The Kings returned to the ice today for practice following an exciting day off, more on that later. Here are some notes from the day.
KINGS TO ATTEND YOUTH PRACTICE
Nelson Emerson, Matt Moulson, Dustin Brown and Brian Willsie will be at Culver Ice Arena in Culver City to do a youth clinic on Thursday from 5:15 - 6:15 p.m., working with Mites and Squirts (ages 6-12).
The Kings player and coaches will work with the beginning level players, 28 skaters and two goalies for the hour-long session with an autograph session afterwards to follow.
KINGS PARTICIPATE IN ROYAL RACE
During the Kings off day yesterday, the team took part in a team building exercise and arrived at Toyota Center at 7:30 a.m., not knowing what to expect. All players were brought into dressing room where several cameramen were awaiting.
There the Royal Race concept and rules were explained; Wallets and cell phones were collected and a tape from Jerry Bruckheimer, exececutive producer of the Amazing Race, was played. Team Captains were named and the teams were divided up - four teams. Vans with the cameramen then took each of the five-member teams to a different location around town (the players did not know where they were going). One van went to Dodger Stadium; one went to Venice Beach; one went to Torrance and one went to Manhattan Beach.
Upon arrival, tasks were given by a Kings coach who was at each site - hit a ball on the fly to the outfield grass (Tommy Lasorda assisted group); have an artist stretch a photo of one of your teammates near Muscle Beach; teach a 10-minute lesson to a classroom at Torrance Elementary; stand on a surfboard in the Ocean for five seconds.
"It was a fun day, I loved every competition,” Lubomir Visnovsky said. "It was my first time at Dodgers Stadium and it was my first time surfing. I had a great time.”
Jack Johnson enjoyed the surfing task the most, though it was a little intimidating at first: "I was a little nervous going into the ocean, it was fun and I am glad I tried it.
"When you come out to California, you have to try it.”
Once that task was completed, they received their next clue from the on-site coach. However, they had to find and take city cabs to get to the next location (a van with a team trainer followed the cabs and paid for the cabs).
During one of the legs they could not take a cab and had to "beg or barter" for a ride. There was a fifth location - Hollywood; task was to find Bob Miller's Star on the Walk of Fame where they then received a clue to find Jim Fox, who was hiding in a two-block radius of Bob's star.
The tasks were set up in a pin-wheel manner...so if a team started at Manhattan Beach where they surfed, they then went to Torrance Elementary to teach, they then went to Dodger Stadium where they hit the ball, they then went to Hollywood where they took part in the dual-task; they then went to Venice Beach for the street artist. After the teams completed the five tasks, they all went in vans to a post-event party at Sharks Cove in Manhattan Beach.
According to rumors at the post party at Sharks Cove, John Zeiler hit the ball farthest at Dodgers Stadium.
"I played a lot of baseball growing up, it was fun to get out there and take some swings,” he said. "It was real neat to get to Dodgers Stadium and hit some balls, the Stadium was amazing and the grass was unbelievable.
"It was just a great experience, the whole amazing race thing.”
The Royal Race will air in the coming weeks as a special show on FSN West.
ALL-STAR BALLOTS RELEASED
Four Kings have appeared on the 2008 NHL All-Star ballot, twhich was released on Monday. Defensemen Rob Blake and Lubomir Visnovsky, as well as forwards Michael Cammalleri and Anze Kopitar were named on the ballot.
Blake talked about the ballot on Wednesday.
"I have been fortunate enough to play in a few," the seven-time all-star said. "They are always an exciting time. It?s fun to see the young guys starting to come into their own and appear on the ballet.
"They are off to great starts where they can get recognition for their play."
Visnovsky, who was an all-star last season, downplays the nomination a bit.
"I play hockey for the Kings, not for all-stars. I don’t think about all-stars, I think about the team playing better and trying to win every game.”
Kopitar, who played at the YoungStars game last season, enjoyed the event and would be honored to return: "It was a great experience to be a part of that. I haven’t had the chance, not even close, to be apart of that type of event before. All of the best hockey players in the world were there and it was special just talking to the guys there. It was a big thing for me.
"If the fans think I am good enough to play in the all star game then please vote for me."