Coach Barry Melrose sat in his office at the team's practice facility in Culver City Thursday morning, discussing the Kings' future.
He made it clear that the shelf life of this team would expire after February. Despite an impressive start, Melrose has spotted flaws.
"We're not big enough to play like this for 80 games," he said of the Kings' up-tempo, hard-hitting style. "It's hard for little men--like the (Corey) Millens, the (Mike) Donnellys and the (Tony) Granatos--to do it for 80 games.
"When we make deals, it will be for big, young men who can come back into the play. Personally, I'd like it done tomorrow."
Melrose didn't have to wait long. After Thursday's victory over New Jersey, the Kings acquired defenseman Jeff Chychrun from Pittsburgh for defenseman Peter Ahola. Chychrun, who is 6 feet 4 and 215 pounds, had played in only one game this season and was suspended by the Penguins after remaining behind in his native Ottawa on Oct. 28.
Last season, Chychrun started with the Kings and played 26 games before being traded to Pittsburgh in the deal for Paul Coffey.
Chychrun isn't considered the last piece of the puzzle, by any means, but Melrose is slowly starting to change faces, putting his own stamp on the Kings.
His desire to make moves is offset by General Manager Nick Beverley's caution.
"He is very analytical," Melrose said of Beverley. "He plays off me well. You can't trade in passion. Some of the best deals are the ones you don't make."
You never know what will pop up in those collectible catalogues.
--A signed, custom-framed photo of Reggie Jackson--$119.95.
--Joe Montana's signed San Francisco 49er jersey in home scarlet, framed--$369.95.
--One Boeing 727-100 customized airplane--$5 million.
The plane has been in King owner Bruce McNall's airport hangar, collecting dust while the team takes commercial flights.
The sales pitch, in part: "Meticulously cared for by its present owner, this powerful and spacious Boeing 727-100 is the ultimate Kings collectible. McNall wanted to create the most luxurious travel experience imaginable for his team. . . . Now your company, family or just 70 of your best friends can enjoy the same level of comfort and relaxation that helped (Wayne) Gretzky and the Kings perform to their highest potential."