Kings look a few years from throne

first_imgNHL: Crawford says defense must step up for team to make playoffs. By Matthew Kredell STAFF WRITER Jonathan Bernier might not be on the roster in a month, but he reflects the state of Kings hockey as the 2007-08 season begins. The team opens play Saturday against the Ducks in London with a freshness and hope, but also uncertainty. Like their 19-year-old goalie the Kings have potential, but might not yet be ready. Marc Crawford, entering his second year coaching the team, said his goal was making the playoffs. That would be a significant step from last season, when the Kings finished 27-41-14 and in fourth place in the Pacific Division. The Kings were among the most active teams in the offseason, adding a number of players who will contribute, but no superstars. They join a mostly young team. The projected top line consists of 20-year-old Anze Kopitar, 22-year-old Dustin Brown and 25-year-old Michael Cammalleri. All three performed well last season – with Cammalleri leading the club with 80 points – and are expected to improve. Kopitar could turn into the star the offense lacks. He scored 61 points in 72 games as a rookie. In an exhibition in Austria this week, he had a hat trick. “My personal goals are higher,” Kopitar said. “I don’t want to expect too much from the season, but I’m going in with a lot more confidence. I understand the game a little more.” Rob Blake is expected to captain the team. The 37-year-old defenseman with 17 years experience is past his prime but adds a solid, veteran presence. He will help mentor the Kings’ up-and-coming young defenseman, Jack Johnson, the 20-year-old who came up for five games last season. “I hope you see a big upgrade in our defensive game,” Crawford said. “You look at the stats where we have to improve. Our goals against has to be down. We can’t hope to be in the playoffs if we don’t get our goals against down.” The Kings allowed 3.38 goals per game last season, 27th out of 30 teams in the NHL. That’s where Bernier could come in. He has been the Kings’ best goaltender in the preseason but General Manager Dean Lombardi is understandably wary of ruining the team’s 2006 first-round selection by throwing him on the ice before he is ready. Few top NHL goalies have been regular starters at age 19. Patrick Roy played in 47 games for Montreal when he was 20, though that was after three years in juniors compared to one for Bernier. Grant Fuhr played 48 games for Edmonton in 1981-82, when he was 19, but spent half of the next season down in the minors. The Kings probably will keep Bernier through the first nine games as a tryout. At that time, they would have to send him to juniors or use a full year of his contract. If Bernier doesn’t start, the team likely will turn to Jason LaBarbera, who started 21 games for the Kings two years ago before spending last season in the minors. Jean Sebastien-Aubin, a free-agent acquisition, made the trip to London. Whether he spends the season with the Kings or in the minors depends on Bernier. The Kings sent their most experienced goalie, Dan Cloutier, to American Hockey League affiliate Manchester to rehab after missing much of the last two seasons with injuries. If the Kings try to recall Cloutier during the season, other teams will have the chance to claim him at half his $3.1 million salary. Other newcomers expected to contribute include center Michal Handzus, forwards Kyle Calder and Ladislav Nagy and defensemen Tom Preissing and Brad Stuart. The trips to Austria and London gave the players a chance to get acquainted. “We got to know each other a little bit and hopefully we’ll jell as a team and take off right from the beginning,” center Derek Armstrong said. Adding urgency to the Kings’ rebuilding quest is the opponent Saturday and Sunday. The rival Ducks, a 15-year-old franchise, won the Stanley Cup in June – something Kings fans have been after for 40 years. “When you’re going up against a Goliath like Anaheim down the street, it forces you to work harder,” Lombardi said. “It’s just human nature.” [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more


first_imgLe Mattiú O Duffaigh: MORE THAN 100 students from County Donegal will travel to Belfast this Friday – to stage a gig promoting the Irish language and cross-community involvement in it.Beo was founded by the secondary schools of Letterkenny to promote Irish through music and music promotion, with Coláiste Ailigh, St Eunan’s College, Loreto Secondary School and Errigal College all involved.Now Beo will be hosting another gig, this time in the Oh Yeah Centre in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter. And among those who will be there will be Irish language enthusiast Linda Ervine, whose later brother-in-law David went from loyalist paramilitary to one of the founders of the peace process in the PUP.Friday’s festival aims to promote the Irish language, helps young Irish bands hoping to develop, but most importantly, to spark interest in the minds of the younger generation. The students organise the event, from booking tickets, to filming the concert. Beo’s popularity continues to grow around the country with each passing year.Bands such as Disconnect 4, Not Squares, The Gandhis, Jamaican Vampires and many others have contributed their musical efforts to these events.On this particular occasion, the bands “Apollo 6”,”Paper Boy” and “More Than Conquerors” will be playing in the Oh Yeah Centre in Belfast. These bands have been praised for their “good personalities” and for their “fresh new alternative rock sound” by fans.Multiple schools have agreed to partake in this event, including Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair, Deele College and the schools that founded Beo listed above. From the Belfast area, St Malachy’s College and Gaelcholáiste Feirste are confirmed to be attending the concert.Linda Ervine has set up Irish classes in east Belfast.”I did actually attempt to learn Irish, but couldn’t find anywhere I could go to, so it was in my mind for a very long time, but it wasn’t an option,” she said.Gordon McCoy of Ultach, will also make an appearance. He is known also for his work in promoting the Irish language in Unionist areas and for writing books and academic articles based on the Irish language. What? Beo Live:Where? Oh Yeah Centre, Gordon Street, Belfast (beside St Anne’s Cathedral)When? 7pm FridayHow Much? Admission £4 Details? Strictly Under-18s and Alcohol FreeAny other info…More details are available by emailing [email protected] STUDENTS TAKING BEO GIG TO BELFAST AND ACROSS THE COMMUNITIES was last modified: January 14th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:BelfastBeoColaiste Ailighlast_img read more

Draymond Green pushes back on criticism surrounding DeMarcus Cousins’ defense

first_imgOAKLAND – For a man who usually loves talking trash, Draymond Green became agitated over all the punchlines and commentary surrounding DeMarcus Cousins’ recent defense.In the Warriors’ 122-105 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Friday at Oracle Arena, Cousins finished with 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting along with six blocks and three steals in 28 minutes. So, Green pushed back with the kind of force he usually displays on the court.“Everybody wants to talk [junk] about DeMarcus’ defense,” …last_img

Win sparks US football frenzy

first_imgThe outcome of the 2009 FifaConfederations Cup is now an Americanaffair.(Image: Wikimedia Commons) reporterFind out more about using materialThe US football team’s entry into the Confederations Cup final after their shock win over heavyweights Spain has sparked enormous American interest in the 2010 Fifa World Cup, according to officials.“There is huge demand for World Cup tickets. Already 93 000 have been sold and the response since last night’s victory has been incredible,” Jermaine Craig, the 2010 Local Organising Committee’s media officer, said at a media briefing at Johannesburg’s Ellis Park Stadium on Thursday.“There’s phenomenal excitement from the US,” he added.The initially disregarded US team trounced European champions Spain in a 2-0 victory in the Confederations Cup semifinal at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Wednesday.The win would do much to boost football in the US, said Nicolas Maingot, Fifa’s head of media, pointing out that the sport had been developing there for many years. “A result like this can only help,” he said.The US media spared no adjectives in its reaction to the victory. The prestigious New York Times ran with the story in its digital edition almost as soon as the final whistle had blown. Under the headline “US Victory Was a Miracle on Grass”, the newspaper compared the win to the “Miracle on Ice”, the famous victory by its amateur ice-hockey players over the mighty Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics.Reporter George Vecsey ranked the win as “Probably the greatest victory by the men’s national soccer team”, before going on to compare the result to some of the greatest performances in US soccer history.“But for these 90 minutes on Wednesday, the Americans were better than the Spaniards – brave and smart and lucky, too. And they will always have this result, like the Americans who shocked England in the 1950 World Cup, a simpler time, and the Americans who demoralised Mexico and then nearly beat Germany in the giddy quarter-final in the World Cup in 2002.”Putting the shock scoreline into perspective, Vecsey wrote: “Nobody in the American soccer federation will dare to claim that this was the day the country came of age in the world’s most important sport.“But this was a step.”Meanwhile, South Africa coach Joel Santana has said his team could take much encouragement from their semifinal performance against Brazil on Thursday night, despite being knocked out of the tournament by the 1-0 score.Bafana Bafana looked inspired at a packed Ellis Park Stadium, with their determination and creative midfield play causing the Confederations Cup defending champions plenty of trouble. But home hearts were broken two minutes before the end when substitute Daniel Alves rifled in a free kick to silence the near 50 000 crowd and book the South Americans a date with US in Sunday’s final.“My players looked very balanced for most of the game,” Santana said. “They looked very calm and relaxed without much nervousness. It seemed like we would hold on, but Brazil used their experience in the set-piece at the end and won the game.“The important thing is that we are very proud to have played in the way we did against a national team that is recognised as one of the best in the world. We were able to hold our own, which was quite noteworthy. With the World Cup in mind, we should remember that we still have another year to prepare ourselves.”Santana, a Brazilian, said he enjoyed the “emotional night” of his players taking on his fellow countrymen, but preferred to focus on his newly adopted country, which he believes has the potential to make further headway in 2010.Do you have queries or comments about this story? Email Mary Alexander at [email protected]last_img read more