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KINGS REPORT

Lineup Changes Coming Next?

November 01, 2000|JIM HODGES

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Kings had 1-0 leads in 10 of their first 12 games before Tuesday night, but found themselves down, 2-0, to the Columbus Blue Jackets and going nowhere after the first period of a 4-1 loss.

It was the third victory of the Blue Jackets' existence, and it came only 22 days after they lost to the Kings, 7-1.

There was a temptation to implode in the dressing room during the first intermission.

Coach Andy Murray, frequently red-faced when his team is red-faced, counseled patience.

Composure.

Winger Kelly Buchberger agreed.

"This isn't a time to point fingers," he said.

It might be a time to change the lineup.

The Kings stayed with the same unit that had lost, 3-1, at Phoenix on Saturday night, which meant that wingers Jason Blake and Craig Johnson sat, as did defenseman Aki Berg.

"Do we stay and see that the onus is put on the players who didn't get the job done?" asked Murray, rhetorically, of the decision to keep the lineup intact after the Phoenix debacle.

He also determined it was the lineup that gave the Kings the best chance to beat the Blue Jackets.

They didn't.

Murray also stayed with goalie Jamie Storr, who he figured "had turned the corner in the last two periods" at Phoenix.

Storr gave up three goals--a fourth was an empty-netter--on Tuesday night and has surrendered 16 in his last five games since spending some time on the bench.

He is 2-3 in those five games.

Murray said he probably would play Storr again on Thursday at Atlanta, but held out a final determination on the decision until after today's practice.

And a decision on the rest of the lineup is something else he's going to have to make.

*

The Kings have only three goals in their last 34 power-play opportunities.

*

WBNS-AM, the team's flagship radio station, disabused any notion that the Blue Jackets have taken over sports in Columbus as the city's only major league team. There's no question who's in charge in this city.

The Kings' first game in Columbus, on Oct. 9, was bumped for something called the Buckeye Round Table, which is apparently a two-hour radio show involving sports writers talking about Ohio State football. On Tuesday night, the Blue Jacket-King game was preempted by a two-hour talk show with Buckeye football Coach John Cooper.

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