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The Breakdown

October 05, 2005

* 2003-04 record: 28-29-16-9, 81 points, third in Pacific Division.

* The coach: Andy Murray, sixth season.

* Who's gone: Jason Allison, Anson Carter, Roman Cechmanek, Adam Deadmarsh, Trent Klatt, Ian Laperriere, Jaroslav Modry, Ziggy Palffy, Martin Straka, Josef Stumpel.

* Who's new: Valeri Bure, Craig Conroy, Pavol Demitra, Mathieu Garon, Jeremy Roenick.

* Projected lines: Frolov-Roenick-Cammalleri; Robitaille-Armstrong-Bure; Brown-Conroy-Demitra; Cowan-Belanger-Avery.

* Projected defense pairings: Norstrom-Visnovsky; Gleason-Miller; Corvo-Dempsey.

* Projected goalie rotation: The hope is Garon plays 55-65 games, with LaBarbera filling in.

* Keys to the season: After spending the 2003-04 season as Jose Theodore's caddy in Montreal, Garon has to live up to his potential and be the No. 1. goaltender the Kings believe he can be. If he is not, lots of trouble ahead. LaBarbera is also inexperienced. If Garon can't carry the load, the Kings may have to scramble and trade for a veteran. Everything else seems fine, if all stay healthy. The team is deep at forward, providing Roenick doesn't show his age and Cammalleri shows maturity. There are no big names on defense, but the group is solid. Avoiding injuries, which didn't happen in training camp, is a must.

* Outlook: Pieces could be there, but as with everyone else in the NHL, who knows? It's a brave-new-collective-bargaining-agreement world. A Pacific Division title? Why not? Well, possibly the Mighty Ducks and San Jose.

* Tickets: (888) 546-4752.

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THE WEEK AHEAD

3 GAMES

* Tonight, at Dallas, 5:30 FSN West -- The hockey world returns, but what kind of world is it? Dallas was a top team last time the NHL played. The Kings hit the wall, losing their last 11 in 2003-04. All that seems eons ago after the bitter lockout. Are the Stars still among the elite? Can the Kings end a losing streak that spans 18 months? Stay tuned.

* Thursday, vs Phoenix, 7:30 p.m., FSN West -- The last exhibition between the teams resulted in a concussion for Jeremy Roenick, a few hundred harsh words and two misconduct penalties. "It's over, we've moved on," King Coach Andy Murray said afterward. Yeah, but hockey players, like elephants, never forget.

* Sunday, vs. Minnesota, 1 p.m., FSN West -- The Wild is among the teams everyone is watching because of the new rules that the NHL hopes will eliminate obstruction. Jacques Lemaire, the Wild coach, has spent his career teaching obstruction.

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