With just a few weeks before the first pucks drop on the NHL regular season, the Los Angeles Kings started training camp as they seek to return to the playoffs and go on a deep run for the Stanley Cup.
The Kings made some on-ice news, as they started their slate of pre-season games. They also made off-ice moves, as they made announcements for the upcoming regular season.
LA Kings Preseason Early Returns
So far in a series of split squad games, the Kings have yet to win a game, but there are some positives. Jeff Carter, who missed 50-plus games last year, looks to be fully healthy. He has scored three goals in just two games.
Big-time free agent signing Ilya Kovalchuk put on a show. Actually, it was a showstopper. Kovalchuk took on two Vegas Golden Knights defenders on Thursday night. The veteran put the puck through the legs of Vegas defenseman Nicolas Hague and fired it past goaltender Oscar Dansk.
— NHL Daily 365 (@NHLDaily365) September 21, 2018
Kings fans at Staples Center were dazzled by Kovalchuk’s skill and hope they see more in the upcoming season.
Early Injury Bug
The Kings were already dealing with the injury bug. Gabe Vilardi, one of the better prospects, has yet to see the ice due to a back injury. Then, in a split squad game against the Vancouver Canucks, another prospect was lost.
Jonny Brodzinski out indefinitely with a shoulder injury, via hockey ops.
— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) September 21, 2018
With the loss Brodzinski, this opens up a spot for another forward to start off with the team out of camp. Emerson Etem, an NHL veteran who scored in the same Canucks game, is a likely candidate.
With Brodzinski out indefinitely and Vilardi’s back issues, the Kings youth movement will be on hold to start the season.
Legends Night Announced
Two former Kings/NHL d-men – Lubomir Visnovsky & Sean O’Donnell – & Willie O’Ree, a member of the HHOF's Class of '18 and long-time So Cal resident, will be honored at STAPLES Center as part of the club’s popular Legends Night Series pres by McDonald’s. https://t.co/gM1yLO8UaO
— LAKingsPR (@LAKingsPR) September 20, 2018
The Kings announced their slate of honorees for their Kings Legends Night. The honorees will be former defensmen and current studio analyst Sean O’Donnell, former Kings defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky, and 2018 Hockey Hall of Fame Honoree Willie O’ Ree.
The studio analyst, O’Donnell, played 541 games for the Kings over two stints and is part of the Kings broadcast crew. Meanwhile, Visnovsky was a scoring defenseman who played 499 games with the Kings and remains in the top five in points among the franchises all-time defensemen.
O’Ree never suited up for the Kings but he is significant to Los Angeles nonetheless. O’Ree a pioneer for the game of hockey as the first black player to play in the NHL when he debuted with the Boston Bruins in 1958.
After leaving the NHL in 1961, he played in the old Western Hockey League mostly in Southern California. He played for the Los Angeles Blades from 1961-67 (the predecessors to the Kings) and the old San Diego Gulls from 1967-74.