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LA Kings Anze Kopitar Talks Olympics, Sprint To The Finish

LA Kings center Anze Kopitar
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Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Well before the Los Angeles Kings hit the ice on February 24, an unusually large throng of local media had already gathered at their practice facility, the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California. In fact, with all the television and radio news media present, it looked like we had skipped over the final 23 games of the regular season for the Kings and moved right into the playoffs, which is when the local broadcast media start to show up at practices.

But on this day, center Anze Kopitar returned to the Kings’ practice ice for the first time since the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia ended, and he did so as an Olympic hero, of sorts. After all, even though he did not win a medal, he led Slovenia to a nearly miraculous 3-1 win over Slovakia in the preliminary round. Slovenia also shutout Austria in the Qualification Round, 4-0, to reach the Quarterfinals.

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Sprint To The Finish Gives LA Kings Almost No Time To Fix What’s Broken

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr, shown here during a recent practice at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California.
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Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — When we last left the Los Angeles Kings, they had just defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets, 2-1 in overtime, on February 6, at Staples Center.

The win ended a four-game losing streak. But looking at the bigger picture, there were still a lot of things in their game that were broken, as their 6-13-2 record over their last 21 games indicates.

Center Mike Richards hopes that the Olympic break gave the Kings enough of a respite that they will be able to break loose offensively when they return to the ice at Colorado on February 26.

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LA Kings Goalie Prospect J.F. Berube Is Taking Full Advantage of Opportunity With Manchester Monarchs

Los Angeles Kings goaltender prospect Jean-Francois Berube, shown here during a recent practice at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Generally speaking, professional hockey players don’t get to go on vacation until spring or summer, when their season ends, except during an Olympic year, when National Hockey League players who are not playing for their national teams get some time off during the Games. But the season continues for the rest of the professional leagues in North America during the Olympic break, and that is exactly what is happening during the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

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Transition To North American Game Hasn’t Been Easy For LA Kings Prospect Maxim Kitsyn

LA Kings left wing prospect Maxim Kitsyn, shown here during the team’s
2013-14 training camp in October 2013.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

ONTARIO, CA — While the National Hockey League is off the ice during the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, other North American leagues are still on the ice, including the ECHL, where Los Angeles Kings left wing prospect Maxim Kitsyn is working to hone his skills.

Almost four years ago, Kitsyn, a native of Novokuznetsk, Russia who was 18 years of age at the time, came to Los Angeles for the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft, held at Staples Center. He was selected by the Kings in the sixth round (158th overall).

Back then, Kitsyn was already playing in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, and aside from a 32-game stint in the 2010-11 season with the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors of the Ontario Hockey League, he remained in the KHL. As a result, for many NHL followers, he was out of sight, out of mind. He became a mostly forgotten Kings prospect.

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