A LOOK BACK AT 2007 PART I

Saturday, 12.29.2007 / 6:07 PM / Features
By Thomas LaRocca  - LAKings.com Staff Writer
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A LOOK BACK AT 2007 PART I

Two thousand and seven was a year with some ups and a few more downs for the young Los Angeles Kings. Fans bore witness to a historic comeback, some personal milestones, a new captain, eight different goaltenders, four of which made their NHL debut and a historic set of contests in London, England. Michael Cammalleri scored the most goals and scored the most points in 2007, scoring 36-41=77 in 76 games during the calendar year, Anze Kopitar was second with 25-39=64 in 70 games.

Without any further adieu, here is LAKings.com's month by month breakdown of 2007:

JANUARY
The club posted a 3-8-2 mark during the first month of year 2007, which began with a lot of promise when Alexander Frolov was named the NHL’s Second Star of the Week on Jan. 2 for the period ending Dec. 31. Frolov led all NHL scorers over that span, posting 10 points (four goals, six assists) in just four games.

The next night the Kings shut out the Blue Jackets, 3-0, with former Kings netminder Mathieu Garon stopping all 26 shots he faced in the win.

On Jan. 5, then-Kings prospect Jack Johnson, along with current prospects Jeff Zatkoff and Trevor Lewis won the Bronze Medal with Team USA following a 2-1 win over Sweden at the World Junior Championships in Sweden.

On Jan. 6, the Kings prevailed 4-2 over the Red Wings, extending the team’s point streak to three games with a 2-1 OT loss to the Oilers on Jan. 8 before suffering a six-game losing streak from Jan. 11 – 20.

During the streak a couple of interesting events occurred:

Jan. 13: Lubomir Visnovsky was selected to play in his first NHL All-Star game, while Anze Kopitar was selected to play in the YoungStars game in an announcement on Jan. 13. Later that night, the Kings made history with Yutaka Fukufuji becoming the first Japanese-born athlete to play in the NHL in a 6-5 loss to the Blues.

Jan. 18: Veteran goaltender Sean Burke was claimed off of waivers by the Kings to help stabilize the goaltending position, hit with injuries to Garon and Cloutier. Burke would appear in 23 games with the Kings posting a 6-10-6 mark with a 3.11 GAA and a .901 SV% before retiring in the fall.

Here is a feature on Burke.

Jan. 20: The Kings retired Luc Robitaille’s sweater in a ceremony prior to the Kings hosting the Coyotes at STAPLES…Fans flooded LAKings.com with emails filled with memories of No. 20. Did you miss the ceremony? Do you have 58 minutes on your hands?...enjoy.

The All-Star beak came at a good time for the Kings and saw Kopitar introduce himself to fans of the rest of the NHL, scoring two goals and adding three assists, but the East defeated the West, 9-8 at the NHL YoungStars Game. The next night, Visnovsky had a goal and an assist in the West’s 12-9 win at the All-Star Game.

Fresh off the break, Frolov scored two goals - the second in OT - as the Kings ended their losing skid with a 3-2 OT win at Vancouver on Jan. 26. The month, however, came to an end with a losses at Edmonton on Jan. 27 and Calgary on Jan. 30...Sandwiched in between L's was a trade with Calgary in which Los Angeles obtained Jamie Lundmark and Calgary Craig Conroy...unfortunately, Conroy tallied two goals in the Flames 4-1 win to close the month.

FEBRUARY
On the ice the Kings earned standing points in eight of the 10 games played in February, posting a 4-2-4 mark highlighted by a 7-0 rout of Florida on Feb. 3 with Burke making 40 saves for his 38th career shutout, and Frolov and Cammalleri each scoring twice.

The Kings added a 4-3 SO win over Anaheim with Cammalleri scoring a goal and adding two assists and Visnovsky converting the shoot-out winner on Feb. 18 and an exciting 6-5 SO win over Colorado on Feb. 24 when Rob Blake tied the game with four seconds left in regulation and Dustin Brown scored the deciding goal in the sixth round of a shootout and the Kings ended a seven-game home losing streak with the win.

A string of trades took place later that month, starting with Sean Avery being dealt to the Rangers on Feb. 5 in exchange for right wing Jason Ward, right wing Marc-Andre Cliche and center Jan Marek from the New York Rangers.

Derek Armstrong was then extended for two years on Feb. 14 and John Zeiler made his NHL debut on Feb. 17.

On Feb. 26, the Kings picked up two draft picks for Brent Sopel; Feb. 27 acquired a fifth-round selection in the 2007 from Tampa Bay for the previously acquired Jason Ward; acquired Jamie Heward from Washington and said goodbye to their Captain Mattias Norstrom acquiring D

The Kings said goodbye to long time captain Mattias Norstrom in a trade with the Dallas Stars in February.

Jaroslav Modry, a first-round draft choice in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, a second-round choice in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, a third-round draft choice in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and the rights to defenseman Johan Fransson from the Dallas Stars in exchange for Norstrom, right wing Konstantin Pushkarev, a third-round draft choice in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and a fourth-round draft choice in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

MARCH
The Kings went 5-6-4 during a streaky month of March. Another OT win over the Ducks on a Cammalleri goal on March 1, then a five-game losing streak (three of which were in over time) before winning four of six from March 12-23 (4-1-1 mark over that span) before finally closing out the month with a three-game losing streak.

On March 1 the Kings also made a historic announcement that they would open the 2007-08 season in London...much more on that later in 2007 Year in Review Part Two, which will be posted on New Year's Eve.

On the third Brian Willsie and his wife Kelly had their second child. On the 15th, the 2007 Miss USA Contestants made an appearance at STAPLES Center and oh yeah, there was a game too, with the Kings losing in the shootout, 4-3 to Chicago.

Obligatory Tara Conner photo.

The same night the Kings also hosted Carmen Electra for Head to Hollywood night, helping the foundation raise $30,000 for brain cancer survivors and their families.

Actress Carmen Electra, center, drops the puck as Rob Blake, left, and Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Adrian Aucoin, right, look on before the start of their hockey game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Thursday, March. 15, 2007. Electra hosted a night for her charity "Head To Hollywood" for brain cancer survivors to watch the game. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

Noah Clarke became the first native Southern Californian to score a goal for the Los Angeles Kings in a 5-1 win on March 12.

On St. Patrick's Day, Heward, Visnovsky and Mike Weaver scored on the Kings' first seven shots against Brian Boucher and Blake connected on the power play in a 5-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The four goals by defensemen was a season-high for the Kings...earlier that morning, Marc Crawford and Ken Hitchcock hosted a coaching clinic for hockey coaches.

Cammalleri kept up his torrid pace scoring two goals and rookie Patrick O'Sullivan had his first multi-point game in the NHL as the Kings won 5-3 over the Ducks, their third win in a row over the Ducks on March 18.

The Kings closed the month by signing prospects Joe Piskula and Jack Johnson.

APRIL
The Kings would lose the first three games of the month to extend a losing streak to six games which was snapped the last game of the season when the Kings gave fans the jerseys off their backs following an exciting 3-2 win over Phoenix. Kopitar scored his 20th goal of the season with 53 seconds remaining to provide the difference in the season finale. He became the first Kings rookie since Luc Robitaille (84 points, 1986-87) to reach 60 points in his inaugural campaign, while his 61 points were the fifth-highest total ever amassed by a Kings rookie.

The Kings finished the month 1-3-0 and the season 27-41-14.

Cammalleri and Associate Coach Mike Johnston were selected to represent Canada at the 2007 World Championship tournament while Jack Johnson also represented the USA.

Later in the month, the Kings signed Teddy Purcell, Brian Boyle and celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Miracle on Manchester...Boyle paid quick dividends scoring the Double OT game-winner as the Monarchs advanced to the Second Round of the AHL playoffs for the first time in franchise history with a 4-2 series win over the Worcester Sharks. The Monarchs would win the Atlantic Division title with a 4-2 series win over the Providence Bruins. The Monarchs post season run would come to an end, however against the Hershey Bears in the Eastern Conference Finals.

MAY
May was a quiet month for the Kings organization with some signings and some internal promotions in the organization.

LAkings.com relaunched on May 7, and later in the month, the Kings would sign Vladimir

Jonathan Bernier led the Lewiston MAINEiacs to the Memorial Cup Tournament.

Dravecky, Erik Ersberg, Patrik Hersley and Brad Murray to contracts.

The biggest news of the month may have been the promotion of Luc Robitaille to President, Business Operations.

Some Kings prospects shined during the month as D Ryan McGinnis and the OHL-winning Plymouth Whalers, as well QMJHL-winning Lewiston MAINEiacs, with Kings prospects G Jonathan Bernier and forward Cliche, made it to the Memorial cup comprised of the winning teams from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), the Western Hockey League (WHL) and the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).

Meanwhile, Johnston and Cammalleri won gold at the Hockey World Championships.

JUNE
The month of June started with some additions and promotions within the organization as Chad Smith named Strength and Conditioning coach, Michael Futa and Mark Yannetti named co-directors of Amateur Scouting.

LAKings.com brought you complete draft coverage from Nationwide Arena on June 22, the Kings shocked many with their selection of Thomas Hickey with the forth overall selection at the NHL Entry Draft.

The Kings followed that up by selecting 52nd overall C Oscar Moller, 61st overall, RW Wayne Simmonds, 82nd overall Bryan Cameron, then swapped picks with Washington to obtain the 95th overall selection, taking Alec Martinez, used the 109th overall selection on Dwight King, 124th overall Linden Rowat, 137th overall Joshua Turnbull, 184th overall Josh Kidd and finally 188th overall Matt Fillier.

June came to a close with the Kings signing Modry, Jeff Giuliano, Scott Parse, Hickey and Zeiler.

Check out LAKings.com on New Years Eve for a look back at the last six months of 2007

Continue to Part II