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Pro Hockey | KING REPORT

Home-Ice Edge Does Not Exist

January 01, 2002|Jerry Crowe

For the Kings, home is where the heartache is.

Coach Andy Murray's Kings are 7-8-4-1 on the road, which ranks near the middle of the pack among the NHL's 30 teams, but they are only 7-8-3-1 in Staples Center, which ranks among the league's worst home records.

Last season, en route to their second consecutive 90-point campaign, the Kings were 20-12-8-1 in Staples Center, 18-16-5-2 on the road.

"We've been pretty good on the road this year," Murray said Monday. "It's really our home record that's let us down. If we're sitting here at home now five or six games above .500, things look a lot different....

"It's one thing to say you play hard and you battle, but we've got to get points and we haven't been as dominant at home as we should be. I don't know if there's anything concrete that we could say is a problem. You can look at reasons and talk about long road trips and coming back [tired], but that's just sugarcoating it. We just haven't played good."

Only the Mighty Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers and Atlanta Thrashers have been worse in front of their hometown fans.

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Murray said that Ziggy Palffy and Mathieu Schneider could return to the lineup for Wednesday night's home-stand finale against the Panthers. Schneider, however, described himself as doubtful after participating in his first full practice since mid-November. Palffy said that he will play.... When Randy Robitaille was activated from the injured list Saturday, Steve Kelly was reassigned to the Kings' American Hockey League team at Manchester, N.H. Barring other injuries, two more players will be shipped out once Palffy and Schneider are activated.

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