Gann Matsuda On The Hockey Writers: From Top To Bottom, LA Kings Must Raise Their Level Of Play

LOS ANGELES — Those who are old enough to remember the CBS television show from the late 1960’s, The Wild Wild West, starring Robert Conrad and Ross Martin, should be able to relate very easily to what’s been going on in the National Hockey League’s Western Conference this season.

Indeed, the The Wild Wild West would be more than an accurate description of how tight the Western Conference standings have been from day one of the 2010-11 season to now, and it is likely that the West will remain as wild as ever right up to the final day of the regular season.

The Los Angeles Kings will have to do without right wing Justin Williams
for at least the next 3-4 weeks...maybe longer.
Photo: David Sheehan

The Los Angeles Kings find themselves smack dab in the middle of the action in The Wild Wild West, in sixth place with 88 points going into action on March 23, six points behind Pacific Division-leading San Jose Sharks.

But what makes the West so wild is that five teams are behind the fifth-place Chicago Blackhawks (also with 88 points), and just three points separates the fifth place team from the out-of-the-playoffs tenth place club, the Calgary Flames. Read more of this post

Frozen Royalty Audio and NHL Video: LA Kings Drop 2-1 OT Loss To Anaheim

LOS ANGELES — Despite putting in a solid performance that was a far cry from when they failed to show up in an embarrassing 4-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues on March 17, the Los Angeles Kings lost another game at home, this time, a 2-1 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks at Staples Center in Los Angeles on March 19. Read more of this post

Los Angeles Kings Need Center Anze Kopitar To Be A Little Greedy

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The Los Angeles Kings appear to have turned things around, earning a 5-0-1 record in their last six games, and a 6-3-1 record in their last ten. All that comes after an absolutely dreadful stretch from late December through much of January that saw them lose ten out of twelve games.

The Los Angeles Kings need top center Anze Kopitar to break out of another long goal scoring drought.
Photo: Los Angeles Kings

Even more impressive, the Kings are 2-0-1 in the first three of ten straight games away from Staples Center.

But with six more ahead of them—a brutal road trip that includes contests against three of the Eastern Conference’s best—the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Washington Capitals, and the Philadelphia Flyers (they skate at Anaheim to end the ten-game stretch), it will be quite the struggle for the Kings to come out of that six-game trip with even a .500 record.

The problem is that the Kings need to come out of that six-game trip with a winning record just to stay in the hurt for playoff berth in the National Hockey League’s ultra-competitive Western Conference. But to do that, they will need more from top center Anze Kopitar, who is mired in yet another of his all-too-familiar goal scoring droughts, with just one goal in his last 19 games, and none in his last nine games. His last goal came on January 15, in a 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers at Staples Center. Read more of this post

LA Kings Center Trevor Lewis May Never Be A Sniper, But…

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Even with the Los Angeles Kings underachieving in a big way to this point in the season, one bit of a bright spot has been the emergence of center Trevor Lewis as a reliable player who can provide energy, put in a solid effort as a checking forward, and be a stalwart on the penalty-kill.

To be sure, an argument can easily be made that the 24-year-old native of Salt Lake City, Utah is a bust, given that he was a first round selection (17th overall) by the Kings in the 2006 National Hockey League Entry Draft. Indeed, one would expect more of a scoring touch from a player drafted in that position.

LA Kings center Trevor Lewis (right) participates in
penalty-killing drills during a recent practice session.
Photo: David Sheehan

However, while Lewis, has not shown that he has the necessary skills to become a player who can score twenty or more goals in a season, he has moved from being a healthy scratch to a fixture on the third line.

In fact, Lewis played in just two of the Kings’ first eleven games at the start of the season. But since November 4, 2010, he has played every game.

“He was not in the lineup at the start of the year,” head coach Terry Murray said with a big smile. “We had other players who were in front of him, but he was very patient, he continued to work hard in practice, and had the right attitude. He got his chance on the fourth line, and, to me, he always played really well when he was into the game.” Read more of this post

Los Angeles Kings Have A Lot Of Work To Do Before Stretch Drive

LOS ANGELES AND EL SEGUNDO, CA — With the 2011 National Hockey League All-Star festivities in Raleigh, North Carolina now just a fading memory, players are now returning to their teams facing the uphill climb that is otherwise known as the stretch drive to the playoffs.

But after a dismal 3-8-0 performance in January, which was part of a larger skid in which they lost ten out of twelve games, the Los Angeles Kings find themselves in a huge hole that they must climb out of before they can even start thinking about the stretch run. Read more of this post

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