Jim Fox: Greetings from Ottawa


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Editor’s note: The Kings aren’t televising tonight’s game against the Senators, but FS West TV analyst Jim Fox has agreed to share his thoughts and insights from rinkside in Ottawa, the city where he played junior hockey.

OTTAWA -- The game in Montreal was a tough pill to swallow. It’s easier to accept a loss when you know the team has not played well; it’s even more difficult when the team does play well, and comes out with nothing.

So many lessons to be learned this year. Knowing how to react when the game is on the line may be the most difficult to understand. Every little decision that you make has such a big impact on who wins or loses. There are so many factors. Who is fresh? Can discipline be maintained? Can you win an important face-off?


Ottawa has struggled all season long. Early in the season, there was so much focus on the effectiveness or lack of effectiveness of the goaltending. The numbers tell a different story.

The goals-against average has been OK, certainly not awful. The biggest issue may be the inability of the Senators’ defense to get the puck up to the forwards.

Craig Hartsburg is out and Cory Clouston is in. One topic that has been hanging over the Senators is whether this current players are ‘coach killers.’ I’m not exactly sure what this means, but chemistry probably has something to do with it. Skill and talent is one thing, getting everyone to believe and play together is another.

GM Bryan Murray had this to say about the departing Hartsburg, ‘Craig, like a lot of people in hockey, is a real nice guy … who wants to be your friend and sometimes didn’t take a hard stand.’ From everything I’ve heard about Clouston so far, this will change.

Of course, the Kings now have something else to worry about. You have to worry about your own team and your own game, but you also have to presume the Senators will be ready to go tonight. The first game after firing a coach usually catches the attention of the players.

Every start is important, but the first 10 minutes will carry extra importance tonight.


Being back in Ottawa is somewhat of a homecoming for me. I grew up about a six-hour drive north west of Ottawa, but I ended up playing three years in the Ontario Hockey League for the Ottawa 67’s.

This provided me with the steeping stone, the last stop before I was drafted by the Kings. So many great memories. Brian Kilrea, the longtime coach of the 67’s is still working as the bench boss. He will retire at the end of this season after 30 years as the team’s head coach, but will continue in scouting and GM positions.

Entering the 2008-09 season he had coached in a record 2088 games, which includes another Canadian Hockey League record, 1153 wins. He was inducted into the hockey Hall of Fame in 2003. He also has some very interesting ties to the Los Angeles Kings. In fact, he scored the first goal in Kings history. He had a short-lived NHL career, one game with the Red Wings and 25 with the Kings, but he will always be the one who scored the first goal for the old purple and gold.

Some of my family, my mother and my oldest brother (Michael) and his wife (Sandra) made the drive to Ottawa for a visit. My wife also has family in the Ottawa area, so I was able to get an extended visit in Ottawa. In fact, this afternoon I has a chance to go for a skate on the ‘World’s Largest Skating Rink,’ the Rideau Canal right here in Ottawa.

The last time I skated on the canal was back in 1977, it has been a while, but it is still beautiful, as long as you can handle the minus-five degree weather. After the skate, I also stopped by to visit with Brian Kilrea to catch up on things. All and all, it has been a great visit.

Now it’s just about game time as I write this. Our eyes will be on the Kings, but after the coaching change, all eyes will be on the Senators.

-- Jim Fox

Jim Fox is in his 19th season as the Kings’ TV color analyst on FS West. He spent his entire 10-year NHL career with the Kings, and at the start of this season ranked eighth on the club’s scoring list, eighth in assists and ninth in goals. He has also been the Kings’ director of community relations. He lives in Redondo Beach with his wife, Susie.