May 29, 2012 |
Every goal Anze Kopitar scores, every save Jonathan Quick makes, every shoulder-to-body message Dustin Brown sends, Dave Taylor is there. The Kings are in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1993, a massive rebuilding project that General Manager Dean Lombardi has nearly completed. Taylor, his predecessor, left him some building blocks. Brown, Kopitar and Quick - the three essential ingredients in this playoff run - were Taylor draft picks, though he is quick to pass the praise like a puck.
November 13, 2010 |
For all the things the Kings have accomplished during the best start in franchise history, there's one thing that has so far eluded them. They're still trying to develop a swagger. And if you don't think that's tough, just try doing it while on skates. "You need to have a little bit of a swagger in your stride as an athlete and as a team," Coach Terry Murray said. "It's a very hard thing to capture [but] it can get you through some very difficult times during the heavy part of the season.
May 1, 2013 |
ST. LOUIS - From being overwhelmed by the Blues' frenzied forechecking at the start to losing on a stunning misplay by Jonathan Quick at the end, the Kings know they must improve in several areas to leave Scottrade Center on Thursday with a split of the first two games of their opening-round playoff series. Speaking after an optional practice Wednesday, the morning after the team's 2-1 overtime loss at St. Louis, Coach Darryl Sutter was clear about who must step up. Asked how the Kings can counter the Blues' energetic fourth line of Chris Porter, Ryan Reaves and Adam Cracknell, Sutter was blunt: "Some of the boys that play on our fourth line have to play like big boys.
December 9, 2010 |
Concerned that a four-day break between games might leave his players passive against the Calgary Flames on Thursday, Kings Coach Terry Murray gathered them for a talk at center ice after their morning skate. He told them they'd have to build their intensity before they even got to Staples Center and prepare for a fast and physical game against a team that historically gives them fits. Sometimes players' eyes glaze over when a coach speaks. The Kings listened, battling in every area of the ice to scratch out a 2-1 victory and stretch their winning streak to three games.
January 21, 2012 |
One effective line and one goal were not nearly enough for the Kings on Saturday night, a refrain that is becoming all too familiar. Their 3-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche, played before a restless crowd at Staples Center, was another example of their offensive shortcomings and inability to get the balance and depth they need to make an impact in the Western Conference. Worn down by Colorado's physical play in the early going, the Kings mustered four shots in the first period against Jean-Sebastien Giguere and 26 overall.
March 20, 2012 |
So this was the Kings' strategy: to torture themselves and their increasingly queasy fans through 60 painfully low-scoring games and then reinvent themselves as a productive team that appears to be peaking at the right time. With the West playoff race grinding along in lock-step, now is the time to get hot. The Kings, newly balanced offensively after the arrival of Jeff Carter and benefiting from the vigor of rookies Slava Voynov, Jordan Nolan and Dwight King, continued their revival Tuesday with a 5-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center.
February 9, 2013 |
NASHVILLE — Change was afoot — or more accurately — on the ice Saturday shortly before the Kings finally left what turned into their home most of the week, Nashville. Defenseman Keaton Ellerby, acquired from Florida for a fifth-round pick Friday, practiced with the Kings and was paired with Drew Doughty. Line combinations were shuffled for more balance, at least for the moment, and Jeff Carter was moved back to center. Then there were the necessary props given to Anze Kopitar's native Slovenia.
October 9, 2010 |
Blood was still oozing from a cut on the left side of Anze Kopitar's face, just above the lip, well after the Kings had rallied for a 2-1 shootout victory over the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena in both teams' season opener. After taking an inadvertent stick in the face on the follow-through of a clearing pass by Vancouver's Manny Malhotra at 8:57 of the second period, Kopitar needed 15 stitches on the outside of his mouth and three on the inside. He also lost a false tooth. "I look like a hockey player now," he said, his grin lopsided.
January 8, 2013 |
The NHL's lockout of players is likely to drag on until this weekend, after the collective bargaining agreement they tentatively forged early Sunday is completed, reviewed and ratified. But a lock that was open Monday at the Kings' El Segundo practice facility symbolized the beginning of a return to hockey normalcy. The door leading to their locker room was no longer deadbolted, giving players entry to dress and shower in luxury. Lockout rules had banished them to a cramped public locker room when they had rented ice for informal workouts, but those rules have been relaxed.
December 5, 2010 |
The Red Wings were coming at the Kings in waves early in the first period Saturday. Their passes were precise, their checks jarring, their plays made at a breathtaking pace ? every element was there to intimidate the Kings, who had wobbled through seven losses in their previous nine games. This time, the Kings didn't falter. In perhaps their most impressive effort of the season, they rallied for a 3-2 overtime victory at Staples Center and vaulted from ninth to fourth in a tightly packed Western Conference that's still led by Detroit.