Kempe goal, assist; LA's South Korea ties; more from Worlds - LA Kings Insider

ADRIAN KEMPE GOAL ALERT | Sweden won big over Austria at the World Championship, and “Kempe is having a night playing on the scoring line” was a note that was shared on the broadcast. With a goal and an assist – in 19:56 of game time, most among Sweden’s forwards – Kempe now has one goal, four points and a plus-three rating after games against Belarus, Czech Republic, France and Austria. At 1:19 of the video, well after his goal, he also used his speed to set up a goal for the second straight game:

Kempe was a major power play presence for Sweden at World Juniors, especially during his four-goal, eight-point tournament as a newly-turned 18-year-old in 2015. There are a number of directions his career may lead. It would be interesting if Increasingly Effective Power Play Option develops within his NHL-level skill set.

No pictures of Kempe today, sadly.

L.A. CONNECTION | South Korea is participating in this tournament, having been promoted along with Austria from a pool that also included Kazakhstan, Poland, Hungary and Ukraine. (Slovenia and Italy were the corresponding relegations to Division I). This followed up an Olympic campaign that they participated in as the host team and, in the absence of any wins or points, did manage to capture the rapt attention of wildly enthusiastic home crowds. It has been an interesting several years as South Korean hockey has grown to the point that it qualified for the top-flight World Championship and boasts a highly competitive domestic team in Anyang Halla of the Asia League that allows a good portion of their top players to play together.

They’re also coached by Jim Paek, acquired in the Marty McSorley/Tomas Sandstrom swap and an LA King from February 15 to June 25, 1994, and assistant coach Richard Park, who grew up mainly in the Los Angeles area before moving to Toronto. Together, they’ve helped provide some sturdiness at the national level for South Korea.


Soon his mind travels to the same story that he told colleagues at that British Columbia conference, one he has shared many times since taking over South Korea’s ice hockey operations in July 2014. The road to PyeongChang was steep back then. The men’s team was ranked 23rd in the world, sandwiched between Great Britain and Poland, lacking homegrown talent with only 120 male players registered nationwide. Infrastructure that Paek took for granted at his former gig as an assistant with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins was similarly absent, typical rink fixtures such as stick tape and glove dryers; he recalls South Korean players begging opposing equipment managers to sharpen their skates.

Several months later, Paek outlined an exhaustive, four-year plan at the IIHF’s semi-annual congress meetings in Spain, hoping to convince the governing body that South Korea deserved automatic hockey bids as Olympic hosts. Detailed down to a weekly schedule, the proposal scripted a path for the national programs heading into PyeongChang, counting upon various international tournaments to strengthen their competitiveness. It also explained methods geared toward bolstering the entire system, like how to develop new youth referees and coaches. “Every part of hockey, we tried to put inside into our presentation,” Paek says. “It wasn’t just, ‘Okay, you’re the host team, you’re in.’ There was a lot of work behind the scenes.”

I wish I could share photos of Paek and Park from this current tournament, but none are available. Instead, here’s a slick Bruce Bennett image of Paek looking to out-hustle Brian Bellows to a puck:

B Bennett/Getty Images

::breathes in early-1990’s NHL color scheme, fulfillingly exhales::

A two-time Cup winner, Paek is the first player of Korean descent to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup. The defenseman’s only Stanley Cup Playoffs goal came on a two-on-one with Mario Lemieux in the Cup-clinching Game 6 at the Met Center in 1991.

Park, who represented the United States at prior World Championships and World Junior Championships, also has a pretty big goal to his name. The Athletic’s Chad Graff ($) caught up with Park before the Olympics in an interview that touched on his upbringing and how he and Paek have reinforced South Korean hockey infrastructure at many levels.

The aforementioned Pittsburgh-Minnesota series marked Ralph Strangis’ first year as a North Stars broadcaster. Some fun news on the broadcaster who did a tremendous job serving in Bob Miller’s absence last season:

An epic Game 7 awaits, but could you imagine if Ralph and Jim and the rest of the media ends up shuttling back and forth for two weeks between Nashville and Las Vegas? Godspeed to you brave souls. Get some sleep.

-Lead photo via Martin Rose/Getty Images

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

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


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

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

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


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

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

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

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.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

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


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.