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Pro Hockey | KING REPORT

Only Difference Is the Results

November 27, 2001|Jerry Crowe

The Kings are only two points out of last place in the Western Conference, but the black cloud that seemed to be following them has lifted. They've won consecutive games for the first time and they're unbeaten in their last four.

"It seems like we're getting a little confidence, getting on a bit of a roll," winger Steve Heinze said Saturday after a 3-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks. "We've still got a long way to go, but it seems to be going in the right direction."

Why, nobody seems to know.

A players-only meeting in St. Paul, Minn., on Nov. 18 seemed to help, Heinze said. It followed a 4-2 loss to Detroit a night earlier at Detroit, perhaps the low point in the Kings' season considering their lackluster effort and Coach Andy Murray's biting comments afterward.

"We didn't show up against a great team and we addressed it," Heinze said. "We've had a lot of those meetings, though. Sometimes they work, sometimes you go, 'Oh, no. Another meeting.' But this one seemed to work."

Others aren't so sure.

"I wish I could say it was one thing," captain Mattias Norstrom said of the Kings' turnaround, which began with a 2-2 tie against the Minnesota Wild after they overcame an early two-goal deficit. "But it's nothing we didn't try three weeks ago. Nothing was said that wasn't said earlier--like a month ago."

Said defenseman Jaroslav Modry: "It doesn't matter what you say in the locker room. You've just got to stay positive and believe in yourself and your teammates--just work hard and work smart. Eventually, it's going to pay off."


Backup goaltender Jamie Storr has earned the decision in each of the Kings' last four games, starting three and relieving Felix Potvin in the other. Storr will start again Thursday night against the Edmonton Oilers, Murray said.

"I don't think it's touchy," Murray said of the situation. "It can only be touchy if you don't communicate and I've communicated pretty well with Felix and Jamie....

"We want to make sure that Felix knows that we will give him an opportunity, which we have done and we will do it again. He has to know that."

Potvin was the starter in all but one of the Kings' first 19 games.


Though they were given the day off, several players skated Monday at the Kings' practice facility in El Segundo, Adam Deadmarsh among them. Deadmarsh has sat out four consecutive games because of an abdominal strain.... The Kings' sellout Saturday was their third in 11 home games. Last season, the Kings played in front of 17 regular-season sellouts in Staples Center.... After their current five-game homestand ends with a game against the St. Louis Blues on Dec. 6, the Kings will play eight of their next 10 games and 13 of 18 on the road.

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