NHL commissioner Gary Bettman just met the press underneath the stands at Staples Center and was asked about the prospects for staging one of the league's popular New Year's Day outdoor games here. His answer — that he assumed the suggestion was a joke — was surprising. Reasonable, but still surprising given that the CEO of the Kings, Tim Leiweke, talked up the idea in an interview last week. Bettman said he's not aware of serious interest, but said if there is the league would study the feasibility.
* Updates from Game 4 of the Kings-Canucks series:
- The first Canucks suck chant broke out about two minutesin, followed soon after by derisive singing of Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo's last name.
- The Canadian media opened the questioning of Bettman with some pointed suggestions that the league favors the Kings. He looked exasperated.
- First penalty is called against the Kings. Canucks power play &mash; Kings killed it off, went on the power play after Vancouver was called for its second too-many-men penalty of the series, then scored to make it 1-0 Kings. The goal was acored by Drew Doughty, the 20-year-old defenseman.
- The teams exchanged goals early in the 2nd, 2-1 Kings on a goal by captain Dustin Brown.
- 2-2 on a Canucks goal by ex-King Pavol Demitra. 3:38 left in the 2nd period.
- Kopitar tap in on a delayed penalty puts the Kings up again, 3-2.
- OK, tie game 4-4 with 5:34 left. Fans having fun.
- 44 seconds left, 5-4 Canucks, Kings net is empty. Stay tuned.
- But not long. Canucks pot the empty netter after Drew Doughty turns over the puck. 6-4 final, with a little pushing and shoving at the end.
- Afterwards, Kings players and coach Terry Murray tried to find the positive takeaway in a game where they gave up 4 goals in the final period — losing the lead, the game and their edge in the series. The Kings made a series of mistakes in the final period, but Murray's take seems to be that it's all good. Most of the Kings' core players are young and new to the pressure and intensity of playoff games, so any wisdom they pick up this year will make them better in future seasons (when the expectation of winning will be higher than it is this year, though he can't say that.) In the meantime, this series returns to Vancouver on Friday, then a Sunday game 6 back in L.A. where one of the teams will face elimination. The time of Sunday's game has yet to be announced.