Stevens not expecting a "message"; Gulutzan on Kings' start; will Jagr play? - LA Kings Insider

The Calgary Flames visit Staples Center for the first of two visits this season, bringing with them some acrimonious residue from a rivalry that soured last season during the Doughty-Tkachuk Incident.

Matthew Tkachuk’s March 19 elbow on Drew Doughty, which resulted in a two-game suspension, came with two additional head-to-head meetings remaining on the schedule. The first, played at the Scotiabank Saddledome on March 29, resulted in a pre-game summit at center ice, a Jarome Iginla-Deryk Engelland bout as part of Iginla’s Gordie Howe Hat Trick, and a 4-1 Los Angeles victory. The second was much less memorable: a 4-1 April 6 L.A. defeat at Staples Center during the final throes of the bottomed-out 2016-17 season.

Last year’s incident is not expected to be rehashed as the rivalry resumes Wednesday night. If the game gets heated, it won’t be because of any premeditation.

“No, I don’t think there’s any message-sending at all,” John Stevens said. “I think it’s a team in our division, and we have to get established against a team in our division. I think the reason that there’s some ill will with the two teams is because we’re trying to beat each other, and they’ve really improved as a hockey team.”

“They’ve got some really talented guys, they’ve got some grit and toughness in their lineup, and just like what we talked about with Anaheim and San Jose, we’re standing in each other’s way, so I look at it more as we’ve got to get established in the division against a division opponent at home.”

The Kings passed an early divisional test on Saturday with a thorough 4-1 victory in San Jose. Meanwhile, the Flames relied on Jobu – the cinematic voodoo figurine popularized by the character Pedro Cerrano in Major League – in exorcising their Honda Center demons with a 2-0 win over the Ducks Monday night that put an abrupt end to a 29-game losing streak in Anaheim dating back to January 29, 2004.

Flames coach Glen Gulutzan spoke with Kristen Odland of the Calgary Herald and Kings correspondent Dan Greenspan about Jobu; expect articles on those sites in advance of Wednesday’s game.

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to follow Calgary’s morning skate tomorrow because we are all on JAGR WATCH: 2017. Will Jaromir or will Jaromir not make his 2017-18 debut at Staples Center?

“I’ll let you guys know tomorrow,” Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said. “We have a plan, though, of what we want to do, so I’ll let you guys know in the morning.”

The NHL’s all-time leader in game-winning and overtime goals, Jagr ended an overtime session by stuffing a Marek Zidlicky feed past Ben Scrivens early in the 2013-14 season for a 2-1 New Jersey win. He also had success in Los Angeles in his only season in the Western Conference one year prior, scoring twice at Staples Center as part of a 5-2 Dallas win on March 7, and followed that up two weeks later by scoring the game-winner in a 2-0 Stars victory.

Gulutzan confirmed that Mike Smith will start in net for the visitors, and when asked about what he has taken from a small sample size of the Kings’ play, shared an interesting bit about pace that isn’t too different from some of the words shared on this page in recent years.

“It looks like to me they’re playing a lot quicker. We were discussing that as a coaching group. All these games look quicker that we were watching,” Gulutzan said. “It was almost like, ‘did they put it a little faster on our TVs?’ To me, it looks like they’ve got a lot of pace to their game, and to me, I thought they always did. They play a real direct, north-south game, and when they got that on, you don’t need the fastest players to be fast if you support the puck well and you’re moving it forward. I always thought they’re hard to play against.”

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Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

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


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.

Drew Doughty

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


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.

Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.

Jeff Carter

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


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.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

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


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