LA Kings Darryl Sutter On Dustin Brown: “We Need Him To Play The Role That He’s Played For Us When We’ve Been A Successful Team”

LA Kings forward and captain Dustin Brown, shown here
addressing the crowd at Staples Center in Los Angeles during
the team’s 2014 Stanley Cup Championship Rally.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The Los Angeles Kings are on a roll, having won five straight games, not to mention ending December with a franchise record in wins and points, earning a 10-3-1 record (21 points) last month.

The Kings end a stretch in which they will have played 16 of their last 22 games on the road tonight in Denver where they will face the Colorado Avalanche. But heading into tonight’s contest, the Kings have earned an impressive 9-4-2 record in the 15 previous road games with play that has been at least somewhat reminiscent of how they played during their playoff run in 2012, leading to the first Stanley Cup Championship in what was then their 45-year history.

Especially during their previous road trip in which they earned a 4-0 record against Phoenix, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary—all Pacific Division rivals, one player stood out, not only because of his strong play, but also because of his previous lack of production.

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LA Kings LW Michael Mersch Talks About Move Up To The NHL, First NHL Goal

LA Kings left wing Michael Mersch
(click above to view larger image)
Photo courtesy National Hockey League

EL SEGUNDO, CA — For many National Hockey League rookies, it takes dozens of games, often a lot more than that, for them to record their first NHL point, let alone score their first NHL goal.

For Los Angeles Kings rookie left wing Michael Mersch, it took just nine games.

The 6-2, 218-pound native of Park Ridge, Illinois scored his first NHL goal and tallied his first NHL point at the 5:42 mark of the second period on December 29, helping lead the Kings to a 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place in Edmonton.

Mersch, whose game is trademarked by his net-front presence, scored the goal in typical Michael Mersch fashion, as he won a loose puck battle in the right corner, and then took the puck straight to the front of the net. Using a power move, he took the puck to the goalmouth and slid it between the leg pads of Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot.

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Goalie Peter Budaj Is Resurrecting Pro Career With Ontario Reign, LA Kings

LA Kings number three goaltender, Peter Budaj, shown here playing
for the AHL’s Ontario Reign.
{click above for larger image}
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

ONTARIO, CA — It wasn’t all that long ago when the Los Angeles Kings looked completely set in goal for the foreseeable future.

The Kings’ number one netminder, Jonathan Quick, now a two-time Stanley Cup Champion, has established himself as an elite goaltender, a superstar in the National Hockey League.

Behind Quick was Martin Jones, who went undrafted, but was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent, and developed in their system. He played well enough to raise his trade value to the point where they could use him to acquire proven left wing Milan Lucic from the Boston Bruins last summer.

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LISTEN: Frozen Royalty On Montreal Hockey Talk Radio: Pre-Game, LA Kings vs. Canadiens

On December 17, 2015, prior to the start of the Los Angeles Kings vs. Montreal Canadiens game at the Bell Centre in Montreal, I was a guest on MontrealHockeyTalk.com’s pre-game show during their Behind Enemy Lines segment, sharing what’s been happening with the Kings of late with hosts Steven Hindle, Steve Farnham, and “Coach K”.

During the almost 17-minute interview, we talked about Anze Kopitar, Milan Lucic, Jonathan Quick, how the sport of hockey is growing in Southern California, and more.

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LA Kings D Prospect Zach Leslie Remains Positive While Biding Time With Ontario Reign

LA Kings defenseman prospect Zach Leslie (center, wearing number 8), shown here during a game with the
American Hockey League’s Ontario Reign
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — If you’ve never heard of defenseman Zach Leslie, unless you’re a fan of the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League, no one would blame you.

The 21-year-old native of Ottawa, Ontario, who was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the sixth round (178th overall) of the 2013 National Hockey League Draft, is now playing for the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Ontario Reign.

Actually, playing might be a bit of an exaggeration, because as a first-year pro, Leslie has been mostly on the outside looking in, so to speak, with the Reign this season, having played in just five games, contributing two assists, with a +1 plus/minus rating.

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