Found October 03, 2013 on
Fox Sports North:
Los Angeles Kings
Toronto Maple Leafs
Despite finishing short of their aspirations last season, the Los Angeles Kings and Minnesota Wild added little to their respective rosters.
Instead, they're hoping their stalwarts can carry them further this year.
Coming off their most successful two-year run in franchise history, Los Angeles plays at Minnesota on Thursday night in an opener for both clubs.
The Kings made their second consecutive trip to the Western Conference finals after earning the fifth seed with a 27-16-5 record. General manager Dean Lombardi made few alterations to his roster, instead maintaining most of the core from the 2012 Stanley Cup squad.
Despite still being relatively freshly removed from that run, the Kings don't appear to be lacking in terms of motivation.
"Doing what we did in 2012 showed not only the players, but the staff and management, what it actually means and how special it is to win it," captain Dustin Brown, who signed an eight-year extension in the offseason, told the team's official website. "So the next year when you don't win it, you feel like you've lost a lot more than you did."
While the Wild made waves last year with their big-money signings of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, injuries played a key role in a season that was ultimately a disappointment. Minnesota claimed the West's final playoff spot with a 26-19-3 record and was eliminated in the first round by Chicago in five games.
The Wild sought to add some firepower with their deadline acquisition of Jason Pominville from Buffalo, but his impact was limited as he dealt with a concussion.
Right winger Dany Heatley also missed the final 12 regular-season games and the entire playoff series after suffering a torn labrum the same day Minnesota traded for Pominville.
The Wild managed just 5 goals on 42 power-play chances (11.9 percent) in those 17 games without Heatley compared to a 17.5 percent success rate previously.
A strong bounce-back campaign for Heatley after offseason surgery would be a huge boost for Minnesota.
"With a big body like Dany's, especially the closer you get to the net, and his touch along there, he can score a lot of goals like he showed in the past," said captain Mikko Koivu, whose 37 points were second-most on the team. "We sure missed him last year at the end so of course he's a big help for us when he's healthy."
Los Angeles wasn't able to retain all of its key players, losing left wing Dustin Penner to Anaheim and defenseman Rob Scuderi, who led the club with 66 blocked shots, to Pittsburgh. The Kings hope Matt Frattin - whom they acquired from Toronto along with Ben Scrivens to back up Jonathan Quick in net in exchange for Jonathan Bernier - can fill in for Penner.
Los Angeles will likely need center Anze Kopitar to regain his form. He was held without a goal in the club's final 16 regular-season contests and recorded a minus-2 rating in 18 playoff games.
The Wild could be a good opponent for Kopitar to get back on track against as he has 15 points over the last 11 meetings, though he didn't record one in the teams' most recent matchup, a 2-1 Wild win in St. Paul on April 23.
The Wild have never lost a home opener in Minnesota, going 10-0-0 with one tie. They were the designated home team in a 2010 loss to Carolina in Finland.
BEST OF MAXIM
ST. PAUL, Minn. One point Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo made clear in the preseason was his opening night roster wasn't going to be a permanent, set-in-stone final look at how the team will shape up this season.
Minnesota has several players on entry-level contracts and have the ability to mix-and-match during the season based on the types of matchups Yeo desires each game...
Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar (Photo credit: hockeyfights.com)
The Los Angeles Kings will open their season this Thursday. The Kings (0-0) will visit the Minnesota Wild (0-0) at the Xcel Cinergy Center. The puck is set to drop at 8:00 PM Eastern Time and will be televised on the NBC Sports Network.
The Kings will hope to get their season off on the right foot, but it will not be easy...
The Minnesota Wild have signed forward Jason Pominville to a five-year contract extension.
The Wild announced the signing on Thursday in advance of the team's season opener against Winnipeg. Terms were not disclosed but multiple reports have the deal worth $28 million.
Pominville came to Minnesota from Buffalo last year in a trade for well-regarded prospects Matt Hackett and...
Zach Parise doesn’t take solace in the fact that he helped the Wild make the playoffs for the first time in five years last season. Parise doesn’t buy into the notion that simply making the playoffs equates a successful season.
After all this is a guy who traveled to the brink of winning the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils the year before.
Parise still knows though that...
SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher today announced the National Hockey League (NHL) club has signed forward Jason Pominville to a five-year contract extension, through the 2018-19 season.
Pominville, 30 (11/30/82), ranks tied for 19th in the NHL in assists (with Mikko Koivu) and 26th in scoring since the start of the 2007-08 season. He also ranks...
As the Wild prepare for their season and home opener against the Kings on Saturday, goaltender Josh Harding prepares for his first full season of NHL hockey since being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis last October.
Last season, thanks to the season starting late because of the lockout, Josh had a lot of time to think about things and evaluate how to handle the news that he was...
Heading into his first full season with the Minnesota Wild Jason Pominville is just starting to feel comfortable in the State of Hockey.
Well he's going to start feeling at home in Minnesota because the Wild and has inked Pominville to a five-year contract extension.
The winger ranks tied for 19th in the NHL in assists (with Mikko Koivu) and 26th in scoring since the start...
Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter scored shootout goals for the Los Angeles Kings, who rallied to beat the Minnesota Wild 3-2 on Thursday night in the season opener for both teams.
Carter and Drew Doughty scored regulation goals for Los Angeles, which had just 18 shots. Jonathan Quick made 29 saves for the Kings, including stops against Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu in the shootout.
The Los Angeles Kings relied too much on their goalie, but Jonathan Quick was up to the task against the Minnesota Wild.
Quick made 27 saves, and Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter scored shootout goals for the Kings, who rallied to beat the Wild 3-2 on Thursday night in the season opener for both teams.
Carter and Drew Doughty scored regulation goals for Los Angeles, which had just...
The Minnesota Wild have signed Jason Pominville to a five year, $28M contract. After the Sabres drafted in in the second round (55th overall) of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Pominville made his debut in the 2003-2004 season, and then after the 2004-2005 lockout spent most of the last eight seasons with the Sabres. Pominville is a 30-year-old American right [...]
Two days after the NHL season opened, the Los Angeles Kings finally got to begin their season, as they were on the road to take on the Minnesota Wild. Dustin Brown has been nursing a hamstring injury, so he was moved down to Dwight King’s regular spot as left wing on the third line with Jarret Stoll and Trevor Lewis, [...]
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Wild and forward Jason Pominville have reached a deal to extend his contract five more years. The team announced Thursday morning that the deal was worth $28 million, which will be a cap hit of $5.6 million a year, according to Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The two parties have […]
A year ago, NHL fans across the world were annoyed and despondent. Some, like myself threatened and followed through to boycott part of the season if the league and NHLPA did not settle its issues. For some people, this meant losing their jobs as millionaires fought against billionaires, all sqabbling over who should get the lion's share of the fans' money. Now, the...
Wild Fans, Itâs Time to Drop The Puckâ¦â¦â¦.
Those words will usher in a new season for the Minnesota Wild tonight as the Wild play host to the L.A. Kings.
Surprisingly, the Wild are 21-16-10, overall, and 11-7-6, at home, against the Kings.
Last season, the Wild won the season series 2-1-0, again to my great surprise given how physically gifted and talented...
Change is the theme around the UND locker room this year.
#hockey UND Hockey: A Season of Change http://t.co/X2hf6MQbg2
— The Hockey Writers (@TheHockeyWriter) October 3, 2013
The Minnesota Wild have resigned Jason Pominville to a nice contract.
Jason Pominville signs 5-year extension with the Minnesota Wild http://t.co/GU1rctfwM4
— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes...