Good morning, St. Paul - LA Kings Insider

Good morning, St. Paul, and good morning, Insiders.

Finally, I’ll address the question you’ve all desperately – wantonly – asked and have called out in the middle of the night for years upon years.

What makes a good road hotel?

There are a number of criteria that go into determining this. Among them:
-Distance to the arena
-Comfortable room and functional WiFi
-Quality hotel restaurant and cozy bar
-Munters unit

Sadly, this room is free of a Munters View. But the team hotel in St. Paul checks virtually all other boxes. It’s very close to the arena, separated only by a small town square in which you can say hello to Herb Brooks before entering the RiverCentre complex. The room is fine; the WiFi works. I’m not sure whether to add or deduct points for the distinguished rollerball pens that add calligraphic tones to my chickenscratch (but also break and bleed easily if you decide to take them with you when leaving Minnesota).

Most of all, this hotel may have the best restaurant and bar in the entire Western Conference. The restaurant is an upscale steakhouse with excellent service (and a terrific New York strip) that isn’t too different from The Grill. But the narrow bar and accompanying booths and high-top tables add a nice option if you’d prefer to not venture outside and want to watch hockey or football or baseball or what-have-you. This isn’t a gastropub or a simple bar-fare-and-beer place; at lunch, they’re known for their pepper noodle soup (recommended strongly by Nick Nickson). It’s not really representative of anything, but I’ll always remember dining there on the eve of the 2013-14 season as heavy thunderstorms – not usually the weather we experience here – passed outside and those in the traveling party were buoyed by the eternal wellspring of hope on the precipice of what would be a fine, fine season for the LA Kings.

Yelp review over! The team landed at MSP some 10 minutes before 5:00 p.m. local time. We taxied quite a bit upon departure, but because LAX was in Easterly Operations, we took off over Westchester instead of the ocean, shaving several minutes off the flight. All in all, we were airborne for approximately three hours before touching down in the Twin Cities amidst cool and overcast conditions that surely could’ve been worse, given that, you know, we’re in Minnesota in January.

The Wild, coming off a 7-4 loss in Philadelphia last night, aren’t skating this morning. The Kings, on the other hand, will take the Xcel Energy Center ice at 11:30. After that: pepper noodle soup. There’s a lot more to come on a busy game day, Insiders. Let’s talk soon.

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.