Hand-wringing was the order of the day Sunday for the Kings, who treated Saturday night's 4-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets as if it were a playoff game instead of one of 82 during an interminable regular season.
Of course, it didn't help that they'd also lost two of their previous three games at Staples Center, most recently Thursday against Nashville.
Originally scheduled for a day off, the players were told to report for an 11 a.m. practice that would not require pucks. In other words: Skate till you drop. Some were brought into Coach Andy Murray's office to meet with the coach, his assistants and General Manager Dave Taylor.
It was not for a pat on the back.
Then, at the appointed hour, with the players dressed for practice, they were told, via a message on a grease board, to go home.
"That was a message in itself: We're not very happy, get out of here," Murray said. "People may say, 'You're overreacting; it's only a loss.' But we take the losses more seriously than the wins. That's the feeling I want to have."
Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky, sidelined since Nov. 23 because of back spasms, will try to practice today and might be able to play Tuesday night at Nashville, Murray said.... Because of injuries, the Kings' top line of Jason Allison, Ziggy Palffy and Adam Deadmarsh has been intact for only four games, producing 16 points, eight by Allison.... Craig Johnson, weakened by flu, sat out the last two games, but Murray said he might not have played anyway. The veteran winger has two points in 24 games, none in his last 17, and hasn't scored a regular-season goal since March 4, a 36-game drought. He scored 13 last season.
-- Jerry Crowe