry Chesnokov, a regular contributor on Yahoo's PuckDaddy blog, Frolov doesn't have much interest in returning to Los Angeles.
Frolov's agent: "We have a offers from a few NHL teams; 99% certainty Frolov won't stay in LA; Frolov will make a decision w/in 10 days." 
Can't blame him really.  His asking price will have to come down for any team to sign him but the Kings pretty much walked him out the door.  Good luck to Fro wherever he goes.  I think the Kings are going to miss him alot more than they realize.  His puck-possession in the corners and constant wrap-around attempts frustrated fans but who else on the current team can do that?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Back In Black 2nd Edition

Click here to view this photo book larger

The Saga Continues...

So what's the latest on Kovalchuk?  He's coming to LA!...for a meeting?  If he's coming to hear Kings executives pitch the organization and city again; I think the Kings are close.  I think we might hear something as soon as tomorrow.  Or maybe Deano will stand firm and watch Kovy skate back over to Jersey.  Or to Russia.  Or maybe he'll take another meeting with the Ducks!  Who knows!

Congratulations to Spain on their World Cup Finals victory.  And congrats to Matt Greene and Germany for finishing third.  OK.  So that's German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger but I thought there was quite a resemblance...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Kovalchuk Drama: Day 8

You can read Helen (Not Helene..ha) Elliot, Rich Hammond or any of the other NHL Insiders for up-to-the-minute coverage.  I just figured I better give my two cents on the entire situation in Sparknotes form.

2010 Development Camp Impressions: Recent Draftees

First off, let me just say that I'm kind of a big deal...haha...OK. Just kidding. But my photographs of the Kings Development Camp are on Rich Hammond's blog. I sent them to Rich and he was kind enough to share them with his readers.

I spent Wednesday and Thursday shooting the scrimmages so most of my impressions will be based on what I saw during the one-hour scrimmage on Friday morning.

First off, the scrimmages were missing alot of big names: Jonathan Bernier, Brayden Schenn, Andrei Loktionov, Viatcheslav Voynov, Colten Teubert and Brandon Kozun. Those six players are arguably the best six in the Kings farm system right now.

With that said, this camp gave us a glimpse of all the recent Kings draft picks and second-tier prospects.  I'll start with the recent draftees.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Kings Development Camp 2010

Despite there being no Brayden Schenn, Andrei Loktionov, Viacheslav Voynov, Colten Teubert or Brandon Kozun.  The Kings are still hosting their annual Development Camp.  And I brought my camera!  Photos from Day 1 & Day 2.  Impressions to come later.



Thursday, July 1, 2010

Free Agent Frenzy Shopping List

With Free Agency opening up in a few hours.  Here's my shopping list for the top FA's available.  It's a shallow class but let's take a look.

1. Top-line goal scoring winger.
2. Two Top-four defenseman
3. Second-line center