Good morning, Chicago - LA Kings Insider

Good morning, Chicago, good morning, Insiders, and good morning, uh, first back-to-back of the season.

It was an easy flight from Los Angeles that pushed back at 8:30 a.m. and landed in Chicago at 2:45 p.m. local time. It was a calm and uneventful flight, with only minimal turbulence right as we began our descent into Midway. We flew over Las Vegas and Colorado Springs before reaching the plains, where there aren’t as many visual markers. But I did happen to look out the window as we crossed the Mississippi River and the small town of Burlington, Iowa, that unless you’re a minor league baseball aficionado, you probably haven’t heard much of.

The Great River Bridge bisects the Mississippi River, linking Burlington and Southeast Iowa with Western Illinois.

In two of my three years working for the California League’s High Desert Mavericks (R.I.P.), we were a Kansas City affiliate, and the Burlington Bees were an affiliate that would often promote players to us from the full-season Midwest League. Players would go from a known pitcher’s haven in Burlington to the extreme, Arena Baseball environments of Adelanto, California and many other launching pad Cal League ballparks. From Adelanto, players would be promoted to Wichita in the Double-A Texas League. During these years, I built relationships with the other Royals broadcasters up and down the chain and regularly communicated with Burlington broadcaster and media guru Randy Wehofer. So, I was a bit surprised when I was sitting in a movie theater in Seattle, Washington in 2009 and watching the wonderful movie, Sugar, when Randy had a small role as a minor league broadcaster interviewing the titular character, Miguel “Sugar” Santos.

Sugar is an outstanding movie. I’d call it my favorite baseball movie ever made, but it’s really more about finding one’s self and the pursuit of happiness rather than baseball. It is much less a baseball movie than Major League is a baseball movie. But the writing-directing duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who also created Half Nelson and together directed the blockbuster Captain Marvel, which is scheduled to be released in March, went to painstaking lengths to nail so many details of minor league baseball play, camaraderie and lifestyle. And yes, it takes place in Iowa, and contains broad, panoramic shots of Modern Woodmen Park and Centennial Bridge, which towers over the Quad Cities River Bandits’ field in Davenport. If you’re a stadium or minor league baseball honk, it’s one of the more photographed and romanticized centers of lower-level professional ball.

More videos. Our descent into chilly Chicago came several hours after a quick snowstorm blew through the city:

The LA Kings will take the United Center ice at 11:30 a.m. There’s lots to come on a busy game day, Insiders. Let’s talk soon.

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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

#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.

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

#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.