Good morning, Tampa - LA Kings Insider

Good morning, Tampa, and good morning, Insiders.

Discussed yesterday: is it shocking that after 17 seasons, the Tampa Bay Rays still play at The Thunderdome Tropicana Field? After a cursory look at reports over the several months, it appears as though there is a difficult-to-navigate “Use Agreement” that makes leaving St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field before 2027 costly, and that potential sites in Tampa have been met with opposition. Did any Insiders ever catch an NHL game at The Thunderdome? Expo Hall? Oh for the year when the Kings represented the Smythe Division in the Stanley Cup Final, and the Norris Division consisted of the Blackhawks, Blues, North Stars, Maple Leafs, Red Wings – and Lightning. The following season, 1993-94, saw the introduction of directional divisional names and Tampa Bay’s permanent relocation to the Eastern Conference.

Here’s a shout out to the group of 14 Kings fans who were on our flight from Fort Lauderdale to Tampa yesterday. It’s collected mostly on anecdotal evidence gained from looking around arenas and seeing the groups of fans huddled around the tunnel to the ice while I’m doing my pre-game FOX Sports West bench hit, but I’m seeing so much more silver, white and black around arenas than three years ago, let alone when I attended road games in college. It’s more than just local fans supporting the Kings; I’m seeing regulars whom I recognize in Los Angeles and various cities, traveling around to catch the team in away games. From what Jim Fox was telling me yesterday, the current group on the road with the club is led by a (former?) member of the booster club who organizes trips to NHL cities each season, and this year they settled on this current away leg. Forgive me for not catching up at the airport – I was trying to get Waking up with the Kings written during our travel – but if anyone from this group is reading this right now, shoot me over a photo from any of the recent away games, and I’ll post it Monday on Good Morning, Columbus. My email, if anyone ever needs it, is jonnyrosen-at-gmail.

Because of the 5:00 p.m. start time today, there’s no morning skate, and we’ll learn about the Kings’ starter in net when they take the ice for warm-ups. Some Bolts notes:

Steven Stamkos turned 25 today. I’ll write about it shortly, but the Lightning have an impressive amassment of young forwards. Good morning, Insiders – there’s lots more to come on a Saturday.

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left

Bio

Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.
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Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.
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Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

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Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right

Bio

Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

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Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

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Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

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